The Emotional Roller Coaster of Being an Entrepreneur During a Pandemic

 

As an entrepreneur, you often ride a roller coaster of emotions. This meme shows what an emotional roller coaster being an entrepreneur is. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Being an Entrepreneur During a Pandemic

But, even with the highest of highs, and what I thought were the lowest of lows, nothing has touched the gaping black hole I, and millions of others, have been thrust into these past six {or 8? Maybe 10?} weeks as an entrepreneur living through a pandemic.

March 16 was the last day I’ve had anyone else in my martial arts school other than me, thanks to Covid-19. Within 24 hours, I went from having students in front of me to having students taking classes via Zoom. And in those 24 hours, I had to change everything in how I run my business. {I kept replaying the quote from Ferris Bueller in my head:: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”}

Almost immediately after, the calls started coming in.

We want to stop classes and stop our payments.

My child doesn’t want to do online classes.

This isn’t what we signed up for. {Um, yeah. No one did.}

And the absolute terror of wondering if I would lose everything I’ve worked my tail off for the past 10 years began.

It’s heart-wrenching. Literally. I’ve had chest pains as I’ve laid awake many nights, wondering how many more calls or emails would come in the next day from families wanting to cancel. When the chest pains went away after the first few weeks, the insomnia stayed. With a vengeance. Thoughts going everywhere from:: How do I even file for unemployment when I’m my own employer? Are the families who also run small businesses who attend my school okay? Are my students who aren’t coming to class and aren’t responding to my calls, texts, or e-mails going to be all right? How in the heck do I get this SBA EIDL paperwork to actually submit on an overrun website? {I applied for this in March when the 1 million pages long application was still in use}.

The Anger

I’ve been angry. So, so angry. At my landlord, who refuses to abate my rent and still expects nearly $7,000 a month to be paid, on time of course. At the government, who can’t get themselves together to save small businesses. At the governor, for allowing malls and movie theaters to open, but not me. At my husband, because he’s standing in front of the fridge when I want to get my ice cream. But mostly, I’m pissed at myself. I wonder multiple times a day what else I can do to make sure I have an income for all of the business’ bills, and something left over for the day for my own personal bills. Even though I’m working 12 – 14 hour days 7 days a week right now, and I’m exhausted, I question myself as to what more I can do.

The Resolve of an Entrepreneur

And then, just as quickly as I try to calm my mind, my emotions swing 180 degrees the other way. My families seem to know when to reach out to me to thank me for continuing to bring some sense of normalcy in this crazy time. Or when, after we tested students for new belt ranks, we surprised them all by delivering their belts ninja-style {sort of like Ding Dong Ditch – drop the box and run before they saw me}. Or during a dance-off during a Parents’ Night in we held.

It’s just like being a new parent, all over again. With my children grown and out on their own, my business is my baby. And I want to see it continue to grow and mature. After all, at just 10 years old, it’s reaching that amazing age where you really begin to see the fruits of your sleepless nights, those days running one right into another, and the exhaustive efforts you put in as a parent in the first few years take hold. My emotions may be more all over the place than a seismograph during an earthquake right now and my bank account may be at its lowest, but I’ll be damned if a pandemic is going to take me down. No way. No how. This is just another steep hill {with a few extra loops and turns thrown in for fun}  in the entrepreneurial roller coaster ride.

 


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Carol grew up and stayed in Ohio for the first 25 years of her life - and then moved 6 times around the country and to Brazil between 1996-2000. She settled in Indiana with her kids, Jonathan {1993} and Ellie {1995}, and her then-husband for 9 years before finally making her way to the great state of Texas in 2009. Within a year of moving, she was saying “y’all” and “bless your heart” like the true Texan she was meant to be. Carol held a variety of part-time jobs while her children were in elementary and middle school. These jobs, from a kindergarten teacher’s aide to a substitute teacher to a Gymboree Play instructor, always centered around working with children. She did the whole volunteer thing throughout her kids’ elementary school days from class parent to Girl Scout troop leader and council volunteer. After earning her 1st degree blackbelt, became a nationally-certified instructor in taekwondo, and volunteer taught taekwondo at her instructor’s school in Fishers, Indiana. After moving to Katy, she opened her own taekwondo school in 2010 so that she and her daughter could continue to do what they loved and continue to be a part of their national association of schools. Carol found her true calling of teaching her students strength, focus, and confidence at her taekwondo school. Carol’s children are both grown and on their own now. {Mostly. They do pay their own bills, but they still come to her for advice}. Her daughter, Ellie, married her high school sweetheart in 2019. She met her now-husband, Scott, through Match.com {yeah, those things CAN work!}. They live in Richmond with their dog and 2 cats and enjoy spending their down time going to the movies and supporting all the local restaurants they can.

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