Wow, these are some nutty times. On the spectrum of “things we don’t plan for,” COVID-19 goes to 11. For a business owner, the questions range from, “How do we adjust to these times?” to, “Can we even survive this?” And, occasionally, “When will we be able to buy toilet paper again?” We understand. Being in marketing, Mr. Parker and I have recently been offering business advice and doing interviews on the smart strategies for odd times.
Unknowns abound, particularly when you’re responsible for your family as well as your business. Yet, here’s where we can have a leg up. (CUE: SAPPY MUSIC.) Every night, after Mr. Parker and I have done all we think we can do, and after we’ve rethought everything probably more than we should, and we’ve gotten to the point of crispy around the edges, I look over at my business partner cum teammate cum husband and think, This is a rugged time—but also a special time. Team Parker is getting tighter and stronger. We’re working at least as hard. But we’re hiking together, biking together, eating together, watching too many documentaries and stand-up specials together, and hugging a lot more.
On social media, we’ve seen our CoupleCos posting their own team time. The Fitlows, Pavitts, McMillens, Tituses, Owens and others—all sharing the together time. And yes, many folks are dealing with business changes and uncertainties. But just as many are sharing moments of quiet joy, silly togetherness and team strength. As Team Parker often says, we are each other’s foxhole buddy. And when we emerge from all this weirdness (because yes, we will), foxhole buddies emerge stronger than before.
So, the mayhem is running its course. Meanwhile, we remind ourselves that we are The Lucky Ones. And as The Lucky Ones, do we have a responsibility to look over the top of the foxhole, and help others that are going it alone? That question can only be answered individually.
For now (as you may have noticed), Team Parker is suspending regular interview episodes to offer a series of Mayhem Marketing Minutes. These are bite-size episodes are highlighting simple marketing and evolutionary strategies for navigating the social weirdness. If you’ve met us, you know that we’ve been in marketing since the womb. It felt like this is one small way we can help. They're on our shows page as well as our YouTube Channel. We’re bringing on guests with expertise in marketing, psychology, real estate—who knows, we may even reach out to you to share your intel. And if you’d like to reach out to us, go for it. We’d love to hear from you.
The best to you and your foxhole buddy. And remember: Lucky us. Lucky you.
Hope that helps,
Entrepreneurship is a challenge. A challenge that the outside world often calls, “Living the dream.” This is not a cake walk. How do you handle changes and downturns? This has been on my mind as our business of 12 years is going through a transition. We’ve said goodbye to a big, long-term client. But instead of just replacing them with another big client, we’re changing our business model to attract more, smaller clients. Will it work? Years of experience at this makes us think so. And it’s guaranteed, right? Hmm, no! Guarantees do not exist in the grown-up world of living life by the seat of your entrepreneurial pants. You’re always working without a net. We knew that when we signed up for this. But so far, sweat equity coupled with mad skills make it seem like we at Slow Burn/CoupleCo lead a charmed existence.
We were just talking with another entrepreneur couple. They were discussing things like the crazy hours associated with opening a new location while keeping the staff happy at the current locations. We were all laughing about how people will say, “But when you travel to that location, it’s a write off!” Like that helps. Yes, it’s a write off—IF the IRS agrees. And either way, it’s not like it’s a free trip. Maybe if you’ve never worked for yourself, you don’t consider that someone still has to pay the bill. And that someone is, yes, you.
Recently, I was reading a social post by one of our favorite CoupleCo interviewees, Chopped Champion Christian Hayes of Dandelion Catering in Yarmouth, Maine. We’d interviewed him and his wife, Christine, for episodes #36 & #37. Just recently, they’ve added to their food-service empire by opening a restaurant called The Garrison. For perspective, Christian’s a rocker. He spent about a decade with a band described as an “eight-legged bombastic juggernaut of rock.” In this social post, he’s talking about entrepreneurism, and he hits it right between the eyes.
Christian writes: “The truth is, entrepreneurship is a lonely, isolating reality. People want to believe you’ve got the world by the balls and that you go home with a sense of accomplishment. The reality is sobering. There are so many people connected to me on social media that feel it every day as well. You think you know—until you’re in it—then you realize you had no idea. It’s been 11 years with Dandelion and now we’re doubling up with The Garrison. Don’t get me wrong. I’m living my fucking dream. But also, let’s not forget the gut wrenching, paralyzing churn of wondering if this is the week that breaks you. Financially, spiritually, mentally, physically. The demands are astronomical and ubiquitous from every direction. Yet, on hour 75, as I get out of my car in the parking lot and walk towards the kitchen, I’m always fucking happy. There’s a content feeling that washes over you. The apron goes on—and it’s time to work. I’m right where I belong. Cheers to all my people doing it every day.”
Reading that, I found myself nodding in understanding the challenges that no one sees. There are all kinds of messes you get to clean up while being a “trailblazer.” By the end of the missive, Christian had me charged up to put on my big-girl pants and dig back in. We chose this life for a reason. And for anyone who’s a CoupleCo, the loneliness of the entrepreneurial struggle is a bit less lonely. In our business, we are always Team Parker. If you chose this kind of life, you are part of a special breed. Yeah, we’re gamblers. But at least we’re gambling on ourselves. And no matter the odds, how do you not like taking that bet?
Hope that helps.
Are Blaine & Honey Parker Relationship Experts?
Hardly. And does the world really need more of those? Instead, we are a couple who have worked together for over 20 years. We've learned a few things along the way. And now, we're traveling the nation interviewing other couples in business together. Join us for the ups, downs, ins, outs, laughs, tears (even though Honey believes Blaine has no tear ducts), and the inevitable, practical insights into being a better couple--in life, business and everything.