Two Days Out — Or, the Lessons Learned the Week Before Opening Your Business

IMG_2075.jpg

In my very limited free time over the past several months, I found myself in a very real obsession with a specific Netflix show, called Seven Days Out. The description of the show matches 100%: “Witness the excitement and drama behind the scenes in the seven days leading up to major live events in the worlds of sports, fashion, space, and food.” Honestly, I couldn’t understand it. I had no time to be watching a show, even if it only had six episodes. I found myself needing to unwind, and this turned out to be the way I did it.

For those who haven’t seen it, Seven Days Out, is not for people who want to unwind. Excitement and drama are actually understatements—we’re talking events like the Westminster Dog Show, the Kentucky Derby, and NASA’s Cassini Mission. Pretty high profile, high-anxiety events. Here I was in the middle of standing up my own business—and still, I was riveted.

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking—what was, and would be, the excitement and drama that Haumea would incur seven days out from our Grand Opening this Saturday, March 16? Of course, Haumea is not by any means on the same scale as a the largest dog show in the world, or a space mission—but for Kristin and me, it’s pretty darn close. So, below, I’ve compiled a few of the lessons we learned—some big, some small, all teachable moments—as we’ve worked to open Haumea’s doors. At this point, we’re two days out, but I have a feeling that there are a few lessons that are yet to come:

No matter how much you “prep”, it all goes out the window pretty fast. Kristin and I are both pretty organized people. We’ve had a to-do list for the past six months, if not longer! That said, when the ball starts to roll on getting the doors open, the list you had explodes into a million smaller lists. The things on those lists get done—with a little help from your friends! Which leads me to my next point.

We have so many people in our corner—and they want to help. Let them. When you’re a small business owner, there is so many feelings that occupy your brain. Your left brain is saying, “you need to do everything yourself! This is your business and you need to save money!” while your right brain is saying, “Oh, wow! There’s so much cool stuff that we can do!” This is where it helps to not only have people on your side who want to do everything they can to make this adventure a success, but to not be afraid to ask for help. In the past week, we’ve been able to lean so much on the following people:

  • April Hudzinski, Peggy Curtis, Claire Baker, and Amy Anderson, for helping us to assemble what seemed like an endless amount of IKEA furniture…

  • My dad, Doug Stansil, for all the work he’s done to help us understand our accounting…

  • Mel Ripp and Rochelle Ratkaj, for never failing to jump in and help us with marketing, website, and graphic design needs when we’re over our heads…

  • Amy Phillips, Melissa Sebastian (who brought her entire family to help!), Juddith Parish, Angie Traska, Beth McGowan, my mother- and father-in-law Sue & Tim Reilly, Kristin’s husband Dean Nemecek, Tara Parish, Liz Finkler, Juliane Druckney, and Bridget Loving for pitching in at the last minute to clean Haumea and help set-up hot on the tails of the construction crew being done…

  • Speaking of which, Scott, Seth, Eli, and the whole crew at Finishline Custom Construction for a beautiful remodel, and for putting up with our need for constant updates…

  • Claire Baker, who helped with a whole bunch of stuff. She is one smart woman who coincidentally, happens to be great at everything…

  • ...and all the people who sent us good vibes. They helped. They REALLY did.

Accounting is not fun, but it’s necessary. My biggest tactical piece of advice? STAY ON TOP OF YOUR ACCOUNTING ENTRIES (sorry for yelling, but I wanted to be loud enough for those in the back). Going backwards through a million transactions (okay, a little bit extreme, but that’s how many it felt like) and trying to hunt down receipts so you can get your insurance policy set up is NOT a fun way to spend 20 hours two days before your doors open.

Related: Quickbooks is a major pain in the butt. When they offer you a “training” call, know that you’ll be “trained” by someone who knows as much about Quickbooks as you do—which is not much.

MindBody is also necessary, but sometimes confusing. MindBody is the business management software that allows you to book our classes seamlessly. It can do almost anything under the sun when it comes to gyms, spas, salons, and wellness studios, but it will do it in the most roundabout and strange way possible. The majority of my head-scratching moments on this journey have been related to MindBody.

Families are amazingly supportive during big changes, but it doesn’t mean the journey won’t be a struggle in the short term. I spent the week prior to our soft launch last Saturday without seeing my kids or husband. In that week, my daughter (who never gets in trouble) was being awful for her teachers, and my son wound up in a scuffle in the school parking lot (yep, he’s seven). That feeling about being a failure as a mom absolutely crept in.

In the midst of all this, I was reminded of two things. The first is something that Dean had said to Kristin: “it’s good for the kids to see you work so hard for your dreams.” The second were words from Meg Miller, one of our amazing instructors, who said: “kids need examples of strong women.” Cheers to all of those wise words—and that this period of intense work won’t last forever.

There’s a million little things you learn that often teach you more in the moment than the big ones. Some of the ones we learned include:

  • Coffee is, and will continue to be, the nectar of the gods.

  • IKEA is a really fun place, with great meatballs and bad lighting.

  • It can take three hours to set up a printer. And that’s if you’re going fast.

  • Our Haumea sweatshirts are super comfy. We know, because we’ve been living in them for the past week.

  • You know you have a great business partner when you joke about getting walkie-talkies, and you find yourself calling her “babe” because of all the time you’ve spent together. Both of those things mean you’ve pretty much hit the partner jackpot.

And, here’s the biggest one: the “exhale” is more than worth it. And by that, I mean, the day you finally get your doors open, and you’re in your soft opening stage, and that thing you’ve been dreaming about happens: people show up, they hang out, they’re excited about the space, and the community you’ve been focused on building for the past six months just...happens. And you know that no matter what other excitement or drama comes your way, you’re gonna be okay. Your business is gonna be okay. It’s a feeling I can’t quite put into words, but I don’t ever want it to end.

Our soft opening is in full swing, and I hope that we see you at our Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, March 16, starting at 8 am with our official ribbon cutting. Come and move your body, be part of the Haumea community, and see the physical representation of all the lessons we learned. :)

Megan Stansil