In honor of Small Business Week, I have decided to give honest insight into the typical day of a small business owner. You see, as a small business owner, you aren’t just the owner; you wear many different hats daily. You can have the strongest team on the planet (and we have an incredible team) and still be pulled in a million directions. At the end of the day, no one cares about your business as much as you do. It’s like you wake up and go to bed every day dealing with your “third baby” — your business!
My alarm goes off when my four-year-old comes banging on the door around 6:00 AM every single day. It’s like the movie Groundhog’s Day, but he is more of a Tasmanian devil than a passive groundhog! I greet him and immediately check my phone to see if there are any metaphorical fires that need to be put out. More often, it’s checking to see if our suppliers in Asia are waiting for an immediate response, because they will soon be leaving for the night.
By 8:30 AM, both boys are off to school and I have already responded to easily a dozen emails talked to my business partner (who is also my mom) two or three times. Then I finally have an hour to myself to workout, so I usually go for a run or take a spinning class. This is the hour each day that I get to destress and have “me” time before someone else needs me. During this time I try to focus on anything that doesn’t have to do with the business. After this I either head to my office most days by 10:30am or else to some networking/coffee date to connect with more people and find ways in which we can help each other.
If I am in the office, I have at least a hundred emails to get through daily. In between emails, I am working on marketing strategies and business development, punctuated by phone calls and “fire alarms”. The phone rings: a customer loves their order and wants to thank us. The phone rings again shortly after and a customer is upset because a logo on a tie isn’t the exact color they had hoped. Luckily, I have a long fire hose and can put out multiple fires on most days!
On this particular day though, an order came in that needs to be out
the next day and our shipping and receiving person is out. I come to the rescue and get everything shipped out, only to find there has been a delay with shipping. So even though we paid very expensive fees to overnight those custom Hawaiian shirts to California, we won’t make the customer’s deadline. We did the best we can, but sometimes things are out of our hands. I go back to my emails, answer clients, write up orders, and then peek at our monthly reporting and compare how we are doing this month to last month.
I leave the office by 5:30 to get home to my two little ones Rafael and Agustin who need all of mom’s attention until they are in bed at 7:30pm. During that time, dinner needs to be made, kids need to be bathed, and all the school papers need to be sorted through. By the time my boys are sleeping, it is time for me to jump back on my computer and start working with our overseas suppliers to make sure they get the answers they need. My brain never stops, and sometimes I am up at night wondering what what needs to be done tomorrow and hoping to continue delivering the best possible experience to each one of our customers.
No one said this life was easy and every path has its challenges, but this is the one I chose and want to keep choosing, because it keeps each day fresh and exciting and full of life! Maybe after reading this blog you find yourself nodding in agreement, laughing at all the chaos or shaking your head in disbelief — but this is my life and I love it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!