Editor's note: Jessica Ann is a restaurant owner who's blogging about trying to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. She founded The Candied Yam, a Grand Rapids restaurant serving Southern cuisine, in 2016. She is married with a daughter who just graduated high school and an adult son. She lives in Kentwood.
As an owner of three businesses, I literally spent about 80 plus hours a week investing and tending to my businesses.
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The JA PR Group, my PR Firm, had every single major client event cancelled in and out of town. Not much to do at this time but try to answer any clients questions regarding how events will be done in the future. We keep telling them the limited facts we know. Things do not look great for this industry. They feel even worse than that. The majority (93%) of event professionals plan to invest in virtual events moving forward. (Bizzabo, 2020)The majority (96%) of event professionals do not believe virtual events will replace in-person events. (Bizzabo, 2020) The majority (63%) of organizations are moving to digital conferences or events. (TOPO, 2020) Before Covid Tamara and I were spending 30-45 hours a week busy strategizing, planning, marketing, researching, meeting with clients or vendors and tending to our loyal client base. We sure loved that! For the past eighteen years this has been the bread and butter. THE J-O-B ... period.
The newest business, Pink Lounge Dry Salt Therapy, was started in February and just opened 2 weeks ago. Covid tried to kill the dream, but it weathered the storm. At least that’s the optics. Construction and full decor is complete. Team training is done. Because it’s in the health and wellness area and industry, AND a concept that requires more strategic marketing, I spend a relatively decent amount of time trying to figure out how to relay the great health benefits in this unknown and uncertain times.
Then, there’s The Candied Yam Delightful Southern Cuisine. Oh yes sir. It’s the champ in taking up the bulk of my week - even when it’s closed on Mondays. I always tell my team - ‘I don’t work here!’ They laugh. With Covid everything has changed and I mean EVERYTHING. I could breeze through on my way to a client meeting and possibly do a couple of things to help. But now, when I walk in, I have a task list a mile long. And don’t let someone call in - which seems like an everyday occurrence. They laugh because I do it all. I cook, clean the restrooms, peel potatoes- you name it! Although, I do try NOT to work the register. Why? Because I get ‘stuck’ (which I LOVE to do) talking to the customers and that just makes the line go really slow. Before Covid I could pick and choose what I wanted to do. Maybe someone was going to be a wee bit late so I could cover an hour or two. Or if we’re providing a donation, I could make the cobbler or mac n cheese or fry the chicken so that everyone else could stay on task. I would not bring another person in so I could save money on the payroll by working it myself thus giving the donation and not adding more money at the end of the week. When someone doesn’t show up - I must step and be prepared to do any job.
Wikipedia says “The workweek and weekend are the complementary parts of the week devoted to labor and rest, respectively. The legal working week (British English), or workweek (American English), is the part of the seven-day week devoted to labor. In most of the world, the workweek is from Monday to Friday and the weekend is Saturday and Sunday, but other divisions exist: for example, many countries observe a Sunday to Thursday or even Monday to Thursday working week.”
I know it (80) seems like a lot of hours to invest my time. But, I absolutely love what I do. That is the driving force. I wake up every day looking forward to figuring out how I can bless someone or make a smile on someone’s face. Looking forward to the next idea or adventure because believe me it is interesting. Every day there is some drama or some fantastic things that happen. I am fortunate to be able to be with my family. I also believe that I’m teaching my daughter valuable lessons about women working in business.
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One MAJOR thing I do tribute to my success is taking time to love myself through self-care. My hair stylist, Jeremiah is a busy person just like me. He is also extremely popular so my appointments are at 6 AM in the morning. I also get spoiled with extra conversation and who doesn’t love to chit chat with their stylist?! We deserve to get our hair done, get a pedicure or manicure, to get a massage, enjoy a glass of vino or whatever pleasure YOU have.
Sometimes it just a simple walk or snag a good book. I have a very dear and sweet girlfriend named Dial who reminds me often “even if it’s only 5 minutes a day, do something that makes YOU happy. You deserve it!” She is correct. Life is only for a moment and way too short. Do what you love to do. Work hard but find time for you.