Road Trip Failure!

April 19, 2017

What happened & where will the project go from here?

 

 

It's time. It's long past time to share what happened with the project with all of you. 

 

Honestly up until about a couple months ago, I tried really hard not to think about the Bring Birth Back Project. I felt like a failure. I felt like I let the birth centers down. The expectant parents down, the donors down. I really just didn't know what to do. For a while after I returned home I just got several retail jobs and work back to back to dig myself out. 

 

The failure feeling only magnified with that.

 

However a few months ago someone who'd donated to the project had reached out to me. They were proud of me despite the project failure. I was stunned. They continued to open my eyes to all the ways my project had been a success, and how my failure this first time around didn't need to be the way the project ended. 

 

So without any further delay I would like to share with you, what happened with my first go around of the project. 

 

ROUND 1 : Rocky Start

 

 

June 16th 2017

 

My girl Stella and I set hit the road to travel from Connecticut down to South West Florida! This was the first out of state drive I was doing and it was the first time I would be making the trip to Florida alone! 

 

As a child we often did road trips from Florida to CT to visit family during the summers. However I was much younger then and my younger brother and I would enjoy doing our own thing in the back seat between naps while our grandparents drove. 

 

I'll just say doing this alone as an adult was a much different experience! 

 

The trip down took about two and a half days. Much longer then I had thought. My first error was not sleeping enough before hitting the road. I tend to be like the energizer bunny and go until I can't anymore....FAIL!

 

The lack of sleep was due to the genius idea of opening a studio AND on-boarding not one but TWO new members to my company within a month before leaving. Let's just say what I had hoped would help eliminate stress and work only amplified it. You can learn more about it in our next blog called. "Back to One"  

 

Any who with all the training, prepping, and opening of it all I was quiet busy. Not only was I hardly having the time to sleep, I really wasn't staying on top of the marketing I needed to, to help keep the project gaining momentum. FAIL.

 

 

Within 3 hours into my trip I needed to stop and take a nap. I was so tired and I just kept thinking 'How did the old folks do this in a 24 hour stretch!' well they slept longer then an hour prior-thats how. I ended up pulling over to cat nap several times that night. I also learned I am NOT a night time driver! haha

 

I made it all the way down with no problems....that is until I hit Georgia. It poured like I'd never driven in before! I grew up down south so I'd been missing a good southern thunder shower...just not as I was driving....

 

See this is where the trouble starts. The rain was heavy so I decided to get off to grab a bite to eat for dinner; in hopes the rain would die down by the time I was back on the road. It didn't.

 

Not even ten minutes after getting back on the road my tire pressure light came on. I had just driven through a construction area so I should have guessed right? I pulled over at the next gas station and sure enough my tire seemed to have lost a little air. I filled it up, called a friend to inform them of what happened and waited 30 minutes. It seemed to be holding it so I continued on. I pulled over a couple hours later when I hit Jackonville FL. I got out looked at my tire and low and behold it was COMPLETELY FLAT. Yup I'm talking to the rim flat. oops. 

 

It's 11pm at night in a sketchy area of Jacksonville and of course the gas station I landed at closes in one hour. Crap. 

 

So I call AAA and tell them the situation. They say someone will be to me within 45 minutes. Perfect! The map on my phone shows they are just down the road so I'm hoping it will be quicker. It's not. Midnight quickly rolls around and the lady working nightshift is closing up. She comes to see if I've made any progress and of course I haven't.

 

It's 12:30am and she's finished. She doesn't want to leave because the last 3 cars to pull up where clearly strung out on some form of drug. One man even tried to come and help me despite me asking him to please leave. By this point the truck on the map still has yet to move and I've spoken with AAA and someone from higher up on three different occasion and no one can seem to offer me any idea on when I might receive some help. I'M FREAKING OUT!  The woman and I finally decided to just try and change it our selves.

 

Now before you freak out saying what are you doing traveling alone if you can't change a tire?! I CAN, I just didn't want to alone in that particular area. I also just so happened to purchase a membership with AAA so I thought it'd be a great time to try it-boy was I wrong. 

 

We ended up seeing if a friend of hers who worked with tires across the way was awake and could help. He was and so graciously came over. Even he had trouble with it but was finally able to get it off and throw my donut on. I thanked them up and down and was back on the road around 1:15am. Still no call from AAA and still no one had shown. I traveled for another hour until I reached a more safe place to rest and took a cat nap. When I woke I had missed call from the AAA guy from 3:22am, little did he know I was too no thanks to him! haha

 I got ready and made the finally leg of the journey on my donut to my brothers home where I'd be staying during my on call time there. 

 

 

We stayed in Florida for 3 weeks. During those 3 weeks I was on call for 3 different birth centers, Sarasota, Naples, and Tampa. I had several participants signed up along with a few whom contacted me during my time there, however I didn't receive any phone calls to attend any of the births during my time in Florida. 

 

I was pretty discouraged. If I spent 3 weeks in a state for 3 centers and not one had a baby, how was the rest of this trip going to go?! I tried to push that thought aside and look at it with the silver lining that although no births happened for that state, it did allow me to spend some quality time with my loved ones while I was there. 

 

Along with the lack of births during my first stop, by the end of the three weeks I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't going to be the way I had envisioned. I had already been short on my goal funding wise before I headed out originally. The tire incident set those already low funds back a  bit more, and I was still paying my monthly bills. Oey. 

 

 

I headed home Mid July to check on the home front with the girls before I headed out west. Haley had a large event orgainzed that I was pretty concerned about and I was also hoping that a few weeks at home would help me build some funds up. 

 

Things didn't go as planned though. I realized quickly after returning that I wouldn't be heading back out right away. I would need to protect my business and remove one of the partners I added on and figure out how to juggle the home front and the project. 

 

After a month it finally started to set in that I wouldn't be able to head back out any time soon. I didn't have a whole lot of participants signed up for each center and it was a huge risk funding wise. I gave up for a while. 

 

That was until I received that call a few months back. After that call I couldn't go to sleep. I had let the business and project failures own me. I just sat back and let the feelings that came with it consume me instead of using it to grow! 

 

I'm only human. I created this huge project and made huge business moves in a one year time span. So it didn't go as I had originally hoped. I needed to look at it in the view of a lesson to learn and take away from to better each instead of tossing it to the side and allowing it to remain a failed attempt. 

 

 

So now what?

 

 

For now I will be working the project in the New England area over the next year. I will be reaching out to various birth centers in the surrounding areas as well as midwives and doulas to see if anyone would be interested in working with the project on a local level. I have already had some expectant mothers show an interest and have even captured a beautifully supported labor this Easter weekend. 

 


I will be reevaluating the marketing area of the project as well as putting together some fundraisers to start building a savings fund to head back out for a second try of a traveling version of the project for 2018! 

 

I am choosing to only go up from here instead of allowing it to be a failure! I have been reevaluating the project to see where it went south and where it was doing well. If any of you have some feedback or ideas you think would help benefit the project or if you would like to be apart of the project in some way please reach out to me via email at shea@sterlingphotographyct.com I look forward to moving this project back to the direction I hoped for originally! 

 

 

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