What's it really like to start a business at 35 (with young kids at home)?
By Jayme Jenkins
When Jessica and I decided to start Everist we were not fresh-faced and fresh out of school - we were more than a decade into established careers at some of the big beauty companies and we had mortgages, families and predictable salaries.
I'll start this post by acknowledging the privilege we had to be able to walk away from these salaries and try something new - it was 100% possible because we were not the sole breadwinners for our families. But we won't sugarcoat it when we say there's definitely been a lot of sacrifice that has come along with taking that leap - both financial but also the sacrifice of time and, occasionally, the mental sacrifice. This is true for anyone trying to start something new or build something from nothing, and in so many ways the last few years have really thrown a lot of curveballs at us all. When Everist launched in 2021, my kids were 2 and 4, and just last year, a year into the start-up whirlwind, Jessica welcomed her first child. It's a lot of learning in a short period of time - both how to parent at every different stage and how to launch and scale an omnichannel beauty company. Here's a few things that we've learned along the way.
1. Being a parent is exceptional practice for running a start-up
If you have trained your mind to have 3 sets of backup clothes packed in your diaper bag before you leave the house, you will naturally create plans for your business that consider option A, B, C, D and E. Being nimble and flexible, thinking on your feet, seizing opportunities (whether it's a car nap or an influencer gifting opportunity) - the skills honed in parenting train you to think and react to the world in a certain way and many of these skills have a practical application when dealing with the rollercoaster that is start-up life.
2. Our kids are watching
Working full time at building Everist has forced an even split of the division of labor in our house and that's something I'm proud of our kids witnessing. We talk about the business with our kids and my 6 year-old daughter is one of our biggest advocates, asking questions and bringing ideas on how to grow Everist. Juggling many priorities has also forced us to further extend our support system and make choices accordingly - for example, living close to our parents - and to ask for help when we need it. At the end of the day, we want our kids to know that they can take action for something they believe in and that we're committed to helping to create a sustainable future for them.
3. Prioritize, then re-prioritize, and again
At times, this part can be the most exhausting but when you love your family and you love your business you want to make sure you make your minutes count. Saying no and focusing on priorities is essential. It's also important to build in time for rest and mental wellbeing. We've learned it's a marathon, not a sprint, and that taking action aligned with our values is what makes life rewarding.
Starting Everist was a major pivot for both of us in our career but we felt so strongly that the beauty industry needed to change and we were tired of waiting for someone else to do it. While it may not have been the 'perfect' time for us to launch Everist personally or professionally, we felt it was something we needed to do. So, if you're feeling compelled to start something of your own, and you're not sure if it's the right time, our advice is just to do it anyways. You'll only learn by doing, not dreaming about it or re-refining your business plan (I did this for years before eventually taking the leap - consider it a warm up!). Find something that you're madly passionate about and be prepared to see it through for the long haul. Line up your support system, get your mental wellness plan in place and just start - we're here if you ever want to chat!
Jayme Jenkins, February 2023
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