One of the biggest myths of entrepreneurship is the perceived ability of the self-employed to make their own hours and vacation whenever they please. While this may be a perk of a select few, time off is a rare luxury for most of us.
And the universe loves to wreck havoc on this particular business owner’s vacay plans.
C and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary tomorrow. For the last several weeks, we’ve fantasized about plans for a weekend getaway to our favorite beach, where we tied the knot in the sand all those years ago. We ironed out all the details at the shop — even agreeing to close on Saturday, which is like, unheard of — prepped our staff, and made arrangements with a nearby florist to cover our customers’ last-minute emergency orders.
We booked a place to crash, scoped out fancy restaurants for a special dinner, and dreamed about daiquiris in the sand and two full days of work-free bliss. By Thursday evening, our packed bags lined the foyer, ready to be quickly loaded in the car Friday afternoon to beat rush hour traffic.
Friday morning, I woke up an hour earlier than usual to get a jump start on the day. I had a reservation for a local Girls Inc. luncheon that afternoon, so I washed and curled my hair — big deal for a weekday, y’all — and put on a new dress and strappy heels. I planned to get my staff organized in the morning, head to the luncheon at noon, check in at the shop for a nanosecond afterwards, and then get home early to get the heck outta town.
It only took an hour for my road trip plans to hit a road block.
One sick employee and a regretful phone call to cancel my luncheon RSVP later, I switched gears to delivery driver, in a fancy dress. Luckily, I’m usually prepared for the unexpected, so I had a pair of flip flops in my bag. We had a full stack of deliveries all over town, so I loaded the van and made four trips back and forth, slowed by a never-ending torrential downpour (complete with terrifying lightning) and a short-staffed HQ that demanded my attention with each return. Any chance of an early departure was off the table, but we were content with leaving later in the evening as long as we could wake up at the beach…
I spent the entire day soaked to the skin — cursing all that wasted time with a curling wand — and ran around town in a crochet dress and soggy flip flops, while listening to radio weather bulletins that broadcasted gloom-and-doom reports of flooding, tornado warnings, and dangerous driving conditions near our destination. I sent C dozen text panicked, grumpy text messages and started to come to grips with the fact that this weekend getaway wasn’t going to happen.
By the time I got home around 7pm that evening, it was official.
After the initial frustration and disappointment wore off, I checked myself. Being too busy to get away is a great problem to have, in the grand scheme of things. And even I, queen of controlling all the things, can’t manipulate the weather. Wompity-womp-womp.
This isn’t the first thing we’ve sacrificed for the flower shop and it won’t be the last. I’ve missed important events and family dinners when last-minute orders kept me at the shop until midnight, and bailed on long-planned trips with girlfriends at the eleventh hour when weddings consumed my weekend. It’s part of the being-your-own-boss gig.
When push comes to shove, you have to drop everything to take care of your business, because the buck stops with you. It stings in the moment, but it’s part of the trade-off for longterm success. On the plus side, after a few years of entrepreneurship, I’ve learned to become really flexible. Thankfully, my friends and family are, too; I’m so grateful for their patience and support through my crazy antics.
I spent all of Saturday intermittently napping and catching up on my DVR while the nasty weather continued through the evening. This morning, instead of enjoying sweet potato pancakes under an umbrella at our favorite beachside cafe, I went to the shop for a few hours to catch up on orders and deliver three big pieces to an afternoon memorial service. It wasn’t what I expected to do this weekend, but it was a good one all the same.
Looking forward to a rain check for our anniversary trip sometime soon!