“I’m ready to start my own business (not a law firm!), but so many people have warned me that the next 2-3 years of my life will be super stressful. How do you stay sane as the owner of your firm?” –Britt, WI
First, congratz on becoming a boss. There’s nothing more liberating than being in charge. As I’ve always said, the best things about being a boss are setting the dress code, controlling the thermostat and slamming the phone down after telling an adversary to f*ck off. (Yeah, I got reprimanded at one of my old jobs for that.)
Ok, now for some real talk. Those people warning you about the stress of entrepreneurship are right. Whatever business you’re launching means the next 1000+ days are going to be TOUGH. You’ll cry, stress out, feel the urge to throw things — and maybe give into that urge — jump for joy over the smallest victories, and sometimes sit back and think, “Damn, I’m f*cking good at this.” Every day is literally a journey because as the boss, you are accountable for everything that happens with your business. An employee might make a mistake, but everything comes down to you.
One of the ways I stay sane is by having somebody with whom I can be brutally honest about the biz’s highs and lows. My best friend, Susan Crumiller, also owns a growing feminist law firm which is paving the way for pregnancy rights in the workplace. Once a month, we devote a day to work ON our business instead of IN it. And we incorporate some girly things into the day. We call it B.I.T.C.H. Day (Beauty In Transit ‘Countability Hang). We get our nails done, massages, facials and while we’re going from place-to-place, we take out our B.I.T.C.H. DAY binders and go through the agenda – reporting on staff, profits and losses, the month’s proudest moment and biggest obstacle. We look at the commitments we made a prior month and report on them and make new ones. And we also report on ourselves – how things are with our health, relationships, families. Because one of the biggest parts of a law firm is the sanity of the owner.
And, most important, never cancel on each other. Put it in your cal and make sure your employees know that on that day you’re unreachable unless there’s an emergency, of course.
Please send me an update on how it’s going!
Keep Calm and Carrie On is a Q&A series where Carrie answers your questions on digital privacy, entrepreneurship, how to write the perfect email, Silicon Valley, travel, or whatever else you want her take on! Have something you’ve been wanting to ask CG? Click here to submit a question.