If it’s worth doing… maybe someone else should do it.
In my upcoming book, I have a character who runs a personal concierge business. I absolutely love her, and I am pretty sure she’s going to end up getting her own book. Kayla is just so fun to write!
While my character isn’t actually based on a real person (some of you may remember her from a brief mention in Hidden in the Writer’s Room), I do have a friend IRL who runs a company that provides these services. Jennifer’s personal concierge business employs another five or six women part time to help, and I know most of them pretty well, too. Nearly all are moms of little kids, and they are doing their concierge work during nap times or at night or on the weekends. They all say they love it – it’s flexible, it’s stuff they feel imminently qualified to handle, it keeps them in contact with other adults to stay sane, and they earn money. Jennifer gets to employ women friends (who would otherwise be SAHMs), so it’s a genuine no-brainer: a win-win.
While doing further research for my book, I came across lots and lots of these service companies, and was honestly amazed at the kinds of things they can do. They handle everything from organizing your linen closets, to planning vacations, to wrapping Christmas presents… mostly they were small or recurring tasks that (annoyingly) keep people from feeling like they have their lives together.
There are job specific companies (such as Task Rabbit), that you can hire to preform simple, discreet, same-day jobs, like taking down holiday lights or running errands. On the other side of the spectrum, there are white glove services that require a monthly retainer and may perform integral, monthly, weekly and daily tasks or huge projects like event planning, or organizing a cross country move. Basically, if it’s legal, they’ll do it.
One interesting thing I learned after speaking with several owners of these companies, was that very FEW of the clients were women; instead, personal concierges are largely hired by single or divorced men. While I loved exploiting that for my upcoming romance, it was a little troubling personally.
I suppose economics plays a part, as does the sexist expectation that these tasks are somehow logically assigned to women, and that their unpaid labor is part of their role as girlfriends / wives / mothers. Yuck.
In any event, it made me wonder if maybe there are tasks in my life that I’d be better off paying someone else to do.
Very recently, I encouraged my sister, who runs her own company, to start outsourcing the parts of her business that she finds emotionally or physically draining, so that she can pour more energy into what she excels at… as it turns out, those things she is uniquely able to do conveniently also generate income for her business. For her, it was a way to level up her company.
So, maybe the same thing is true on a smaller scale in my own life? Not only would assigning unpleasant tasks free me up to write more, but if I could get rid of the constant feeling of being behind, or missing details, or wishing I was better organized… honestly, if I could just get rid of the feeling of dread when I think about my children’s clothes and toys that never got around to selling or donating… I’d be better able to show up for the parts of life that I do enjoy.
Just food for thought. Though, right about now, I’d give a lot to plan my own travel or book my own reservation out at a restaurant… #stayingathome
In love and laughter,