I've come to realise that trying to grow a small business and a little human looks a little different every day. There is no routine and even when I try to structure time for the business ultimately this gets pushed aside and the little human comes first and isn't that the way it should be?
Our little business has struggled this past year and that’s entirely my fault, I haven’t paid it nearly the attention it needs and that’s because my motivation has been to love and nurture my son. I will be honest and admit that even the house plants and the garden have suffered too.
I knew starting a business with no capital and experience was going to be tough and it was. But we started to see some real progress in sales and things were starting to look promising. Then we decided to start a family, granted the quickness with which this happened took me a little by surprise but I still felt confident that I could continue to grow the business and grow a little human. I was incredibly fortunate and had a wonderful pregnancy, which in all honesty flew by in a flash, and I didn't feel nearly as prepared as I'd hoped to be both with the imminent arrival of our child and for having to take time away from the business to birth and look after him.
It felt like suddenly we were having a baby and no amount of preparation was enough, I even fooled myself into thinking that I'd be back behind my computer in four weeks! That didn't happen and looking back I'm glad that it didn't as I wouldn't have enjoyed those early days nearly as much as I did if I'd had to tear myself away from my son. Our journey wasn't always straight forward we've had to deal with many bumps along the way but we always managed and above all else we learnt to be flexible. This approach helped with the business side of things too and we weren't home long, before it became apparent to me that I couldn't manage both. I took the time that I needed to be with my son. Months flew by with no sales and sadly I am paying for that now since many of the new products I wanted to launch have had to be pushed back due to having no money to invest. But I have no regrets, instead I looked forward and focussed my efforts on returning to the business in time for Christmas. And again despite having no preparation time we managed to have a successful Christmas period thanks to our wonderful customers.
Nine months after my son was born, sitting here writing this blog, I'm not entirely convinced I'm doing a great job of running the business and there isn't a day that goes by when I don't question if I really can do it all. I fight every day with the stress that ensues if I haven't done anything productive for the business and the guilt that follows if I take time away from being with my son to work on the business. Just writing this blog, whilst it has been cathartic all I can think about is holding my son and playing together.
When I was pregnant I watched inspiring women around me have babies and still continue to work, study, run a business and I convinced myself I could do that too but it has been hard and still is. A constant balancing act, leaving very little time for anything else. I'm no longer a trustee of the glorious arboretum I once loved and my volunteering days are certainly on hold for now, as there is just no time to spare.
But I’ve realised one thing hasn't changed. My feelings about gardening plastic free and the impact each and everyone of us has on the planet is more important now than ever. I have to continue to fight to keep our little business ticking over and offer more plastic free alternatives and hopefully make small changes in the way in which we all approach our waste. These things are important to me and I want to feel that these challenges and sacrifices I'm making now all contribute to a better world for my son. I want to be able to talk to him about these issues knowing in my heart that we have in some small way helped reduce the amount of waste on the planet.
It’s not easy to leave him and focus on marketing the business but one day he might actually want to take over (or not) so in order for him to have a choice I have to build a successful business. Slowly we will find our rhythm and maybe one day I will look back in astonishment at what I managed to achieve at a time when it all felt very overwhelming.
So from one parent, gardener, consumer to another, try those alternatives, help make a difference, shop small this growing season & support someones dream.