“How do you do it all?”

“Don’t you miss your kids?”

“Where do you find the time?”

“Are you stressed?”.

When people find out I run multiple businesses and have four kids they often ask me these questions as if I will commiserate about how there is “not enough time” and all that backwards cultural messaging we hear every day.

I don’t commiserate because it simply isn’t true. Having time is about making choices. I choose to hustle to make money that allows me to pay for more time so that I never feel like I am deprived of it…

Everyone says that “retail is dead”….. but is it really?

Our Longmont Location!

Well, I’ve been running several retail stores at Crystal Joys for over five years now… and I’ve been doing it on a very part-time basis while running the other companies…and if I’m being completely honest — our retail stores have had mixed results. We kill it in some stores and lose lots of dollar bills each month in other stores. We have strong months of online sales and then months of non-existent sales. It is one of the most difficult to understand industries I have encountered…. …

My 20 week maternity photo with my first child.

Owwwwwwww! Why do my boobs hurt? It is two days in a row that I have woken up in pain — they are so sore I can barely put my bra on. About three hours later I have a “moment” and gasp remembering the last time I felt that way….and I start texting my husband who is already at the grocery store to grab a pregnancy test.

20 minutes later I am sitting on the toilet staring at the stick….. waiting to breathe. They should really offer paid advertising on these sticks…I’ve never studied and concentrated on anything the way…

My oldest daughter just started 1st grade this year and she is kind of killing it. Reading, math, spelling, and fun….that is kind of what 1st grade is all about, right? Yay for her and all of her new experiences and adventures. I love that she is trying new things and going to new places and learning new ideas. I also love her amazing sense of style — I wish I could pull off her outfits because they are truly magnificent:

I love that SHE is getting to do all of these things….. …

You know those business cliches that people have said forever, yet they don’t ACTUALLY make sense?

I hate when we use words just because they sound good…. Recently I was with a group of other business owners and one was struggling with the turnover in his company — a company that is paying people over 6 figures to do amazing work across the country…. And yet his staff are leaving.

I then heard the “words of advice” that make my skin crawl and my eyes roll:

“People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their Manager”.

I call bullshit on this…

One of our favorite people that receives all of our services in Northern Colorado

I’m not the most important person as the CEO. Not even close. Truth is — the companies could go on without me if I were abducted by aliens tomorrow. There may be a blip for a second, but the companies would go on. That thought actually gives me a great sense of peace.

The most valuable team members are not my direct reports either…..or their direct reports…or their direct reports… (Don’t get me wrong, we are all FABULOUS, but let’s take our high-paid egos out of this for a second)…

The “most valuable” team members are the ones doing the…

We are in the process of buying another business and we aren’t ready. We own five businesses and are overwhelmed and overworked. Our finances aren’t perfect, our businesses aren’t perfect, we have three young children…we have too much going on.

Yet, we are doing it anyway. We are going to take the leap.

What I have learned over the last 8 years is this:

You will never be “ready” to be an entrepreneur.

  • You will never have enough money in the bank.
  • You will never have enough staff.
  • You will never have enough time.
  • You will never have the perfect…

Two months in to managing SAMPLES in Longmont, Colorado I was sitting with a fellow restaurateur and he asked how things were going. I smiled and tried my best to believe it when I said “Great”. He smiled back, paused,and quietly said “You know, the money in a restaurant is in the salt shakers”. I nodded my head and redirected the conversation as the truth was — we were financially drowning.

After two years of running a restaurant I finally get it.

I ran a successful business with a high profit margin for five years previously so I thought that…

It is a simple rule that I think we should all live by in our professions: Women and men should be in top leadership positions in proportion to what is reflective of their industries.

When I was getting my Masters Degree in Social Work, a single statistic that I read stuck out to me. I can’t recall the stats on poverty or homelessness or child welfare, but I do remember this:

“80% of the social work profession is made up of women, while only 20% are men. However, 80% of the leaders in the social work profession are men.”


No, I’m not talking about color schemes and font styles.

I’m talking about not tolerating bullshit.

A “management brand” is the way you manage performance issues as a company. Every company has a brand, though it is usually subtle and discussed behind closed doors so that people only know what it is if something goes wrong. It is traditionally not transparent, but instead quiet and wrapped in awkwardness and reluctance.

I’m here to say it’s fine just to openly declare what the performance management brand is AND what you want it to be. …

Carmen Sample

Social Entrepreneur with businesses in human services and retail industries. Mom of 4.

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