My son has had a fever for five days straight and is starting to wheeze. Sickness has hit our house.
My son has had a fever for five days straight and is starting to wheeze. I've been coughing for over a month and Kai's hiding it, but he's struggling. Sickness has hit our house.
There are no sick days for working parents, especially small business owners. We're always on.
Earlier this week I had a call with a business counselor who was referred by a good friend. We're also connected on Facebook and have met a few times in person. I was looking for someone who I could bounce ideas off of, and she is supposed to be an "expert." Perfect. A win-win.
After joining the call, the first question that she asked me was what can I do for you. And I replied that you could start by telling me what it is that you do. She sped through her elevator pitch, making sure to hone in on all of her/her company's accomplishments; We have started xx number of businesses here. Helped business owners grow their businesses there. Collectively generated billions of dollars last year, etc., etc.
I politely listened as I looked at my sick toddler who was sitting beside me. His eyes were sunken in, and I was really concerned about him. I was also thinking about the deadlines that were approaching and how, because of this call, I would have to get up at 3 a.m. to get them done; The contracts that I had lost that week. The clients who were behind on their invoices. And how the day before my mother, who's insurance expires today, told me that her heart has been skipping beats.
After taking me through her pitch, she turned the tables on to me.
She said, "tell me about your business," and I'll tell you what I think.
"Well," I said. "I own a business strategy agency, which I've had for five years and my husband and I own an organization where we make it easier for working parents to manage their professional and family responsibilities."
"Yes. Your organization is called MORE, right." She jumped in to say. I remember hearing about your retreat last year. It's a great concept, you're touching on an important issue, but I don't see the business model here.
"Have you seen our website?" I said.
"No. I haven't." She replied. But you may want to think about your work and life integration idea separately. There's the philanthropy piece, which I know is close to your heart, and then there's the business side which is going to be the tough part. I want you to be successful, but I don't see you making any money off of this idea.
At that point, I had two options. One, go with my natural instinct and justify our position. Or two, wrap up the conversation because, apparently, she didn't know who she was talking to or what she was talking about. Given the situation, and my sick toddler who was sitting beside me, I chose the latter.
I could have stayed on the call and walked her through our website, shared my credentials or given her my business plan. But doing so would have been a waste of my time. And I needed to save my energy for my business and my little man.
My hope is that one day we'll look beyond our computers and see that there are real people in front of us. People who own businesses. Have children. Are dealing with issues. Family isn't a one off thing that we do when we get off our 9-5. Family is who we're working for. Family is, for most of us, our why.