14: Creatives and Overwhelm with Rachel Greiman

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For many creatives, it is not a question of if they will experience burnout, but when. How can we better prepare ourselves to handle overwhelm and to get ourselves out of it? In this episode, I am speaking with Rachel Grieman of Green Chair Stories in a vulnerable discussion about the relationship between creatives and overwhelm. 

The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.

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This episode is brought to you by my Sustainability Guide Freebie, where I’m walking you through 10 steps to a sustainable business. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for years, this guide will help you review the different facets of your business and clarify whether or not you’re set up for long-term sustainable success.

Review the Show Notes:

From photographer to copywriter (2:03)

Rachel’s own experience with overwhelm (9:25)

Committing to a plan (13:12)

Your support system (16:48)

Being hit with the surprise of overwhelm (19:17)

Prioritizing taking care of yourself (24:18)

Following your path as a female entrepreneur and mom (29:54)

Knowing your own capacity (32:33)

Hiring a team to stay out of overwhelm (38:30)

Day-to-day practices (41:16)

Getting yourself out of overwhelm (42:37)

Rapid-fire questions (47:03)

Connect with Rachel

Rachel website: greenchairstories.com

Rachel IG: instagram.com/greenchairstories

Rachel’s episode on Get Paid Podcast

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Review the Transcript:

Sabrina Gebhardt
Today’s episode of the shoot straight podcast is an interview with my friend Rachel Griezmann of green chair stories. Rachel and I are talking about a really serious subject today that I don’t feel like gets talked about enough. We’re talking about the relationship between creatives and overwhelm. We’re going to talk about what it looks like, what you can do to help if you are overwhelmed. And if you find yourself in the same spot, what you can ask yourself to start to get out of it. It’s a really vulnerable, great chat, and I hope you’ll listen along even if you don’t think you’re in a season of overwhelm now, because I can tell you as someone who has been in business for almost 12 years, it’s not a matter of if, but when. So whether you are currently in a season of overwhelm or maybe you are just now starting your business. This episode is for you. Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gephardt. Here I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur. while balancing business motherhood and life. myself along with my guests will get vulnerable through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in yet willing to talk about the hard stuff to to shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight

Sabrina Gebhardt
Welcome back to the shoot it straight podcast my friends today is a really fun episode, I’m getting to interview one of my sweet internet friends who one day will become an in real life friend, I am putting that out in the universe. Today we’ve got Rachel Griezmann of green chair stories with us. And we’re going to talk about something a little heavy, but also very important. And something that I know has been a big part of her story and as a big part of my story as well. So we are going to get into it today. But I’m gonna let Rachel do a little interview of herself and then we’ll dive in.

Rachel Greiman
Awesome. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, so I live in Denver, Colorado. We live in the city, which is kind of funny, because if you’re from like a real big city, it feels like the suburbs, even though we’re like a mile from downtown. We just bought a house here like a year ago and we’re about to remodel the whole thing. I have two tiny humans they are foreign to and they are blessedly not with me today. I feel like they’re sick about every 10 days. So I’m in that window of time where I’ve got the house to myself. But yeah, I own greeter stories. It is a copywriting collective here in Denver, we have five people on our team, we all are based in Denver, we’re all females, which is something that I’m really proud of and that I love. And we write websites for photographers

Sabrina Gebhardt
love it. And in a past life and kind of a little bit right now you come from a photography business, and you’ve kind of dipped your toe back into that a little bit, which I love. But let’s start at the very beginning. Let’s back up so people can really get to know you tell me how your business started and how you went from photographer into copywriter. I’d love to know a little backstory.

Rachel Greiman
Yeah, so words and photos have just always gone together. For me. I was a photojournalism major in college, I graduated in 2009. So it feels like forever ago. But I’ve literally have never done one without the other. So when I started my professional career, I was in nonprofits for a long time. And I always did both. I was always the writer and the photographer, I never did one without the other. And then in 2014, I decided, I really want to try, like I want to give family photography ago I want to have my own business. And then within three months of starting a business, I left my full time job at a nonprofit. So I could pursue it full time because I was really busy. And I very, very quickly realized that photographers need a lot of help with their words. So it was maybe two years in when I started writing copy for photographers, because they I was in all these Facebook groups, and they were like, how do I write my about page someone helped me and they’re like, oh, I can help with that. So I helped a couple of friends at first and then I started charging. And then I was like, oh, I need to formalize this process a little bit. And then so 2017 things really took off. And we had moved to Kenya that fall of 2017. And I had already had maybe like 15 or 20 copywriting clients before that. But then because we were living in Kenya and we were living at a children’s home and volunteering, I wasn’t making money doing family photography, obviously while we lived there. So I realized I could still make an income if I did the copy side of things. So that’s when I really formalized my signature process. And I worked with people every single week that we lived there the whole four months we were there, wound up getting pregnant there. are. And so my husband and I came back four months after we left. And then I was like hitting the ground running right when I got back in January of 2018. And started really doing more copy than photography at that point. But photography has always been a part of my business. But then as you know, like having a baby, it’s a lot easier to work on your couch than it is to get up and get out. And then I was pregnant with my second when COVID hit, and then it was like, Oh, I’m not photographing at all. So I think photography was naturally becoming less and less than my life anyway. But with COVID It wasn’t even an option, because the way I photograph is in people’s homes. So it was like, Well, I’m not going inside anybody anybody’s house for a while. So that’s when it was like, Oh, we’re gonna rebrand and like copy is what we do now.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah, yeah. And so do you think you eventually would have ended up in the same spot had COVID not happened? Or do you think you’d still be really balancing both? Like, what do you like? Do you think that was a gift from the universe or a forced pivot? Or, you know, how do you how do you see I

Rachel Greiman
think it was forced to pivot. In a lot of ways, mostly in my life, not as much in the business because it was kind of going that way already. But I had just spent 1000s of dollars on a rebrand in October of 2019. And because up until October of 2018, I was a photographer online, like I had one page about copy that I could send people to, but all of my referrals were word of mouth. I wasn’t advertising myself as a copywriter. I was just taking the clients that came to me. And so in October of 2018, well, that summer, realistically, when we started, it was like, Okay, I would like to put my offerings right next to each other. So when you came to my site, it was like, Are you here for family photography? Are you here for copywriting for photographers, right? So they were given, they were both given a future status, but it was equal between the two. And then so I was and we were living in Philadelphia at the time, we moved from Denver back to Pennsylvania, where I’m from, so I could be closer to family. And, you know, with one kid and pregnant, and so, when COVID happened, that really transformed our perspective of living in the city, which we had loved for the year before. COVID, like, absolutely adored it, we were looking at buying a home in Philly, we had started to build some community, I had started to grow my photography business. So I don’t think that I would have pivoted so hard into copy. COVID not happened. So the beginning of 2022, we took full photography off our site altogether and now copywriting collective, I do not think that pivot would have happened. Because I don’t think we would have moved back to Denver, like my whole life would be different. It radically transformed everything.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Wow. So before COVID happened, were you starting to see a natural shift in getting more inquiries about copy? Like, was that happening on its own? Or were you still getting like both? I’m just I this is totally not even what we’re going to talk about today. Yeah, serious?

Rachel Greiman
Yeah, no, I definitely still getting both. But it was absolutely more copy. Like once we put copy up on our website as a main offering and 2019. I started going on a lot of podcasts about it. I started advertising myself, we were really closely tied in 2017, and the beginning of 2018. With a company that is no longer no longer with us. It was a couple that ran photography, education. And we got almost all of our referrals from there. So I just didn’t really advertise. Once I cut ties with them. I decided that, oh, there’s several photographers that don’t even know who these people are, I can advertise to all of them. So once I started marketing myself as a copywriter at the end of 2019, it was just like, it just

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah, yeah, that’s fascinating. That’s a whole nother episode for a whole nother. Okay, so the reason I invited you on the podcast today is I wanted to do a deep dive into this conversation about creatives and overwhelm, because it is a thing and we all have it, to what degree is different from person to person and season of life. But I’ve recently heard you on the Get Paid podcast and I literally messaged you immediately after listening to that episode, which took me a couple days because it was like it was longer than an hour. Yeah, I know. But I was committed. And I literally messaged you and I was like, we’re gonna take this conversation to my podcast because I am. I’m super invested in it. So that’s what I want to continue. So before we dive into our chat, give me a little backstory for some folks that maybe have not listened to that episode, which I will link in the show notes. Tell me about your experience with overwhelm and your business.

Rachel Greiman
Yeah, I mean, I could talk for an hour straight so I’ll try to keep it brief. I exactly like you said, I think it totally depends on phase of life for different people and overwhelm can come in all shapes and sizes and from any direction. For me, it was my life. That was overwhelming. My business was Ain’t my business was actually my safe, steady place. But my life was overwhelming to the point where I couldn’t operate the business the way that I wanted to anymore. So then it very quickly became overwhelming. Like I said, I was six months pregnant when the pandemic hit. And then we lost all of our childcare, we had full time care lined up for both kids. When I was pregnant, we had this plan. And my nanny was having a baby the same time I was. So we both like, we’re like, oh, we’re staying home and not seeing people now. So we went from my husband, I both working full time and having full time care to nothing. And so my maternity leave, I was like, very responsible, you know, I had gotten everything set up financially, and I had a plan for it. And then with a pandemic, and not having childcare, I just, I was paralyzed by overwhelm. And by how do I nurse a baby 17 times a day, recover? Live in a five storey townhouse where it’s not very easy for me to get up and down the stairs in the beginning, wow. And to have a two year old and function like, how do I do this. And so I very quickly realized financially, it was going to look a lot different in 2020 than I had planned. And I stopped taking clients for myself. And I gave most of the work to my writers, which they were grateful for. And they were champions about, and I kind of, I didn’t slow down as much as I should have, and 2020. And then by the time, January 2021, came around, I was like, Okay, well, this pandemic is still happening. We’re almost a year in, I guess, I’m not going to work anymore. And I literally had a call with my writers. And I was like, so this will be our last year writing websites at the end of 2021. We’re just going to shut things down and phase it out. And I just thought for sure that they were their parents too. So I thought they were feeling the same overwhelmed that I was, but they weren’t. They just had different support systems. And I did. And they were like, Oh, we’re not, we’re loving this. We want to keep writing. And I was like, Okay, well, I guess I’ll just like send you the inquiries that I get from people. And I was just totally resolved. I was just so burned out. I was so spread thin between everything. And we were planning across country moved back to Denver at that point. So I think I was just so in my own head about possibilities, and about how much work had to get done that I was like, I just need to stop doing this. And I didn’t know what was next. I didn’t have a plan. I was just going to be done. But then I had a phone call with a very trusted colleague who coached me through and was like, What are you doing? Yeah, this is ridiculous. Just get some help hire an assistant. And I was like, oh, and he just really bullied me. And it was like, okay, he, he just showed me a way out or a path to making this work. And so I interviewed assistants for two months, and all of them turned down the job. So I wasted 40 hours that I did not have to give. But eventually I did get an assistant. But once I made the choice that I was going to keep going, every decision I made from that call in January of 2021 was geared toward making the business function with this new normal. So yeah, that’s the over the overview.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah. So I took I just wrote down several things that I want to circle back to. So first of all, you had a really intentional plan of what you thought the year was going to look like before the pandemic, right like you knew you were going to be pivoting your business, you saved a bunch of money for maternity leave, you had Child Care hired, you have like the plan created and daycare was booked. We like gotten on the waitlist, that is all incredible. And I will say that I think that’s one of the things that especially people that are newer in business struggle with just that piece, just committing to like, I’m going to need to save money, I’m going to need a plan, I’m going to need child care, right? They don’t even do that they try and live in this in this dream world of I can be the stay at home Pinterest mom to my to my young ones and also run this wildly successful business all by myself. Right. Right. And so I think that’s, I think that’s awesome. And I’m wondering, have you always been the type of person that’s like, let’s create a plan. Let’s be intentional about this, or did somebody advise you to create those plans? You know, like, because that’s so that’s so unheard of for being a creative. You know what I mean? So,

Rachel Greiman
this was my second rodeo with a maternity leave. So I learned a lot of from my mistakes from the first time around. Right? So I hired my first hire ever when I was 30. It was like 3638 Weeks Pregnant somewhere in there. And his first client was the week I delivered my daughter. And I was like literally the day I got home from the hospital. Boop boop boop boop boop, like emailing him instructing him how to do his job, because I had just trained him the week before. So it was fine. It worked. But I was like, Oh, the next time I do this, I’m going to do it a little differently because I worked through my whole maternity leave. Like I would sprint to my computer at naptime to work and I would sprint to my computer. As soon as she was down for the night, I would email while pumping every night. Like it was just, it was a mess. But she was really good baby. So I had the luxury of making a mistake, and then having a lot of time while she slept to fix it. Yeah, yeah. And to kind of course, correct. So by the time I was having my second one, I was like, Okay, we’re not repeating that. I had blocked off, like two full months for me to just chill, and to not manage anything. And I had money in the bank for that the second time, but like we had committed, like you said, we had committed so hard to this copywriting pivot. I had ads starting the week COVID. Like, I was like, just gearing up I was I had, literally, it was like a rededication Yeah, to doing this in early 2020. And then to be hit so hard with all these factors. And I’ve said this since the beginning of the pandemic, I feel like it asks moms of all age kids, it’s like, we might have an A, B, and C plan. But you’re gonna have to figure out D, like, I know, you already came up with three separate plans, that might work, but you need to do one more. Right. And that requirement of going to plan D is what has like worn away my resilience. Yeah, yeah, is what has like, kind of ground me down to survival mode, because I am, I wasn’t as prepared in the earlier part of my life. But since COVID, it’s like, all I do is prepare, I become a version of myself that I’m not. And it’s still not enough. Right. So I think that is the overwhelm. It was just all of it coming at me at once. Yeah, for

Sabrina Gebhardt
sure. And then you mentioned, you know, different people having different support systems in place and how you didn’t have that. And so that is one of the things that really fostered this overwhelm, but you were watching other people that I’m sure weren’t fine, but seemed more fine because of the support system, you know, and I think that’s a huge piece, also to creatives. And speaking to having all this help, whether it be your mother in law, or your neighbor, or paid help, or whatever, having those support systems in place, is huge. But also, I always find that like you need them before you think you need them. You know what I mean? Like, yes, having something in your back pocket, again, whether it’s you hire somebody before you think you’re ready, or you just have, you know, a standing date with your mother in law to like, have the kids or whatever. Having a support system is huge. Whether it be for your business or your mental health, right,

Rachel Greiman
totally. And I think as moms, we’re always doing the child care juggle. So it’s like, once you think you have that problem solved, you check it off your to do list, it’s done. So when I had solved this puzzle of finding full time care for two kids in two different settings, and both of them fell through it, the bottom of my life fell out. Yeah. Because I am not the kind of person that can work when her kids are around. I’m writing like, Yeah, have you ever tried to write something with a toddler at your elbow? It’s so hard. Yeah, I think I’m a really efficient writer, but I’m not that efficient. And I will say I have to take responsibility for this too. I was so cautious with COVID, like having a newborn in June of that year. And like, so I was being very picky about who could be around, I know that my family who we lived an hour away from would have come in a heartbeat. But they weren’t willing to not go to church and not wear masks and that kind of thing. And that’s their choice. They’re allowed to pick that. But it definitely informed my decision about coming back to Denver, where it was like, I wanted to be with people who were living the same way that we were. So we felt safe as a family. And it was just a bummer, because I saw my family a ton the first year that we were there, and they were such a huge help, you know, my mom would have moved in if I let her. And so it’s not that people weren’t willing, it was just we didn’t know what we didn’t know at the time. And so we were just being extra cautious. And it just piled on.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah, yeah. And I feel like so your story is very your overwhelm story is very tied to the pandemic but a lot of us have there’s, you know, there’s multiple types of overwhelm. There’s the kind that just kind of creeps in little by little and you don’t even see it coming. And then there’s, you know, my overwhelm and, and burnout story is tied to you know, like some tragic grief situations that kind of all happened at once. So it wasn’t pandemic, you know, I had gone through it before, but it’s in both situations in my situation in your situation and with a lot of others. It’s the surprise like no one sees it coming. Yes, right. It’s

Rachel Greiman
it’s having an expectation that is either not met or so Nothing happens to it.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah, yeah. And it’s the all of a sudden, you know, you had, it’s almost grieving what you thought you were going to have, right? Like, you’ve had this vision and this plan, and you were ready for it, and you knew what was gonna happen. And then something happens. And it’s like, just kidding, I’ve, you know, we’re doing something totally different. And so I explain it that when you’re overwhelmed, and then you get into this deep, deep burnout, that is almost a level of depression, that it’s like a bucket of water that is now overflowing. And before you can handle little drops added in and taken out, because you’re still carrying it around. But once you get to the point where it’s sloshing over, and you can no longer hold it, that’s when you get to this nervous system shut down, like you mentioned, where you were like, I’m just gonna burn it all down, I don’t even care about my business.

Rachel Greiman
Right, right. And it felt like I was doing these small things to like, bail out the bucket, and, like, get things out. And it was like, I’m going on walks, you know, like, I’m like trying to do these things that keep me in a same space. And then it just all hit me when we decided to move that was like the final gallon that just got poured in. And it was like, I can’t bail this out. I’m just gonna let it sink. I’m just gonna let it sink. Yeah. And I think I think your habits, your daily habits contribute to either bailing it out, or adding to it adding to that bucket. And my daily habits when I was in that state of overwhelm. And this is what I talked about on the Get Paid podcast was I would just numb with social media and scroll and scroll and scroll. And that was adding cups to that bucket that was already really at the tippy top. And it wasn’t anybody’s fault, except for my own because I was just consuming too much content from people that were living differently than me. And it didn’t matter, right? Like, I didn’t need to know that there were other moms of young kids that had full time help, right? And could run their business the way that they want. Right at that moment in time. I didn’t need to know that. Right. And all it did was make me look at my life, and just grimace and be angry about it. And rather than like I say this all the time, and like I don’t really believe in regrets, but this is a regret of mine. I love two year olds. I like especially fresh two year olds. I think that’s so funny. And they’re just such a delight. And my daughter turned to like, a couple of days before I had my son. Yeah. And that whole summer. I just don’t think I enjoyed her. I didn’t notice. Like I watched her videos now from that time. And I’m like, because my son is just turned two in June. And I’m looking at him. And I was like, How did I not appreciate that with her like, this is fine. But I had dug myself into this hole so deep that I couldn’t even see the good pieces of my day. Yeah. So social media really just

Sabrina Gebhardt
Oh, yummy. Yeah, I totally know what you mean about just missing out on things. I mean, when I was in my window, right after, when I just kind of hit the wall and was like, That’s it. I’m checked out. I’m done here. You know, my business wasn’t exciting anymore. I didn’t care about I didn’t have like extreme thoughts. But I was just like, I kind of want to do over on my life. I was just super mad over everything. You know what I mean? Which is like, not who you are. Exactly, exactly. And luckily, I had the clarity of mind to know that I was thinking weird things, you know, saying, but it’s it’s one of those things that it just it hits you so hard, because all of all of a sudden, something like you said is that last gallon, and maybe your habits weren’t good before. And maybe you were doing too much of too many bad things before. And then it’s just just something happens. And you’re like, and we’re done. I’m just totally shutting down. I don’t care about anything anymore. And that’s when it gets real scary. Yeah. Because at that point, like you need professional help to get that gallon out to get you back to a functional place where you can start to think clearly and make intentional steps. But without that help, like you can’t get yourself out of that, you know? Yeah, there’s no getting out of that yourself. Circling back to what you said about the daily habits. I think that’s something that we can both you and I can both say, you know, after having been through this now, we are much healthier in our daily habits than we weren’t before. Because we know that keeps us at a level of health that can we can manage a little stress thrown in because we our bucket is so much lower by just naturally. Does that make sense? Yes. Yeah, absolutely. It does. I, for me, like you’re talking about professional help.

Rachel Greiman
I started seeing a therapist like the month after my son was born, who I still see to this day two years later, and this spring was another season that was just really, really difficult and And then I got on some meds. And I just, I have always been someone that when I acknowledge something isn’t right, I can just institute a couple of habits make it better, no big deal. Okay, I know what I need to do, right. And this spring, it was like, I have been at this for two years, going to therapy, taking my dumb little walk every day, you know, trying to stay off my phone, like, I’m doing all of the things that I can and it still isn’t better. Like, it’s not like, oh, problem solved. So then it was like, I went on this medicine. And now at this point, I feel like I’m finally getting to the place where I can breathe. And I can have, you know, I don’t want to say discipline, I don’t like that word. I don’t like to tell people they need to have it. But I can, like, look at my day and own it a little bit more and feel more in control of how I spend my time, rather than letting life happen at me.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah, yeah. And talking about all of these, you know, healthy habits, and being willing to see a professional or get on medication and do all these things. And also being aware of when we need to do those things, right. Like, if you are going into a week where you know ahead of time, it’s going to be real tough, or it’s becoming tough and you weren’t prepared, we can pause and, and we know what to do, right. But all of those things we’re talking about, none of those are related to number one being a mom, or number two, being a business owner, like they all require us being willing to pause and say I have to prioritize my time to do XYZ to keep me sane. And I think that’s another thing that female entrepreneurs, especially moms that are entrepreneurs struggle with, because they’re like, I can’t stop because Johnny needs this, I can’t stop because my laundry is overflowing, I can’t stop because I have clients waiting for edits, I can’t stop because XYZ is launching. And I think that’s one of the things I know that’s one of the things that adds so much fuel to the overwhelm fire is you know, not being willing to stop and prioritize taking care of ourselves

Rachel Greiman
totally. And it’s not even not prioritizing your business. It’s just accepting where you how much you can work on it. I think that’s what I needed to do. It was I had all these big goals, and I wanted to hit you know, these big numbers and have this many clients that year and all this stuff. And it was just like, I needed to take a step back and say, my kids need me X amount that leaves this much to work. So what can I scale back on in my life, if I only make this much, and being willing to make less than I set out too, was accepting that the goals were unrealistic, or my circumstances had changed, not blaming myself for that. And just saying, I’m only going to be in this phase for this year, or this month, or whatever it is, whatever circumstances thrown you off and overwhelmed you. It is finite. And so for me, it was like my babies are really little right now. It sucks that I’m in a pandemic with no childcare, and I have two kids under two, that is not ideal, I would not have planned that if I could have done it differently. But that was the reality of it. And I needed to change the way that I was running my business rather than trying to force it all into working. That wasn’t it wasn’t feasible, it wasn’t possible. And I see a lot of women specifically moms get overwhelmed, because they’re not willing to change their goals, or they’re not willing to change how they operate within their business. And just because someone else is doing it. And just because you listened to a podcast, and made that goal for yourself on a random Monday doesn’t mean you have to follow through and sacrifice your sanity for it. Right. I just feel like there’s so much toxic business advice out there about if you don’t fight for your goals, no one will write like, well, if you don’t like stay sane for your kids, no one can help you with that. Exactly. It’s all on you. And I just feel like so much of us get disappointed in ourselves, or we think we’re not doing enough. Because we’re not hitting an arbitrary marker. And I’m not saying like, Don’t feed your family. Like you got to make enough. Right? Right. It makes sense for sure. But at the same time, a lot of the women in my circle, they’re not trying to feed their family. They’re trying to scale and you know, level up and that kind of thing. And I’m just like, maybe it’s not the time. Yeah, I don’t care if she’s doing it. Yeah. And that’s what i The point I had to get to because I realized how much I was comparing myself to women who just had very, very different circumstances than me telling myself, well, if you could just suck it up. You could have that life too. When it was like no, I’m not going to ask myself to suck it up right now. This is really hard and I’m going to survive.

Sabrina Gebhardt
I tell my students that all the time that as a female entrepreneur, you that has kids specifically, you can pick one of two paths, you can pick the path of it is very important for me to be as present for my little kids before they go off to school as possible. That’s wonderful. Or you can pick the path of it is really in my heart to build this thing right now I’m going to have full time childcare, and I’m not going to be upset about it. Most don’t intersect. It’s one or the other. Neither of them has to be permanent. But you have to give yourself the grace to understand which one is right for you. And they’re they’re both great answers,

Rachel Greiman
but it’s so well said they don’t intersect that. So well said because I think a lot of people, myself included, try to have both and you just can’t do you listen to Kate Kennedy’s podcast be there in five. It’s really good. It’s mostly about pop culture. But she’s brilliant. And like just her musings about life in general, everybody should listen to it. But she had a podcast. It’s called the childless millennial. And because her career is going really well, she’s my age, I think, around 35. And you know, it, she says something in this episode. And I think about it like once a week, she’s like, it’s just such a bummer that women’s peak childbearing years coincide with the launch pad for their career, essentially, you know, a lot of us are making really big career decisions in our 30s. Not to say you can’t change a pivot, of course you can. But a lot of us are settling in to who we want to be and the work we want to do in the world in our 30s. That’s also when most of us are having kids. So what you just said, I think is so significant, because you don’t, I didn’t think about that. Yeah, until I had my first and I was like, Oh, I have to choose, like, I had to make a choice. And it was really overwhelming. So anyway, I just think that that’s really important and really significant. And if you don’t have kids, and you’re thinking about it, think about it. Yeah. And if you do have kids, and you’re trying to do both, give yourself a break and just pick one.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah. And that’s the thing is like, It’s okay, just pick one. And again, if you pick one, and you do it for a year, and it doesn’t feel good, you can pick the other. I mean, you get to make your own rules, but being aware of you can’t do both, well, you can’t do both at the same time is really freeing because it, it allows you to say, Okay, I’m going to do the full time entrepreneur thing, my kids are going to have a great time at school or with a nanny or with whoever, and I’m going to be an awesome mom after hours. That’s the life we’re gonna live. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The other thing you said that I want to circle back around on it was something about, you mentioned your capacity. And I think that is another thing that is really different. We see all these people online, like you said, doing all these things and overachieving and hitting marks and whatever, while seemingly having, you know, perfect parent lives as well. Some people have different capacities for what they can handle than others. And knowing your capacity for what you can handle. And still being a good human to yourself to your partner, to your kids to your community is different than your neighbor is different than yours. You know, it’s knowing where you can, what you can handle how many hours you can handle just how many juggling things in the air you can handle is different than you know, Jane on the internet, right? Like totally,

Rachel Greiman
I think before kids though. Even before my second I was that person, I didn’t have a capacity. Like there was no ceiling. I never met my ceiling. Yeah. And I think for a long time, I attributed that to just who I am as a person, very high achieving. But now looking back, I attribute it to Oh, my life was just really easy before. I didn’t hit my capacity, because the road was paved with gold ahead of me. You know, it just wasn’t that I didn’t have trials. And so when I had my second in the pandemic, how many times can I talk about this pandemic? I’m so sick of it. I’m sorry. This is just This is my villain origin story. Yeah. So when that hit, it was just like, oh, girlfriend does have a capacity and I am hitting it right now. Right? And so it was really good for me to literally feel that in my body what it felt like, like, it feels like a tense jaw. It feels like the painful back. It feels like a racing heart. Like I can explain exactly what it feels like when I’m reaching a state of overwhelm physically. Yeah. And it was really good to feel that and it was awful, but it was. Now it’s healthy to have that marker and that like barometer, so I can feel it coming. Again. I felt it coming this spring. And I had like three major surgeries all at once and it was really overwhelming. And I just took the second half of the year off from writing. Like I have clients at that point. This was April I Clients booked up till July and I said, okay, my calendar is closed for the rest of the year, I don’t need to work to hit the minimum that we need to keep functioning and paying ourselves. And my writers are crushing it. So why not keep them working. And I will lean into the marketing side of my business, you know, and I’ve been able to give that so much more intention than I ever have before. But feeling all of those physical attributes of overwhelm coming, allowed me to inform a decision that has saved my life this fall, we are October 12, my kids started school like five weeks ago, they had been home 50% of the time, because of illness. And I am so grateful to April, Rachel, for making that decision. Knowing that I just needed a little breathing room this fall. Anyway, I forget even what question you asked, but capacity. So now that I know physically what it feels like to reach the upper limit of my capacity, I can make adjustments to accommodate that.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah. And I love that you said, you know, April, Rachel, like I that is one thing that I think is so important. And also creatives struggle with because you know, so many creatives are like, I don’t plan ahead, I’m, you know, a free spirit, that’s great. But when you can plan ahead and look ahead and think, Okay, I know this is going to feel a little a little heavy, I’m going to be working more, or I’m going to have XYZ on my plate or we’re moving or whatever it is, and put a plan in place, put a support system in place, whether it be working less, or getting more childcare, or whatever it is, you don’t think you need it, but planning for it, your future self thinks you and it really does end up being like the best gift for yourself

Rachel Greiman
100%. And I often just think about how, in the beginning of my business, I hadn’t no idea how much running a business cost. And you’ve alluded to that so many times, like, people just think like, oh, I’ll just run this awesome business and be this mom and do all of these things. And it’s just like, okay, it costs a lot of money to run a business, right. And so you need to start with what you can minimally live off of, like, I like you need to figure out what that minimum is, and make sure you hit that every month after all of your expenses, right? It’s important to know that minimum before you do any goal setting, because you need to know how much work it takes to get to that minimum. So you can know when you can add on and what you can slice off the top when you need an emotional break, right. And that’s the bit that’s just the business of running your own business. Because if you work for someone else, you wouldn’t have to do this math, you would just get the paycheck every two weeks. Exactly, which is fabulous. But you also don’t have freedom then. And so just entering into this conversation about overwhelm, and kind of this thinking about overwhelm, I don’t want to paint a picture as if it’s not worth it, because it is, and I love owning my own business. And I’ve needed to, I don’t know how I would have functioned the last two years if I were an employer, but I just want people to think about if you’re at the beginning, don’t pay yourself how much you’re making, you know, and I know that’s like business 101. But you want to have those buffers for when you hit that capacity.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah, I think it’s, uh, you know, if I were to start over again, that is something that I would change, I would put more of my income into other things to lighten my load, whether it be bringing on assistant student, or hiring this or whatever, instead of bringing in all this money into my pocket and thinking, whoo, look at me, like I That’s totally a reversal. So I think that’s such good advice. I am curious, we’re going to start to kind of wrap things up. I’m curious, what what things are you doing? Or did you do are you currently doing that helped pull you out of that deep overwhelm, and that help kind of keep you out of it? In a place where you’re happy? Again, you’re happy with your kids, you’re happy with your business? Like it keeps Rachel in a good spot? Like what are some of your things that you rely on?

Rachel Greiman
For me it was building a team? And that’s not the answer for everyone. I don’t want anybody who hates managing people to take that and run and be like, Well, I have to have an assistant. That’s the only way to be happy. Like, no, you might not like that. But for me, I, the people, my writers and specifically, our captain of organization at Grainger stories, her name is Jess, I would not run this business. If they weren’t with me. I just wouldn’t do it. It’s not worth it to me that I have been doing this for eight years. And there is so much that I’m not good at at this point, and that they do better than me. And I am thrilled to throw money at them to do it. And our clients get a better experience because we’re all working together. When I think about reinsurance stories without them. I could cry, thinking about having to do it by myself again. I also love managing people though. It truly lights me up. I love teaching. I love paying people It feels so good to pay people and they’re worth their weight and gold. Do

Sabrina Gebhardt
you did you have a hard time hiring people at first or like handing off jobs that you were doing or were you ready to get rid of stuff? Like did you have control? Okay, so you didn’t have like a control issue to where you’re like, Oh, I feel like I need to do everything myself. You were ready. Um,

Rachel Greiman
I think I would have been like that. But because my first hire was like, a couple weeks before I had my daughter, and he needed to jump in, it was like, Yeah, we’re doing this. So it was like, you know, going on a roller coaster like, Oh, we’re going up, I guess I can’t back out now. So it was like kind of trial by fire for both of us. And he was awesome. And I’ve gotten really, really lucky. I’ve hired four writers in the past four years. And Levi just left, he was with me for four years. And so I still have three of those writers. And all of them have been amazing. Like, I’ve never had a bad hire. And I know that that’s not typical. I just got really lucky. But I like to think that the online presence I’ve created has brought the right people in because I’m really honest and upfront about who I am and what we’re about. And I think that weeds out a lot of the people that wouldn’t be a good fit. I also think like, I tried to hire my assistant in February of 2021. And I didn’t actually hire her until July. So by the time she got there, I was like, Here, take it. You know, there are still some very small pieces of our process that I’m precious about. But there’s so minuscule that I would not call myself controlling.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah, no, that’s awesome. I love that. And then what are some little like practical day to day things that you do that helped keep you sane? Like your, whether you want to call them self care or time for yourself or whatever, like, what are the pieces that really help you stay sane.

Rachel Greiman
I wake up before my kids also really important to me, because I’m the kind of person that if I’m laying down at 830 at night, I’ll fall asleep. I’m not a night owl. I do not want to stay out late. And like being alone in the morning in the dark with a blanket and my computer like there is nothing more heavenly. I’m the kind of person that the alarm goes off. And I’m like, yes, yeah, sleeping time is over. And I love it. So that’s one I don’t get to do all the time, because sometimes I like stay on Tik Tok too late. That’s a bad habit that I need to break. But I, Aaron moon on Instagram, she’s great. She talks about stupid walks for your mental health, I do a lot of walking, a lot of walking. I just started running again, that’s this month. It’s been my goal for October. So just moving in any type of way is really, really important to me. And I bake a lot I get I get to bring delicious things to people that I love. Those are like, anything that stops me from scrolling on my phone, and like puts me back into my life. That’s a good habit for me.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah, that’s great. I love that you know that about yourself. Okay, so last real question. And then we’ll get into some fun rapid fire ones. But let’s say you meet a female creative and she is in this same deep overwhelm burnout almost on the edge of depression. And like she’s really struggling, she’s ready to just burn it all down. What would you tell her? How would you encourage her to get started and kind of save herself? I would ask

Rachel Greiman
her a lot of questions. I think the worst thing I can do is answer this question with blanket advice. Because I had the luxury of pulling back and my household didn’t suffer that much. Now that I’m not working this fall, we’ve made a lot of financial changes in the way that we live our life. Like it is the 12th and we have only spent $60. On going out to eat this month. We used to drop that every three days. Yeah, you know, even a month ago. And so like, I’m, I am all about practically looking at your numbers and what you need to achieve and making it meet your mental state. Because there is nothing worse than being on that cusp of depression or in it and somebody saying well, why don’t you just there is no just right. Every single choice you make at that point comes with a sacrifice somewhere else in your life. Yeah. So the first question I would ask her is like, what are you willing to sacrifice to make yourself feel better? Because something has to change? And it’s not easy, but let’s pick the easiest thing. The easiest win, and I hate Dave Ramsey’s, but or was that his name? Dave Ramsey? Yeah. The financial guy. Yeah. Smart, but not a great person. Yeah, but his wins with debt. He always says Pay off your smallest debt first. Because yeah, it’s an easy win. And it gets your momentum going. Yeah, that’s how I feel about this conversation. What is the smallest thing you can do today to make yourself feel less overwhelmed? And when I feel overwhelmed, that’s what I do. I look at my to do list and I’m like, it’s an easy win. And sometimes it’s just making a real as dumb as that sounds. No, like you’re, you know, a body in motion stays in motion. So if you give yourself that when you’re going to be way more likely to tackle something else. I’m not to do list. And if you don’t, at least you got a win for today. So as much as I would love to give like this great answer about, you know, tangible things you can do. It’s so personalized. And so I would just say like who do you trust in your life to help guide you through this? Like that’s what people are there for? Yeah, I

Sabrina Gebhardt
love the question that what are you willing To sacrifice to to make yourself feel better. That is, that is a great starting point because you’re right. Like, the what has gotten you to this point is because you’re trying to do all the things and you’re not willing to make a sacrifice, like something has to be something or multiple something’s has to be taken off your plate. What is it?

Rachel Greiman
And sacrifice makes it sound like the hustle culture? I don’t mean that. No, I know

Sabrina Gebhardt
what you mean. It’s like you can’t you can’t stay committed to doing the volunteering, doing the Pinterest mom doing the business, doing all the things yourself trying to work out everyday trying to cook dinner everyday trying to do some things are going to have to go Yeah,

Rachel Greiman
Aaron Moon, who I was talking about talks about the stupid walk. She says this quote all the time, and it is at the forefront of my brain every day, you need to picture yourself, holding all the plates or juggling all the plates in the air, you need to decide which ones are trying to and which ones are paper, because the paper ones can fall. For me it was my kids eating, I was so committed that to them never having mac and cheese and chicken nuggets. And you know, they needed to eat all this healthy food. And eventually it was like I am putting so much time and energy into this specific thing. And if they have chicken nuggets, even every day, nothing happens. Nothing happens. It’s a paper plate. It might be a china plate for someone else. I’m not going to tell you what to paper and what’s China. But that’s what I mean by sacrifice. You’re not dramatically changing everything and going on no spending, whatever. You’re just saying like, what are the ideals that I am asking myself to live up to that or not feasible?

Sabrina Gebhardt
Right, right. And, and the other thing and like we’ve mentioned before, nothing’s permanent. It’s just for right now. What can be let go of right now so that I can crawl out of this pit? Maybe you pick them back up later? You know?

Rachel Greiman
Exactly. My kids eat way less chicken nuggets now than they did a year ago. Honestly, yeah, I just needed to drop it for a second. And do that hit the easy button for myself. So I could be who I need to be and now the vegetables okay, it’s yeah, it’s

Sabrina Gebhardt
fine. It’s all fine. Okay, so we’re gonna end with four quick questions, just a personality of fun stuff. What is your current favorite coffee shop order?

Rachel Greiman
Well not go to coffee shops right now? Of course I do. When I do I get usually like a medium sized cafe au lait, which is just half drip coffee, and half steamed milk. Because I don’t like all the milk in lattes. And I usually get like an oat milk of something. And usually with a little pump of like vanilla or caramel or something in there to sweeten it up a little,

Sabrina Gebhardt
little some extra. Okay, um, what’s your dream vacation?

Rachel Greiman
I really want to go drink a lot of wine in Spain. Hmm, that’s what I want to do. We went to Italy for our 10 year anniversary last fall. And it was amazing. It was amazing. And now I want to go do that. Everywhere else.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Oh, that sounds dreamy. Okay, so thinking back over the course of your business, what was the decision or investment that was the biggest game changer for you?

Rachel Greiman
Hiring my first writer. Without a doubt. Once I saw how easy it was not easy. It’s not easy. But once I saw how life giving it was and how freeing it was for me and my time, I was like, oh, I want to pay everyone to do everything. Yeah,

Sabrina Gebhardt
yeah, that’s awesome. For outsourcing. I love it. I love it. Okay, last question. If you were not an entrepreneur, doing copywriting, what would

Rachel Greiman
you be doing? I always think I would really want to be a dog walker. But I think that’s just because I’m tired. And that’s like really mindless. Realistically, probably a therapist,

Sabrina Gebhardt
I love I love both of those answers. So much. I do. All right, my friend. This was a really fun chat. And I know that based on our conversation multiple times, I was like, that could be another conversation. That could be another chat. I will come back anytime. Yes, it’ll just be a matter of time until you come back. But share with the audience today where they can find you.

Rachel Greiman
Yeah, I’m on Instagram all the time. DMS are very open, I respond to every single one. It’s just at green chair stories. And then if you’re interested in copy stuff, which we didn’t talk about at all, but if you’re interested in it, we have a bunch of different offers on our site green chair stories.com. You can work with a writer directly, we can audit your site. We just added an SEO offer. That’s really exciting. And we have a bunch of digital products if you’re more on the DIY end of business right now.

Sabrina Gebhardt
Yeah, and I didn’t Yeah, we didn’t even talk about that at all. And I didn’t even mention. I don’t think that’s how I met you. But you’ve done work on my old site. But yeah, and I think it was I think I met you through doing that how I met you. Okay, so maybe it was that and then, you know, other things. So anyways, Rachel’s fabulous, so you don’t think so? Are you? You definitely want to hire her. All right, my friend. This has been such a fun chat. Thank you for your time.

Rachel Greiman
Thank you so much. This was great.

Sabrina Gebhardt
All right until Next time my friends bye. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at Sabrina gebhardt.com backslash podcast. Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gebhardt photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review. Until next time, my friends shoot it straight.

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