How your small business handles unexpected time off

If you run a small business or have thought starting one, then you’ve probably read a blog post somewhere about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.  People tell you that you get to set your own hours and don’t have to report to anyone but yourself.  But in reality your life revolves around your business so much more than when you have a 9-5 corporate job.

:: Hog Hill Road, East Haddam, CT ::

Last week we had a death in our family.  Coming at the tail end of my only week off this year, I scrabbled to figure out what to do with the cat, how we were going to travel the 400 miles home, then 400 more miles to the funeral, what do with the step kids who were staying with us at the time, where to find a black dress, etc, etc.  Oh right, and I have clients with weddings coming up so I have to finish their paper goods otherwise they’ll be left with no menu cards, escort cards, seating maps or programs for their big day.  So here I am, thinking to myself, do I skip my grandmothers funeral because I can’t let my clients down?  We’re not talking about being a few days late on a mailing…we’re saying leaving someone to find another designer within a week of their wedding to design, print and deliver everything.

So what do you do?  Having worked in the performing arts I’ve missed countless weddings, funerals, baptisms, birthday’s and family reunions due to our “the show must go on” mentality.  But where does it stop?  Do put so much of ourselves into our small business’s that we honestly consider skipping a close family  members funeral or wedding in order to keep a sale?  I love the personal nature of my business.  Getting to know my clients and help them with their wedding is so rewarding.  But am I missing my own life to make them happy?  Or do I just say, hey…this is a business and you’ve promised someone this work so your own life doesn’t matter anymore.

Lots to think about.  Perhaps I got a little too deep on that last paragraph.  :)  I’d like to hear from other small biz owners (especially wedding vendors!) on what you have done or would have done in these situations.


2 thoughts on “How your small business handles unexpected time off

  1. Reblogged this on Intel Boutique and commented:
    A great observation and insight from a small business owner, who, like so many, illustrates the sacrifices and tough decisions made. The true freedom we small business owners gain is not the ability to decide our own schedules, working environments or co-workers, but rather, the decision of how hard we want to work to do something we’ll actually enjoy doing.


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