One of the discussions that resonated most with me from the weekend at Creative Estates was the discussion on balancing family and business when you run a business from home. The reminder to take family time. To set strict business hours and hold to them. This is so difficult for me to do some days.
I think at times it's easy for us to forget there is a human on the other end of the computer when we shop online. A human with a family, a husband, children, with emotions, and some days with a very full schedule.
As customers, we send a message and want to know we've been heard and not ignored. We can get impatient, and even at times down right rude. As a shop owner it can be so discouraging to know you can't get to everyone every day. To end your day knowing you let someone down.
I struggle with emails. Big time. Because there are just not enough hours in the day to get to every single message myself. I wish there were. I want to personally respond to every single one. To thank each person for their sweet compliments on my work, to chat over artistic ideas for special jewelry, to hear about their story behind their request, and to thank them for choosing me to create such a special keepsake. I love this part of my business. I love the human connection.
But there have been too many times that I am trying to get through messages, and the kids want my attention. To show me a Lego creation. To ask me why black holes are black or some other silly or profound question that is nagging at their curiosity. To show me the picture they drew... just for me. Then I feel guilty. Guilty for turning off the computer and not getting to those last 10 messages, guilty for not turning of the computer and devoting every ounce of attention to the inspection of the latest Lego world.
So it is time. Time to let go. Time to accept I can not continue to run my business on my own. Time to set business hours and hold to them PERIOD Time to not feel guilty because I shut the computer down to play with my kids!
So it's time to let go! I am bringing on someone to help with emails and customer service. It is so hard to let go of this aspect of my shops, but I really feel so much better in making this decision. I took the advice of the "pros" from the creative Estates weekend and I took Saturday off and we had a full family day. I am so much more relaxed with Rob and the kids. More energetic and excited to get to my work bench this evening . So very confident that I need to do this so that customer service is not lacking.
Starting at the end of this week I will introduce my new customer service gal. She's excited to get to know you all and offer help where she can :) I will still handle most of the custom request convos myself, because when it comes to the technical jewelry stuff I'm the only one who can answer, but she will be on hand to answer simple questions, and send updates on production and shipping info.
I know this is going to be a tremendous help for me, and so much less frustrating for all my wonderful customers to not have to wait as long for answers!
Did you have a profound moment of realization this weekend, or maybe just some wonderful family time?