#STYLE YOUR BIZ with Kate Pawlowski & Ann Lightfoot, CO-Founders of Done & Done Home

Updated: May 14, 2018


WHAT DOES YOUR MORNING ROUTINE LOOK LIKE?

Ann: Kate and I live in a multi-family home in Montclair, NJ which means we have an early start most mornings, even if it’s coffee at her kitchen table with my grandson. We normally start our day at 7:00 so I get up at 5:00 in order to have an hour to read and hour to prepare for my day. I’ve learned over the years that being in the service of others all day is easy if I’ve taken care of myself first.


Kate: My 18 month old son is a very early riser so I start off my day with him around 5:30am and my husband leaves for work before 5:00am most days we are an early to bed, early to rise family. Being a working mom can be hard so my time with James first thing in the morning is my favorite time of the day. I do my best to focus on him for as long as I can before getting ready for the day.


WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Kate: I’d say for me the best part currently is the flexibility and freedom to be with my son as much as I can. Since our company is growing pretty rapidly I don’t have as much time with him as I would like but I still get far more time with him than most working mothers. Also, doing something that you enjoy everyday is a huge blessing.


Ann: The best thing about being an entrepreneur is growing and shaping a company that reflects what matters to me. Creating jobs for moms who have been out of the workforce raising children, and being able to pay them well for their expertise is a daily thrill. The transition back to work was challenging and I’m so grateful to be able to make it easier for other mothers. Also we laugh. A lot!


WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Ann: For me, the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur, is that it’s frightening. Each night I have to go to bed and say “nothing I can do about it now!” knowing that rest is crucial to success. I lose my sense of humor when I haven’t had enough sleep and that’s not good for anybody. Kate and I are surprised that in our 7th year of business the learning curve is still incredibly steep.


Kate: The biggest challenge for me is that work is never done. No matter how much I accomplish in a day there is always more that I can do. I try really hard to focus on work for specific parts of the day and focus on family other parts of the day but in truth it all blends together all the time. Some day in the future I could imagine a whole day off but that hasn’t happened in years.


WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU DO FOR YOURSELF EVERYDAY?

Ann: For me, it’s reading first thing in the morning.


Kate: I go to bed as early as I can to make sure I’m well rested for my early start! I love waking up early without being frustrated or tired. I’m usually in bed around 9:00.


WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO INVEST IN WHEN STARTING A BUSINESS?

Kate: When starting this business, we made plenty of mistakes (some of which were expensive!) but all you can do is hope to learn anything at all from those mistakes. And while we have invested money into things like marketing and social media, we have found that the most important thing to invest in are the relationships you have with the people around you: business partners, colleagues, employees, vendors, referral sources, etc. Our whole business was built on personal relationships and we do everything we can to foster those. Whether its taking someone to lunch or coffee or just making sure that they know how important they are to you and your business with flowers or an actual thank you note - yes, in the mail!


WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST MOTIVATION?

Ann: Each other. And the women who work for us. The idea that they currently, and we in the future, have time for work and family is enough to keep us working hard.


HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED/PRODUCTIVE AND MAKE THE BEST OF THE SAME 24 HOURS THAT EVERYONE ELSE HAS?

Ann: An unforeseen upside of us living in the same house is that we can work in small bites on and off all day and on the weekends. We often have a couple of hours of work done before 9am. Because we are on jobs with clients during the day some of the time, getting work done first thing in the morning makes a huge difference. We also drive to work together now so we have all the time in the car to work (that’s where we are answering these questions!)


WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO/FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA/USE AS A MENTOR?

Kate: There are so many great organizers on social media! It’s hard to choose. It’s such a kind and supportive corner of social media. We love The Neat Method and it’s inspiring to see how huge they’ve grown. LifeInJeneral is an LA Based organizing company who have a great social media account. We love watching their stories and seeing before and afters.


WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF BUSINESS ADVICE THAT YOU’VE EVER GOTTEN?

Ann: A friend and business manager once told me that for entrepreneurs learning costs money. When we went into this business, I don’t think we could have foreseen how much needed to be invested to get a small business off the ground.


WHAT IS THE BEST BUSINESS ADVICE THAT YOU’VE EVER GIVEN?

Kate: Knowing that our business was viable based on a business model and a five year plan allowed us to just keep working even when we were exhausted, overwhelmed and out of money. My dad says that you have to just keep doing something for five years before you can evaluate whether or not you should keep going so with that in mind we tried to stick with our business plan and just keep working. And it paid off! Five years in we really started to take off.


Ann: Also, learning about the “J curve” and that you really do have to spend money to make money made us feel better about what we were doing.


*BONUS*

WHAT DOES NO ONE TELL YOU ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Kate: How hard it really is and how expensive it ends up being. And how long it can take. If we hadn’t had our own money to put into the company we simply wouldn’t have made it. Our advise would be to decrease your personal (and professional) overheads as much as you can at all times. Save money. You’re going to need it! But in the end it’s totally worth it. Everyday can be a day you love.

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