It’s no secret that by day I’m the owner of a small stationery studio. It doesn’t always feel like my dream these days but it’s a part of me so good and bad, I continue to roll with the punches. Things today look a lot different than they did at the beginning and yet in some ways they’ve come full circle and others actually look a lot like they did in the early days.
In 2014 I reached a crossroads where I either needed to accept that I’d reached my growth peak or take a big leap and hire help to continue the business moving forward and getting bigger. I took the leap.
I took the leap without really having a solid plan, I took the leap without really knowing what having employees would mean. I took the leap without knowing what or how I’d train, pay wages or make room for them in the tiny studio.
The advertising and interviewing process was strange and scary and eye opening. I interviewed a number of people that I really liked and it got harder and harder to narrow them down and yet in the end, my gut was solidly telling me exactly what I needed to do.
The early days with the new hire didn’t have a lot of structure. I needed help but I didn’t have a solid plan for the roles of this new person other than helping me. That started a long series of failures that hurt my new role as boss.
Fortunately for me, my assistant was similar in age to me so we were in a similar place in life, she had a good work ethic, was smart, fast at learning and was confident enough in herself that she wasn’t afraid to speak up when she saw areas for improvement, streamlining processes or new ways of growth.
It wasn’t long till she was managing her own day to day and along the way we became friends. This proved to be two additional failures that hurt my role as boss.
How it all ended is still bizarre and I suspect there are truths I will never know for sure. I take a big chunk of the blame for it not working out but I know there are two sides to the situation. My failures land squarely in not having a plan with goals at the start, for letting my assistant’s role become what she created rather than what I needed and for letting a friendship interfere with the boss / employee relationship.
The assistant is gone now and so is that friendship. The relationship on both levels was clearly a season of life for both of us. For me, the end felt like a bad breakup and it took a lot of time to look at this season of my life as anything but negative. Even though I know that season isn’t one of my shining moments, I am now able to see it as a hard time of lessons that has made me better today.
Maybe your struggle or failure isn’t that of being a bad boss or friend. It could be something completely different. The point is that failure, though hard, doesn’t always have to mean the end. Over time, your failure may prove to be something important or valuable to the future you. Maybe it’s a lesson learned, a stepping stone toward something even better that you needed this failure to prepare you for. That’s how I see this failure of mine now and I’m hoping it leads to things even better down the road.
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