A migraineur entrepreneur: yes, it can be done!
In the very early days of my blog, I talked about how my headache specialist recommended I not work a full-time job right out of graduate school.
My migraine episodes were frequent and severe enough that a 40 hour/week job was not for me—at least that’s what was suggested to me. But, at least for this migraine sufferer, barely working part-time wasn’t cutting it. It didn’t help my routine or my sleep schedule, and I didn’t feel fulfilled working the part-time jobs I held for years. I love kids, so babysitting and tutoring were wonderful in ways, but something was missing. I love editing, but being a professional editor for life doesn’t feel like the way my life should go. So I did what many people are doing during this time of financial upheaval: I went ahead and tackled a lifelong dream, to open my own business.
I knew that life would change once we went from an online and events-based bookstore to a brick & mortar “real life” bookshop, but man oh man, was I underprepared for what was to come! I am thrilled to report that I’ve only had a few workdays so far that were significantly impacted by migraine, and my very understanding staff took the helm when I needed them.
This is not to say things are totally smooth from a health perspective. I’m still skipping meals like crazy, and I spent the first few weeks of business working well over a hundred hours a week (and that is just on bookstore stuff--that doesn’t include my part-time writing and editing jobs!). My sister, my boyfriend, and a couple of dear friends all approached me to say how wonderfully well the store was going but that I needed to take a step back. That I would crash and burn if I kept going at the rate I was going. It was hard to agree with them—my business was off to a terrific start, I was in the shop from 9 until 9 every day, and the feedback was phenomenal. But luckily I started to see some signs of burnout when I was on my tenth and eleventh hours of work, and their words of wisdom came rushing back.
It was hard to do, but I scaled back my hours significantly and gave keys to my small staff, all of whom I trust. I implemented systems through which they didn’t need to call or email me all the time throughout the day. Eventually, I will take not hours but a couple of days off a week. I’ll get there.
How do you entrepreneur migraineurs do it? What challenges did you face in starting your business, and how is it going now?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?