When it Rains it Pours
Written by Ashland Viscosi
It was June 20th , the night before I was announcing my programming for the 2018 edition of The
Creatives Meet Business Experience (CMBXP), and I got into a car accident that almost totaled
my car. It was the kind of accident where metal crunched, glass shattered, air bags deployed,
and you definitely called the police to come and file an accident report. Besides the sheer
nuisance of a car accident at a really inconvenient time (as if there’s ever a convenient time, of
course) the pinky finger of my left hand was hit by the air bag when it deployed. It hit with such
force that it affected the ulnar nerve of my left hand and took out its two closest friends along
with it – the ring and middle fingers.
I almost took pride in what happened over the next few months. The show must go on, besides
being a phenomenal song by Queen, was also just the truth. I love my company and event and
I’m a solopreneur, I had to keep it going. And doing it single-handedly? Well, that’s almost
downright heroic! And while the big pieces didn’t fall through the cracks, lots of little things did.
Or things I wanted to do never saw the light of day. But the show went on and the event was a
My left hand still doesn’t fully function, it’s definitely dropped the ball on an occasion or two
(like my bouldering accident in February where I almost broke my left ankle and right elbow),
but for the most part, I did everything I’d wanted to as a team of one. And accomplishing
everything one-handed further reinforced my belief in my abilities to do just about anything on
This year, as I approached the evening before I announced the CMBXP programming, I was
waiting for something to go wrong again, waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. What
accident was going to befall me this time? As the days approached leading into my
programming announcement, my paranoia was at an all-time high. But nothing happened…I
made it through announcing everything unharmed.
Whew, I thought with a sigh of relief, nothing would stop me this time. This is the year that ALL
the things will happen, nothing will fall through the cracks! Huzzah!
But then, something of course did happen. I live with my boyfriend and we were both at home
when a maintenance technician came to repair the AC in the condo that we rent together. The
repair wasn’t anything too crazy or complicated, just a piece of piping had to be replaced. But
his assistant, while in the attic, mis-stepped. When he stepped through the insulation, he also
stepped through the pipe that fed the sprinkler/emergency fire suppression system. He
snapped it. And in that instant and over the course of the next 30 minutes, 1,500+ gallons of
water found their way inside our home, functionally downpouring in our living room, kitchen,
office, and beyond. And as the water continued to pour from the broken pipe and through
every air vent, light bulb socket, and sprinkler, it started to pool in other places of the ceiling,
breaking through here and there and adding new water-based ecosystems inside our home.
This time, that notion I had before about accomplishing everything on my own was shattered,
there was no “single-handed” approach to keeping all of the balls in the air. The damage was so
extensive that practically all of the floors were removed from the house and most of our
furniture was destroyed. The process to dry out the house alone took 8 very full days.
In a way that was very out of character for me, I posted a picture of my interior monsoon to my
business Instagram page (@createmeetbiz). I had zero expectations with the post, in fact I
wanted to explain why things would be quiet on the account over the next few weeks as
personal life took the front seat. But what happened surprised me in a way I’m still adjusting to
and so grateful for – people commented asking how they could help. And this time, instead of
going it alone, I decided to accept it.
Help came in a variety of ways, the most unexpected being the unique and innovative ideas
that came from different sources. Several CMBXP Guides (what we call speakers) offered to
take over the Instagram account, sharing about themselves and their workshops. I was thrilled
about this idea as it solved my most immediate need, keeping the account active, but it had
rippling benefits that I’d neither considered nor expected. Attendees now had a new way to
engage and connect with Guides before September and the takeovers gave them a better sense
of what the workshops would encompass. It was definitely one of those constraint creates
Help also came from a former volunteer from the social media team, Marcelo, who stepped up
and took over the rest of the social media accounts. And once again, more innovative and
clever ideas came to the table that I never would have thought up on my own.
Despite being a very strong delegator, I tend to do everything that I can possibly do on my own,
without assistance. I imagine a lot of freelancers, solopreneurs, and small business owners are
in a similar boat. Oftentimes I’m able to do what needs to be done. But then there’s the
moment(s) when we realize we can’t go it alone and we need help. One of the greatest benefits
of being an active member and contributor to a community is that we can call upon our
community when we most need it. Asking for help is a uniquely challenging request; our fears
run rampant and are layered against our perceptions of how we think others can support us.
Even now, weeks after the water line was first broken, I’m still completely beside myself with
appreciation for all of the support, time, and innovative ideas I’ve received from members of
I know that I’m not alone in facing hurdles like these, which is exactly why I wanted to share
this story as well as what I’ve learned from this experience. Sharing about my personal struggle
publicly (as well as authentically and with no expectation about the outcome) was the first step
to receiving support that I didn’t think was available to me. The second lesson learned was to
be open to ideas as they were presented and find a way to incorporate them (which oftentimes
meant letting someone else run with their idea). And perhaps the hardest lesson of all is
actually asking for support and being able to accept it when provided. Once I gave the
proverbial keys to the castle to others, more people felt better connected. Which is precisely
why I do what I do.
Ashland Viscosi is the founder of Creatives Meet Business and the Creatives Meet Business
Experience (CMBXP), an annual three-day professional development conference for artists,
creatives, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners. For badges and more
information about this year’s event (9/19 to 9/21), visit www.cmbxp.com.