Erinn Moss doesn’t think twice before canceling a meeting or rearranging her schedule to do what she needs for her family while also running two Drybar® shops in Michigan.
During a 4 1/2-year span, she gave birth to four children and opened two Drybar shops. But now, laying the early groundwork for her Drybar shops is paying off with increased flexibility.
Moss, a former “Survivor” contestant, worked hard the last several years to make her work-life balance dream a reality, with lots of help from others around her. Being a mother and a small business owner taught her balance, empathy and how to empower other women she employs, she says.
In a post-pandemic world, work-life balance is on the minds of entrepreneurial Americans, including franchise owners, who seek balance to the demanding life of a small business owner.
A Forbes survey of 1,120 American adults in 2022 showed 90% said work-life balance was key in choosing a job or deciding whether to stay at their current one. That ranked higher than the ease of their commute, flexible hours and promotion path.
Earlier this year, Office Depot’s annual women’s small business survey found that the balance between work and life is easier when you have your own business.
Moss researched companies to find the best fit for her. At the time, she and her husband, who had recently retired from the National Hockey League, were just starting their family, with a 2-month-old and a 15-month-old.
Ultimately, the Drybar brand was the best fit for the mompreneur. Drybar is one of five brands in the WellBiz Brands portfolio, which features nearly 900 franchised locations, with over 300 more in development. WellBiz Brands’ portfolio also includes Amazing Lash Studio®, Elements Massage®, Radiant Waxing™ and Fitness Together®.
The pandemic upended the traditional in-office working models and now, depending on the sector, work from home and hybrid office models have become the norm. For those seeking franchise opportunities, there are an abundance of opportunities that can cater to an enhanced work-life balance. The key is knowing where to look and what management models fit owners the best.
A study from NodeSource in 2017 showed work-life balance was the biggest challenge entrepreneurs faced. They placed the same importance on work-life balance as they did cyber security breaches and a challenging job market. The cause for concern among owners is understandable, as small business owners experience higher rates of depression, ADHD and mental health issues compared to other groups, according to a separate study from Dr. Michael Freeman, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco.
Moss is now at the point where she has the personnel and leadership in place so she can walk away from her shops and know that everything will be OK. But it took work, including building a team and learning how to manage a business, to get to that point.
Much of what she has learned about dealing with employees and managers, she attributes to the empathy she learned as a working mother. She understands children are going to get sick and emergencies are going to happen, and she has put backup plans in place for those times.
In recent months, she began setting boundaries for her scheduling and empowering her leadership team to make decisions about the business.
“If my kid has a hockey tournament, that whole weekend is my time off. Whatever my team needs, I will always take the call and I will always help them through it,” she says. “But those weren’t boundaries I set for myself until recently. I would drop everything to put out fires.”
Moss wants her employees to take initiative. Allowing the team to take leadership and problem-solve is setting them up for success.
She has had ups and downs, faced a pandemic and overcome obstacles that she never thought to contemplate. But with the help of her husband, family, nannies and her employees, her two Drybar shops are successful.
“I know it sounds cheesy, but it truly takes everyone,” she says. “I am glad we stuck it out.”