Behind the scenes @ Ekim's Place

Today’s blog gives you a quick glimpse into what it takes to run Ekim’s Place!

We started this business on April 28, 2020 (exactly one year ago today!) in our garage at the end of a long day. It’s grown and evolved like we never thought on that pivotal night. We had stars in our eyes and if someone had told us we wouldn’t be an instant hit, I’m afraid we might have stopped before we started. Thank goodness for HOPE and VISION. Thank goodness for a bit of NAIVETY and a bunch of AMBITION.

We are Mike and Karyn. Mike works a day job and is a Dad to the amazing Mikayla. At night he puts his computer superhero cape on and turns into Super Mike. He tweaks and analyzes and tests and prods the website. It is a living entity that he is always giving attention to so it can be the best little website in Lakeland.

I’m Karyn – hi! – and I’m a Mom to the curious and funny Mikayla, the moody and tender-hearted Hallee, and the spicy and feisty Emilee. It’s always a full day! I work on the business in scheduled sections of the week. First, a wonderful woman – a true angel – comes to my home twice a week for three hours a day and plays with Mikayla. Nap time is also a potential free time – but its usually filled with small household tasks which is not much of a break. (Some days I just give up and take a nap, too….) Saturdays and Sundays are usually Mike and Mikayla time so I hide out in our bedroom/office (ugh I know you shouldn’t work where you sleep but you do what you gotta do).

My job is the marketing and basically everything that doesn’t include building or tweaking the website, including emails, phone calls, accounting, and of course the never-ending research. I used to have lists in many different spirals or notepads that I would write in, but it was getting crazy fast. I made a proper Marketing Calendar using Excel, but it’s not ideal. I’m a visual and touchy-feely person. I would much rather read an actual book than read a computer screen. I would much rather write a list on paper than in the Notes section of my phone. I’m looking into creating a Bullet Journal and combining all my lists and notebooks for the business and my house into one functioning book! I want to create one with loose leaf pages to keep it flexible.  The bound journals are too permanent.  I mean, what if I want to add a section or remove one! I don't want to start all over because that's exactly what I would do. My goal is to build it in the month of June. Stay tuned for pictures! But, for now, Excel does the job.

When I sit at my desk, first thing I do is pull up the calendar. I have it sectioned off into Year, Month, and Week. The year is divided into seasons/themes with thoughtfully planned contests and fundraisers. Next, I look at the monthly calendar. It has holidays highlighted and features the current season/theme. Finally, I focus on the week. I have settled into a steady pattern of what type of content to post each day (for example, Wednesday is Blog Post day). This has saved a ton of time trying to re-create the wheel, as they say, each week.

With my patterns set, I first decide what I’m going to say for each day using imagery and script. My favorite part is creating the images. I have a vague idea of what I want, look around for more inspiration, and start playing with my content creator. I’ve learned its such a process. The image changes and evolves, sometimes quickly and sometimes over a couple days. Without the process, however, you will never get to the finished product.

I also create script for my social media posts and my weekly blog. Writing is something that comes naturally to me *BUT* it is still a process… Similar to creating images, sometimes it happens immediately and sometimes I get stuck and have to work on it a little more. The process is a roller coaster ride of emotions! "I have a great idea! Oh wow, that sucks. Wait let me do this. Ugh, nope. What about this, hmmm that looks better, lets change this word, wait that doesn’t make sense"… and so on. I love it though, because no matter how hard it is or how stupid I think something is, as long as I keep at it, it always turns out.

Once I have my images, script, and blog, I put it all together and schedule each day on my social media. This step was a game changer for my life! A few clicks and my social media is set for the week.

When Mike and I are working side by side, I have to stretch my legs often and keep good snacks and water around. Sitting in front of a desk with someone next to me brings me back to the soul sucking days of corporate law work. My body immediately yawns, and all its energy is drawn out. Mike’s desk is right next to mine and I guess it triggers me into thinking I have an office mate and I'm back at the law firm. (Shoutout to all my office mates who had to work with me over the years!) Mike can’t stand it and one day he finally said, “Why are you yawning?! It’s very distracting.” I said, “I’m sorry, I’m just so bored.” He said, “Bored?? You are working!” Me, still yawning, am now shrugging my shoulders. Oh Mike, he says I am an enigma wrapped in an enigma.

I hope you enjoyed this quick peak at how we run our business! We love being entrepreneurs! It isn’t some dream fantasy land where we set our own hours and make millions of dollars. We work hard to build this while balancing our relationship with each other and our family and friends. We know one day soon it will all be worth it because we will have all the small businesses in Lakeland on our directory, and more importantly, consumers will have one static place to go to easily buy local goods and services. We still have stars in our eyes, but I feel like that’s a common theme in entrepreneurship. That’s how you succeed, after all. Find that distant star and reach for it with all your might!

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