It has been a long time since I've written a business/lifestyle blog post. It has been a long few months. My manfriend broke both his wrists while downhill mountain biking, so that has been quite the challenge, and business has been more difficult than usual. After the wrists were mostly healed and the man could put a shirt on by himself, I decided to go on a bit of an entrepreneurial soul-searching, dirtbag journey.
You see, I have a belief that any type of marketing that feels like a sales pitch is gross. Ew.
So every now and then, I need to go make sure that at Wheelie what we say, do, and (most importantly) what we stand for align. That we are still relevant, or better yet, progressive, and that we are still "in touch" with the industry.
The thing is, if you're going to be in touch with the outdoor industry, you have to go touch it.
Does that sound weird?
I'm okay with that.
So I rolled up my sleeves, packed a suitcase, and loaded the truck because I had a lot of metaphorical touching to do. I also believe that as an agency owner, curiosity is my best friend, and this is a big world with a lot to explore.
I'm bad at sleeping.
I really love life, so taking a break from it for eight whole hours sometimes seems like an impossible task. That's eight whole hours without laughter or human connection or the smell of the wet mud in the woods around my house. Eight hours where I don't get to explore what's possible.
Sometimes I lay awake trying to convince myself that it's only eight hours, and it will all still be there when I wake up. Only the reality is that it won't be. Everything will be different by eight hours.
I'm not a late-night worrier, but admittedly, I'm a late-night thinker.
Lately, I've been thinking about the concept of balance.
I finally saved up enough money for a steady cam. It's freaking sweet!!
Here are some stills I pulled from playing around in the yard with it.
Life is good. Really good, actually. Something interesting happened after work tonight. I drove down the dirt road where a lot of my best ideas come from--window down, puppy alertly sitting shotgun, feeling the sun on my arm as it dangled down the door of my truck, and I was kind of reeling from a busy day. I got to work around 7am, didn't have time for lunch, and finally rolled home into my driveway at 7pm. I was feeling happy, but exhausted, which seems to be the normal half-zombie state in which I navigate life lately. I think about my friends who have babies and really little kids. They have the same look in their eyes. We're all tired. I don't have kids, though. I have a business. A good one, with passion and momentum and hundreds of details. The good stuff in design--what makes something really special--is all in the details. Nothing can go unnoticed. Tonight, I was too tired to ride my bike, so I curled up on my back porch with a dog named Eddy and an author named Ed Abbey.
It was nice. I sat on my porch and looked around. I could see the rocks under a tree where in July, I buried my dog, Scout, who was my absolute best friend and most loyal companion for the last ten years. I joke that I bought him his dream house, and then he died a few months after we moved in. It's like he knew he was finally home. I listened to the running water that flows through my yard, aptly named Scout Creek. I could hear a frog. I would love to know what it looks like, how big it is, how green it is. I haven't seen a frog in Montana before. My new puppy, Eddy, likes to sit with me here. This is our spot. We like to look and listen and be next to each other. Life is simple in moments like these. Life is shorter than we usually think about.
In this moment, I decided that I'm reclaiming placidity.
Calmness, like every other state of being, is a mindset, and we all get to choose our mindsets.
A little something fun about my personal life is that my manfriend is a structural engineer. I'm a creative professional. We see the world very differently, and at first this was a massive point of conflict, and then we realized that have an awesome combination. I come up with ideas, and he makes them not fall over.
We spend a lot of our spare time building things together.
For example, here's a shot of The Wheelie Creative meeting room-- it's in progress still (check out the corrugated metal propped in the door frame and wait till you see what that zone turns into!) He does, however, feel very strongly about never building a pallet wall again. They're extremely time consuming. But seriously, how badass does that office look?!
As if that project weren't enough, we work on lots of little, random projects together.
Like tonight after work, for example:
Some days, owning a business is a lot of fun. Today was one of those days.
I usually work Sundays, and today was no different.
I spent the morning with a cup of coffee and my laptop while my manfriend made us a great breakfast. Instead of writing my normal email newsletter, I went through productivity logs from all my employees and rechecked our overhead now that we've upgraded to a bigger office with a lot more expenses. Yuck. We do have the physical capacity to grow now, though, and that's really important. I analyzed which of our services are the most profitable and looked into the why's and why not's of our most and least successful projects. Complacency was never my strong suit, and business is no different.
I'm still dealing with a few residual effects from a brain injury I suffered last year. Nothing major, just little stuff like my cognitive understanding of the passage of time. Recently, one of the neurological pros who is helping with my recovery asked, "How do you relax?"
It's amazing how hard it is to start a new habit to try to blog every day. At the community college where I teach a few design classes, we make an assignment that requires the students to select a goal and blog about their progress every day for 40 days. I now see why they have a slow start and their blogs get better as the semester goes on. Creating new habits and changing old ones is really something that takes mindfulness and self-discipline. My goal with this blog is to keep my lifestyle in check and make sure my business doesn't consume me.
I've been spending an obscene amount of time working, thinking about work, thinking about projects, trying to understand my employees, visualizing the future of Wheelie, and trying to obtain clients in different regions of the country. It consumes my life, and I'm seeking to reclaim balance.
Owning a business is a massive amount of work. Here's how I keep it fun by balancing owning Wheelie with my passion for adventure. -Lisa