No one told me that starting my own business would be an insane amount of work. Oh wait. Yes. That’s exactly what everyone told me.
I just thought I knew what an “insane” amount of work involved. Coffee fueled nights, working past 3am for weeks at a time, until the edges of my reality blurred. The feeling of dread every time another “URGENT!” email popped into my inbox. The hunger that I never found time to address, so I stashed Ensures in my desk. You know, that kind-of thing. Those were my days as a marketing director—I liked to think big and convert—it was tireless work that I loved. And while I thought I knew what an “insane” amount of work was all about, it turns out I was wrong. Working hard and long hours to accomplish the near impossible with relative precision, is different than insane. But we'll get to that in the coming posts...
When I started my first company, a branding business, it wasn’t a far reach outside of my skill set.
I started the company when I was 8 months pregnant, and managed my first large scale rebrand with a newborn. In my second year of business I was pregnant, and then I had a newborn and a toddler. Lack of sleep and the demands of a managing a team and clients, made things pretty easy. The inability to think clearly was also neat. I can remember digging deep to find the part of my brain that was still passably intelligent, as I wrestled with strategic direction and marketing tactics. Chomp a’Lomp was envisioned during this time, likely the product of crazed sleep deprivation combined with copywriting, design strategy and nursery rhymes.
Inexpensive, easy and relaxing are some of the words I will never use to describe our experience.
It’s been an unbelievable journey to this point. I have learned a lot about business and the challenges of a start-up—from cash flow to customer service—but more than anything, I have learned how to slow down. I have learned how to find the moments of joy in motherhood, even while the demands of a young family and a new business are many. I take more time for myself, I am more patient with others, and I am more tolerant of mistakes (but I am still not that tolerant). I have realized it's OK not to have all the answers, and that leadership is a difficult thing to define.
Next month we open our doors to a new location in downtown Calgary. How we got to this point, well stay-tuned…it's a wild, hilarious and adrenaline fueled journey.
-Abagail Vanmerlin, Chief Cheerleader