The Self-Employment Diaries: Day 6

Friday was a tough day. Well actually, that’s not true, Friday was a productive day (see for details). I reached the end of my first week in self-employment and was feeling elated with how quickly the week had flown by and how relieved I was that I didn’t feel at all lonely or have any doubts about the decision I had made to work on BOKAC full-time.

Friday evening however was stressful. I was on my way to a NEF Alumni dinner (which was great fun by the way, thank you to those who organised it!) and while en route, I was faced with a babysitter who had arrived at an appointment but had a gut instinct that something was off and so told me she could no longer babysit. This has never happened before and led to a very uncomfortable conversation with the parent (who was new to BOKAC) to explain that, as we don’t ‘vet’ our parents in the same way that we vet our babysitters, our policy is that if sitters ever arrive at an appointment and they feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable, they can leave. Quite understandably this parent was not pleased and I was mortified to have left them without a babysitter.

Then a couple of hours later, another babysitter who was booked to babysit twice (once first thing and then again in the evening) the next day, texted to say she had a tummy bug and although very apologetic, would have to cancel. So that was three appointments cancelled in less than 3 hours and one new parent who would almost certainly not want to come back to BOKAC and may even tell all their friends about their dreadful experience.

BOKAC is my pride, passion and my livelihood so I would never complain about having to handle these situations but that doesn’t mean that I don’t find them stressful. I know I need to become more resilient but when it is just me running the business, I can’t help but take these blows personally as well as all the guilt that comes with letting parents down.

However, the only good thing with these set backs (and I’m pleased to say they aren’t frequent) is that they make me 10 times more determined to do better and I am now working on new policies to make sure the first situation never happens again. I was also up very late on Friday and then very early on Saturday morning to find replacements for the cancelled appointments (luckily, with the help of some incentive payments for our sitters, I managed to find replacements for both).

Today on the other hand was a very good day! We had two other new parents book first-time appointments over the weekend, both of which ran smoothly. Both parents sent excellent feedback this morning and nothing makes me more proud than that ‘it works!’ feeling I get when parents say they are happy to have found BOKAC and also to tell the babysitters that their hard work is appreciated by someone other than me!

Despite this great feedback, I didn’t find myself as productive today and I had been on Friday night/Saturday morning when I was fighting those proverbial fires. Perhaps the learning from this is that the negative events, even though they are really horrible, do serve to make BOKAC a better business and me a better business woman and for that, they’re worth it (almost). This Friday, I will be attending a workshop on resilience as part of the NEF programme and it seems this couldn’t be better timed. I know I can handle whatever is thrown at me and I do try to see these events as ‘positive learning experiences’ but I would love to learn how not to see these situations as such personal set-backs.

Hmm this is all turning very ponderous for a Monday evening. Time to go out for a swim! I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Nietzsche (expressed beautifully by Kelly Clarkson).


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