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Article: Monday Must: Getting up and running after a lockdown

Monday Must: Getting up and running after a lockdown

Hi, my name is Sylvie; I'm the owner of the Loft Toronto, and also a master stylist and creative director. I’ve had the salon since 2013; we’re on the end of our 8th year now. I am a full time employee to myself, and last year I became a mother and had a baby girl. 

Lockdown refers to the pandemic and what Toronto was going through, but also a very extended maternity leave that I hadn’t planned on taking. These are my musts because I believe when owning a business you can get wrapped up in the rat race of staying open after such a traumatic experience, and can very easily find ourselves running on empty just to keep open — which we don’t need to be doing after such a sensitive year. 

Having a baby impacted how I looked at reopening the business as well. Because I was so involved in work prior, I feel like I had a very narrow focus, and having a child opened that up. It actually made me want to go back to work even more, but at a totally different pace and capacity than ever before. 

Be present

Having a child really makes you understand being in the moment — and it really makes it obvious. If we can take that and apply it to other aspects of our life and career, it would contribute to a much richer daily life. Especially in a career based on client service. We’re spending so much one on one time with people, how about we sit with that time and share that experience? I need to get as much out of what I’m doing as what you’re getting as a client. We may be operating at a lower capacity but we’re taking the time to be with people. I get that everyone is playing catch up and wants to fill seats and reservations, but after what we’ve all been through, I think we’re all craving time and connection. 

Support your team

Everybody is coming back into society in a different way and we’ve all had our own experiences. It’s so important to hear your team and what their needs are and be aware of everybody's comfort level, and adjustment to being back on a schedule, and interacting with others. It’s all going to be different. 

Find Balance

I used to work all the time. Obviously being a mother has impacted that. But when you own a business, it’s like a relationship. And just like in a relationship, you need to step back and do something independently so that you can come back to it evolved. If you’re in it all the time you can’t see it clearly, and you need to pause in order to see how everything flows and works. I came from a place of only knowing work and it occupied a lot of my identity, and the pandemic pulled me away from that. I got very anxious, but time went on and it settled. I balanced out, and I was excited to get back to it. Having that time and that clarity made me realize that pandemic or not, I would have burned out if I kept going at that pace.

You need to put yourself on payroll

As an owner (and as a mother), we tend to put ourselves last. You don’t want to resent the work that you’re doing because you’re not being compensated for it. We will come out of this eventually, and if it takes three years, I will work hard and know that I will come out of it because I am being compensated in a monetary way. If you were self-employed during this, it was ridiculously hard to get any subsidies. But I learned early that if you put yourself as an employee, it covers you in some way should the unthinkable happen. Always pay yourself. 

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