If you’re at all like us, you know that the holiday blues are in full swing. We’re finally getting back into work mode and making our goals for the year. 2018 was a wonderful year filled with so much growth, lots of learning and a ton of tears, too. 2018 was our hardest year and today, we want to share the struggles and honest truths about what it is like owning your own business. What the last few years have been like for us, And how we are coming out on the other side smarter and more prepared to tackle what is to come.
Matt and I never really set out to start a company; truly. What started as a way to make extra cash to save for a big move to San Francisco at the beginning for 2015 has now turned into our primary source of income. Like many others in the creative industry, you start by slowly dipping your feet in the water. We posted furniture from our own wedding on craigslist as a rental service to see if we could potentially rent out those pieces for money. Turns out, we could. With this new source of income hitting our savings account, we were determined to rent vintage furniture and decor before we took the drive to Northern California. We both were working full time jobs at the time, but I was going to be accepting a job for a large corporation that was based out of San Francisco. We needed any money we could save to help us get our ‘new life’ started in California. We were planning to move there for a new start and fresh chapter in our lives, and we thought after a few months of marriage and saving, it would be the perfect time to leave. What we weren’t expecting was the traction and clients that we would meet and work with in such a short period of time. From starting our instagram, sharing on Pinterest, planning styled photoshoots and networking with those in the wedding and event industry in Arizona, our little ‘moving money maker’ really took off. We thought, well, if there is a need for unique rentals in Arizona, why don’t we just play this thing out until it doesn’t work for us anymore. So, we decided to stay put. The money we ended up saving for our move was immediately invested into new inventory, and we decided to grow. A few months into the new year, I quit my full time job to make Tremaine Ranch a job I enjoyed and could rely on. About another 6 months after that, Matt quit his full time job. We were both full time, self employed newlyweds, who never attended business school or graduated college. In fact, we really both had no idea what we wanted to do with our life or ‘careers’ so we didn’t have much to lose. We had no student loans we needed to pay off, we were living in my parents guest house on the Tremaine Ranch and really just working as hard as we could while figuring it out along the way.
Flash forward to 2017… We tripled our sales, tripled our bookings, tripled our inventory and took the plunge of moving into a warehouse space. We really were growing as fast as we could in order to make the bigger picture of our dreams pan out. We were working on more photoshoots, booking multiple clients and weddings for weekends (our record is 8 weddings in one weekend) and figuring out expenses, bookkeeping, accountant and everything business related along the way. The trouble with figuring things out on your own or along the way is, something is bound to go wrong. And that is exactly what happened. Come to the end of 2017 when we needed to prepare for tax season, we didn’t know it at the time but we were royally screwing ourselves over by not operating our business in the correct way. Our accountant whose job was filing these, failed to file and completely ghosted us, but we just kept on trucking and working and hustling and booking 6, 7, hell 8 weddings in a weekend because we needed to. By the time we needed to file our 2017 taxes, we had to scramble for a new accountant, and realized just how stupid we had been once we got that final balance due letter. I wont share too much more on that because I don’t think I can waste anymore time crying about it. I will share one important thing that I learned that I feel is important to put out there because I don’t think I am alone here… While all of this was going on with our finances, and figuring out how we were going to pay the government money that we truly didn’t have, all I could think of was running away and hiding. I felt shame, I felt embarrassment and I felt failure. I found myself constantly scrolling and comparing myself to others on the internet and through that comparison game, I found another local company had stolen our photography of our products to use on their website. They didn’t even have the audacity to change the file name. I felt like the world was out to get me and I couldn’t pick myself back up. I fell into a total state of depression, completely stopped blogging, I lost interest in working (which I truly always loved) and honestly didn’t know how I could make it in 2019 with the weight of this company on my back. I felt grief in a way that is hard to explain, but all I could say to myself was ‘you’re such a failure’. It was horrible and I didn’t think I would find my way out.
About 3/4 of the way through 2018, we implemented important changes to keep our business going, our marriage separated from work and having the realization that we truly can’t do it all. It was hard, it is still hard, and it will continue to be really hard. I learned to ask for help and we dusted the dirt off our shoulders and decided that we weren’t done yet. We’ve implemented a financial plan with the help of Profit First. We’ve been letting go of inventory that doesn’t serve a purpose for Tremaine Events any longer. We’ve got 3 Ivy Events that we are working on and are very excited to share more about those soon. Rowhouse 25 has been running smoothly and we plan to share a lot more about the property here, too. We have plans for this blog in ways that are going to change a lot. We are ready to share more about what it’s REALLY like to run a business and how you need to brace yourself for things you may never have expected. We’ve taken a bigger step back from social media and have been putting a lot more of our time into Pinterest. We are ready to create content for you, our audience, while making content that we are proud of. We are excited to bring you a lot more real wedding blogs and styled shoots. We are eager to share more inspiration from vendors and companies we love around the valley. We are excited to share more about our lives, more about our home and the ranch and our plans on what that looks like for us living there and helping my parents keep the property in the family. Our goal with this blog was to always be ourselves and share our truths. I think that may have gotten a little lost along the way, but we’re here and not going anywhere. So, here’s to you 2018. You were horrible and wonderful and we are grateful for everything that you threw at us. But we’re done with you and so happy that 2019 is here.