The past few days I have felt like I've been floating since Thumbtack, an on-demand service professionals app, officially announced its inaugural Pro Advisory Board and it is definitely what is on my mind this Wednesday.
When I received an email in June from Thumbtack's Brand Marketing Manager asking if I was interested in being part of what I am convinced will be a very impactful opportunity, I was incredibly honored to have been chosen as one of 13 out of over 300,000...yes, 300,000!..pros across the US.
Two months later?
I am beyond thrilled.
Humbled is probably the best word to describe how I feel.
And maybe a little overwhelmed since this is all happening at the same time that I am starting to experience a major shift in my business. A good shift but nevertheless one that will require a lot of time, energy, and, of course, money but all well spent if it means taking It's Just Stuff to a completely higher level.
I don't think I could have imagined 3 years ago when I set up my first profile on Thumbtack that I would be writing a blog about this appointment so forgive me for wanting to brag just a little.
It's Just Stuff now has 4 profiles...3 of which are for each geographical location that I routinely visit throughout the year including Ventura County, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Metro Detroit to see family and friends. I haven't set one up in the Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, CT) yet even though I do try to get there at least once a year to see my daughter. Working in that region requires a lot of different logistics than anywhere else so I've been somewhat selective in choosing clients there. That said, when a Thumbtack employee asked me for organizing help when she heard I was going to be there last November I didn't hesitate to tackle her apartment on the Upper East Side. And as it turns out she went to my alma mater (albeit decades after me), something I discovered when I came across this sweatshirt as I was organizing her closet.
Ah yes...THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM!!! If you don't know that is a reference to Bo Schembechler's famous locker room speech I think it is worth the 90 seconds to listen to it.
But I digress...sort of...because I definitely couldn't have gotten to this stage with my business without my incredible team. While many players have come and gone over the past 3 years since rebranding and relaunching this company (after a two-year hiatus in W2 employment), I am eternally grateful to each and every person who has helped an IJS client. These are just a few of the awesome members of #TeamIJS through the years in action...
Anyway, I am often able to combine work with play which has been my goal for this business all along. Turning 60, though, last year, ramped up my desire to travel more often in the hopes that I can start to actually work less often, and with Thumbtack's help and an incredible team supporting me at all times, especially in my absence, I am able to do it more and more.
In fact, one of my team leads and I were asked to go to Carmel CA to help a client we had unpacked and got settled in here along the Colorado Front Range (It's Just Stuff's home base) about 2 1/2 years ago.
And as luck would have it, the job ended up coinciding with the first board meeting with Thumbtack in San Francisco. I made the decision to arrive the weekend before "getting down to business" and head to Napa and Sonoma for the "having a lot of fun" part of the trip. I only had time to do one wine tasting at Roche Winery but I was lucky enough to be able to do it with my college roommate who just moved to Sonoma from Michigan earlier this year as well as enjoy a fabulous dinner next door at The Girl and The Fig.
If you are ever in Sonoma, I recommend both.
The next morning I was up and out very early to be able to do a hike through the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve before meandering across the valley into Napa for the Blue Note Jazz Festival.
It was the first time I had ever attended a festival by myself and, honestly, I was sooooooooooooo happy. I met a woman while having lunch who happened to be from Boulder and she invited me to hang out with her and someone else she just met but I politely declined. I needed to be "still" for at least an afternoon before diving into a busy week ahead. And yes, I am aware that by definition you really can't be still at a festival but my definition meant I just didn't want to talk or engage with anyone. I succeeded and think I actually was much more present and probably heard a lot more music which is, of course, why I went.
The next day it was time to head to Marin County to reconnect with someone who used to live in Boulder but moved to the Bay Area during the pandemic. She used to be a home organizer too but had retired about 5 years ago. After telling her about the growth of IJS we both agreed that any future jobs in the Bay Area we should definitely collaborate. She realized that retirement didn't mean giving up on her passion for organizing so hopefully we will find ourselves working together in the near future.
Eventually, I did make my way into San Francisco the night before the Thumbtack meeting to reconnect with yet one more person but this time with someone I hadn't seen in 40 years. He used to make me laugh through high school and college and all these years later he still has a great sense of humor and I am so glad we got the chance to catch up.
So by the time I sat down at Thumbtack's office on that Tuesday morning, I had already had significant "play time" and yet by the time the day was over I can honestly say what we did hardly felt like work. Then again, I always say that if you love what you do for a living it shouldn't feel like work.
We all shared our passions, our missions, our hopes and our dreams. After all, if you are going to bring a group of entrepreneurial-minded individuals together, that is usually what happens. We are not the typical people you see in a corporate boardroom and, in fact, we tend to run away from anything that screams of conformity. Let's face it, corporate America is still very much about staying within the lines and the lines are never an entrepreneur's friends. We must think and look beyond lines and outside of the proverbial box. We have to be the disrupters or no one will ever take notice of what we are trying to accomplish.
So that begs the question...What do I want to accomplish as a Thumbtack Pro Advisory Board member?
I want to see them form a charitable foundation that pros from across the country can tap into for any clients that may desperately need certain services but can't afford them. I have been working tirelessly to get local community sponsors and/or state grants for many It's Just Stuff clients but it is never enough to meet the demand. I know Thumbtack was very excited about this idea so fingers crossed it will happen during my tenure on the board.
In the meantime, I will just continue to do what I think I do every day...show up, be kind and find ways to eliminate the chaos and create a sense of calm wherever I go. That, of course, assumes I do not lose my keys, phone, glasses or water bottle at any point because I'm so hyper-focused on clients and where I am putting their stuff that it is pretty much a given I will never focus on where I put any of mine!