Episode 265: Show Notes
Welcome back to the The Strategy Hour everybody. We hope you are excited about today’s episode because we sure are! Today we are chatting with Haley Williams about selling a business when you realize that you might not love what you are doing. This is an experience Haley had with a project she had been running for the last seven years only a few months ago! This can obviously be quite a difficult process and that is what this chat is all about. Making tough choices that are the best for you. It took some time but Haley found the clarity she needed to feel good about her decision and has not looked back since.
There are a number of choices that are available to us as business owners when these feelings arise. One of the options is to just shut down the business completely, which is quite drastic but is sometimes necessary. The second option is to think about changing the way you work and how the business runs and the last is to let go of it and have someone else buy and take care of it. The last of these is what Haley did and she found it was a lot more about letting go of the identity she had come to correlate to her business and realizing that she was more than that part of herself. Even at TCC, we are also slowly finding our way through this dynamic and learning to value ourselves beyond the work we put into our jobs. So come along for this important journey and hopefully you can come out the side inspired and ready for any necessary changes.
Haley’s Own Story of Selling Her Business
Haley was planning her own wedding some years ago and realized she did not like any of the options for attire and accessories so she decided to make them herself. This led to her making some stuff for friends’ weddings which grew into her selling products on Etsy! This was the beginning of The Yellow Peony, Haley’s bridal accessory biz! She made hair clips, veils and all the things that brides and maids need for the special day. Go Haley! The business grew healthily over the next couple of years and Haley starting stocking in shops and doing more wholesale in order to scale up. This whole setup suited her really well and she loved serving her clients and the creativity she was able to practice but after a few life changes, kids and the natural shifts that occur over time, last year Haley started to feel that she was not as in love with her work as she once was. This was when she started to think about selling it.
Coming To Terms with Letting Go of a Business
The most difficult part of the process of letting go is the mental decision to disentangle yourself from something you have built. Haley had been running this business for seven years and it was so much a part of her identity that it was quite difficult to imagine life without it even as she was falling out of love with it. There were feelings of fear and wondering if all that work had been for nothing but in the end, one day at church Haley realized that you are more than what you make and you are bigger than your business. As driven entrepreneurs we often live like this is not the case and find so much of our self-worth in what we are creating. This can be dangerous and also stands in the way of important change when it can be necessary. This sort of attitude is also a fast track to burnout and managing the relationship between your work and your identity is of vital importance for your sanity and general wellbeing. At the end of a process of soul searching and reflection Haley decided she needed to sell her business. Her heart was not in it in the same way but she also did not feel she had to shut it down, just that it could find a new life with someone else.
Decisions Around Selling, Shutting Down and Pivoting
Haley majored in journalism and also taught herself web design so these were easy choices for possible work instead of The Yellow Peony. Once she had decided that she was definitely going to sell she actually googled how to sell a business and found a website called BizBuySell which is like Craigslist for businesses. She met up with two people who were interested and she ended up choosing the person she felt most comfortable with and who she could see herself working in harmony with over the course of the transition. This is when the purchase process began and she had to start transferring all her knowledge, information and contacts to the soon to be owner. The actual sale happened in June this year so it’s really recent! Haley and the buyer have laid out a 9 month transition plan, in which she spends time with the new owner weekly, smoothing over the ins and out of the business and helping with the change over. This process has been really great so far and Haley admits she is really glad she did not shut down her biz and instead chose to let it grow in someone else’s hands! The transition plan they worked on together outlined this relationship and the purchase price included this service that Haley is acting out. The payment is also being paid over the course of the nine month transition and the structure around all of this is what will define its success.
The Work That Haley is Doing Now
Now that Haley has handed over the reigns to the new owner and is only helping out a few hours a week she is able to work on other stuff a few days a week. This was initially going to be more web design based but she recently realized her passion for helping others succeed in their businesses and so she has branched out into coaching and course creation. In addition to this, she has her own podcast called The Kindled Podcast, which we recommend you all go check out! Through her work she offers businesswomen a practical strategy to launch the business they love in just 60 days! Go Haley! The process of getting to this point was not always clear and some difficult waters are to be expected but now Haley feels much more aligned with where she is and where she is going and so it was all worth it!
Haley’s Own Story of Selling Her Business. [0:04:21.5]
Coming To Terms with Letting Go of A Business. [0:11:51.7]
Decisions Around Selling, Shutting Down and Pivoting. [0:17:51.3]
What Does the Financial Side of a Sale Look Like? [0:28:25.7]
The Work That Haley is Doing Now. [0:30:01.3]
The Process to Finding Clarity on The Decision. [0:38:10.1]
You are not your work.
Five year plan.
Prepare before readiness.
Embrace the discomfort.