Here’s how we grew our team from 2 people to 50+, and learned to manage countless individual struggles, victories, and goals– as a collective.
Bedroom Business: Notes from the MyMuse Co-Founders
This month’s edition of Bedroom Business is about what Sahil says is “the stuff they don’t teach you in business school”. It’s a little bit about how we grew our team, but more about how we’re learning to manage all the individual challenges that come with this growing team. Each new person added means of course one more set of hands, eyes, and brain power to tackle the growing list of challenges and goals that our business adds on each day. But it also means one more human, with their own complex and unique identity, history, family, and personal and professional goals.
When we started MyMuse back in 2020, it was just Sahil and me, working out of our living room in the midst of the pandemic, creating our own little world as the world outside was shut down. It wasn’t easy– we had to do everything on our own, from packing orders to writing each line of copy, to managing customer queries, and everything else you can imagine. Looking back now, I wonder how we did it. But in a sense, it was also simpler. There was no HR, there were no policies, no company handbooks, and only our own problems to deal with– as husband and wife, and as co-founders.
Slowly our team of 2 grew to 5, then 10, and then suddenly before I could blink, we were at 50. We began to organize ourselves, as humans do, into departments and clusters and started setting processes in place. Process makes everything easier, and we had enough foresight to set some of those systems in place even when we were just two. But it’s impossible to ignore that adding more people also means managing more egos, more personal crises, and more real stuff. Somehow along the way, it felt like our job went more from making things happen to helping other people make things happen; Managing people.
I would say from the get-go, our culture at MyMuse has been one of transparency and trust. Not just with our external communities, but from the inside out. We share everything with our team– right from our revenue numbers each day, to our five-year plans, to when we’re personally having a bad or a good day. And this transparency goes both ways. We’ve encouraged our team to come to us with their problems, their hopes, and their fears, both in and outside of work. It’s been immensely rewarding, but at times can also feel soul-crushing.
I’ve had team members come to me with sickness, with family deaths, with relationship heartbreak, with economic debt, with life plans that have fallen through. Each conversation has meant putting on a new hat. Removing the title of “boss”, and taking on the role of part mentor, part therapist, and part friend, all while trying to balance the greater good of the company. It means making hard decisions like letting people go, or promoting people even if they haven’t felt quite ready. The stuff they don’t teach you in business school is how you might be up all night thinking not of your own family issues but of your teams.
But what no business book can also tell you is the flip side of the coin – the immense support, camaraderie, and community that makes up the fabric of your company. The bonds that tie people together, when they’ve gone through all that real shit together. The fact that you now have 50 more victories to celebrate, every time someone’s kid tops their class, or they finally take a long-awaited holiday or buy a home! It means celebrating big wins and small together, finding meaning in something larger than yourself, and making a whole new set of friends that truly become like family.
As hard as it can be sometimes to manage a team, I wouldn’t trade this feeling for the world. For every hard decision, there’s an equally gratifying one around the corner. Seeing the growth of people who’ve now been with us for years, and are now leading and managing teams of their own, and seeing the smiling faces of our ragtag bunch of Musers every morning – nothing compares to this. So, to everyone who’s ever thought about starting a company of their own, all I’ll say is this: it’s not easy, but damn is it worth it.
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