Almost exactly a year ago, I hired my sister. I know, I know, people will always tell you not to mix family and business, but I didn’t listen. You see, my sister was working a stressful job as an ICU nurse and whenever I would talk to here, I would flashback to my anxious days in Corporate America (though let’s be honest, I wasn’t saving lives, I was stocking end caps in my red and khaki.) We had joked about her working for me for quite some time, more of in that, “Wouldn’t it be funny” sort of way. But when push came to shove and we started to really think about it, it was a smart move on both of our parts.
For the last 372 days, we’ve worked together — yes, I’ve counted. She took over managing the podcast and took it from a little project that we were trying to keep our head above water on and helped transform it into one of the top business podcasts on iTunes. She devoted her time to learning about the online world, the podcast world, and what the heck it took to crack the iTunes code (truth be told, we’re still not quite sure on that one.) She created systems, followed up with guests a bajillion times, and helped me to show up in bigger ways every time I sat down at the mic. She transformed it from something I sort of, kind of enjoyed doing to one of the main pieces of my business and she owned it.
If anyone would have my back, it’s her. She’s watched the blood, sweat, and tears that I’ve poured into the business over the last 7 years. She’s seen the late nights, witnessed the burnouts, heard the horror stories, read the comments and seen lives changed through what we do. A few months ago, she sent me a text on a Friday afternoon that said, “Are you busy? I need to tell you something.” Of course, I was busy but I quickly called her while my mac and cheese noodles cooked. “What’s up?” I asked.
I could tell she was nervous but as she started to talk, I smiled. She told me that she was going back to school to pursue her wildest dreams, to get back into nursing but on her own terms. She lit up over the phone as she told me about the classes she’d be taking and what she envisioned for her future. I let her keep talking until I finally cut in, “I’m SO excited for you!” I told her. As she apologized that it meant she’d have to leave my team, I laughed and told her, “I didn’t want you to work for me forever.”
The truth was, I didn’t. I wanted her to feel fulfilled, to never feel like she was in the shadow, and to definitely not spend her life behind a computer screen. While we made an awesome team, a dynamic duo, and she did a killer job, I was ready to go back to being “sisters.” To enjoy coffee without talking work, to text “just because” or to call just to see what she’s up to!
Over the next few weeks, I struggled in thinking about how I could possibly replace her. Truth is: she’s irreplaceable. It was daunting and scary but I knew, just as we believe as sisters, that things would all work out… and they did. Today is her last day and while my sister “quit” her job, I know she will never quit me. I wouldn’t trade the last year of getting to talk to her every single day for anything, I wouldn’t trade the ability to watch her tackle every task with confidence. I wouldn’t trade the fact that I’ve built a business that can pour back into my family. While she might be leaving my business world, it’s only just getting started for her new position: “Auntie Kate.”
There’s something special about sisters. We have this uncanny knack to know what each other is thinking, this wicked ability to drive one another crazy, this insane energy that only one another understands, and I swear we have ESP which has come in mightily handy working together. They say not to hire your family, but I couldn’t have asked for a better person to create her own position and turn it into a “How did we ever survive without Kate” role.
The podcast? Yeah, it’s my voice, but it’s a lot of her handiwork. So Kate, on your last day, I want to say thank you. Thank you for making each month better than the last, thank you for pivoting and bending and never breaking when things changed, thank you for packing your suitcase and showing up when I needed you, thank you for giving me a voice that is heard by millions, and thank you for being the best sister in the world. Our team will never be the same but I’m ready to watch you dig your biggest goals.