Did you ever get out of bed and before you were done with your first cup of coffee wish you could start the day over again? I guess it happens to all of us from time to time. I guess this blog isn’t going to be too much about woodworking today, but it does have to do with running a woodworking business and all that entails, so I forewarn you if you are looking for a tip or to see a project, this may not be the place – at least for today.
I promise this won’t turn into too much a rant. (maybe a little whining though!) However, I may vent a little frustration. After all, if I were Mary Sunshine every day it would probably make everyone sick and want to slap me. :) I guess those of you who also run a business can relate to much of what I am going to say – we have our good days and we have our not so good days. It is only 7:30 here on a Saturday morning and I have only been up for a little over an hour and already my stress bucket is pretty full. I wonder how I will be by tonight?
Over the years, I have learned not to sweat the small stuff. Life has taken me on a winding path so far and after seeing and experiencing some not so nice things, I learn that getting upset about little things can be classified as over reacting. I try generally to be a positive person. What’s a little rain? Or even a storm now and then? As long as you are able to keep reasonably dry you should be ok. I wait for the big ones to run for cover. I try not to worry about what may be and think more about what is. I think that is a healthier way to do things.
So anyway, I spent most of yesterday writing articles and working on my web site. Having a web site can be a full time job in itself. As I said earlier, I have been pretty productive this year. I have had many new designs both for the magazine and also for my personal sales and wholesalers and with that comes the job of managing everything. My partner is great with computers, and blissfully he has taken over much of the web site work and maintenance. We make a good team because he does a lot of the higher technical stuff (I am a lower level tech than he is!) and I do most of the PR (I am the ‘yakkity’ one who likes to socialize and write the introductions, updates and correspondence with others – I bet you couldn’t tell!) So it balances out pretty well.
In any case, I spent yesterday updating my part of the site. I had eleven new products to upload, including writing enticing descriptions for them as well as adding some pictures and stuff into the Customer’s Gallery and writing a new News page and composing a bulk email to go out to customers who signed up for updates (this is voluntary and I don’t send stuff to people who don’t ask for it). I also polished and uploaded two new free articles for them to download. We had just updated the site about 2-3 weeks ago, but this one was a much better one with lots more new stuff. I was really excited about it.
So after working on the computer until almost 11pm last night, everything was ready to go. Everything on the site was up and running and the test email was ready to send (I always send one to myself first to make sure that everything looks good and works properly). So I send the email and thought when it was OK, I would send it to the 800+ customers on the list and go to bed. I hit the send button and usually it pops right up in my email box within seconds. So I waited. And I went for a glass of milk. And I waited. And I went to brush my teeth. And I waited. The screen was stuck on ‘Sending messages – please wait’ for over half an hour and no email arrived. I tried rebooting and resending, but it was stuck on that screen. I copied and pasted the email into a new one and tried to resend and the same thing happened. This time it was past midnight and I thought, OK, it will go in the morning.
So I get up this morning and still no email. I get online with customer support chat from my host and they said that I was running old software (which was THEIR software) and they had problems with the bulk emails there. They were working on it. So NOW I am getting frustrated. I asked why I wasn’t asked to upgrade when the new software was available and she said she didn’t know. I have been working with that host for over seven years now and the site is on a kind of template. It is OK for someone new, but quite restrictive and we have been overriding many of the HTML things to make it look and perform better. So I was still pretty calm and asked her to upgrade me. She said I have to write them and send in a consent and back up my whole site and transfer it over. And I thought . . . . WOW! It was like being hit in the face with a pie like you see in the old TV shows.
Now as I said, I am pretty big on technology. I have Windows7 64 bit, and keep everything up to date. I certainly would have taken the opportunity to upgrade my software if I was told I needed to. My partner has been at me since we started really working on the site this year to change to a new host and get off the template. I know he is right, but I have over 400 products and things that have to be moved, changed and reuploaded along with the pictures and all that building a site entails. My site has been doing well this year and shows the care and attention we have been offering it. I had more in sales the first three months of this year than in 2008 and 2009 combined. It has become a integral part of my sales and I have been really proud of the work we have done on it. The thought of scrapping it and starting over just seems like looking up at Mt. Fugi to me.
So I left the conversation with the help line politely, not knowing when I will be able to send my email out. I put in a request for the upgrade on the software, but I cringe at the thought of what that will entail. I am almost ready to jump on my partner’s wagon and scrap the whole thing and start from scratch. :( I still have the unpleasant task of breaking the news to him, too. I am sure since he will be doing most of the gut work, it won’t make his day either.
So with that said, my rant is over. It is funny how you think when you are going to do woodworking full time you think you are going to do just that – woodworking full time. Unfortunately, there are other things like book work, purchasing, marketing, and the other things that go with running a business that get in the way – not to mention cooking, laundry, cleaning and well . . . . life! I haven’t been able to draw in over a week and I haven’t worked on the saw since Tuesday or so when I cut the frame out. It isn’t because I have been goofing off, either. I read the blog by kolwdwrkr called “Get Away Sometime” and I was really glad he posted it. It reminded me that as with anything in life, if you have too much of a good thing, it sometimes isn’t that good. Sometimes we need to change gears and do something unrelated so we can refresh our mind and soul. It was a great post.
I have some family stuff to do today and as I look out the sun is shining and it is beautiful. Besides my quest for turn buttons and a couple of trips for groceries, I haven’t been out in a couple of weeks except for a funeral of a friends grandma. I can’t really call that recreational time off. I live 2 km from the ocean and haven’t had a nice walk on the beach this year yet. I think the time to plan a short road trip is in order. I probably won’t be able to go until next weekend, with today’s responsibility, but I think it is time to take the top down on the ‘ole Mustang and crank the music and let her stretch her wheels and go for a ride. I need a day where the only wood I will be looking at is still living and growing.
Life is too short.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"