As Organize 365 turns seven (seven!), I've been reflecting on the journey we've been on and how much has changed over these years.
A few weeks ago, one of you messaged me and asked me to talk more about how I manage a six-figure business while also managing my home.
And it got me thinking, how have other women done that? Our set of challenges and obligations are different and unique. I've been reading a lot about how female CEOs have grown their businesses and also maintained healthy marriages and relationships with their children.
Maybe you've heard it called "balance."
And while I love the story of growing my blog into what it is today, I also love the story of the transformation that has happened to me and in me these last seven years.
A Little About My Kids
My two children, Joey and Abby, are two huge blessings in my life.
They also were both developmentally delayed and struggled through a host of other issues involving their mental, physical, and educational health.
There's an immense amount of stress that accompanies parenting in that situation, not the least of which was my own ability to learn how to steward their growth while also maintaining my own identity.
I worry about how much of my children's story to share, but because their story and that of my business are so intertwined, I want to share some of it.
My Breaking Point
In December 2011, I was a middle school Montessori teacher, and I quit my teaching job the day we left for winter break.
My family was trying to find some kind of relief between the struggles of our kids, our finances, managing the household, and the burden of being a full time working mom.
I couldn't fix anything in my life (it felt like), because I was living in a constant state of reaction. Push came to shove, and I realized I wasn't meeting anyone's expectations. I felt like I was failing on all counts.
I had to find something that I could do to stop from drowning completely. The only thing that did not require me and only me was my teaching job. So, I quit.
Putting Work Second
What I realized is that I needed to stop being reactive and start calling the shots.
I started a blog with the goal of making some kind of income in the first year. How could I replace my teaching salary doing something else? The first two years of my business were marked by me trying to figure that out.
I started to take control of my home, because that is the one thing I knew I could do well. It really was just decluttering, but it was the foundation of the 100 Day Home Organization Program you know today.
No matter what I was going to turn my blog into, I knew that I needed to make my husband and our kids my number one priority.
My Struggles as a Parent
Because of the unique needs of my kids, my parenting was unique, too.
I responded to what they needed, and sometimes that looked like not disciplining them, or doing too much for them, or letting them take the easy way out.
Nothing about it was easy, I can assure you, but I harbored a lot of guilt about my parenting style and perceived that I was being judged by other parents.
I was trying to keep my family off of food assistance and my children out of hospitalization. Those were my only goals for so many years.
I tell you to give yourself grace because in 2016, I finally gave it to myself.
I finally replaced my teacher salary once I started to take on professional organization jobs outside of the home. I loved everything about it. The challenge, the physical exertion, the problem solving--everything!
I would even come home after organization jobs and organize my own house. If you find yourself doing that with your job, you're onto something. It truly was (and is!) my passion.
My house was getting organized, I was in a good place financially, and I was feeling great about the progress I had made.
My children were entering the busy teen years, and I realized that I needed to create a system for everything. This is when The Sunday Basket and Friday Workbox ideas really started to firm up. They were lifesavers for me.
I did a lot of tv appearances and speaking commitments, but I was working so many hours a week. There needed to be more of me!
I hired a mother's helper in the fall 2014 because I could not be in two places at once. Both kids had to be in two different locations at the same time, in opposite directions.
That person picked her up from school, fed her, took her to the library, and dropped her off at home. We all loved the arrangement, and while I was doing a lot of driving (25 hours a week!), I got my first glimpse into how I could utilize the help of others to be all the things (and all the places) I needed to be.
Hiring Pat in 2015 was a total game changer. I also got a dog, and that unexpectedly led to me delegating most of the home organization to my team. And that opened me up to a host of new opportunities.
My kids were older, the team was growing, and the bulk of my income was shifting from in-home organization to an online business.
I also started personally focusing on my own success that year, rather than being successful in the eyes of others. What was going to make my kids independent, contributing members of society?
I put my blinders on and started to see my kids and what they needed next. What was the next best step for them?
Also at that time, I started to focus more on the podcast and the online aspects of Organize 365, and I started to see how I could scale this business.
I taught my team how to organizes houses my way, and I could teach you, too. Organization is learnable.
The 100 Day Home Organization was born. Any woman, anywhere in the world, in any dwelling, can get organized!
That attitude extended to my parenting, too.
I realized I wasn't the mom I thought I was going to be, but I was a good mom. I was the right mom for my kids. It was (and is!) the best feeling in the world.
Grace was mine.
I had a vision for turning my ideas into products I could sell, but there just weren't enough hours in the day for me to do it all myself. I had to bring a team to Organize 365.
I waited so long to hire, that in the fall of 2017, I needed to hire seven people. The team grew practically overnight with a bookkeeper, two content editors, a graphic designer, two assistants, a shipping manager, and an events coordinator.
Together, we developed the physical products you can buy today. Once we were able to put products into the hands of our audience, we started to reach people in a brand new way.
That summer, I gave myself permission to keep business hours during the summer with someone else taking care of the home. My kids were 15 and 17. It was just a year ago!
I was at another fork in the road. My business was growing, but I was still Mom. I made another list of the things I was doing and tried to decide what didn't need my unique touch.
I ended up outsourcing my laundry. That plus the housekeeper probably saved me 15 hours a week. When I talk about shifting your mindset from time to money, this is what I'm talking about! It's not an accident that my business grew in a huge way that year, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will grow in the coming years.
I am so grateful to have gone on every part of this journey, and so grateful to be able to share it with you. It all started with me wanting to take back my home. If you are feeling like that, I'd love to share in your journey, too.