It is the first episode of Getting Real with BOSSY, the podcast for women who are owning business. We talk about the beginnings of BOSSY, employing friends and family, the “must be nice”s, the tears, the pride, the disasters, learning how much we didn’t know, and how much we are still learning. But let’s start by introducing ourselves:
Kelly Bush, welcome.
Thank you so much.
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Kelly Bush I am 46 years old, and I am a multi business owner. I own Marshall St. Bar and Grill and the Union Tavern with my husband Don. And I also own K&B Consulting. Marshall Street’s been in business for 12 years now and the Union opened right before the pandemic. So that was great. We'll save that for another episode. We have no children, we've got a dog that I'm majorly obsessed with, a cat, and we live in Sea Breeze.
I love your dog and cat, they’re wonderful. My name is Kelly Metras. I am 44. I own Salena's Mexican Restaurant and I'm in the process of selling my other business Nox, and am also expanding Salena’s at the same time… Because why not during a pandemic. Expand your business. I have 4 kids and then if we get into pets, I have an anxiety ridden dog, and two skittish cats that we got for COVID, and some fish that won't die.
Kelly and I used to work together at an alternative school, which was very difficult, and we spent a lot of time getting together talking about our experiences and how hard it was, because nobody ever really understood- it was very comforting to be able to talk to somebody who got it.
I still remember breakfasts with you, over the course of a couple of breakfasts, when we realized that we were both purchasing businesses with our spouses- which is another episode in itself. We were both transitioning, so our happy hours and our breakfasts, whatever we could put into our schedule, transitioned from the day treatment talk to “what the hell are we doing?”
I don't know if you know this, but when you open a business, you may be opening your passion, doing something that you've done forever, but once you're a business owner, all that goes out the window. Because you don't know you don't know HR law you don't know tax law- All this stuff that now you're on the hook for legally. All of that stuff has to get done and there's just nowhere to go. There's no one spot to go to get all of that information, so we started being that spot for each other.
One day we were at a little pub in Sea Breeze- needless to say across the street from one that you own now- and we had a little bit to drink. We were having an especially tough night and we were talking about how amazing it felt when we left our meetings together because it was the only time that we felt understood. And it's probably partially because we own businesses with our husbands, but also partially because we're both in male dominated fields, that we didn't feel heard. We felt overlooked. Even though both of us were major decision makers, our opinions didn't matter in the minds of others. So, we decided to reach out to other women we knew that owned businesses and invite them to a happy hour just to see what happens. And then, jokingly decided to call it BOSSY- with all capital letters.
And I'm happy we kept it, I'm so happy we kept it. It's all about ownership and what you do with it, right? I think both of us have probably been told we've been bossy our whole lives and we are. It's true because if we're not, shit doesn't get done.
So yeah, so that's how we got to meeting one for BOSSY with what, 12 people?
That was July of 2014. We had no idea what to expect and then all of a sudden there were women, some that we knew, but some that we didn't, and that was so cool. It was not like “I'm having this party and all my friends are coming,” but there are actually other people out there interested that we didn’t know. I really loved that.
We quickly learned that no matter if you have a partner or if you're doing it alone. If you're a salon owner or a maker, a creative- I mean, there are women in BOSSY that are doing things I didn't know existed, but that everybody struggled with a lot of the same things. And so, we got to be in a space where we all felt heard and it was so powerful, we immediately were like “when are we doing this again?”
We started a private Facebook group and I think we maybe had thirty members just from people leaving that meeting and being like well, I want to invite this person- and we started hosting monthly happy hours. Between the Facebook group and the happy hours, we would notice different patterns that were happening, different questions that there weren't answers to, so we started hosting seminars-getting people in a room with an HR specialist, or my favorite being the diversity and inclusion panel. Just to put women business owners in a space where they could learn, and we could all grow.
They were able to see the thing that Kelly and I started to learn early on- that it just does not matter what you're doing, we all have the same struggles. And if we can support each other, we don't feel so alone. And there's a wonderful thing that happens when you have a job that is incredibly stressful with a lot of responsibility and you're in a room with people that truly understand. Because I can sit and talk to some of my friends, or my family, and they just don't really get it because they've never had everything on the line. If I fail, my business fails. If you're working somewhere and you fail, then you get another job.
Yeah, to get another job is tough, but everything we have is in our business right now, especially since the pandemic, especially finances. Usually, we put everything we can into these businesses. If we fail, it will be absolutely devastating, and some people just don't get it.
Oh, “the must be nice”s. Those are my favorite. Oh, you guys get this. Oh, you guys are going out to lunch. Oh my, you're getting a massage in the middle of the day. You make your own schedule. It must be nice.
Well, yeah, I also do HR work at 11:00 o'clock at night when I can't sleep because I'm stressing out.
And every vacation is filled with phone calls and disasters- people just don't get it. There's this idea that if you own your own business, you're millionaires, or driving Lamborghinis or whatever is popular at the time you're listening to this podcast- this ridiculous idea that we just have it so easy. And it’s not the case. It's very frustrating when you're having a day like that and the only people that you can turn to don't get it. That's why BOSSY is there, because you can always at least go to our Facebook group and just unload all your stuff and vent and get it all out and you're immediately comforted. This big BOSSY online hug.
It is like a big hug.
It is a big hug.
I love that. Not everybody is comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts and details like I am. If you belong to BOSSY, you'll know I don't have a problem sharing. I probably overshare, but yeah.
You don't have much of a filter when it comes to sharing.
I actually learned that through having my first kid. I was like “people don't tell you that you fart while you walk for months?” Like what's up with that? Anyways, I believe in sharing because there's people out there that are going through the same thing as you, and you may not know it. And that's the point. What I'm saying is: to the people who share- I get a lot of people that reach out, and thank us, because they're in the sidelines. They're not participating, but they're watching and listening. They're like, “that meant so much to me to see that person that's in the same position as me share how hard it is, because I felt so alone that day and I went on BOSSY and I saw that and I read it,” and they may not like it, they may not comment on it, but it stays with them, and it helps them through their day. Those are the things we don't see, and I always love it when people send me those notes, or I run into them in public and they share that information because it keeps us going.
So right now, we have just about 500 Members, which means there are 500 women in the greater Rochester area running businesses that are in a support network and have a group to turn to, which is incredible. Like Kelly said, we do monthly happy hours and seminars and this year we decided it's time to grow. Because my dream, I don't know if it's your dream, is that I want to go on vacation someday and if I'm feeling stressed out, I can look and see if there's a BOSSY chapter.
I thought I knew where you were going, and you were like, “my dream,” and I was like, “I am totally there with you because we share everything.” And then you're like, “I want to go on vacation someday.” And I thought, “Oh hell yeah,” and I thought you're going to finish with “and not have to work.”
Oh, that's never going to be the case. Unless I'm retired. Or that's just our life, so we would really love to see what we've created here, which is so incredible, turn into chapters in other areas. And one of the ways we're going to get there is by doing podcasts and getting the information out, getting people to understand how incredible this program is and seeing it become amazing. I don't really know how to finish that sentence…
Really, it's if you're listening to us and you're appreciating our podcasts and you want to participate, even if you're out of state, you can join our closed group. If you want to think about sharing these feelings with women in your area, we are more than willing to expand out and talk about how to do that. We have lots of ideas that we plan on putting in place for 2023, and we’re the queens of writing a business plan, so all that is set. It's just finding the right people to help us move onwards and upwards and reach more women.
And you won't just be hearing from us. Kelly, I don't know if you know, but I've been going around and getting testimonials from different BOSSY members, so we're going to spend some time listening to those, and I can't wait to hear your reaction about them.
They made me cry.
I cry a lot by the way, like all the time but…
What we need, instead of a laugh track, is a note that we can tell people that are listening when you're actually crying because you do it quietly. In person we all know that you're crying, but on a podcast, we need to come up with a “Kelly's crying” background noise, right? To be a secret code that only people who have listened to this episode will know. The “this is the Kelly B is crying sound.” Kelly M holds it all in until I'm in the shower.
Or eating ice cream on the floor of your kitchen at 10:30 at night.
Ice cream. And my favorite place.
We laugh about my crying but that was one of the main reasons I was inspired to work with you and make BOSSY a reality. Because I did have a little bit more free time on my hands, and I did go out and try to find groups that I could connect with. I'm sure there are plenty here in this area. If you're listening from somewhere else, I'm sure you have them there. Maybe they work for you. Maybe they don't. The schedules never quite worked for me, and a lot of the times they were filled with women who are just “decision makers” and those things are great. But I needed a place where I felt surrounded by people just like me. I'd go to these meetings, and they tell me how I'm supposed to speak, how I'm supposed to introduce myself, how I'm supposed to support other people, and everybody was so happy and “it's so great,” and I'm like, “holy shit, what am I doing wrong?” Because I cry A LOT and running a business is the worst job in the world- I'll never want another one- but it's so hard. The best and the worst. It's the best and the worst, but nobody talks about it at these meetings. I already felt like I had nowhere to go and then I felt even worse. With BOSSY, probably because I cry a lot, maybe it makes people feel comfortable being honest?
So, I don't have a filter and you cry a lot. Yeah, there we go, how? Can you not feel comfortable with that?
We are the perfect team.
Stay tuned for our next blog and catch the full show at Getting Real with BOSSY at your favorite podcast provider or listen at realbossypod.podbean.com. Subscribe today!
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