I really had a full and busy day yesterday. I had a lot of fun, too. There are days when my job takes me in many directions at one time and everything is manageable. Those are the days when I go to bed feeling like I really accomplished a lot and have everything under control. I hope there are many more of them to follow.
I like to talk about these things because it is a time when all the work and experience comes into play. I want to show people that there is hope for having a business and that there are days when everything works like it is supposed to. This doesn’t happen by chance. A great deal of hard work and planning go into it. To me it is a ‘pay day’ without having any cash involved. Just the satisfaction of knowing that you are in a good place is reward enough some times. Some things you just cant measure by dollar amounts.
The day started out with several orders that came in through the night. A couple needed to be printed out, as the customers wanted them mailed. I did that as I was writing my blog here (multi-tasking!) and by the time I was ready to leave for the gym, everything was ready to go. I got the outdoor stuff done and was back before lunch time. I thought that was good because I also had a load of emails to attend to in the morning and got all that cleared out prior to leaving too. I was on a roll.
I finished my cutting in the afternoon. The next five months of the calendar project are now all cut and I will spend today sanding and finishing and staining the pieces, as well as writing an article to submit to the magazine. I think I am going to do an article on making a ‘zero clearance’ table for the scroll saw. it is very helpful when you have delicate pieces.
After the cutting, I worked on updating the site. Here is where having a (great!) partner comes into play. All the while I was doing other things, Keith was setting things up for the new sales and getting things in place on the site. He even assembled my pattern packet for my Polar Bear Pull Toy Replica which I am finally able to release on the site to sell.
It was in the last issue of the magazine and ‘on hold’ for several months. I am happy to finally be able to offer it – just in time for Christmas!
Usually Keith and I do our own patterns, as we are always busy with our own work and projects. But Keith wanted to get the update done and when I got back from my errands I was pleasantly surprised that he was working on my Polar Bear pattern for me, knowing I had a deadline on the cutting for the calendar. It’s wonderful to have a team member that helps you out when you really need it. I haven’t had that before and I am surely grateful for his help. It really defines the word ‘partner’ and I am certain that is why the business is doing as well as it is. We both work well together and cover for each other when necessary and don’t pick about who does what. If something needs doing, whomever is able to do so just jumps right in and does it. There isn’t any squabbling about one doing more than the other. We are both working for a common goal and I am certain that is why things are flourishing.
I wanted to show off Keith’s new plaque here too. He is terrible about posting new projects here (as I am!) and I think it is a really nice and attractive piece that is selling already since we posted it last night. It is a Christmas Wishes Plaque and really looks nice:
After I finished my cutting, I needed to make the new newsletter for the month of December. (You can join our mailing list HERE) I decided to put all the ornament patterns that I sell on sale, as well as have a special “Secret Sale” for my mailing list customers. I want them to know how important they are to me and how much I appreciate them. I spent the rest of the afternoon compiling that and I actually got it sent out about three hours shy of December 1st, which was my own personal goal. I was proud because I am really getting the hang of it and it went together without much of a struggle at all. We even put a new coupon code on the site for mailing list customers to receive an additional discount off of their order. The last time I did that it took a while, but this time it went pretty quick. Could I say I am ‘learning?’
During the day, I received an email from my main wholesaler that she was unable to fit some of my new projects into the catalog that she was working on that would be distributed at the end of December. Among them were the songbird ornaments and a couple of other patterns of mine. It seemed that the only new things for that catalog would be Kieth’s projects and none of mine made the cut.
A year ago, this would have really disappointed me. I would have been quite upset and probably angry too. But for some reason, it didn’t seem to bother me very much. It isn’t that I didn’t care, but I suppose it is because I have diversified to the point that one leg of the business not working out will not devastate or cripple the rest. That is HUGE. I have worked hard in enough other directions that I don’t depend on only one source to be functional and survive. As a small business in a volatile economy, I think that is a very good place to be.
For those of you who are working to make your woodworking and painting part or all of your living, please take this into consideration. If you are a woodworker and say you are depending on one or two shows to make money, you are putting yourself at a greater risk than if you have several shows or say some shows, some shops and an online presence too. With each layer you add to your business, you are also adding another layer of security and lessening the impact of one part not doing so well or failing. It just makes sense. The more diverse you are, the less the percentage any one aspect becomes, and therefore the overall health of your business is strengthened.
Is this more work? You bet! But contrary to what many people believe, being an ‘entrepreneur’ isn’t just sitting on the beach sipping exotic drinks with little umbrellas stuck in them. It is harder work than any one who doesn’t do it can imagine. Ask anyone who is successful in their own business. The difference is that when you really, really love what you do, the work doesn’t feel like work at all. Every day is fun and enjoyable and when everything clicks, nothing can match the satisfaction that you feel.
I realize that I tell you all that I love my job on a regular basis. Perhaps you may get sick of hearing it. Now days, there are so many people who are unhappy in their jobs and I am so fortunate to actually like what I do. I like dealing with the magazines, the wholesalers and the companies. I like providing the absolute best customer service that I can give to people. Seeing the impact of that alone is really satisfactory to me. And of course, I love designing not only the woodworking patterns, but also the painting patterns and seeing how people enjoy and use them and learn from them. It is a winning situation all around. I think if I didn’t tell you how much I loved it, it would be time for me to give it up.
So all is good today. I am really happy and feel good about things. November was a great month for me on the site and with the wonderful stuff that I have planned – not only for the near future, but for the upcoming year – I hope it continues in the direction it is already heading.
It is still dark here but I already know it is going to be a great day. I just have a feeling.
I wish you all a wonderful day too.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"