Founders don’t take vacations. But I just did. (Shhh. Don’t tell any VCs.)

Nothing says 'vacation' like champagne before noon. (Feeling glamorous at Domaine Carneros winery.)
Nothing says ‘vacation’ like champagne before noon. (Feeling glamorous at Domaine Carneros winery.)

When I was still enrolled in the Founder Institute earlier this summer, at some point my peers started talking about how they were going to take vacations or time off after graduation. We had earned it and were burnt out, right?

But at the same time one of the lessons being imparted to us was that “Founders don’t get to go on vacation.” Look, we get it. If you are running your own business you’re never really not on call. Whether you’re a small time freelancer or powerful CEO, there are occasions when you need to be available even if you’re taking time away.

Meanwhile, DH and I hadn’t been on vacation (sans baby) since our honeymoon 2 1/2 years ago. And we were both coming off some very busy work schedules. It was time. A few months back we had decided that we would go somewhere (anywhere!) in September. We lined up my parents to host DD for a few days and put off planning where we’d actually go til closer to the date.

So when FI ended in July, I kept going. I was jealous of those who took a break, but at the same time I knew that (a) I’d get my turn and (b) it was a good thing for me to press on after FI to find my new working rhythm without the imposed structure of their curriculum. If I had taken a break right away, it may have been really difficult to try to start over again after coming back without having an established routine. Overall, I think the company and I were better for having done it this way.

So with some last minute help from a travel agent, DH and I just got back from 4 nights in Napa Valley, CA. The weather was beautiful, the views were lovely, the wine was delicious, and so was the food. And I had an awesome massage at our hotel to boot. Plus DH and I got to reconnect as a couple without the responsibilities of managing our home or being Mommy & Daddy. It was really nice. We needed a break and getaway as individuals and a couple. And I think we’re returning to our work and our home all the better for having done it.

Cozying by the fire in our hotel room. That's real fire we lit ourselves with hotel-provided matches. Pretty sweet.
Cozying by the fire in our hotel room. That’s a real fire we lit ourselves with hotel-provided matches. Pretty sweet.

But don’t be fooled. I still did work. Just not much of it. I spent about two hours working on the flight out and then did some sporadic email checking, scheduled a few calls for the following week, and things like that. Shortcake’s social media channels were quiet, which is something I could have planned for but didn’t. That’s on me and I’ll try to do better.

Now to start making some local dinner plans so we can enjoy our souvenirs. :)

We may have overdone it. But they were all so good! Now we just don't have to buy any wine for the next year+.
We may have overdone it. But they were all so good! Now we just don’t have to buy any more wine for the next year+.

Startup Mom is written by Coralee Dixon, a NJ mom and founder of Shortcake. Is she “having it all” or losing her mind? Follow along as we find out…(I’m just as curious as you are.)

It’s a new day (Thoughts on hiring a babysitter for the first time)

I mean, if Elmo has a sitter why shouldn’t DD?

After almost 18 months, someone not related to us is watching DD while I sit here typing this. Oh joy of joys. What took me so long?

Part of this whole #mompreneur thing is that we’re women who want to raise our children and want to have fulfilling careers, right? So we are trying to make it work by being mommy during the day and being our own boss during nap/bedtime.

And I’ve been doing that since DD was born. Because I wasn’t ready to have someone that wasn’t a parent/grandparent be in charge of her care.

But not anymore. It’s the dawn of a new day. I used care.com [no ad, that’s just what I actually used] to find a local college student who is in my living room right now playing with DD. I can hear them laughing. My daughter is laughing and playing in the living room under proper supervision while I work. Oh day of days! :)

But #nojudgement either way from this mommy. I get it. Every mom has to come to these decisions in her own time. I was not ready 3 months ago. Today I am ready. And it is a beautiful thing.

Startup Mom is written by Coralee Dixon, a NJ mom and founder of Shortcake. Is she “having it all” or losing her mind? Follow along as we find out…(I’m just as curious as you are.)

Advice from Gary Vaynerchuk

Last night I attended my first NJ Tech meetup in Hoboken. It was pretty great – I’m so glad I went! Did some good networking, heard some pitches, learned about some resources…but the best part by far was the “fireside chat” with Gary Vaynerchuk.

That's me in the blue/pink dress! :) Chatting with my friend James from PocketSomm.
That’s me in the pink/blue dress! :) Eating free pizza and chatting with my friend James from PocketSomm.

I’d read The Thank You Economy a few years ago and appreciated Gary’s simple prose and the easy way he saw and described the potential in new technologies. I knew he’d probably be a good speaker from the way he wrote, but have come to realize that this is something he really shines in (and he knows it). I would go out of my way to see him speak in person again.

Gary (on the left) speaking with Aaron from NJTech.
Gary (on the left) speaking with Aaron from NJTech. He talks with his hands. Big time. I can relate to that.

A lot of what he said was inspiring and also gut-checking for any new entrepreneur. He was asked if he thought we’re in another tech bubble, and he replied no. But he thinks we’re in an entrepreneur bubble because it’s so easy for anyone to say they’re an entrepreneur without having really done anything. It’s also easy for some entrepreneurs to get investment funding because there are lots of small investors who want to get in on the startup scene because it’s trendy, and they have the fear of missing out.

That made a lot of sense to me. But it also, of course, made me wonder about my own goals, accomplishments, and ambition. Do I have the drive to make it in this startup world? Gary talked about how much it bothers him that new entrepreneurs complain that they don’t have enough time to get things done. He said if he audited those people’s time, he guaranteed he’d find another four hours each day they were wasting. Sleeping, watching tv, playing mobile games…if you want to succeed you are working all. the. time. Putting in the work matters.

Honestly, in our current culture and economy in the U.S., we have it easy. These are not difficult times that we live in. But sometimes it seems when times are easiest is when people complain the most. Have you ever noticed that? People don’t complain much when they are really going through serious difficulties.

But I know I am one of these people. I’m a complainer. Ugh. Or at least I have been to those closest to me who I feel free to vent to (and to myself because I am my own captive audience). So one of my key takeaways from Gary’s comments is to think about the bigger picture more, adjust my perspective, and complain less. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. When people ask me “So how’s the new business going?”, I’m going to need to retool my responses to be less complainy and more grateful. I don’t need to fake that this isn’t a hard thing I’m doing, but I can change the way I think about it all.

I left the event with some great advice and a new spark to do and achieve. Thanks Gary.

Startup Mom is written by Coralee Dixon, a NJ mom and founder of Shortcake. Is she “having it all” or losing her mind? Follow along as we find out…(I’m just as curious as you are.)