Every once in a while I get asked by another entrepreneur “how do you not get burnt out working so hard?” My answer is always simple and truthful: I love my company. Working actually gives me great joy.
When I started the company, I was so fully immersed, that I’d oftentimes forget to eat or realize that I didn’t see the light of day in 3 days. I had this intensity to create something spectacular, and nothing was going to cause me to waver my focus.
In those early days, I spent all my time designing the website, figuring out ways to obtain clients, learning QuickBooks, creating (and revising) processes and workflow, studying our market, interviewing employee candidates and the multitude of things that a start-up needs to do to get going.
Back then, those 18-hour days would simply fly by. I’d look up from my computer and suddenly it’d be 3 am. My husband at the time (who was also my business partner) would often complain why my brain didn’t shut off at 6pm like his did. And I’d often retort asking why he didn’t put in the hours necessary to get our business off the ground.
My zest and passion for my business grew each day. I figured out what aspects of the business I enjoyed, and what aspects I preferred to delegate. I networked; I joined entrepreneur groups to learn from others. I created employee handbooks and vendor agreements. I applied for (and won) State contracts. I took Spanish courses so that I can communicate with my upholsterers in their own language. I taught the bookkeepers how to reconcile. I learned how to create Google Adword campaigns and effective SEO tactics. And I absolutely loved it all. There was nothing I wasn’t passionate about when it came to running and growing my business.
The business grew each year, and so did my love for it. Interviewer Pimm Fox described me last month in a live interview on Bloomberg TV as the Upholstery Queen. He couldn’t have said it any better.
But as we all know, everything in life can change, and in some cases, very rapidly. For me, everything changed overnight when my husband left the company, filed for divorce and proceeded to target the one thing he knew I cared most about – my business and real estate. I was now thrown into divorce litigation.
The stress of going through a divorce can suck the life out of you. Instead of focusing your time on growing your business, you end up focusing your time on court appearances, reviewing motions and Order to Show Causes, scheduling attorney meetings and conference calls, digging up documentation that’s been long buried and pulling up emails from the good old days to prove your case. When Order of Protections and restraining orders are put into the mix, you have more court dates, more documents to write and more records to dig up for the Detectives. When the District Attorney’s office gets involved, you end up in Supreme Court appearances, testifying in front of Grand Jury and more documentation to dig up.
There were periods over the last few months when the stress level was so high, that I was ready to give up on my business. I thought to myself ‘maybe I should shut it all down and resume when this saga is all over’. I was so close to doing it too. But the entrepreneurial fire in me didn’t let me give up. I kept going to work day after day, and engrossed myself into my company. I met with clients and interacted with my employees; I oversaw the operations and I dealt with all our vendors. The divorce litigation was eating me up inside but I kept plowing through. I am still plowing on.
It’s through these extremely arduous times when you realize that you are a true entrepreneur and fighter. I sometimes wish I can be more like my partner and jump ship when things turn sour, but my commitment, passion and fire won’t let me. I couldn’t in my right mind, throw away a company that I devoted 5 years to growing from thin air.
Source: Forbes Business