That time my website tried to set me on fire

My family is from a small town in rural Iowa and I’m proud to have a very strong “Do it yourself” ethic from growing up in a farming community.  I get satisfaction from fixing things myself (garage doors, appliances, plumbing) and I am constantly evaluating value for the money.  My kids call this rollin’ Iowa-style. That doesn’t mean I’ve fixed everything successfully but I really love the process of trying and I’ve had more wins than failures.  Kind of an ironic statement given the business we are building? But hear me out.

Building a business

Not surprisingly, the overhead for starting a business can be excruciatingly high. The day we decided to start a company, we essentially started a ticking clock; every day is a race to get us up and running so that we can serve clients and make HeyThrivy sustainable.  We need to be up and running offering our personal concierge service to be able to fulfill our mission to change the way busy people manage their lives.  It’s nonstop. When we started to build the HeyThrivy website, I was really looking forward to learning the new platform and brushing up on SEO skills.  So many tutorial videos and help articles, no reason to pay someone for something I can do myself! I was resolved that we are doing this Iowa-style.

Asking for help

Fast forward to four weeks later when I have sunk hours and hours building out content, we are behind schedule with getting it live and I’m having dreams at night about our website chasing me around trying to set me on fire! ON FIRE.  Finally, I broke down and decided to contact a woman I’d met who happened to specialize in building websites and SEO.  Her name is Kate George, and she was a freakin’ revelation. Within days she had taken on our vision for the site and whipped it into something beautiful.  Her wise guidance prevented us from making some big mistakes and when I went to pay her invoice I said out loud, “Money well spent!”. There may have been a little dance that went with it.

Focus your energies

But here’s the thing.  The minute I hired Kate to take on these tasks, I felt a mix of glorious relief and deep embarrassment.  I waited WAY too long to admit that my time was better spent focusing on other things for HeyThrivy and I while I thought I was being cost conscious, I actually slowed the whole thing down and wore myself out in the process. The money we paid to have help with our website pales in comparison to the value we got out of focusing that time on meeting with mentors, getting customer feedback and continuing to work on getting HeyThrivy ready to be live. We are building a business to help people manage their busy lives by providing that personal assistant to tackle the things that need to get done but that aren't really where their best focus should be.   I should have HeyThrivy’d myself a heck of a lot sooner.

I was reminded again when I recently attended a workshop by Neural Shifts, a leadership development company that focuses on coaching rooted in cognitive behavioral theory. It was an excellent workshop but my key takeaway was the reminder that we are better in life when we focus on our energy in the right places. Our brain functions much more efficiently when that happens, we are better able to focus and we make better decisions.  It’s a hard lesson for me to learn (and I’ve clearly had to learn it over and over) but that focus and energy is exactly what we want to support for our HeyThrivy clients.  Just because you can do all of these tasks, doesn’t mean you should, or at least not all the time.  

Dianna Winegarden