A few months back I quit my full time job as a product manager at a payment startup to focus completely on Barn & Willow. Since then every time I meet friends and family at social meetups, the one question they ask is “How has your life changed since you quit your job?” And every time my answer has been — “It’s been endlessly busy”
But I was thinking to myself what has really changed since I started working for myself. It has definitely been busy-ier but in what ways?…and these are a few things that immediately popped into my mind.
1. Wearing several hats and this time it is for real — I have worked for very large companies as well as for startups with 10 people in the company and although it feels like I have built products from scratch, in reality that has never happened. I have always had a marketing person to help with my product launch and PR outreach, engineers ready to start working on the projects, designers to start designing, content folks for copy writing, analytic etc. So basically in all these years I have built product concepts and given directions to people — “Got things done” for sure but got things done through others literally. Never had to do all these myself, including recruiting for a copywriter, an engineer, a designer….a printer person for box designs…etc.
I have an engineer and a designer working for us now — but I have several avatars and that changes every hour, sometimes every minute — I am the PR person in the mornings for some and the custom support person for some. I am the CEO during our growth strategy discussions and the operations manager at night coordinating with our Factory and mill people. I sometimes wish the day was longer than 24 hours…
2. 5 hour Sleep: I was a firm believer in 7 hour sleep and that it is necessary for our health. I thought I would get dark circles if I don’t get at least 7 hours of sleep. But since the time Barn & Willow happened I wake up around 7am to start my meetings with folks in the east coast, I hit the bed around 1am and then put an alarm for 2:30am to again make a few short calls to our Factory in India. It has been tough but sustainable (and I have not got dark circles yet).
3. Whiteboards and evernotes are my life now: One wall of my bedroom and my office has been converted into white boards and Evernote has moved to my phone home screen. All this to keep track of the multiple ideas that cross our minds every minute when we discuss strategy, next steps, pipeline — Interesting signals from just casual conversations with someone, To-Dos, things for later consideration, changes to be made to something..etc. — If white boards and tools like Evernote, Google keep would not have been in our lives then I am sure Entrepreneurship would have been tad more challenging.
4. Being in the habit of carrying my business cards — I carry my business cards all the time and keep LinkedIn ready to connect with people. This is a big one for women because we carry different purses and bags with different outfit and making sure I throw in some business cards has never felt more compelling than now. Although LinkedIn has replaced business cards to some extent..I like to do both.
5. What I notice these days beyond anything else: Not what other women are wearing, not what neighbors are doing — But, draperies, pillows, throws in people’s houses, in movies, in magazines — the style, color and fabric and people in home retail stores. I am sure the reps at some of the home decor stores keep wondering why I keep coming back to their stores and browse for hours…I do that because I like to just watch people walking into the stores, what they do when they look at some of the stuff, what do they ask....It’s fun to observe and highly insightful.
These are a definite few that jumps to my mind for all the small little changes that have happened since I went full time into my entrepreneurship gig….
All going well so far….but a part of me says all of this could have been a bit more fun and easy if I had the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from my room window….☺