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The best laid plans

Written by Sarah-Jane Webb

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Posted on July 29 2019

Pushing through when you suddenly fall apart

 

Well, it was bound to happen. Last week, I missed my weekly email newsletter for the first time since we announced our rebranding.

I guess it doesn't sound like a big deal, but I had made a promise to myself to be better with my communication to our customers. I was serious about my promise and I'm so upset that I broke it last week. 

What happened? Well, suddenly (and for the first time in about 3.5 years) I woke up terribly ill and it absolutely floored me. With multiple doctors' trips and a brief visit to the hospital, it took me four days to recover. I had to stay away from everything relating to the business just to focus on recovery. 

The pressure of mounting responsibilities, paperwork and emails was heavy, let alone the fact that I knew my team in the kitchen suddenly had all the baking and prep work of the week falling on their shoulders. Suddenly I was calling in staff at the last minute, sharing recipes and instructions over text and cancelling classes. The whole week turned upside down completely out of the blue. 

It might have been the first time since I started the business that I truly had to let go and trust 100% in my team around me, without oversight or any input from me whatsoever. I'm like the helicopter Mum to our business, so it was difficult for me. 

Of course, Marcus and our amazing team handled everything like the true champions they are, allowing me the time I needed to reset and get back in the game.  

I was back at work on Friday and pulled a massive effort to ensure all our deadlines and commitments were met by Saturday afternoon (with only a heavy backlog of paperwork and quotes to sort through over the rest of the weekend). 

 

How to (not) fail

This week I was recommended to listen to the podcast How To Fail with Elizabeth Day, which focuses on stories of how our failures teach us to succeed better.

She spoke to Phoebe Waller-Bridge, whose thoughts on how to overcome your deadlines in a crisis were so relatable to me.


“It’s also just knowing it’s in you,” Phoebe said. “There’s something quite comforting about the fact there is a deadline and this thing is going to happen; you’re going to make it happen and you’ve just got to keep pouring whatever you can into it.”

And thus is the nature of a small business. You keep going until it is done, your put your heart and soul in to the task at hand, and you make sure you do your damned best. 

Which reminds me of a quote from the person I look up to most in the world - my Mum. She always says,"you can only do your best". 

I got through last week, and after it all I could put my hand on my heart and say "I did do my best. I gave everything I could and now I have to let it go, taking whatever lessons I can from the experience so I can do better next time."

 

Reflecting

I guess last week taught me, at the very least, I can't always rely on everything going smoothly. I generally take that classic attitude of 'winging it', and that's not going to work all of the time. 

After this week, I’ll be putting some serious thought in to how I can improve my systems so that if my week is flipped upside down again, I’ll be even more prepared for the bumps in the road. Most importantly, our team needs access to the information they need if I am suddenly absent again. I can certainly see where there are areas available for improvement in our existing processes.

 

Lessons

If you’re running your own business (especially in the creative realm or hand-made products), it is so important to build a support network around you. It might be a group of cakey friends who can step in if you are sick to help you fill orders.

It might be a family member to help with a delivery (shout out to my siblings who have done so many times!).

Support doesn't even need to be related to cakes. Maybe a fellow business owner can chat to you about how to keep your accounts.

Or, you might consider hiring an Airtasker to come in and clean your house so you can spare a few hours to complete your paperwork!

Everyone needs support at some point - business or no business.  

 

Share with us! 

Surely I'm not alone!

Do you have a support network around you in case of an out of the blue difficulty?

Or do you provide that support to someone else?

Share the details in a comment below, and we can start to support each other right here.

 

Lots of love,

~Sarah-Jane

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