The year is 2018. A woman in her thirties lies flat on the floor in her apartment surrounded with moving boxes, scrap material and dust. She’s not moving anywhere. She’s just been moving most of her earthly possessions from one room to the next, like some endless game of renovation musical chairs, for months. As she lies there, feeling like a deflated balloon after a bad polyester wedding where the groom ended up going home with the maid of honor, she wonders whether she’s allowed to feel sorry for herself. Sure, everything has gone wrong in the last few days, but she has a home after all. Even though her happiness currently depends on the schedule of a few bearded men with hammers who come and go as they please. Fudge it, she exclaims as the dust flies off into the air, it’s my pity party and I’ll cry if I want to!
To say I’m tired of the renovations that are taking place in my home right now is a massive understatement. I’m realizing through all of this how much of my self-worth is tied to my home, but I decided many years ago that I would not let my outer appearance determine aforementioned self-worth. Little did I know that I’d swap out worrying about my thighs with obsessing over the symmetry of our dining room. I may have some control issues actually. I also still sometimes worry about my thighs.
This whole thing started two weeks before our wedding last year when our neighbor forgot to turn off a faucet. Since then we’ve been dealing with our insurance company, trying to figure out how to fix this mess and then finally when we were ready to get things going: discovering the joys of living in a 70-year-old building that was built at a time where builders maybe didn’t have access to the best building materials and equipment. We’re talking fun little surprises behind every imaginary door. Which is ironic because for a while there we had to take down most of our doors.
Renovations are taxing, even when you have a stress-free nine to five job but when you are trying to run your own business too, where you do nothing but make decisions and react to issues all day, they become almost unbearable. Especially when your business is going through some “renovations” of its own.
Which brings me to the point of this post (other than to complain about having no control over anything – that is).
I probably should have written some sort of business plan when I started I Heart Reykjavík. Instead, I went the self-funded bootstrapping I’ll just see how it goes way and have been trying to catch my tail ever since. There have been ups and downs, like with everything you do in life, and at certain times I’ve not been sure I’d make it. The business has always been relatively healthy, it’s just me that has been iffy.
What’s gotten me through the toughest times is my amazing husband, who I would be lost without, and the fantastic human beings I’ve been lucky to call my team. They’ve gone above and beyond to make sure our guests are taken care of and in their own subtle way that I take care of myself. I’ve not always been a great boss to them, being super stressed and unhealthy on top of that does not a good leader make, but we’ve made it work. Together.
All good things must come to an end
A few months ago, Ásta shared with us the good news that she’s expecting a baby in May and as a precaution, she will have to stop working soon. Although we haven’t worked out the details yet, we expect her to take a year off on maternity leave which means we’ll have to find someone to replace her. Ásta was the first person I hired, plus that we had been working together for years before I started the business, and it’s going to be weird to do this without her.
Then, even more recently, Ólöf handed in her resignation because her own business that she’s been working on since before she joined us is taking off and she and her teammates have just received a big grant to help make that happen. Although we’re sad to lose her I a) knew we would never have her with us for too long because she’s was always going places and b) I know all too well the allure of starting something of your own. She’s not in a hurry leaving us though so she’ll be with us, at least part-time, until the summer.
Although it’s scary to lose two such key members of your four-person team practically at the same time I’m so happy for them both that that feeling overpowers my anxiety. Things will work out somehow. They always do.
So, on top of trying to decide on what kind of tabletop we want for our new kitchen or trying not to lose my marbles when the carpenters accidentally laid our floors all wrong in two rooms so they need to redo the whole thing – I’ve been advertising for new staff members, conducting interviews and consequently started training the ones we’ve already hired.
We will finish these renovations. Someday. Soonish. I’m not holding my breath actually.
When we do, we can resume our family dinners and regain our sanity. Or my sanity more like it, the husband is a stoic rock faced with adversity.
We will also find the right people to fill the big shoes that Ásta and Ólöf are leaving behind. It won’t be the same but different is not always bad – it’s just different. I’m optimistic and I see these changes as an opportunity to reflect and reevaluate. And I’m excited for both of them, what great adventures they’re about to embark on!
They say that 50% of businesses fail in the first 5 years of operation. We’re officially in our fifth year so I guess this is make it or break it time for us now. The good news is that if you survive your fifth year it becomes significantly more likely that you’ll survive for a long time. So I guess that is what we’ll focus on in the next few months: Surviving and thriving.
If you want to help get us past that milestone, you can continue on booking your tours through us and share the blog with your friends and family. In return, I’ll make sure we’ll continue to take good care of all of you and always work toward getting better.
Bring it on year five!