Founders often say that running a business can be a 24-hour experience. Recently, many of us are denouncing hustle culture for a balance of our own; as women who wear multiple hats, how we spend each moment of the day matters.
For Black women, time is precious, but often we forget that the time we spend outside of building our empires is just as important. In this ESSENCE.com series, we’ll get the scoop on how some of your favorite entrepreneurs and executives are spending time off the clock to refuel, recenter and remember their north stars.
Meet Courtney Caldwell, Co-Founder and CMO of ShearShare, Buffalo, NY, 43
Courtney Caldwell has a long line of entrepreneurs in her family, dating back to the founder of the gas mask and the stop light, Garrett Morgan. It’s no surprise that she tapped into that legacy to become the co-founder of ShearShare with her husband, Dr. Tye Caldwell. Together they created a mobile platform for salon owners that helps salon and barbershop owners rent out empty chairs and double their revenue using their experiences in consulting, barbering and cosmetology.
Named the “HairBnB” by users, ShearShare contains the largest database of on-demand salon, spa and barbershop workplace rentals in over 900 cities using its app. “It’s so important that this is our legacy that we get to leave, and that is helping to keep our small businesses open,” Caldwell said. Although her days don’t look the same, Caldwell is responsible for leading and growing ShearShare in marketing and PR, operations, HR, accounting and finance and legal. When she’s not running her company, she finds ways not to rush the process of starting her day and appreciate the moments to refuel. Learn more about how she spends time off the clock.
Intentionally starts the day slow.
The first thing that comes to Caldwell’s mind when she opens her eyes each morning is to slow down. “My mind is one of those where I can go from zero to a hundred really, really quickly. I try to start my day intentionally being very slow,” she said. To start her day off slow and keep her mind on chill, she lights candles in her home for aromatherapy to help set the mood and tone. “I literally have a line item in my budget for candles that I purchase every single month for the house,” Caldwell shared. She is an avid supporter of Black women-owned candle companies and is currently burning Zipora Scents in her home.
Then she begins her meditation for the day. Once she has found her zen, her husband joins her to pray, and then she journals before starting her day. If she doesn’t have time to journal, Caldwell devotes a few minutes to gratitude.
Every morning for the last 12 years, she has been making the Caldwell Concoction for her family. The drink consists of hot water, turmeric, ginger, honey, cinnamon and a hint of lemon or lime and is made over the stove. “That helps fire up my digestive tract and get me going in the morning,” she explained.
Unstructured time is her me-time.
With the majority of her day being managed by a calendar or diary, Caldwell enjoys the pleasure of having unplanned time for herself. “I run on a very regiment routine, so most days for me, me-time can be anything, but it just has to be unstructured,” she explained. Caldwell is a woman who enjoys the great outdoors and often spends time running or hiking. She loves the sun on her face and the wind in her hair. Another pastime of Caldwell’s is trying new plant-based recipes to cook for her family and learning more about plant-based medicines.
Traveling helps fuel her joy of culture.
“Every month, we are taking time for ourselves again, unstructured, because that’s where I come back with an immense clarity of thought,” she explained. With travel, Caldwell can get away from the noise that comes with leading a company.
“I just like to be in places where there are multiple different elements and different people that come together, so travel is a big one for me. I cannot sit in the same place for too long,” she said. Tokyo is her favorite place to travel because it is excellent for trendspotting in the beauty industry. “There’s a lot of stuff that Tokyo creates or has available to its residents before it even hits the states. I may see something this year that I may not see hit America for a couple of years,” Caldwell shared. In Tokyo, she can see the future of beauty and fashion that keeps her on her toes. While she is taking in the trends, Caldwell also enjoys the restaurant scene in Tokyo.
Another place that she visits is Jackson Hole, Wyoming. With every visit, she must have her green smoothies and hike Snow King Mountain, used by the US Olympic team to train. Caldwell shared that it’s like experiencing four different weather patterns every time she walks the mountain. Her climb starts warm, then it gets cool, after that it rains and snow flurries begin. “Going through all of those different seasons is just exactly what life is, right? Especially, running a tech company, you’re going to experience the highs and lows, but you have to get through those blistering moments to see greatness on the other side,” she explained.
Coaching has helped her manage.
Caldwell believes everyone should have a life coach who breathes energy and renewal into us. “One coach in my life told me that as long as you are doing five things, you will be fine. Your company is going to be fine because your company is only as healthy as you are,” she said. She learned five things from that life coach: to eat, drink, sleep, move and socialize well. “If I can do those five things well every day, it’s those little small disciplines that really add up to the health of yourself, your mental wellbeing and the health of your company,” Caldwell explained.
Why is being off the clock important?
What’s important for Caldwell when she is off the clock is how she can pour into the things that matter to her, and to do that, she has to reset her energy. “Reminds me how best I can fuel myself, how best I can fuel my family and how best I can fuel my legacy,” she said. In those times when she is not working, it helps her realize how she can be at her highest self and understand how to use her time best.