There is definitely a reason that people talk about the difficulties of building a small business. Doing it while working full time and "momming" is also, not super easy. Navigating it as someone with anxiety, high ambitions, and a lack of patience can also be difficult.
This is how I’ve operated up until now.
For as long as I can remember I have been an entrepreneur. The difference with Noura Blanc is that I finally moved on an idea. The truth is, I've created and launched businesses in my head for years! I've always been obsessed with the stories of small businesses. I've read books, listened to podcasts, followed blogs and heard the stories behind Patagonia, Chicken Salad Chic, WeWork, Spanx, Goodreads and so so many more. I've watched friends grow businesses and for a few years I ran my own lifestyle and wedding photography business. It's IN me.
However, dreaming up ideas and actually launching a product based business where you literally CREATE THE PRODUCT yourself is a lot, but I LOVE IT!
Do I love ALL the things about running a small business? No. Am I good at them all? Also, definitely no. But I sprinted forward in 2022 for three full quarters doing it all and ignoring what my head, heart and body was telling me. I was racing to launch every idea perfectly. To get our candles out into the world and to share this idea with all of you, often learning as I went along. And I've had great success at it. I've accomplished SO much more that I thought possible and we still have a full quarter to go before we're even a year old!
However, somewhere around October-ish, I found myself trying to function at work (the 8-5 gig) on sometimes as few as three hours of sleep. My weekends were spent staring at screens. I was barely spending any quality time with Jon or the kids, yet not one of them complained. They all stood beside me, helping me along, but I spent so much time in my head knowing this was not ok.
Then came the day that I just could not get out of bed. I could not imagine dragging my exhausted soul into work or putting forth even the most minimal effort to brush my hair. I took a mental health day. I forced myself out of bed, but only to curl up on the couch and binge watch, From Scratch, on Netflix. Unplugging completely and refusing to do anything the entire day but take care of myself. By the end of the day I was crying uncontrollably about ALL OF THE THINGS!
I was working SO hard to build this brand and along the way, my newly adopted anti hustle culture mindset was still pushing me further and further away from the freedom I was working for. Freedom from the clock. Financial freedom. Freedom from other peoples schedules and ideas. Freedom to be available for everything my family needed me for. Freedom to vacation when I want to vacation. Freedom to not answer to anyone but myself.
Yet, all I was doing was lighting myself on fire and burning out at a record pace. I was literally racing against myself. The constant reminder that I was building a business in MID LIFE absolutely haunted me. A voice taunting me with things like, "You're so far behind.", "Why didn't you do this when you were in your 20's?", "Everyone is trying to build a small business now.", "How are you going to compete with everyone who has been doing this so much longer than you have", "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!"
So, that mental health day turned into a cry fest, and later became a very cathartic discussion with Jon about how overwhelmed I was feeling. All of this also happened during a time when my two adult children were dealing with massive transitions of their own causing me to mom harder than I had in a long time.
I knew I could not sustain this.
This is the actual photo I sent Jon when he texted me
mid-day and asked how I was doing.
That's when I did a BIG pivot and began practicing slow living. Slow living (or intentional living) is a movement or culture that I describe as the cousin of minimalism, which is something I've leaned into since our post-pandemic quarantine days.
"Slow living is a mindset where you curate a more meaningful and conscious lifestyle that's in line with what you value most in life. It means doing everything at the right speed. Instead of striving to do things faster, the slow movement focuses on doing things better." - Slow Living LDN
From our earliest inception, I've said the vision for Noura Blanc was more than the sum of the products we would produce. Educating our community on the benefits of non-toxic candles and home fragrance is one pillar of our brand, but promoting and sharing passions beyond our products and building a community is what I am wildly passionate about.
As I began to learn more about the slow movement, I discovered how beautifully our products and brand aligned with this lifestyle of intentional self-care and living, and I began implementing it more and more, and my WORLD CHANGED.
I was able to let go of SO much pressure I had piled onto myself. I focused on INTENTIONALLY building this brand. INTENTIONALLY focusing my energy on tasks that were meant to move the needle in my business and then INTENTIONALLY leaving work (aka...my couch and laptop) to dive into that freedom I had been craving. It allowed me to reconnect with myself, Jon and our kids, without feeling like I had nothing left to give.
I'm still working very diligently at practicing a slower life, especially when it comes to building Noura Blanc, but I want to share this journey with all of you because moving into 2023 it will be a huge part of our brand and an added value we will focus on. I want to build a community with all of you that embraces what life can look like when we SLOW THE F DOWN and LIVE.
I've become a hustle culture dropout. I'm proud of that title and I will continue to work against the idea that we have to burn ourselves to our core, becoming a shell of ourselves, in order to be accepted as successful in a world that is completely obsessed with with hustle mindset. I am grateful for the realization of this lesson so early into the growth of my business. Many are not fortunate enough to learn the benefits of slow living, until it's too late and they've suffered debilitating burn out. Women are especially susceptible to burn out due to added responsibilities outside of work or due to the fact that they are the sole caregiver in their home.
Building Noura Blanc intentionally is my focus for going forward. Living intentionally going forward is my goal. Prioritizing my mental health is non-negotiable.
Do you want to join me on my anti-hustle culture journey? Be sure you sign up for my email list, Slow Burn, where I'll share tips and insight into my slower lifestyle while continuing to focus on self-care, non-toxic lifestyle (grab my list of my top non-toxic products here) and obvs all of our Noura Blanc new product releases and promotions!
Excited to have you join me! Make sure you reach out and share your own tips thoughts, struggles and successes! I'm here for you!