“You own two businesses? How do you do it!?”
In a hustle-driven culture that encourages your entire being to be devoted to a positive linear career path, it may seem abnormal for a person like me to wear multiple entrepreneurial hats in seemingly different industries, and somehow still have time to rest and engage with the people I love. Instead of telling you to work harder and throw your margins out the window, I want to share with you practical ways I’ve been able to own two businesses, and maintain my responsibilities as a healthy wife, mom, friend and church member along the way.
I do want to preface this with explaining that though I am the co-owner and Director of Brand and Marketing at Indie Coffee Roasters (ICR) and the owner and Art Director of Jenny Tod Creative (JTC), there is a degree of overlap between the two that allows me to often plant my feet in both companies simultaneously. In essence, my businesses exist more like a venn diagram rather than two distinct entities constantly competing for my attention. I schedule my brand and marketing projects for ICR as I schedule my JTC clients, and I often work on client projects at the coffee shop, which allows me to be available to our customers and employees and engaged with the shop culture as a whole. Additionally beneficial, the buyer to consumer relationships I cultivate at ICR enhance my ability to understand my design clients in a richer way, as they are also working to improve and serve their buyer to consumer relationships.
With that said, let’s dive in.
As I contemplate the significant elements of this conversation, the first point I want to mention is time. With no more time than anyone else, I’ve had to figure out how to maximize the time and energy I have in order to strategize well to ensure everything gets done – and not just “check it off the list” done, but actually completed with intentionality and sincerity. My strategy? The calendar app. I have discovered that having a good calendar strategy is absolutely essential; When anything, yes anything, requires my undivided attention and energy, it gets scheduled out on the calendar. I know myself, and I know that if my schedule is blank for the evening, I can easily convince myself to open up the computer and do a little more work, but I have found that if I truly want to be intentional about time with my family, working out, or investing in my relationship with God, I must treat that time with as much promptness and regard as I do any other appointment that finds its place on the calendar.
Scheduling out time to rest and create enjoyable moments with my family is neither superficial nor obligatory, rather it motivates me to be intentional with the time I have set aside, and my mind finds rest in knowing that everything else has its own place on the calendar for a later time. This allows me to fully live into these moments where my only responsibility in the present moment is to have a dance party with my son, train well for my next race, or go out for tacos with my husband.
Moreover, a large part of being a business owner is the time I spend thinking and envisioning on behalf of my companies. As I experience things in the world, I am constantly strategizing and developing new ideas for the coffee shop, or gleaning inspiration for client projects. This time spent thinking, brainstorming and dreaming is just as critical to the growth of my companies, if not even more-so, than the hours I put in at my desk. The important point to remember in this regard is that both companies unquestionably deserve time for creating and implementing new ideas and strategies, and this can be done to the best of its ability when time is thoughtfully delegated and scheduled. It’s taken great agility to get to a place where I know how much time each company requires of my direct desk hours, but with years of practice, I’ve been able to schedule my work hours appropriately and conservatively.
Running equally significant to scheduling is actively seeking out and embracing help. The common misconception others initially hold is that I carry most, if not all, of the weight of operating two companies and self-publishing a children’s book, while somehow also keeping my life under control, but that’s simply not the case.
At Indie Coffee Roasters, I have three other partners that contribute their best to the shop’s success and holistic flourishing – and not to mention our incredible and diligent team of baristas that show up everyday for our customers, and represent the brand as if it were their own. We understand that when each of the partners champions one key department of the business operation, all of us are able to hone in on our particular areas of expertise and delegate tasks accordingly. As we each communicate key features of marketing, coffee technique and methodology, customer service and operational logistics to our employees, they in turn become highly competent and well-equipped to carry out their delegated responsibilities. The same is true for my design company; I hired my first office manager just two months ago, which has allowed me to focus more on what I love, and delegate the tasks I don’t have time to do to someone who thrives in the client relations and organizational space.
I want to emphasize the fact that when you can trust your team to carry out day-to-day responsibilities independent of your constant attention, you allow yourself the flexibility to zoom out from the details and focus on the big picture of propelling your company forward. My encouragement to all entrepreneurs is to set aside time to train your employees well so they feel properly equipped to operate autonomously and own their role in your company. Use this newfound perspective and availability to connect with others in your industry; Ask questions, gain fresh insight and advice, and receive suggestions and challenges from those who are farther along than you. Don’t let yourself miss out on these opportunities, rather embrace them, lean into them, and rely on them for further growth and maturation of yourself as a business owner and your company as a whole.
In closing, I want to encourage you that you are in control of your time, your companies, your commitments, your yes and your no. We are all granted the same amount of time in a day, and as much as we want to do all the things on our wish list, we need to be deliberate in making decisions that support what we desire to gain out of and contribute to our lives. Do you want to pursue that new side hustle? Go for it! Would you like to dedicate one evening a week to intentional family time? Schedule it! Allow your calendar to reflect your values and priorities, and be proud of that.