Choosing foster care and adoption after two biological kids couldn’t coexist with my corporate career so I made the choice be an entrepreneur instead. Adoption seemed like a devastating blow to my career plans, but little did I know the world I was entering was much more challenging than a 9-5.
At our staffing agency, Priority VA we clone entrepreneurs by pairing them with an amazing virtual Outcome Engineer to help them grow and scale their businesses. We’re four years in, and things are going well, but it wasn’t always that way.
“This is harder than I thought it would be, harder than it should be.”, I would think to myself. This “entrepreneur- but also a mom and wife- gig” was often more than I could handle and frequently pushed me to wonder what the heck I was thinking, and how my priorities got so screwed up.
Intellectually, we know the backstory of growing a 7 figure business isn’t as pretty as the social highlight reels make it seem. Yet, it’s challenging to stop comparing ourselves to strangers on the internet, isn’t it?
I was convinced that everyone else had it easier than I did, and I was somehow broken because I couldn’t figure out how to manage it all. So I dug in, and worked harder.
Four kids, multiple foster children later and a passion for helping moms be available for their families while contributing to the financial needs of their household, our business was thriving, and I was falling apart.
I gained more weight in two years than I had with both my pregnancies combined. Previously healthy, I turned into a desk jockey, sitting often for 17 hours a day while attempting to cram as much work as I could into my day. Every day.
My kids lost connection with the mom that started this business to spend more time with them.
I remember telling my husband when he asked me how the year had been one new year’s eve “I don’t know. I missed it. I was in my office the entire year.”
In that moment, being a martyr for the business didn’t make sense anymore. I had been chained to my desk with invisible shackles I’d put there to ensure everyone else felt like the Priority.
The result left me tired, fat, disconnect, and scared that if I stopped working, it’d all fall apart. I had built a business that did not serve me, but rather, one I was a slave to.
While scaling so quickly, without putting myself first, I was actually ensuring that my business and family, would suffer. I hired a business coach who helped me make tough choices.
Now, I work no more than 6 hours a day. I spend my evenings hanging with the kids rather than tied to my laptop. A Functional medicine doctor helped me get to 8 hours of sleep rather than the 4 I lived off of for nearly 3 years. I cut out the fast food, quick microwave meals and massive amounts of coffee that I’d deceived myself into thinking was helping me stay afloat and went clean.
I practiced what I preach and outsourced my inbox, my calendar management and my systems and process creation to my team.
I got my life back. I made the decision that I was worth caring for, as much as my clients and my VAs were.
I reluctantly shifted the “Priority” to myself, instead of everyone else. Despite my kicking and screaming about shutting off my computer at 3pm, I found myself in the white space.
My kids had an engaged mom and my husband got his wife back. Business didn’t fall apart. It thrived. I finally realized what was holding me hostage wasn’t my clients, or my customers. It was me.
Growing a business doesn’t mean neglecting everything else to create something amazing.
It means drawing the line in the sand as to what must come first. For me, it was my health. Once that came into focus, everything else fell into place and I’m no longer worried about the strangers on the internet. It’s hard, Yes. But only as hard as we make it. Choose wisely.
Hi! I’m an EA to one of your fellow MMTers, Shelby Hacala. I came across your website and instantly loved everything I saw. I am always looking for access to great information about how I can improve my skills and consistently add value to the business. Even though I am an EA not a VA, I think I can learn a lot from the information that you provide. I did not see a sign-up option to your blog anywhere? I am also wondering if you have considered providing some kind of training targeted specifically to EAs of the MMT group?