Kayla is the co-founder of The Wedding Social Co. She's also small business owner of Boozy Suzie and Roaming Eagle caravan bars, runs local barbershops Urban Empire, plus keeps things moving over at the Caravan Bar Collective too. She's felt the impact of COVID-19's impact on small business- hard, and it has vastly changed how she spends her days.
We asked Kayla to tell us how it is for her right now, in the hope that it might help others in similar situations take the pressure off themselves to be their best selves right now.
"I've always loved being busy, my biggest hate is laziness. I think if you have spare time and you're not doing something useful with it then you're wasting it. It wasn't until doing nothing was forced on me that I realised I needed it. From the day I turned 18 I worked three jobs. I worked in childcare through the day, everyday when I finished at 5pm I'd drive straight to my second job working in a restaurant on Monday - Thursdays, then Friday - Sunday nights I was at my third job til all hours of the morning in a bar. I had to work this hard to support family members at the time. I saved every dollar I had leftover knowing one day I would start my own business, I remember one year I worked 9 months straight without a single day off.
I think these years were fundamental to how I work now, I never had a spare few hours to myself so I didn't know what I was missing. My all time favourite thing to do now is have dinner at home and watch a movie because for so many years I didn't get a night off.
Before all this COVID-19 jazz if I had a spare hour I'd spend it on emails or bookkeeping, feeling great that I hadn't wasted that time and got a start on my paperwork. Monday would generally be my day off but even then, a day off to me was staying home answering emails, putting order lists together, doing rosters, doing repairs on the van, cleaning glasses. A day off was never a day off. The list of "I'd do that if I had the time" was huge, I kept adding to it knowing it would never happen but it made me feel better to pretend I was going to.
Then COVID-19 hit, it came in stages. Stage 1 was confusion about why everyone was freaking out postponing weddings, Stage 2 was fear of what my future would be and how I was going to survive 6 months with no job, Stage 3 was motivation to do all the things on my "I'd do that if I had the time" list... Nah, I skipped that, I think I'm in Stage 4: Calm.
If I were in this position at my own fault, if my business had closed down due to my failure I'd be beside myself, crying everyday like I was in Stage 2. I may be out of a job, I may have no money to live off for the next 6 months, I may have lost my creative outlet and the job that made me so happy, but I've learnt how to relax. My husband's work roster is 4 days on, 5 days off. I'd watch him spend his 5 days off laying on the lounge, dabbling in some house renovations, fishing with his dad, and I'd say "Imagine if I had 5 days off, imagine what I'd do" thinking of all the jobs I'd finally get to tackle. Well I've had 16 days off and I've done maybe two things on that list of ten.
I think we all have this idea that we should be making the most of this time and working on our business, but I've pretty much done jack shit. I've laid on the lounge for a few days watching movies, I did a full grocery shop for the first time since being married (I'm not what anyone would call a trophy wife), I organised the pantry, I made some candles, put a new letterbox in, built some flatpack laundry cabinets. If six months ago me could see me now - spending time off doing this stuff I would have slapped myself and said to do something useful. But I've found myself saying a little too often that maybe I just won't go back to work?
As shit as this whole thing is, and as worried as I am about staying afloat, there's not a lot I can do about it. I feel like there's no point stressing about what I can't control. So, I'm trying to be grateful for the breathing time. So many people are in the same boat and I know we'll get through it together. I may as well catch up on all the years I spent working my ass off and do nothing for a while.
Want to hear more from Kayla? Check out another opinion piece from her, where she shares her feelings about imposter syndrome. Read now >