"I should be worried about my health, but what keeps me up at night is the fear I may lose everything."
I should be thinking about how to celebrate 20 years in business.
The journey to get here was not easy. My parents were very young when I was born. They showed me what hard work really looks like. I was the first in my family to earn a college degree. I used every bit of that college degree to start a small business of my own on a shoestring budget.
My path was uncertain. I made mistakes, but I learned from them. It took several years before I could draw a salary while my husband, Steve, supported me in more ways than I can count.
I was scared when I was pregnant with our first child. I didn’t think I’d have the time to devote to my business while being a mom, but I held on, dug deep and persisted. I didn’t get much of a maternity leave; I was back at work 10 days after giving birth.
Then came the birth of our second child and I was tired. I needed help. I had also just learned I had type 1 diabetes and would be insulin-dependent the rest of my life. My husband left his corporate career to join me, and together we turned the pet-care business I started into a family affair.
I should be worried about my health, but what keeps me up at night is the fear I may lose everything.
My social media is filled with quarantine boredom-busting ideas. Connect with friends virtually. Dive into a good book. Learn a new craft. Have a fun day with your kids. I want more than anything to be doing those things—especially spending time with my children—but my day overflows with heavy decision making. We lost over half our business in just three short weeks.
What expenses must we cut? Which employees do we let go? How do we retain our company’s health insurance policy, which everyone on it needs now more than ever? What amount of debt are we willing to absorb? How much of our own savings and college funds are we willing to risk to hold on to a business that has no guarantee of survival? After all, it relies on people going to work and traveling.
Every day puts us more and more at risk of losing everything. I’m not one who backs down from a challenge easily, but the uncertainty of this one is life-crushing and breaking my soul.
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