barre.[d] studio Chapel Hill turned one month old on Monday.
It was somehow both the fastest and longest months of my life. It was definitely one of the more challenging months of my life.
The days leading up to our October 6 Grand Opening were long. There was one day in particular, the Friday a week before we opened, that found me on the floor of the equipment closet, sobbing. We’re talking full on ugly girl crying. It was meant to be my work from home day of the week, but things went south very fast and I ended up taking half a vacation day.
The plan was simple:
- Work from home for a few hours
- Go to the studio to let the Spectrum guy in to install the internet
- Head back home to finish up work for the day
- Go to CrossFit (it was even squat day!)
- Come back to the studio
- Put together the cubby unit – at that point, my lobby was an obstacle course of boxes, furniture, and trash
- Call it a day.
Of course, the “between 11-12” window for Spectrum passed with no Spectrum installer. He did call to say he was running behind, but there was the minor fact that the audio guy was due to come in once the internet was installed to set up our sound system. When it started to look like he would be there before Spectrum, I called to delay him, did what I could for work without internet, and decided to fill the time by putting together the cubby unit.
All hell broke loose.
IKEA didn’t have the unit I needed in stock, so I ordered a similar one from Walmart. I will never, ever put another one together again. Pieces didn’t quite fit. Parts were flimsy. If you attached this end, the other end unattached. On and on it went. My frustration mounted, as did my irritation with the Spectrum guy. When he finally did show up – three hours late – I was breathing deep and putting on my best fake smile.
Within a half hour, he and our building manager (who is a SAINT of a human), figured out that the data pipe – think a tube ran from the building’s main data center to my studio – had, in fact, been ran to the studio, but the contractors had filled it with concrete and built a wall around it. It would have to be “dug out” as Spectrum man put it, which mean no internet and no music would be installed that day.
And I was supposed to begin teaching preview classes the next day.
In the meantime, the cubby still wasn’t put together.
I lost it.
In that moment, I felt so incredibly alone. I had slept very little, waking up very early and going to bed very late, trying to fit in training instructors and putting together furniture and doing marketing and sales and everything else around my fulltime job and my own training schedule that I frankly wasn’t willing to sacrifice because sanity and the fact that I had my first weightlifting competition (weightlifting, not powerlifting) in a month. It felt like I was on an island without any chance of rescue.
It took me a minute to get there, but I finally took a big breath and called it a day. I picked up a hearty meal – I realized late (late) in the afternoon that I hadn’t actually eaten since breakfast, likely part of what sent me over the edge – and headed home. I canceled the next day’s preview classes, wallowed in self-pity on my couch, and went to bed. The next day, I woke up, went to CrossFit, got my blood pumping, had breakfast at one of my favorite places in Chapel Hill (Root Cellar – you can thank me later) and tried again.
The cubbies got put together, the contractors came the very next day to drill out the pipe, and a few days later, we had internet. In the meantime, I bought a Bose speaker to serve as my sound system and we had our preview classes the rest of the week.
There were many more moments of exhaustion and an intense desire to just curl up in the corner and sleep for a full day leading up to the Grand Opening. Hurricane Flo came through and Chapel Hill basically shut down. I still get a bit of a tick when I think about the mess Spectrum guy left when he did come back to install. We opened on October 6th and confession? Not a single person came to the first class of the day. Turns out, I’d scheduled Grand Opening for the same day as a big 5K race downtown. But, people came to the rest of the classes. We made some sales. And each week, we have a few more students and I learn a few more things about how to run a business.
Month one has been rewarding. Hard. Fun. Exhausting. Thrilling. Stressful. Basically every emotion you can possibly think of. In the midst of it, my mom had a pretty scary medical emergency, I competed in my first weightlifting meet, and headed to Nashville for Business Boutique. Why not open a business and hop on a flight three weeks later?
When I wrote my first paychecks for my instructors, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. This place has been a long time coming. In some ways, month one exceeded expectations. In other ways, it didn’t meet them. There are things I’d change, and things I’d do exactly the same way. And ultimately, I know the lessons learned this past month are really only just scratching the surface of what’s to come.
As we gear up for our busiest time of the year – New Year’s Resolutions! – I’m looking forward to what’s to come – the people I get to meet, and the lives I’ll get to be a part of.
Here’s to one month down. And many, many more to go.