**This post was difficult to write. I’m known as the funny one. I make silly faces and do insect impersonations. I give inspirational speeches in workshops that make moms cry. I help scared kids to hold roaches and see that they are capable of more than they believe. They look at me like I am invincible.
I also tell each person we teach to Be Brave. So here goes…
We have not posted on this site for over a year. The last people heard, we were embarking on an incredible journey to film America’s arthropods for a new series in partnership with Project Noah. Our trip was sponsored by so many wonderful organizations and funders on Indigogo. The month we spent on the road filming ranks among the best times of our lives. It was it was supposed to be the beginning of a dream– our own show.
When we returned home, my life imploded. I went through a divorce. I’m not here to tell you all about it– that is not the nature of our blog. Doesn’t matter who or what or why or how. But as a small business owner I need to be honest; it tore my world apart in every way. I didn’t think Jess and I and The Bug Chicks would make it through the last year intact. I certainly almost didn’t.
When you go through a divorce, you grieve the loss of a dream. In the darkest moments, you fear you will be incapable of dreaming ever again. So what happens if your work is also based on the currency of dreams? You get a little lost.
For TBC, it was supposed to be a year filled with opportunity, connections and getting to the ever-elusive “next level” (you know, the one where you can eat and start to pay your student loans). The tectonic shift in my personal life had serious repercussions for our business, our reach and our goals. Some chances will never come again. Others, hopefully, can be picked up and dusted off. More opportunities greet us each week and we are grateful for that.
As a result of our lost year, we have had to make some serious decisions about how and if we should continue with our business. We’ve made a lot of poor choices. We’ve been overwhelmed, naive and in some ways ignorant. We’ve been small business owners who are learning our way through the maze of creating a life we love and shaping it as we go. We have learned that we are a creative force and that we need a business manager to truly succeed.
Small businesses fail every day. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you try harder, work smarter, cut the fat, milk a purple cow or bounce ideas off walls until one sticks. (More often they bounce and bean you between your eyes which are already hurting due to computer strain.)
From here on out, I could focus all of my energy on how we could be better. I’m a professional “be better-er.” But if it all goes down the tubes as we try to rebuild I need to remember and recognize that in 3 years of actual business and 4 years of hobby before that, we have accomplished some amazing things. It’s healthy to see where you could do better in the future. It is also incredibly valuable to be able to nod your head and say, “Yes, we did that. And it was good.” So before we jump back in to see if there’s still life in The Bug Chicks, let’s reflect shall we?
Some Past Accomplishments:
- Consultants for the Norman Borlaug Institute (4 trips to Guatemala)
- 51 videos written & produced for organizations including-
- Texas A&M University
- US Forest Service
- National Ag Science Center
- Junior Master Gardener
- Renaissance School of Arts & Sciences
- Entomological Society of America
- Featured bloggers for Science Friday
- Semi-successful Indigogo Campaign and a 5-week cross country filming trip in a new minivan loaned to us by Honda
- Opened BUGS! museum exhibit at Sam Noble Museum
- Taught over 50,000 people in interactive workshops/appearances
- Filmed a television pre-pilot
- 2 bug video camps with Leach Botanical Gardens
- Renovated museum exhibit at National Museums of Kenya
- Bug Bytes podcast with over 80,000 subscribers
- Self-published coloring book
- Full-time Bug Chicks for 2 years
- Featured on PBS’ EarthFix and get regular airplay on Oregon Public Broadcasting
- Filmed in US, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kenya, Australia
- some AWESOME press
Work to do:
- Raise $40,000 to edit & distribute the Sofa Safari
- Find a business manager
- Step into our destiny as female role models in media
- Blog each week
- convert from primarily service based business to product based brand
- Write people back who have written or called
- Manage our money/expenses better
- Get involved in Girl Education Campaign
- Pick up dropped connections
- Publish children’s science book series, Actual Factuals
- Pitch 2 television shows (Bug Chicks kids series) (Cultural Entomology history show)
- Time management
- Pay off our business debt
- Add income streams
- Streamline business process
- Get paid what we are worth
- Get our mojo back and use our voices
It’s going to be difficult. If going through divorce has taught me anything, it is how to be brutally honest with myself. We might not make it. But I am proud of the work we have done, of the dreams we have dared and the path we have hacked to get here, no matter the outcome.
Before I sign off, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors and Indiegogo funders on the Sofa Safari for their patience as we rebuild, the schools and libraries who hire us to teach children and the many, many bugdorks who take the time to write to us. We are getting back to you.
Think of this last year like we were in the pupal stage. We just emerged and our wings are drying out. It’s time to see if we can fly.
Had to get a bad insect analogy in here somewhere.