What does vacation look like for an entrepreneur? If you’re Germanee Gerald, founder of GG+Co Styling Firm, it looks like taking calls and checking email after your family has gone to bed and before everyone gets up in the morning.
For the last three years, the North Carolina native has created a niche for herself outfitting executives and creatives for everyday and high-profile events in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. Her signature event, Sip N’ Style, has grown from chat about fashion over wine in her living room into a curated experience bringing men and women together to learn about looking and feeling their best while supporting local businesses.
We caught up with the stylist, whose clients include powerhouses like Bozoma Saint John, to talk about life as a full-time entrepreneur and whether or not work-life balance is real.
Square: Let’s talk a bit about what your schedule was like when you were doing your nine-to-five job and doing GG+Co as a side hustle.
Germanee: My schedule was complete and utter madness, but I got it done because I had the passion to make it happen. I felt like I was never sleeping. It got to a point where I felt like I was burnt out. Then I had to figure out what I was most passionate about.
Why did you decide to do GG+Co full time?
At first, I could sustain both (working at Gap and running GG+Co Styling). Once I got a promotion at Gap, I just felt like, “This is too much. What do I really want to do? I can’t do both.” I was more passionate about GG+Co and I wanted to give it my full attention. So in April, I took a leap of faith and left. I had to cut one so that I could focus.
Then for you, part of work-life balance was actually choosing to do entrepreneurship full time.
What’s your schedule like as an entrepreneur?
It’s amazing. It’s nimble. I’m a Virgo and I like things organized hour by hour. If you were to look at my calendar today, it’s slammed. I wake up at 6:45 each morning. I work out, and then by 9 a.m. I’m in front of my computer either taking care of email or reaching out to new clients. I can craft my own hours. Sometimes I work 12 hours a day. Sometimes I work eight.
Do you get any pushback from family and friends about your schedule?
Yeah. I think there’s pushback because my family is from different generations, where they worked for corporations for forever. Them taking a vacation means that they don’t have to be in front of a computer. They don’t have to take care of anything because they have taken said time off, whereas me, it’s like, “Okay. Yes, I am taking this time off, but I still need to continue to make sure I’m taking care of myself financially and doing what I need to do for my business and its goals at the end of the day.”
Is work-life balance a myth?
To me personally, it is, especially as an entrepreneur, and an early entrepreneur at that. Just to be completely honest with you, sometimes I struggle, especially on the weekend or Friday through Sunday, especially now that I live in Los Angeles. I struggle with, “Am I spending too much time going out? Should I be more focused on X, Y, and Z so that I can get to the dollar goals that I have for the month? Am I able to pay my rent this month with the clientele that I have? Have I done enough?”
You’ve started working with a partner for your signature Sip N’ Style event. How has delegating been for you?
Delegating as an early entrepreneur is scary because for me, GG+Co and Sip N’ Style, they’re my babies. This is my brand. I know how I want my brand to show up. I know the aesthetic. I know how I would take care of things and what manner I would take care of them in. Delegating, that is trusting someone to be a reflection of who you are and show up for you as a brand, even when you’re not around.
The scary part is, are they doing that? You don’t know because you have given it to them. You just have to trust them to make sure that it happened and it happened in the way that you discussed it should go. It’s so scary. But you need to be able to delegate so that you’re not always overwhelmed.
What parting advice or tips do you have for a new entrepreneur who is concerned about or thinking about work-life balance?
Bask in every moment. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t continue to burn yourself out from working. There becomes a point where you flat line because you’ve burned yourself out so much. Yes, you need to get things done. Get those things done, but then also remember that self-care is also important.
I went to a conference recently and it was so profound. One of the speakers said, “Sleep is not a gift. It’s a requirement.” Self-care is a requirement for you to do the best for your job. You need to have that balance so that you can show up best for your service, your client, whatever you’re doing.