The Honest and Untold Truth About Being the Boss
It’s Sunday night and this is my 14th day in a row working. I am exhausted and my body hurts. I have felt really drained today… physically, mentally and emotionally.
Last night, the person I love more than anything in this world, finally had a night off to spend with me. I got home from work and stayed on the couch for hours before he made me get up to go get something to eat. We ate and came home, where he tried to make me feel better. Yesterday was extremely busy, and I was exhausted…my feet hurt and are swollen, and I was very emotional. I started crying, and he told me I should get some sleep. He never gets time with me, and is the least selfish person on the planet. I am so very grateful for his love and support, but he sacrifices his feelings for mine too much and I often feel its unfair. He dates me because he loves me, but I often wonder if he knew what he was signing up for.
I am extremely grateful to be “the queen,” although I hate being called that. I hate the attention of it all, most of the time. I’m awkward and don’t know how to take compliments. I’m humble and I know that I would be nowhere today without my parents and my staff. I wake up every day and go to the job that I love, created by my dream, and get to make creative and tasty things alongside people who I absolutely adore. I mean, let’s be honest, we are making cupcakes! We make cakes! We create beautiful things all the time! How can I ever complain?
I know that I am blessed to do this every day, to have my family working for me, to be surrounded by such talented people. But I also know that I have worked and still work my ass off every day for this. This is 13, 14, 15 hours a day. This is walking into the beautiful building I brought back to life knowing that it cost me over 100k, with money borrowed from my parents, who didn’t have the money to give me in the first place. This is having two older brothers who have to constantly answer questions about The Queen’s Cups, who always have to talk about TQC any time we are together as if they don’t have their own lives. Talk about pressure, talk about guilt….talk about pride, talk about support. There is, and probably always will be mixed emotions. I often feel guilty for success.
The biggest misconception about being a business owner is that I must be rich because I work for myself. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I currently have 20 people on my payroll. Besides paying rent, utilities, insurance, food and the other bills we have…I have 19 other people and their families that I am responsible for. I get paid last. I always have and probably always will. When we were building our new TQC, I didn’t take a paycheck for six weeks so that I could pay bills and so my staff could be paid. I’m not sure how I survived, but I did, because I always find a way, especially when it comes to making my dreams a reality. That $3.25 per cupcake travels long and far before I normally see a penny of it. It takes so long to make money in a business and I respect every business who has stuck through the hard times to get to that point.
Another misconception is that cupcakes make people happy and how can anyone be upset when they come to our shop. Cupcakes do make people happy, and 90% of the time, people are always happy when they come in. But, there are also some people that are not very pleasant. A customer recently told my front end staff that because we didn’t have what she wanted, she should have gone to another unsaid bakery. I mean, really? How rude is that? And since “the customer is always right,” we couldn’t even defend ourselves in fear that she would leave us a nasty review. Sometimes the way that we are spoken to is as if we are not people…that we don’t have feelings..that we personally offended this customer. Whenever someone walks through our doors, I don’t know what their day has been like before that. I don’t know if they just lost their job and had placed an order and they are paying money from money they don’t have for a special occasion that they just can’t get happy for. But, on the other hand, I have employees working for me that are also going through life traumas. I have girls going through divorces, people who are battling depression, people who are in dire straights financially. We are not perfect and I will never claim to be…but I know that we try our hardest to get there. I know that we put love into what we do. I know that I spend money on trying to get the best ingredients for all of my customers so that they are enjoying our product and feel that their money was well spent. I can’t make everyone happy, I learned that pretty quickly, but I will try. And my staff and I will continue to be nice to people who are not always nice back….because 9 out of 10 customers are amazing…but there will always be that one.
I have had to make some tough decisions in my five years of being “the boss.” Another term that I don’t always identify with. I’ve had to hire people and not hire others, always wondering if I made the right choice. I’ve had to let people go…which is the worst feeling but has to happen. I’ve had to turn away donating to charities which always makes me feel bad, but I just can’t afford it. I’ve had to defend myself, over and over. I have had to stand my ground just to prove a point against people who are my age and have to consider me their boss. I’ve had to go to the ATM right after the day is done and deposit cash so that checks don’t bounce the next day. I’ve feared to look at our business bank account. But it’s gotten easier over five years and I have learned so much about our business and most importantly, myself. I’ve had no choice but to boss up, start thinking about myself, my livelihood and my business.
At the end of the day, no matter how much I complain, no matter how tired I am…this is my life. This is what I chose. This was the plan for me. And I love my life. I love who I have chosen to surround myself with, I love what my business has become and I love that I get to work with both of my parents, even though it is so hard sometimes. I love our customers, especially the ones who have become our friends and who share all of their important memories with us. Since the beginning of this journey, I have always told myself that it was going to be worth it someday and I know it will be. Work hard now, vacation later.
So, even though at age 28 my body feels like it’s in its late 60s, I’m going to make this worth it. And to that person that I love more than anything in the world, I’m going to make this worth it for us, for our future family and their future family. I cannot thank you enough for your undying love and support. You are the greatest gift in my life, and I know that gift was sent from my Grumpy in Heaven.
The reason for this blog was to show the untold side of being a business owner, the side that doesn’t necessarily get shown because we feel we need to hide the negative…to protect ourselves and our business. But, I’m real and I know that so many of us feel the same way and we don’t always share it. So, I will, and I hope everyone can identify with me in some way.
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