by Katrina Petersen
It’s not always easy to trust, especially when it comes to your business. But without trust, you’re on a fast track to burnout. I should know. I bought a historic church and tried to turn it into a premier wedding and event space all by myself.
In my defense, I had good reason not to trust other people. Until recently, I’d been business partners with my husband. We co-owned a property management company together. Then we got divorced, and the divorce got messy. Really messy. As in, I had to take out a restraining order on the father of my children. That kind of messy. It’s no wonder I wasn’t feeling warm and fuzzy about handing portions of my business over to strangers.
So, I threw myself into my new business. The building was in rough shape. It had been privately owned for almost 20 years. First it had been used as a man cave. There was a pool table where the altar used to be and that owner converted the church kitchen into an apartment. Then it was music store and performance hall. The owners had done their best, but the apartment had been pretty much neglected and there was a to-do list longer than a Maine winter.
When I did ask for help, I was careful not to give anyone too much power over the business. I would make all of the decisions. I would approve the designs, pick paint colors, critique and nitpick until everything was just so. I had this idea that I needed to do this on my own. I needed to do the work and if I worked hard enough it would come.
To be clear, buying a dilapidated but historically significant church wasn’t exactly on my bucket list. It just seemed like the right building at the right time. I didn’t have a ton of cash and the owners were willing to do owner financing to help make the sale possible.
So there I am, sweating, dirty, all alone in this 170 year old building while my kids were at daycare and I thought, “What am I doing?”
Actually, it was like someone had slapped me and yelled in my face. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” It was an epiphany. I could renovate this space and turn it into a beautiful, uniquely Maine event hall. I absolutely could. But not alone. I needed help. I needed to trust the small team I’d been building. They were professionals and I could let them do what they were best at.
Now the work gets done and I get to spend more time with my kids. Crooked Steeple Hall is booking events for 2020 and beyond. I thought I needed to be in the middle of everything or my business would fall apart, but it turns out that what I really needed to do was trust.
Katrina Petersen was a property manager and event planner before she purchased Crooked Steeple Hall and started building her dream business. Located in the historic town of Winterport, Maine, Crooked Steeple Hall hosts weddings, receptions, town-hall debates, and other unique events.