Episode 111: Show Notes
We have a crowd favorite on the podcast today: Megan Stone, owner of Sweet Chubby Cheeks. Megan is a proud Momma of two wonderful kiddos. Her designs are inspired by her daughter, and the need she had to find quality outfits for photo sessions and headbands for everyday wear. She quickly found that other moms had the same desire and Sweet Chubby Cheeks was born!
Today we are getting super deep, super real, a little personal, crossing those boundaries of what you should and shouldn’t talk about. Yeah, we are talking all about when your spouse is your employee and how the dynamics of that really works. We are talking about “retiring” your husband / wife and how Megan has been able to successfully do so. She is giving us an idea of the work that she took to get there and some of the stumbling blocks she faced in the beginning. We are diving into it, so keep listening to hear more!
How Sweet Chubby Cheeks Was Born
Nothing in Megan’s life the last five years has been something she wanted to do or ever imagined herself doing. It all just happened organically. She started the business just for fun five years ago and threw a few headbands up on Etsy and from there, things just snowballed. Megan started setting tiny goals and it got to the point where she had a daughter that was two and she was pregnant with her son and looking at childcare costs and trying to figure out what they wanted their family to look like for the next few years while raising their tiny humans. She and her husband were both working full time but they started to realize the trade they were making, giving up time with their children to just work on their careers. When Megan was about 8 months pregnant with her son she made the decision to quit her job and give Sweet Chubby Cheeks a go, full time. They crunched some numbers and laid it all out. In the beginning they were just trying to make it month to month but soon after the business started booming and growing and they decided that they didn’t need so much money. Her husband quit his job and they cut their income in half and started relying on the business to support them 100%. It was the strangest feeling but it was so freeing.
Navigating the Balance Between Accomplishment and Fear
Navigating the balance of feeling extremely proud of what they've accomplished coupled with the fear that their entire family relies on Sweet Chubby Cheeks, Megan explains it to be like carrying two giant rocks all at the same time. Megan thrives off of chaos but her husband does not. Megan loves the creativity, she’s always been a creative person so there’s always been a little bit of artsy in her and she loves that part of her business and it’s what keeps her going everyday. However, it changed when they decided to make it an actual career and business and now a piece of that creativity is actually running a business and how that fuels Megan’s creative soul and how that makes her feel like an actual live human being. They actually go hand in hand, but that weight of knowing this is their only income and if she doesn’t do her job well, there won’t be money, well, that is terrifying at times. The great things is that there’s no income cap when you have your own business. Now, because they rely solely on this income, Megan feels she can provide good money for her family. She has 100% capability to mould her skills and work on her business to keep growing it.
The Lead Up To The Big Decision
When Megan quit her job her husband was still working so it was mostly a matter of whether she could cover the costs of groceries and the expendables. It was easier to plan for Megan quit because the “big stuff” was still being taken care of by her husband and his salary. Megan was pregnant at the time and she knew she was going to take time off after the baby so they had already started stockpiling money, knowing she wouldn’t be working for three months. When she quit they still had that cushion in the bank and the goal in her head was to get Sweet Chubby Cheeks making money in three months. They reached their mark and the business was still thriving. They kept stockpiling money while the business was booming and her husband was still working. The business got so big so quickly that Megan told her husband that if he didn’t quit his job she’d have to quit the business as she couldn't keep up with it all herself. They crunched numbers to the extent of whether they could survive and how long they could survive without his full time income. At that stage, they just had to cut the cord and do it.
Knowing It Was The Right Decision
Megan had someone coming three days a week to watch the kids when they got to the point where she had a two-week turnaround and hundreds of orders in the queue. She hated it and loved it at the same time. Their thoughts varied around having someone come in to watch the kids or having someone come in to help Megan or have her husband quit his job that he hated. It was around summer time and they had the conversation about how it was the last year before their daughter would be going into the world and into kindergarten. Having the flexibility of them both being at home and being able to not only spend time with the kids but pack up and go on trips and that it was their last year they would have with their babies at home. It was an easy decision for them when they looked at it from that perspective. They didn’t want someone else raising their babies or running their business. This was a way for Megan and her husband and her family to ultimately have the best of both worlds. And, Megan trained her husband at night to make tutus.
The Dynamics of Husband And Employee
Having her husband as her employee has really affected the dynamics of their relationship and their marriage. For Megan it’s been the weirdest experience of her life. They’re a year in and it’s still so hard to compartmentalize their marriage life and work life. They realized they could do it but they just needed to set up some boundaries in order to make it work. For Megan it is still their number one struggle as they are two completely different entities essentially in their home. They’re a mother/father, husband/wife team but essentially they are also business partners. Megan wants to get to the point where they can completely separate the two relationships but she’s also realistic in knowing that that may never happen so they just need to work out some coping skills.
Corporate To Creative: We Still WORK!
For Megan and her husband they’ve had to deal with a lot of pushback from family and friends and people making it a joke. Megan gets that it all comes from a place of people just not understanding what they do and what it’s like to own your own business so she tries not to engage in those conversations. Megan often feels that people are almost expecting them to fail at what they’re doing and although being mad about it at first she just realized that she’s not the kind of person that will treat her husband like crap and people don’t know what it looks like. She appreciates advice but “GO FUCK OFF!” They still get that face of complete “You guys really do this?”, but her husband sticks up for her and for their family and they try to just not take it all to heart and get upset about it. It’s so awesome for Megan to see her husband in the father role now that he’s’ home with the kids so much. Many people just don’t understand how great their lifestyle is.
How the conversation started and Sweet Chubby Cheeks was born. [0:03:33.0]
Navigating the balance of feeling extremely proud of what you’ve accomplished coupled with the fear that your entire family relies on that. [0:09:12.0]
The lead up to and preparing for both Megan and her husband being stay at home parents and solely relying on Sweet Chubby Cheeks. [0:12:33.0]
How Megan knew having her husband quit was a better business decision as opposed to hiring outside help. [0:16:54.0]
How having your husband as your employee affects things behind the office door. [0:29:26.1]
Transitioning from corporate to creative while still having people realize you have work to do and it is genuinely your business and essentially your livelihood. [0:31:34.1]
Be really honest with each other about your expectations and try to align that.
Working out your finances and making sure you have a backup plan.
Prepare your goals for the future.