With my summer wedding season winding down, my days are spinning just a little less quickly and I’m enjoying a little bit of head space to process the first two-thirds of 2016. So I thought it was time to share an update of some exciting changes for Heirloom Event Co. over these last few months.
Last November I created a mini vision board with some of the big picture goals that I wanted to accomplish in 2016. I propped it on a shelf in my closet, so that I would see it every morning as I was getting dressed and every night before bed. This was one of those life-planning tasks that I always said I was going to do, but never actually followed through on. It was actually thanks to a business collective I’m part of here in the Chicago area that carved out the space on my calendar. I’m so glad I actually DID it! I know it’s something I will do very single year now. There were a few things on the list, but one looming and ominous one was:
Make Heirloom the major focus of my time and income.
Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. Entrepreneurship feels trendy right now, but following a shiny penny and building a sustainable and profitable creative business are very different things.
Last month, I left a full time 9-5 for the last time. Working full time while running Heirloom has not been something that I’ve shared very openly as I started this business, and how and what to share has honestly been one of my biggest struggles over the last year. Monday mornings when I would walk in to the office after having clocked two full weekend days of clients meetings and venue walk through and had already gotten up at 4:00 AM that morning to answer email before making the drive to work - someone would ask me what I did over the weekend and I would respond and say “nothing much” when really I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I worked with an amazing client to fine tune their timeline to give them just the right flow of toasts through their meal, or sourced the perfect vintage rug for a ceremony aisle runner!!
If you’re a business owner in the thick of balancing a full time job and a growing business - just keep going my friends. It’s so messy hard in the middle. Even when you go in to it expecting that the road will be hard and the decisions will be grey and murky - living that day in and day out for months and months on end, while still serving your clients, doing your best at work and trying to hold a personal life together is exhausting to the core. On the days I felt like I couldn’t do it any more, when I felt like I was stretched too thin and not giving my best to anyone, I tried my best to be grateful for this journey, and tell myself that one day I will look back on these humble beginnings and laugh about what this crazy process has been like. I said that to myself A LOT during the last six months. One small step at a time leads to bigger things.
I always thought that I would just know when it was time to make the jump. I read article after article about how to plan your transition. Some said just make the jump and you’ll figure it out. Other said save 55 years of living expenses and don’t even blink until your business is out-earning your salary. Just like planning a wedding - there is no one right way to run a business and I firmly believe that you have to trust your gut instinct and do what is right for you and ignore the rest. For the longest time it felt like I would never know when it was the right time to leave. And then, just like I thought it would happen - I knew. I made the decision to leave like I’ve made every other major decision in my life in recent years. I had this little feeling right in the center of my stomach that permeated through my bones. It was time to go.
The nuts and bolts of actually leaving were more complicated and very thoroughly thought out. Even gut decisions can be backed up with a plan. For me that was a 5 page transition document that outlined everything from insurance to retirement savings to part time work to a good old fashioned pros and cons list. And yet when you're in a relationship, every choice I make for my life impacts Mike’s life too. This decision had to be as much his as it was mine. This is my business and I hold the responsibility for it alone - but he’s my partner in life and to truly do this, he had to be fully on board. I think the journey was the same for him to come to the decision that it was time for me to leave. The rush of relief when he said one day “I think it’s time for you to move on” was like an ocean of peace washing over me.
What this means for Heirloom
I am as excited as I am terrified most days and it feels like that is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. This first month has been a complete whirlwind. That feels like the understatement of the year to me, but it’s the best way I can put it into words. I executed the biggest wedding of my 2016 season (BEYOND gorgeous and I can’t wait to share more) and started to work with some incredible 2017 couples on their planning and designs. I’ve learned so much about how and what works for me in this new season of life and business. And I’ve had a pretty memorable month in my person life.
I most look forward to devoting the time and energy to grow and refine Heirloom to be the beautiful and life-giving business I see in my mind. To dive DEEP into fine tuning my systems and making the process for my clients whole-heartedly what I believe this experience in life should be. I am extremely excited for the chance to create and share content that educates and inspires my clients and beyond. And also for the bandwidth to develop deeper relationships with my fellow creative business owners.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me!