Can we talk about burnout for a minute... or a long while because this post is LONG. If you are curious about the future of Harbin Hollow Local Market, please read.
As an entrepreneur and small business owner, I LOVE what I get to do, and I value the positive impact our business has on our community, local artisans, local farmers, and our employees. BUT, as the owner and the lowest woman on the totem pole in regard to getting paid and being able to prioritize time off, I am here to confess that I am in a complete state of burnout.
I think my burnout stems from the fact that I am not getting paid and the business needs attention from me every single day. It's been nearly four years since I sold my first bottle of elderberry, and I feel like all I personally have to show is debt. My vendors get paid, the rent gets paid, employees get paid, the insurance is paid, utilities are paid, but because our business model is not working, i don't get paid. I have basically spent the last four years paying to work, and it is wearing on me. It's also causing financial strain on our family and is keeping us from meeting personal financial goals. That is not ok, y'all.
The mental, emotional, and financial stress has become so great that I am putting a time line on the market. Harbin Hollow will still be around in the form of a health and wellness product line but the store's days are numbered. I have decided to give the store until the end of 2022. At that point, we will evaluate financials and see if it makes since to keep going.
I don't know if it's possible with the constant price increases, rising energy costs, and the recession, but I'm giving it my all until then, if we can hang on that long. My team is AMAZING, and they are here to give it their all, too. For that, I am so grateful because this is definitely a passion project at this point!
Let me just say to be abundantly clear, as of now, HARBIN HOLLOW LOCAL MARKET IS NOT OKAY. We are hemorrhaging money with rising costs and sales are down and that means that I AM ALSO NOT OK.
These are symptoms of burnout listed on the Mayo Clinic website:
- Excessive stress
- Sadness, anger or irritability
- Alcohol or substance misuse
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Vulnerability to illnesses
I've literally experienced all of these! I am short tempered with my employees and family. I don't sleep well. I'm having signs of depression where it's hard to get out of bed, I want to nap, and I want to be in bed early. (And I'm a night owl usually!) I have blood work scheduled in a couple of weeks, so I'll get an overview of my blood sugars and cholesterol levels, so we'll see how that goes, but I am already diabetic and have a history of high cholesterol with a family history of heart disease. The increase cortisol levels my body is likely producing due to stress negatively effects all of these medical conditions.
There have been very few days in the last few months where I am excited to get up and face the day. The financial stress and the exhaustion are wearing on my physical and mental health. I have a history of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, so I'm grateful that I have healthier coping mechanisms to lean on.
Healthy coping mechanisms for me me include: consistent exercise, journaling, meditation, finding time to unplug, and pouring myself into my kids. They've missed out on a lot of time with their mama the last couple of years while I try to make this thing work. Another thing I do, is eat healthy! Our serotonin production starts in our gut and if you have an unhealthy belly, that feel good hormone never makes it to your brain!
So my plan for the store and my work/life balance is this:
Mondays- I will work from home to wrap my head around the week and simultaneously do laundry. That way my time off with the kids is not filled with chores. No meetings. No appointments on Mondays. My time will be filled with emails, social media strategizing, meal prep menu planning and more.
Tues-Thursdays- I am getting back to my roots of how I started this thing! I'm loading up my car with elderberry and hitting the road to check in on existing retailers and to try to find new partners. The only way Harbin Hollow works is if I can get my wholesale sales back to where they were pre-pandemic. This will allow me to finally get paid!!! These days will also be reserved for networking events, meetings, scheduled calls, etc.
Fridays- I'm gonna hang in the store! I miss seeing all of our amazing customers and feel like having one day a week dedicated to being there to interact, organize, rearrange, and just have fun is much needed! I feel guilty because I have been disconnected from there but the store HAS to work without me there, or it doesn't make sense to keep it open. I just can't be there all the time, but I feel like at least dedicating one day will be good for my soul and will customers and vendors who want to see me in that space a chance to do so!
If you took the time to read all of this thank you. I'm grateful for you, your friendship, and your support. If you know someone experiencing burnout, feel free to share this with them.
Laying out this plan, establishing a timeline, and communicating that with my family, my team, and now all of you, has already helped my mental health so much. There is an end in sight to the suffering because on 12/31/22, the store will either be doing amazing, or we'll start the steps necessary to shut it down.
They say what is meant for you comes with ease, so here's to embracing whatever is meant to be!!!
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