My first operating year in business
I had a call with my marketing strategist the other day and she told me that this year, 2022, is my FIRST operating year in business. When I heard that, I thought: what?! I feel like I’ve been in business for 20 years. That’s what it feels like. In reality, I’ve had my business since January of 2016, so this is my 7th year of having a business. And it’s my 1st year of having a saleable product in my digital business. The early years of my business were very different from what I’m currently doing!
Let’s recap what has happened since I started my business in 2016:
2016: I filed my LLC in the beginning of 2016. This was after taking 6 months off the year prior. I quit my job and took time off to just “be”. Translation: decluttering and organizing our home, organizing our files and budget, planning out my weeks, and cleaning everything. Four pillars, anyone?
2017: I was pregnant from January - October, and gave birth to my first daughter, Grace, in October of 2017. In 2017, I worked as a professional organizer, going into people’s homes and businesses and organizing anything and everything. The funny thing is, the more pregnant I got that year, the busier I got in my business. I remember being SO pregnant during my final months of work, booking a lot of jobs and being busier than ever. I loved it. I really enjoyed working one-on-one with small business owners, helping them streamline their files and processes. Soul-filling work.
2018: I started my business Instagram account in April of 2018, where I started posting tips about household management. I had one final in-person client in 1Q18, and then I decided to take a break and be a stay-at-home mom. If I’m being totally honest, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I missed working SO MUCH. I craved being able to work on projects and dive into problems. It was so hard for me to go to music class and then come home and make lunch and do all of the incredible things us moms do, but feel very unfulfilled. I felt guilt and shame. I compared myself to other stay-at-home moms and wondered what was wrong with me. Spoiler alert: nothing is wrong with me, I just like to work. When you become a mother, your heart expands and explodes with empathy and you become the most vulnerable, raw version of yourself, and that experience is transcendental. I would not trade that for anything. But, you are still you. And who you are and what you like to do before you become a mother will likely not change. Long story short, 2018 was a year of quiet in my business as I stayed at home with my baby. When Grace turned 14 months, in December of 2018, she went to school 3 half days a week. And it changed my life.
2019: Even though I really enjoyed my work as a professional organizer, I decided that I wanted to pivot in my business and focus on creating an online course to teach people how to manage their homes. I created the 4 Cs of household management: Clutter, Cash, Calendars, and Cleaning. I filmed the beta version of my course, Household Management: Creating Systems for Household Success. I bought lights and a mic, and wrote my entire course. I figured out how to structure it, put the materials in a binder, filmed it, edited it, and beta tested it with a few people. I continued that into 2019, slowly getting comfortable with the online world. All of my work, up until this point, had been in-person, in a one-on-one setting. Instagram was a very different space. I will never forget the first time I turned the camera on me and talked about what I was organizing. I was super nervous.
2020: I was pregnant with our 2nd daughter, Sara, from October 2019 - July 2020. She was born during the Covid pandemic in July of 2020, all 9lbs 7ozs of her. I will never forget delivering her with a mask on, struggling to breath, and the subsequent months of 2020 being in lockdown with a newborn, no help, and an almost-3-year-old. I was a hollowed out version of myself, suffering terribly from PPA and PPD, and dealing with bizarre health issues. I remember people coming up to our window and seeing us from behind glass. Honestly, I don’t even know much of what happened because it was a traumatic blur. Alas, I tried to stay busy in my business, recording Lunchtime Lives with Jill, posting to instagram, and planning out when I could film my course. I wanted to have it professionally filmed, and I found a videographer that could do that for me. The feedback from my beta was to be more like myself, and talk faster. I heard that feedback, and I channeled it into the 2nd iteration of my course. I also got feedback that there were too many spreadsheets, so I created a workbook that was more approachable and user-friendly. 2020 was really about survival, and continuing to learn in my business and navigate new waters in the digital world.
2021: In 2021, we moved out of our home and lived in a rental house while we completely renovated our home. Doing a full house renovation was something we had been dreaming about for almost 10 years. I orchestrated and managed the project, and it went exceedingly well. I interviewed 9 different general contractors, and found a design/build contractor that was the perfect fit. We lived in a rental house from January - May. It was in May that I decided I needed to find an assistant to help me run all of the backend operations of my business, and I landed on an incredible company called Outsourced Doers. It was a big decision to do this in my business, but I am so glad that I did. Having a virtual assistant allowed me to update my website, create the infrastructure for my course portal, create my workbook, and so much more. I was able to prepare for course filming in August of 2021. There is no way that I could have done the remodel, moved out and moved back in in a 5 month period, and gotten all of the work done in my business that needed to be done without an assistant. In August, I filmed my Household Management course with Mitch Media, and it was an incredible experience. We filmed all 4 Pillars in one day. I felt alive, and very aligned with my purpose. I also felt like I had run a marathon after filming. I came home, took a shower, ordered a ton of food, laid on the couch and refueled while I reveled in the coolness of that experience. I had done it. The thing that I conceptualized years earlier was finally a completed product. In the winter of 2021, I launched my first cohort of my household management course. I had 11 students join me as we moved through the 4 Pillars of Household management, spending 3 weeks in each pillar.
2022: It is now February 2022, I am 6 weeks into my first household management cohort, and it has been incredible. I love seeing my course in action. I love hearing my students refer to the 4 pillars, work on their microspaces, and participate in the Facebook Group. In March, I will open the doors to my 2nd cohort, and help another group of students make radical change in their homes by setting up systems in the 4 pillars of household management. I am writing one blog post a week, and a bi-monthly newsletter.
So, here we are. My first year in business. My 100th year in business. Because my business is who I am, and a full expression of what I believe and embody as a human being, it will always feel like I have been doing it forever. As a young girl, I was always reorganizing and cleaning my room. As a student, I took copious notes, always had my papers organized, my agenda filled out and highlighted. As a fiance, I prepared every detail of our wedding, and had folders and spreadsheets to stay organized. As a mom, I crave structure, routine, and preparation. As a business owner, I embody that same path: creating systems, finding efficiencies, finding a better way to do something. It is what I live and breathe every day. It is how I was meant to serve here on earth.
Thank you for reading this post, and being part of my journey! I appreciate you!