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23: Accidental CEO: How Haylee Crowley Built Whimsy + Wellness

How Haylee Crowley Built Whimsy + Wellness
The Whimsy and Wellness Podcast
The Whimsy and Wellness Podcast
23: Accidental CEO: How Haylee Crowley Built Whimsy + Wellness

Have you ever wondered how Whimsy and Wellness was born and what made it into the go-to brand that essential oil lovers use to spice up their wellness routine? Well, now you don’t have to! Every business has a unique story behind why it began and Whimsy and Wellness is no different.

In today’s episode, Haylee is back on the show to give us an inside look at how Whimsy and Wellness started and what the business looks like today. Haylee shares about her beautiful journey of selling bottles on Etsy to distract herself from grief, how that evolved, and how she runs a thriving business alongside her husband, Russ. Plus, she’s sharing why being real and authentic on Instagram helped grow the Whimsy brand, what the hiring process looks like, and her best advice for new business owners as they navigate their own journey.

Trust me, you definitely don’t want to miss this episode!

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Resources Mentioned:

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle



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Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of the Whimsy & Wellness Podcast hosted by Meg Ryan and brought to you by Whimsy & Wellness; your go-to shop for essential oil accessories, crystals, and more!

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Music by Taylor Ryan

“Just being super self aware because yes, the business is so important. But also your life is very important too. There is not always going to be a perfect balance. But fighting to make sure that your life and your relationships away from the business stay strong and healthy, and that your own self care comes into play somewhere there is really important.” – Haylee

Meg: I’m so excited to be talking about the Whimsy story. 

Haylee: I know. It’s so exciting and fun. 

Meg: Right? It’s like how she built this. So let’s just dive right in, because we’ve had episodes with you before. So if this is anyone’s first episode, with Haylee, there’s a bunch. Obviously, she’s the founder of Whimsy and Wellness, and she runs this amazing brand. We’re not just a podcast. So if you found this episode, not from our company, can you, Haylee, tell people who only know about the podcast what Whimsy and Wellness is?

How Haylee Crowley Built Whimsy + Wellness

What Is Whimsy and Wellness

Haylee: Whimsy and Wellness is a brand and we sell beautiful, wonderful, fun, essential oil bottles. So we like to say that we like to make your routine, anything but routine. And people are always like, but what’s in the bottles? Where do you get your oils from? What’s in them? I was like, Oh, no, they’re empty. 

And they’re like, what? You just sell empty bottles? And we’re like, Well, yeah, but there’s a reason. And it’s because I started this company, because I was using essential oils that I loved. I didn’t want to buy essential oils from somewhere else or a perfume made with essential oils. No, I would make my own perfume with my own essential oils. But I also want it to be pretty. All the pretty perfume bottles that you see on the shelves. And so that’s what we do. Now it’s just bloomed into roller bottles, spray bottles and anything your DIY heart can imagine. 

Meg: Even if you’re one of those people that say like I’m bad at DIY — it’s really not like DIY painting and hammer DIY. It’s like putting your essential oil in a bottle. Anyone can do it. So how did Whimsy and Wellness start? Let’s just start there.

How Did Whimsy and Wellness Start

Haylee: So it was in 2016, March, I started it. In 2015, I actually experienced two miscarriages. So I had a miscarriage in February. Russ, and I then got married soon. Then we actually had another miscarriage in December. With the first miscarriage, I was actually going to grad school for career counseling. I wanted to work on a college campus, and I was so excited. And then the program turned out just to be a little bit different than I thought. It was very counseling focus. I was Whoa, I can’t handle all these people’s problems. I was just trying to help them find a career path. But we were going through heavy training for counseling, because somebody might come to you to talk to you about their career. But every person has a story. And a lot of things are going to come up during that conversation. So the program was amazing. And they were absolutely doing the right thing. I was just having doubts about it being for me. 

Then I was pregnant, and we were super excited. We were talking about when the baby’s going to be due the next semester, I should just take that semester off, and then I can continue school after that.

Well, I ended up miscarrying. I had the conversation of, well, maybe you should still take that semester off since you’re having doubts. So fast forward to. I’m taking a break from grad school. I’m in between jobs, not really knowing what to do. I was actually working at Macy’s over the holiday season when I had my second miscarriage. I remember I couldn’t talk to customers anymore. I would just start to tear up and be like what is happening? Grief was happening.

But having that whole time, I was waiting to get pregnant again. We were trying and trying and trying I then started nannying for a family. I was using essential oils during this time. 

Like I said before, I want a bottle that’s not just amber brown. The color brown is just not my thing if you can’t tell by our brand. Earthy colors are for some people and it’s just not it for me. So I was like there’s got to be something better. This is when gold was becoming super popular and I was like you can’t find gold accents. So anyway, I got this machine for Christmas that made labels. You could cut vinyl with your own stuff. So I always forgot what was I putting in my rollers. So I scoured the internet for pretty bottles with gold accents. 

Our first bottles were clear bottles with gold caps. And then I made labels like in a cute scripty font and applied it to the bottle. So I would remember what was in it. Because I was in between jobs, I was like, I’ll just start a little Etsy shop it’ll be so cool. I can help contribute to our family’s income just a tiny bit, and it’ll give me something to focus on instead of just tracking and charting for when I could maybe get pregnant. That’s what started it. 

Meg: Crazy. I know, you’re like I could contribute a little bit to our family. 

Haylee: Seriously, that’s exactly what I thought. 

Meg: Now Russ works with Whimsy and Wellness.  that’s a good transition into my next question, which we also have a episode on grief. So if anyone listening has also experienced miscarriage, Haylee and I did,  it was episode two, or three, it’s one of the firsts, if you scroll back, you can find our grief episode. Maybe that would bring you some comfort or even just sometimes to just feel okay. Maybe this person gets even half of my story or something is really comforting. But can you share how did it feel to start a business when you were personally going through a hard time? Or did it really not feel like business, but more like a creative type thing?

How Haylee Crowley Built Whimsy + Wellness

Sharing Personal Struggles Through Whimsy and Wellness

Haylee: Yeah,  that’s a great point, it definitely didn’t feel like, I’m gonna start a business. That thought never crossed my mind. My thought was, well,  this is cool. I was always a creative person. Just throughout my life, I love to be creative. I can’t draw for anything, but I’m creative in other ways.  people think of creative as drawing or something like that. 

It was definitely never I’m gonna start this business. It was more like,  this is pretty cool. I want to do it. I have some free time. And I need a distraction. Because it was just all I could think about. Okay charting, taking my temperature every morning. I don’t know if anybody experienced really trying to conceive and having a hard time, but it consumes your thoughts. 

Then not only that, when can I get pregnant? But then it was, what happens after I’m pregnant? It was so full of fear because the whole time you’re like, is this going to actually result in me holding my baby at the end? So I just wanted a distraction to think about something besides tracking and charting, and when, and what if, and so yeah, I started the Etsy shop. And at the same time, I started our Instagram.  building a community around the Instagram was also super helpful. So I decided pretty early on to share about my miscarriages. Because at the time, this was about five years ago. At the time, people, I didn’t know anyone that had had a miscarriage. It feels very lonely and just hard as grief in any form can. But I decided to share about it because I thought, well, if one person could read it and feel a little less alone than  it’s worth being vulnerable and putting my story out there.

Meg: Yeah, for sure. When people think of social media now it’s so common to really share struggles, but in 2016 people really were just like, here’s my dog. It was so, so brave to be sharing anything vulnerable or personal. You didn’t you didn’t know anyone who had experienced a miscarriage, but  it’s like one in six, right? So we all know someone, we might just not know that we know someone. So I love that you were just open from the start, and you created that community. So at what point did you realize, Okay, this is becoming way more than just a creative outlet and a distraction?

When Whimsy and Wellness Turned Into A Business

Haylee: I started it in March. By that summer, it was pretty like, Whoa, okay, I’m working a lot. I remember some summer days where my mom would come over and Russ would be there and my sister would be there and we’d all be like around the kitchen table packing orders because I couldn’t keep up by myself. So it was only a few months in. 

It was just crazy. I just never expected that to happen. When  back to then, how many orders we were doing compared to now it’s even crazier because I didn’t have any processes in place or systems in place. I had to figure out from the time we got an order through Etsy, how do I create that order and package that order? Get the shipping label for that order? Every single thing I had to figure out and it was a lot. So many hats. 

Meg: I know that you’re thinking about it. Do you ever look back and wonder how actually did I do that? 

Haylee: Yeah,  that all the time. I still think that to this day, how am I doing this? All the time. I just kept showing up. To be honest, there was never an option to not do it. It’s well, there’s orders. I have to give them their order. I have to just keep showing up every single day. Keep going.

Meg: Let’s go back. I just thought of this. But  especially for someone who’s maybe just starting out, and maybe even selling on Etsy. I know, Etsy also has completely evolved since 2016. and so it’s maybe a little bit harder to sell on Etsy right now as far as reaching people. How did you get your name out there and your product? How did you get these orders coming in so fast?

How Haylee Crowley Built Whimsy + Wellness

How Sharing Your Story Accelerates Growth

Haylee: I have no business expertise by any means. I did not major in business. I never envisioned owning my own business. My major was Parks and Recreation the show, and it was the best. We went on field trips, and I loved it. We’re going on a field trip. We’re going to a hotel in Napa. So yeah, I’m gonna be gone for the day for school. They’re like, what kind of school are you going to? There’s no field trips in college. I was like well, you’re in the wrong major.

I know that Instagram was a pivotal, big role in our growth.  part of it was, I showed up on Instagram as me and Whimsy and Wellness. I wasn’t just like, here’s this brand and never showed myself.  the reason that I started doing that is because I wanted to connect with people like I was experiencing grief. I wanted to have a community. I was working for a family, nannying at the time, so I didn’t necessarily have co workers to be around. So I really wanted connection. 

The other thing that I did starting out pretty early on was, I knew that people needed to know that we were doing this, and I had known a few people in the essential oil world that have bigger followings than me on Instagram. So I just reached out to them and said, Hey, I started this business. If you like any of these things, I sent them some pictures I would love to send it to you. If you like it, I would love for you to share about it. But  there’s no pressure. Because I only wanted people to share if they genuinely liked what we were doing. 

We got some people to say yes, and they shared and like once they shared with their community, then the community became aware of us. Then we would start to get some larger orders from some essential oil teams. They wanted 50 bottles with this thing on it, and we would send it and they would give it to their people on their team. And so then those people knew about us. So very much word of mouth, which I was so thankful for. We were also the first company, that I was aware of, that created bottles with labels on them with gold caps. We were one of the first companies to go in this direction of you need pretty bottles for your oils.  that helped a lot.

Meg: Instagram and community is so, so important. Because we’re so close to our own stories, we think people don’t want to see that. They just want to see my perfect picture perfect products. But no matter what business you’re in, they buy you before they buy your product. Right. Even a couple weeks ago we had Brittany Bollard on the podcast who teaches the Suzy School Method and she really shared in her episode about how you have to get your community your following to know like and trust you. 

You really did that. I told you this when after you hired me, but when I was like, oh, maybe I’ll work for Whimsy and Wellness, we were in the interview process. Well, I remembered in my head when I would think Whimsy and Wellness were these roller bottles and this picture of Haylee that you’ve shared a bunch of times in the hospital with the oxygen thing on your finger. It wasn’t edited. It was taken with an old iPhone. It’s not this fancy photo. But it was you and your story. That’s really telling about a community when of all the things you’ve posted in the products, I was thinking Oh, I remember this the most. I just hope listeners that are building a brand. Don’t forget that show you. People like it, they do. They are interested in you and your story 

Haylee: I agree. I didn’t do that intentionally. Obviously, when I started my business. I wasn’t like, I need to show everybody me so I can make lots of money. I did it because I thought, I wanted community. It’s just become a natural part of what we’ve done. But the key is to show up as you. Don’t try to present things as perfect. If they’re not, you can talk about your struggles being a business owner, or navigating any part of your life, if you’re comfortable with it. 

I just encourage people to do it authentically, if you can. It’s hard. I know. Also, it’s okay, if you’re like, but I don’t necessarily want to be in front of the camera. I don’t want to be the main part of my business. That’s okay, too. But people do love to see behind the scenes. So even if it’s not you and your family or you and it’s something very personal story, they still want to see how do you make what you’re making? Or what are your behind the scenes process look like? Whether you’re building a network marketing business. What are you doing today to build that business? Because I want to see that. Are you sitting in front of a computer with a spreadsheet out? What’s on your spreadsheet? Or are you having coffee and doing zoom meetings today? Well, who are you talking to you? How do you do this? Like people are intrigued by the how,

Meg: I’ve been saying this forever, that Instagram Stories are our new reality TV. I just love what are they doing today? Graphics are necessary when you have a business sometimes. We want to be nosy. Some of my favorite brands, if they were walking around their warehouse or introducing their team members and be so fascinating. Your brand and business can definitely be pretty and aesthetically pleasing and also really real. So hiring help. Let’s talk about that. How many employees and contractors are at Whimsy and Wellness?

How Haylee Crowley Built Whimsy + Wellness

The Team Behind Whimsy and Wellness

Haylee: Good question. We have about 20. Now that that includes Russ and me, because we are employees of our own real company now. Oh, cool. So did you decide to hire help? Yes. So it was within that first year, I hired my sister. It was to help me pack orders. Back then we were creating custom labels. I was creating files of words that people submitted and using my machine to cut them out. Then the process of getting it to be a label, applying them to the bottles. Like there were so many steps, especially with custom orders. 

We didn’t have inventory. Everything was like if you ordered this, okay, gotta go make it. I couldn’t do all the things anymore. So I hired my sister to help me pack orders so that I could do all the other things. It’s a little less scary because it’s your sister. You trust that person already. But eventually we outgrew and I just paid her. We didn’t have like a payroll system. We didn’t have any systems in place, and we didn’t have a bookkeeper. I didn’t know what I was doing because it’s new. Even still, I don’t know what I’m doing. Don’t let this fool you. 

But after my sister, let’s see, who did we hire next? Gosh, I can’t even remember. I can’t remember who we hired after my sister. Oh, I remember, I put out on Facebook as everybody does when they need help with something, they go to Facebook, right. I said we’re looking to hire somebody. When I was in college getting my master’s, I was in a peer mentor to incoming first year students. So I would help them throughout their first semester. One of my former students actually applied. So she came in, she helped me do the labels, and she helped me basically create our inventory. Yeah, so that’s so cool these old connections, and I was the perfect job for a college student. She’s so sweet. So I don’t think it was a difficult decision, just because it’s like, I literally can’t do this on my own. For those positions.

The more difficult hiring decisions are things where it’s well, I could keep working 50 to 60 hours a week. I could, and we would save money because we wouldn’t have to hire somebody. But what is my sanity and life worth? Those hiring decisions are a little bit more difficult. Just because you are basically trading money for your time. Right? You have to decide where is that threshold? Then finding the right people, it’s hard too. It’s scary to trust your business with anybody besides yourself, you know?

Meg: For sure. Especially when you’ve just built your business and it’s like your baby. To just hand over certain things. I can’t imagine. Besides like hiring your sister, and where you are now with hiring people? How do you like do it? And what is your advice for people who feel they need slash want to hire things out, but maybe they don’t know how or where to find people?

When To Start Hiring Help

I also do want to add that when I interviewed Casey Weigand, also back in the beginning, she said that hiring help with something that like now, looking back, she did probably way too late, she should have hired help sooner. I feel like that’s a very common thought with business owners is they look back and they’re wow, I should have hired help sooner. If you’re wondering, should I hire help? You probably should.

Haylee: Right? Yes. Do it. Do it before it’s here. Before it gets way harder. I agree with that. I also feel like I should have hired a lot more help earlier than I did. A a result of that, we hired quite a few people all at once last fall, which was amazing. But then you have to dig yourself out of the hole. Basically, I put off creating systems and having processes in place, because I hate doing that. It’s my nightmare. But it is so important for a business to be functional. 

It got to a point where I was the only person that knew how to do most things in our business. Not everything. We had help with customer service. We had help with fulfilling orders. But most things, it was just me, and I thought, Oh, my gosh, what if something happened to me, and I just couldn’t work anymore? This is our only income for my family. Because at that point, Russ was working full time with us, too. I can’t do that anymore. It’s to the point where we have to have some systems in place, processes in place where I’m not the sole owner of all this stuff in my brain. 

So we had to backtrack a lot. Whereas if we would have started earlier, we could have put these into place that the whole process would have just been a lot more seamless, for sure. But as far as how do you find the people and then what is the process and all the things? I definitely hired a lot of people at beginning from networking. People that I met or knew or this person knew, this person friends of friends or something like that. That’s definitely a good way to start. It just feels a little bit less scary than interviewing a total stranger. There were strangers but they had at least some connection to us. 

So again, definitely just reaching out on Facebook. You might be surprised of what your network could have. Then just telling people that in real life or internet friends starting there, and if you still can’t find the right candidate, then we have more recently posted on Indeed, we’ve posted on Facebook jobs. We’ve posted on our own Instagram, and we’ve sent out emails to our own community. But those are the main ways we found candidates. 

As far as the details of hiring, it’s so much paperwork, I can’t. Russ, luckily, has taken all of that over. We found a really good system called Gusto. That is a payroll service. Without that, I don’t know what we would do, because we’ve hired people in four different states now. And every state has their own rolls of the papers you have to file and disability that the state needs, that state doesn’t need, and sick time for this state and that so many things. There’s no way you could keep track of it on your own unless you know. So Gusto has been a lifesaver with that. Everything payroll wise, all their the employee’s bank account information is there, we run our payroll through there, they pay all of our taxes, all that stuff that feels very scary. The same thing with insurance, you have to have insurance if you have employees. I didn’t know that. And I didn’t know where to find this insurance, and how much do we need? They helped with all that. Because, yeah, it’s a whole thing.

Meg: You definitely learn as you go. 

Haylee: That’s the thing. People are like well, how did you do it? What? If I knew everything that it required to run this business that I know now, I would not have started at five years ago. There’s no way I would have been so overwhelmed. You have to stick to one day at a time. 

Meg: Sure. Even if you are like I need a graphic designer but I don’t know any graphic designers. You don’t know who knows a graphic designer, right? You can just be like, does anyone know a graphic designer? I bet you someone does. So before you hired help, you literally did everything. You were the social media person, and then you would go make something and then you would ship? What do you do now? What roles have you hired out? 

What Haylee’s Role Looks Like Now

Haylee: Yes, this is such a good question. Okay. So now, my favorite thing is product development. I love it so much. So I’m 100% still involved in everything from the brainstorming phase with product development, all the way to getting samples from our manufacturers to ordering the final products. That goes for packaging as well. So in sourcing other products crystals, and all of that. Product development, I still 100% in love. 

I also am still the leader of our social media. So I do have help as far as creating content, scheduling content, creating stories, and stuff. But I’m still the main person that approves everything. I do all of that for Instagram still. And then I do a lot of day to day things still. I don’t know, the best way to describe it. But I guess I’m still very much the voice of the company. So  the company doesn’t do anything without it coming either from me or definitely being run by me. 

Then I’m involved in the beginning of pretty much everything, if that makes sense. I’m in way more meetings now. I was just thinking about this. I was like, Oh, I never had meetings before, because it was just me. We just sit on the couch and have our unofficial meeting. But I’m definitely in all our meetings now. But I love it. 

For example, today we had a marketing meeting. We had you on for the podcast. We have the person that helps us write blog posts on, we had our marketing coordinator there, and then me and Janessa, who is our integrator, so the integrator position, basically make sure that all of those things that I just mentioned, plus some others all work well together, and that they all have what they need. We were talking about July planning, right. So we’re talking about what’s happening each week for marketing. I’m still involved in those kinds of things. And it’s so crazy to think Oh, we have a marketing person. 

Meg: So how how did you decide which roles you would let go of and hire out? Was it hard to let go? I’m sure there were certain roles that you were like, I never want to do. Oh my gosh, right. But were there roles that you hired out that you were like, I have to stop doing that. But I don’t want to.

Haylee: I mean, not really, to be honest.  I just really believe in, if you’re passionate about doing it, you’re probably really good at it. Or the things that you love doing, you’re going to do really well. So if you can keep that you should keep that. Then you should look at what are the things I actually hate doing? Like dread it. And that is what you should be hiring for.

Meg: Yeah, because there are people out there who love doing what you hate. And they’re really good at it. 

Haylee: Exactly. If you hate doing something, it’s probably because you’re not good at it. It doesn’t mean it’s a negative thing. There’s no way you can be good at everything. Also if you’re not gifted in it, or it’s not a strength, it’s also going to take you triple the time, right? We have an admin Kaylee, and it takes her literally 1/16th of the time to make a beautiful spreadsheet. I’m still there like, where do I type?

So there’s definitely Own your strengths, and then hand over the rest. It’s really important to know, what are your strengths. You have to know that about yourself. Or maybe you don’t know that about yourself yet, but I guarantee, you know what you do not like doing. 

Think about what you have to do as a business owner or whatever it is you’re doing? What do you have to do that today? That is the thing you should look for somebody else to do. Right? For sure. Because it will give you more. Say it will give you more time to do the things that you love doing, which will allow your business to grow? If you can make $20 an hour in your business and hire somebody for $19 to do something, you’re still profiting $1 per hour. So it feels very scary to hire help. Because like I said, you’re trading your own money that you’re making, for your some of your time back. But then think about what can I do with that time that I would not be able to do otherwise?

Meg: Yeah. That only you can do? There are certain things that only Haylee can do, right? Like she can’t hire someone to film videos of herself or to do product development because that is her wheelhouse. When the things that you as a business owner, no one else can do. Or the things that you love, keep that for yourself. 

We’ve definitely said enough with that. We’re passionate about it and do it now if you’re thinking that you need to. This is the time in the world people are really changing what they want in their lives as far as what they’re doing for work. What would you say your strengths are in owning a business? And then on the other side of that coin, what are your weaknesses or struggles? I

Strengths & Weaknesses Of Business Ownership

Haylee: Absolutely. My strengths are creativity. That’s definitely a strength in mine. And then, authenticity. I did the Strength Finders test. It cost a little bit of money, but it’s pretty fun. My number one on there was empathy. I knew that about myself, but it was so helpful to see it and see it described because I don’t think that I would have necessarily pinpointed that out on my own. Which goes hand in hand with authenticity. That I really cared about people. 

So whether that was the Instagram community when I first was growing, I cared about. I mean, I still do care about those people but then that now as our team has grown, it relates to everybody on our team as well. That’s definitely a strength of mine is just caring about people and who they are and how they’re feeling. 

Another way it relates to the business is customer service. I always said without our customers, we would not be a business. If nobody’s buying from you. You’re not a business. So I was always so passionate about taking care of our customers, because they are literally the reason that Whimsy and Wellness is a brand and a company. That’s definitely been a strength in growing this business and making people feel really valued when they purchase from us or when they work from work for us, or even if they’re just following along on our journey. 

As far as weaknesse, I definitely think systems and processes and even honestly, strategy, I am not a very strategic person. I just don’t see things in a strategic way. Or I remember at one point, someone that was working for us was like, Well, what about hiring an administrative assistant? And I was like, What would we have an administrative assistant do? I don’t even know what we would have them do. I said this out loud for real a year ago. My brain is not good at thinking of every little task. My brain is not very detailed, I guess. So it was really hard for me to sit there and think of all the things that administrative assistant could do. But there was somebody else on our team that was like, they could do this, this this this that. Oh, yeah, they could. Good point. 

We talked about opportunities, areas of growth, if you know that that’s not a strength of yours, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an area where you grow. If you can just hire somebody that is really good at it already. And then guess what? You never have to do it or grow or try really hard or take five times longer than somebody else.

Self Awareness is such a great thing to have. Knowing I am not good at this is so helpful in all areas of life, but especially business. Your identity, who you are, is not in weakness or strengths, right? You are a good person without your strengths or weaknesses. Just know, this is what I’m good at. I am not good at this. Maybe you’re the other side of the coin listening, thinking I am not creative at all. But I can do systems. It’s not your identity. Just know those things is self awareness. 

We all need each other. Russ and I compliment each other very well. He is very numbers. He can do math in his head. I can’t even multiply six and four or something. He can do these crazy things in his head, or he can look at a space and know how much product will fit in that space jjust by looking at it. I’m like, what? I can’t do that. I just can’t. I will never be able to do that. So  it’s okay to know these things and then fill in the holes. We all need each other. Because Russ would say I’m not creative. I could never do the things that you do. I know I could never do the things that you do. We need both of these things to make the business run. Y

Meg: That’s a good note to end on with hiring help. Even though it might sound like such a party to hire people, just you and yes, you do need people who are different from you because otherwise you will not get the things that are hard for you done. Okay, so what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming a CEO? 

Biggest Lessons Learned As CEO

Haylee: Not knowing your limits. You have to become even more self aware with your own life and time when you are a CEO of your own business. You can work as much or as little as you want, basically. There was definitely a point where I was working way too much. I mean, still right?

I was just thinking yesterday, actually. That after, so I have two daughters now. One is three and a half, and one is almost two. When my two year old was born, I was literally working in the hospital within a couple hours after she was born. I didn’t take maternity leave with her. When she was born, my other daughter was only 19 months old. So things were very hectic, even 19 month old, a newborn, and you’re running a business. But I don’t remember a lot from when she was a baby. Because everything was just so hectic all the time between our other daughter. 

Obviously, we didn’t have regular childcare, then it was mostly Russ and I still running the business, and it was our only family income.I look back and I wish that I would have taken time off to be with her fully present. So obviously, things like that will probably come up and you might have some things you wish you would have done different. But just being super self aware because yes, the business is so important. But also your life is very important too. There is not always going to be a perfect balance. But fighting to make sure that your life and your relationships away from the business stay strong and healthy, and that your own self care comes into play somewhere there is really important.

Meg: So important. This this might sound a little harsh, but don’t get upset. I didn’t say it, I heard this some somewhere. So blame the guy. But it’s so true. He said if you’re a business owner, and you business doesn’t function when you walk away, you have to be there for any money to be made anything to work, you don’t have a business. Which is, I know, that so hard. A little rough. But it is true, right? Being a business owner, you’re creating what is a business, right? If you have to be there, it’s more of just a job that you’re showing up for. So the fact that you are able to now build something. You just went to Hawaii, right? So it’s not like Whimsy and Wellness was just closed and no one could purchase it, right? Just what you were just saying with looking back and wishing that you had taken time off, but also looking at right now you’ve pivoted so well, and that you can step away. Tthat’s because you’ve put the systems in and hired help.

Haylee: Yes, I agree with everything that you said. That was my wake up call that I mentioned a year ago. What if something happened to me? What if I got in a car accident and I just couldn’t work for a month? It was really scary to me? Or what if one of my family members got really sick and I had to take care of them? That was when I decided okay, if we really do need to make some changes, do the processes systems hire people. But that was four years into the business. 

So before that, we also made the conscious decision of if Russ and I grew this business, just with the money, the profits that we made from the business, so we never took out a loan. I don’t know if anybody watched Shark Tank, but we love it. We recently heard about this company and she was telling me they’re five years old and they had never turned a profit. Not only that, but they’re like okay, so how much did you lose last year? And she’s like 1.4 million. The year before that they’re like 1.1 million. My heart! I can’t. I just don’t have the guts to do something like that. That is so much money. 

But I guarantee you that their business from the very beginning with injecting that money was a business where the owner operator could walk away and it was still running. Right? So obviously, if you’re listening and you’re starting, you’re well, I need to be there doing my business everyday because I’m the only one and I don’t have the money to inject in hiring all these people and everything. That’s totally fine too. It’s just making sure that you’re checking in every now and then with the life and work balance and then deciding to hire help sooner than later, even when it feels really scary. 

Meg: It’s for sure seasons, too. With that, if you can’t walk away, that’s definitely years down the line. So don’t feel like if you’re business is brand new. It would probably be hard to find business owners who could just be okay, six months in peace out. 

If you could go back and tell 2016 Haylee something about running Whimsy and Wellness, what would it be? 

Haylee: It would be something like, Oh, just you wait, or you don’t even know what’s coming. Just because when I started, there was literally no part of me that was like, I can’t wait till we become a million dollar company. Nothing like that wasn’t even a thought in my brain. I’ve learned and grown so much throughout this process. But back then, really, the hardest thing that was happening for me then was wondering, when will I be pregnant? If somebody could just tell me, on this day, two and a half years from now, you’ll be pregnant. I’d be okay, I can wait two and a half years, at least I know. I would probably just tell myself that. You’ll have two daughters 19 months apart. Good luck. Right? Your wishes come true. 

The Best Advice For New Business Owners

Meg: If you could sit down for coffee, or your choice of beverage, with a new business owner, who’s a few seasons behind you in motherhood, which is like the best thing ever. To talk to a mom a season ahead of you. Haylee was that for me a million times. I was like, how do I get in this baby carrier? It’s so nice to have people that are seasons ahead. So sit down for coffee with a new ish business owner. What like advice would you give to her or him?

Haylee: The biggest piece of advice would be keep going. Just as simple as it sounds. Just keep doing something for your business each day. That doesn’t mean you have to work 50-60 hours a week if you want to, that’s fine. But the only way that you’re going to really lose is if you give up. If you just decide, I’m just not going to do this anymore. Maybe that’s the right decision for them at that point. Obviously, it is because they’re making it. But just keep going. 

The other thing that’s been really helpful for me is finding someone who’s also running a business. It doesn’t even have to be similar to yours. But just someone that has done this before or is doing it now that you can talk with. I’ve shared so many resources and gone back and forth on feedback for things with other business owners. And it would be really hard to do it without having that community that understands a little bit. I knew this question was coming. Great question. Because I wonder the same thing still now. I mean, I have people but I’m like, Well, how do I find someone that’s a business consultant even? 

Again, it goes back to network or marketing to your network. So I became friends with the owner of Put On Love Designs. Her name is Chelsea and then the owner of Modern Bakery, her name is Kate. And our business is all started a similar time within a year of each other and we found each other on Instagram. It started out with, do you want to do a giveaway together? And then it’s oh, well, then we can keep chatting in DMs. And then one of us would ask a question, and we’d answer and then hey, what’s your phone number? It just grew from there. So I know it sounds so weird, but if you admire somebody in business, or you’ve seen somebody else’s work, ask them if they want to do a giveaway, or just ask them. Just start the conversation. The worst that’s gonna happen is the competition doesn’t go anywhere. And you try again with somebody else.

Meg: Yeah. Internet friends are the best. It’s not super hard to find internet friends or even acquaintances. People are super generous for the most part. You could probably find people that wouldn’t share. It’s surprising when you DM someone and ask a question, or just anything? Are they gonna answer me? And then maybe they won’t, but sometimes they do. And you can really learn something. 

It was Mel Robbins. Oh, you guys. My memory is just magic. I can’t remember who it was. Maybe it was Mel Robbins, or maybe it just wasn’t at all. But someone was saying, how instead of asking, you built this company. What’s your story? Or what’s your and it doesn’t have to be as broad as story. But tell me about your success with building an Instagram community. Because sometimes people are more likely to open up and share, when it’s Haylee worded. Tell me your story versus help me. Haylee, can I get your advice on this?

Because even subconsciously, on the other end, it doesn’t feel like oh, gosh, this person needs help and that might take up a lot of time versus oh, they’re just curious about my story. And we can be as selfless as we want. But everyone knows that we love to share our own stories, right?

Haylee: It’s really good point. A good tip for when you’re reaching out to your internet friends. Yes, yes. Okay.

Resource Recommendations

Meg: I tried to think of all the questions people might have for you. So hopefully, I asked them all if I didn’t, you guys should DM us at Whimsy and Wellness Podcast on Instagram. And maybe I’ll have Haylee answer back. No, I’m just kidding. Are there resources or programs or podcasts that you swear by and would recommend for people?

Haylee: Yeah, so we wrote a blog post on this. My five favorite resources that we can link in the show notes. In case you need to click over to see the things. Especially in the last year, we’ve implemented systems and processes, and they really have made our life easier, who would have thought. But one of the things that we use is which is a to do list builder, but it’s collaborative and it can be way more than a to do list. It’s like a project management system. I was like, we don’t need a project management system. We don’t have that many projects. And I was like, Oh, we do have a lot of projects. Okay. So we have a section for the blog, a section for the podcast, a section for Pinterest, a section for Instagram, a section for product development. I could go on and on. But then with each of those, it just allows you to organize all the different processes that go along with just one simple, seemingly simple task, I should say. It’s very collaborative, as far as you can assign different people different things and write notes to each other and so helpful with organizing all of that and creating to do lists. 

We recently started using Slack, which is a work chat, basically. We have different chats going on. One for events, one for the podcast, and it’s just a much easier and faster way than emailing. We used to email each other. Now we just slack each other. It’s just so much easier to just do the chat then like emails back and forth. So those two have been really, really helpful. 

We also recently I was like, how does a business store and manage so many files? So many pictures and videos and recipes and so many things. So luckily, we have an amazing organizational guru, as we call her. But we we decided to purchase Google Drive plan. I know this is super detailed, but I did not know what was best to use. We were looking at a few different options. So we decided to purchase Google Drive, we pay per user, so each employee on our team, we pay for their account. But basically, it allows all the files to live in one place. And they’re owned by our company, because we were using just regular Google Drive before. And then we had somebody leave. And all of her files that she created, were going to be deleted if she deleted her email address. I was like, Oh, my gosh, I did not think about this. This is a huge deal. So we had to have somebody transfer all the files over. So anyway, this is a really big deal. You have to weigh like the cost versus benefits, right? And I was like, we’re not gonna pay $10 a person when we can do it for free. Then that happened. Oh, you need to pay $10 a person. So Google allows you to organize all your files and your business owns them. You can also use Google Meet for meetings, video meetings, and all of that stuff. 

I mentioned Gusto for payroll, super helpful. Those are the main tools. Oh, well, I guess going into social media, we use for planning, organizing social media content. What else do we use? We use Tailwind for Pinterest to schedule out your Pinterest content. I feel like there’s probably a bunch more that I’m missing. But those are the main ones that we use pretty often.

Meg: Those are helpful. We will link them in the show notes for you guys. Are you ready for rapid fire? 

Haylee: Ready as I’ll ever be. 

Meg: What is a failure that turned out to be a blessing in disguise?

Haylee: Oh, man, this is a deep rapidfire. Okay. Failure. Let’s see. I guess, quitting grad school? I really felt like it was so hard to tell my family I’m not going back to grad school. You feel like a failure. You started something that you did not finish. I definitely did. I felt like I failed grad school. I didn’t actually but I just didn’t finish. And then Whimsy and Wellness happened.

Meg: Yeah, that’s a good one. I like that. Who’s your entrepreneurial girl crush?

Haylee: Good question. This is so hard. Maybe it’s not one specific person. I get very inspired by all. There’s so many women, particularly on Instagram, that’s where I see them, because I spend a lot of time there, that are hustling for their own businesses. I love the stories, I guess, because they’re similar to mine, where they started with nothing. Now they’ve built a brand and a business. I mean we are in the oil industry. So I see a lot of them that are doing it as a network marketing. I just find it so amazing to just watch their stories. There’s a lot of them in network marketing. And sometimes it gets a bad rap. But I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, it’s real, and it changes people’s lives. I just love watching that transformation.

Meg: Yeah, I agree. What’s your second favorite podcast?

Haylee: Obviously, this was my first one. This is hard. It changes because sometimes you’re like in a serious mood, sometimes I’m super like oh, Hey, I want to grow our business and I want to listen to business podcast. And then sometimes I’ll send something funny, but I will say lately, I have been enjoying Brene Brown Dare To Lead Podcasts. I feel like it’s a good mixture of business with just storytelling. I also like how I built this sometimes with a little bit more practical advice in there. Yeah, but I love it. But I’ve also been listening. I started listening to Glennon Doyle’s she has a new one out that’s so good. 

Meg: Yes, pod squad. I don’t know what it is about Glennon’s voice but she’s Mama Glennon. I could just curl up in her lap. 

Haylee: Yeah, I listened to her books on audio. So I agree. It’s soothing. I’m just wow,

Meg: I’m in love with you. Okay, we’re gonna go. Friends, listeners, if you haven’t read Glennon Doyle’s books, go read them. And then you will come back to this moment of me saying weird things. I get it. She’s a beautiful writer. Jokes aside, she is so such a good writer and just really makes you feel seen and understood. She has three books, but my favorite is Love Warrior. There’s a little plug. Do you think we can be sponsored by Glennon? 

Haylee: Yeah, maybe our next guest? 

Meg: Oh, I’d pass out on the floor. Do you have a roller blend that you love using when you’re working or trying to get into a creative zone or anything like that?

Haylee: Yeah, so I just forget to use oils when I’m starting to work, but I do the diffuser because it’s right here in my office and you just touch the button, and then it’s done. And it smells pretty much all day. So I love to diffuse citrus and mint during the day. I feel like it’s like happy but energizing. So usually a standard go to is peppermint and orange or lemon. Really easy, basic. But today I did lemon grass, tangerine, spearmint, and vanilla. 

Meg: Whoa, Was it good? 

Haylee: I mean, yeah, it was nice. But Russell’s like, it smells like bubblegum. Did you mean to do that? And I was maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t do that. But it smells nice. I like lemon grass. It’s a little underrated. But it instantly smells fresh.

Meg: I agree. And I love it. So good. Well, this has been so fun. I feel like I learned stuff about Whimsy and Wellness. I hope people, whether you are a business owner, entrepreneur dreamer, yourself. Or maybe you’re just maybe you’ve just been a one seamless customer for a while and or you’re a new customer either way, and you’re just curious. I just love hearing people’s stories, whether it’s like some personal story, or a business story. There’s something about really liking products from a business or whatever they’re selling, and then you hear the heart behind it and you’re just like, Oh, I love you more. So I just hope that it was nice to listen to for those people and then encouraging and helpful for Business. Thanks for sharing.

Haylee: Thanks for having me on our own brands podcast. 

Meg: Okay, bye friends.

Join Haylee Crowley, Creator of Whimsy + Wellness, and Meg Ryan, content creator at Whimsy + Wellness, to talk all things wellness, entrepreneurship, motherhood, and womanhood.


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