All in all it has been a rather quiet week. I guess by quiet it means that there have been no disasters or anything like that. I have been working on a new set of ornaments and drawing for the past several days, but I have also been doing lots of organizational stuff and things on the site and filling orders and such that have really filled the days for me.
I got my July figures from my largest wholesaler yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised. So far for this year, it was my best showing. This is incredible to me because June through August are typically pretty dismal in sales, even under the best of circumstances. With the economy the way it is, I expected things to be much worse. Add to the mix that it has been horribly hot in most of the United States where most of my customers reside and I am quite impressed (and dare I say hopeful?) that it will be a good year.
I also did my paperwork on my own site and was equally impressed. Again, best month so far and with the cool Autumn right around the corner and all the new stuff in the works, I am cautiously optimistic that things will go well.
(Small sigh of relief and take a breath)
Does this mean that slowing down is in the near future? Heck no! This small margin of success only means that I am on the right track and perhaps I have found the right formula to make things successful. Although I don’t feel the need to work at the frantic pace I was the week prior to the catalog deadline, I want to use this momentum to my advantage and continue on this path.
The new distributor owns two companies and the secondary one not only offers scroll saw patterns, but also small project-type wood patterns that are “lightly” painted. Yes, many of them are ‘cutsie’ and ‘cartoon-like’ which isn’t my usual forte, but it does open a whole new avenue of designing for me and gives me more options. I don’t know if I will be able to get anything additional in subsequent catalogs. I guess it will depend on how well what was chosen will do. So I need to leave it up to fate knowing what will be will be and realize and tell myself that if it doesn’t happen, there is a reason.
The important thing is that the opportunity is there. That is all I have ever wished for. Give me a chance to show you what I can do and the rest will be up to me. I like this way of thinking because it give you the control of your own fate. In my entire adult life, I have never really ‘wished’ for things or prayed for them to just happen. Even when things were tough. Somehow, I knew that something falling into my lap wouldn’t give me the same sense of satisfaction that having to work for something did.
I have, however, wished and prayed for the opportunity and chance to make things happen. As I get older, I am discovering that usually we make our own opportunities. They also don’t just fall into our laps. I sometimes wonder what took me so long to figure that part out? But then I realize that it is like Dorothy and the ruby slippers – it was there all the time.
So it is up to me now to see what I do with it. I look back at my business a year or so ago and I look at it now. This time, not emotionally with my heart, but with the figures of what I actually made. It is a difficult thing for a person such as myself to do. I think sometimes we want our business to succeed so badly that we tend to put on blinders to the reality of it and ignore the fact that it just isn’t able to support us. As creative people and artists we tend to do that. (I do anyway) But I am learning that romanticizing and glossing things over doesn’t keep a roof over my head or put food on my table. (or litter in the kitty box!)
When I decided to make changes in my life last year, I gave myself a definitive time frame to turn things around. I never really discussed this with anyone and the goal date is only in my head. But I realized that if I wanted my life to change and to be comfortable and self-reliant that I had to set some new rules. If my business wasn’t supporting me completely by that goal date, then it would be time to move on to something else.
I didn’t want to go down without giving it my best. And although there have been a few days when my heart hasn’t been really in it, those days ARE few. I love what I do and decided that I have to dedicate myself fully to make it work. After all – you can’t have a full time business if you are only putting part-time effort into it, can you? Common sense tells you that.
So these new numbers bring me a great deal of hope that I am on the right track. Instead of making me think that now I can relax, it acts like rocket fuel to encourage me to do better.
I hope all of you who are struggling with your businesses can look at this as a lesson. If you keep trying and keep focused and educate yourself on your marketing and business practices, there is always some hope. You just need to decide how much you want it and how hard you are willing to work for it.
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”—Mario Andretti
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"