Barbering is our occupation, and as such, we have accumulated a career full of knowledge about the subject. But we are also business owners, and now have a number of successes and failures under our belt in that arena as well.
These are those stories, written from Blademaiden’s hermit hideout in the back room of Beardsgaard, affectionately known as “The Data Cave.”
Dinner & A Carnival
A couple of weekends ago we went to dinner at my parents’ house. Their house is a stone’s throw from a lot where festivals and carnivals and the like happen damn near every weekend over the summer.
On this day, it was a carnival, in its last sliver of time before packing up at the end of the weekend, and my mom grabbed the kid to take her for a quick ride before it was over.
They picked the high chair swing ride, whatever it’s called, and up they went, soaring through the air with the greatest of ease. For a few turns, at least, and then it came down.
My mom, bless her heart, immediately gets off the ride and charges over to Tyler, my dad and I, we having moseyed on over from the house to watch the fun to tell us how “I’ve been watching this ride all weekend from my house and that is the shortest time I have ever seen it go up for. And for $7 worth of tickets EACH!”
Now, I have not parteken of carnival rides for some time, because a loud place with lots of people is usually my personal hell, but that did seem rather high for the meager slice of fun I had just seen. Or any carnival ride really, damn.
So my mother, in that way she has, about her, marches right up to the ride operator and repeats her assertion. Moments later, my mom and my confused/excited step-daughter are going up again for a longer ride, with not another soul on it.
For a solid minute, they had the air to themselves.
Life Full Circle
I stood there next to my husband and wondered if he had any idea what he had just watched play out.
That inclination my mother has always had, when something is wrong, or just not right, is to speak up, clear, direct and unequivocal. In my wallflower younger days, this was MORTIFYING for me.
Dad could fix just about anything you could see, but my mother had a way of fixing the things that eyes were useless to identify. Although she is never mean or rude or condescending, when she needs to make something happen, it gets done, niceness be damned.
She’s not shy and she’s not scared, ever (except of ferrets eating people’s faces, apparently). She travelled the world as an Army brat, can strike up a conversation with literally anyone, anytime, and decided to have both a family and career by starting a business out of her home when the kids were born (I grew up to design the logo and start working for peanuts when I was 9).
This is the woman who, at nearly 60 years old, went back to nursing school, was a star student and is now a mobile hospice nurse, looking death in the face every day and cracking really fucked up jokes to keep him off his guard.
This hereditary bulldog instinct, along with a need to make work and family coexist, laid a pretty direct path to the creation of Beardsgaard. I certainly never gained a deep love of barbering from my dad, he was the exact kind of hippie that led to the temporary death of the barbershop.
Although in most ways I loved the shop I spent five years and most of my career with, it was a large organization. I’m proud to say I did help affect changes there that made things better in some small ways, after a number of years I became convinced that the only way I could see what I was capable of when unleashed was to take that leash off myself.
So while Tyler, the now-Beardsmith husband was in school, the business planning began, and more and more I let that mom side of me out. Here are the lessons I learned from my mother that have made me effective in business (and, hell, life).
Business & Life Advice From Mom
Know Your Battle Plan (and contingencies)
and don’t go chasing waterfalls – you might fall over
- Life: When my mother went to talk to the ride operator, I don’t know whether she asked for a refund or to go up again, but if I know her, she offered up both of those two choices, and had them in her head as the ride was coming down.
- Lesson: Complainers complain, problem-solvers identify, then clearly, directly communicate the problem – and they come armed with solutions.
Win with Why
don’t let that smile fool you, this was a demon child for this whole day
- Life: Even though she ran a business and worked crazy amounts of hours, the fact that my mom spent years with us kids full time taught her the power of why, and how to run it to the end of the line for powerful effect.
- Lesson: If someone isn’t giving you a straight answer/what you want, either deliberately, because you’re not on the same page, or information is missing, keep asking “Why?” When you both have to keep narrowing down your reasoning, the heart of the matter will eventually get unearthed.
*Please note, this only works if YOU’RE RIGHT. If you’re in the wrong, this will backfire spectacularly.*
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
children ignored just enough to become self-sufficient
- Life: Work your ass off.
- Lesson: Life doesn’t give you breaks, so you had better be tireless.
One more for the road…
- Life: “Watch your fucking mouth.”
- Lesson: Obey the laws, break the rules
Here we are, open nearly two years, with four employees and no signs of slowing down, and so much of it is because this one lady taught her kids by example how to get shit done no matter what.
In business you find inspiration from everywhere. Just make sure to look behind you.