3 ways small-business owners can tackle their personal setbacks and still rocket through growth t... - 5 minutes read
Starting a small business requires time, finances, support, and balancing personal responsibilities.
When faced with personal challenges, one founder said, leaders need to be willing to pivot.
"I just keep the mindset of, 'I can do this, and I'm enough,'" another CEO told Insider.
This article is part of "Small Business Playbook," a series exploring the leadership challenges and solutions that can drive growth.
Something is loading.
Thanks for signing up!
Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you're on the go.
download the app
Neillie Butler launched her wedding and event planning firm, Mariée Ami, in 2009, at the height of the Great Recession. She had just gotten married — becoming a stepmom — was a three-time cancer survivor, and had $300 to her name.
"I was broke. Like, broke, broke," she told Insider.
Butler was also unhappy in her corporate job, she said: "I saw being an entrepreneur as my opportunity to make something of myself. So I just went for it."
She purchased a small laptop at Sam's Club with her $300 and started Mariée Ami in Birmingham, Alabama.
Her first event was an engagement party with a $1,000 budget. She said she soon booked "very small, scrappy weddings" with low budgets. Today, Butler said she's planned multimillion-dollar weddings all over the world and has a full-time staff of six.
"It's a very drastic difference, but it didn't happen overnight," she said.
It's taken a lot of hard work, shifts in priorities, and determination to get where she is.
Starting a business is never an easy task. In a 2021 Zapier poll of US adults, more than 60% of respondents said they had an idea for a business, but most never try to make it a reality because of a lack of time, finances, or support, on top of having too many personal responsibilities.
Insider spoke with small-business owners about how they launched and scaled their companies while dealing with personal challenges and responsibilities.Pivot when necessary
Tiffany Mielnik Parrish launched Selenite Beauty, an online store that sells clean and sustainable beauty products, in 2019 out of her dining room, while parenting two small children. In February 2020, she opened a physical storefront in Charlotte, North Carolina, but COVID-19 forced her to close it a few weeks later.
"We had to figure out how to gradually reopen without a playbook of how to do that," Parrish told Insider.
Selenite Beauty reopened a few months later with limited hours and removed product testers to comply with health protocols. Parrish, who was pregnant with her third child, worked at the store until she could rehire the staff she had to lay off when it closed.
"You have to be willing to pivot," Parrish said, adding that she relied on her previous career in risk and contingency planning — and her stubbornness — to keep the business going.
"Sometimes, when you're forced to pivot, it can be a little bit of an ego blow," she said.
The shop fully reopened in April 2022 and has added a spa and 17 employees. Parrish said that encountering such an unforeseen event gave her time to pause and change aspects of the business to help it become more successful.Hard work and determination are essential
Hustle culture sometimes gets a bad rap, Parrish said, but it's often necessary when starting a business. It's crucial to take care of yourself, too.
"There are days where you have to grind, but it's going to pay off in the long run," she said.
Drive and determination are essential, Butler added: "I wasn't going to accept anything other than the business working. I've always said, 'You don't have to be the smartest person in the room, but you do have to be the hardest worker.'"
Butler grew Mariée Ami by starting a party-planning blog. She tapped into her network to get business and relied on building relationships and referrals to land gigs.
"I poured my heart and soul into every event that people would hire me to do," she said. "One led to the next one."
Parrish told Insider that it's all about keeping your eye on the prize: "I just keep the mindset of, 'I can do this, and I'm enough.' That determination allows me to stay more even-keeled."Set clear work-life boundaries
Women tend to feel extra pressure while balancing running a business with personal demands, Parrish said, but "there's no such thing as this idea of a woman who can do it all."
To make it work, Parrish and Butler said business owners must set priorities and make sacrifices. For instance, Parrish said she couldn't attend all of her children's school functions and give 100% to her business.
Balancing different roles isn't always possible, Butler said. What works best for her is designating certain times for work and certain times for family.
Parrish and Butler credited their supportive husbands and childcare services with helping them make it work.
"There's privilege with that," Parrish said.
In her day-to-day, Parrish said she "lives and breathes" by her calendar and sets realistic goals to ensure she devotes enough time to her family, her business, and herself. Hiring people to handle parts of the business is also crucial to relieve some of the pressure.
"Too often, you feel like, I started this small business, and I need to be there every single day," she said. "But you also don't want to look back and wish that you spent more time with your kids or your husband."
Source: Business Insider
Powered by NewsAPI.org