Today will be my day off. Really it will. Even though I am sitting here writing this morning, when I am finished I am going to get ready to head out for the day. Already the sun is shining and it promises to be a warm and mostly sunny day today. It is the perfect time to get in the car, let the top down and take a ride along the coast and relax.
The last several weeks have been crazy/busy. Not ‘bad crazy’, but crazy in a way that was beginning to become a little overwhelming.
While I realize that crazy comes with being successful, I was feeling (just a little bit) that I was losing control of the situation and that my business was beginning to run ME. That is a very real danger we self-employed people come across. We put out feelers in many directions in hope of advancing our business. As things begin to start paying off, we are thrilled. Then another thing begins to pay off. And so on, and so on. If we aren’t careful, we are finding ourselves pulled in several directions at once, and chaos ensues.
This doesn’t happen overnight. Although sometimes the tide can shift quickly and one finds themselves going from looking for work to trying to figure out which job to do first (And second. And third. And so on.) How we handle things when this situation arises can dictate the future of our business. And the decisions need to be considered very carefully.
The problem that usually arises when we are at this point in our business is when we are in the midst of things, we aren’t thinking as clearly as we normally do. We are excited about the successes that are finally finding us, but we are also a bit tired from working so hard to achieve them. Sometimes we have many things pulling at us at once and we begin to feel overwhelmed. Another factor is that the memories of struggling are still clear in our minds, and we don’t want to refuse any type of work at all because we are afraid that one day we will once again be in that position and don’t ever want to wind up there again. So we take on too much and make decisions that over the long run may not be in our best interest. That is why it is important to take a breath.
Yesterday was an incredible day. I spent the morning packing up the ornaments that I had labored over so diligently the past few weeks. They looked really good and I was very proud of them. While wrapping each one and packing them in the box, I couldn’t help but think how happy I was with myself that I didn’t cut corners or hurry them along. Even the backs of them looked neat and professional. I sent them away, knowing that I did my best work and no matter if they sold well or not, I was proud of them and felt they represented me well.
As the box went out the door, as always I felt a sense of relief. I could check one big thing off of my list to do and move on to other things. Those late nights were worth it, as I feel that not only did I accomplish the task at hand, but forged a path of success for the future of my business. I was happy.
I spent the next couple of hours tidying up a bit. I like to do that in between projects. I often receive messages and emails from people who are amazed at how we keep our little place here neat, and tidying up in between projects is certainly at the top of the list. After we cleaned the house, I sat down and ordered the ink system for the new printers that are in transit and should be arriving tomorrow. While my own printer here is still working fine, I have put many hours on it and want to be prepared when it finally spits out its last page. I ordered two of the Canon printers that I spoke of last week, and needed to order the matching ink system so that I would be able to continue to print the (hopefully) many patterns used in the kits that Artist’s Club is selling for me. So far I had sold nearly 1000 kits, and the pattern are nearly 20 color pages each.
Just as I finished ordering, I received an email from Artist’s Club. It was from their purchasing department and I was somewhat expecting an order, as they had accepted the two new designs and the catalog which they would be in was to ship sometime in July. After all, the pieces that I sent out just hours before still had to be photographed after their week long journey across the country and the catalogs then had to be created. I had a bit of time.
When I opened the email however, I was somewhat taken aback. Not only was there an initial order for the new kits (of which I still need to create the pattern packets) but there was also additional orders for the kits that they were carrying (again!) and the total kits ordered was 500! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I immediately called Keith over to see if he were up for helping me work on these, and he was (thankfully!) as excited as I was to do so. The day before, he had already cut the wood we had on hand (enough for 200 kits) into the 10” x 10” squares we used for our kits and had half of it sanded. We were ready to roll!
I had ordered additional wood from Bernie the week before, and it was to be delivered today. I called him and he was able to double my order and have it included in the same shipment, which will be enough to fill this order and at least a couple hundred additional kits. I felt very happy and on top of things. And yes – PREPARED for this!
I spent the afternoon writing my article for the magazine, and I am also very pleased at how it came out. It is a detailed article about how to use the texture paste that I used for the bell ornaments to embellish not only ornaments, but other woodworking pieces. I finished around dinner time and felt really good about it.
With all this work coming in the door, you would think I would be in a panic. But I am not. I am calm and happy and I feel like we have things under control.
Yes. I am still taking the day off. We are riding up the coast to do some shopping and enjoy the beautiful weather. In our travels, we will pick up not only the cases of paper we need to print our order, but also stop at Bernie’s on our way back to pick up the wood. That alone saves us at least half a day of travelling, so we are killing two birds with one stone.
It’s all about planning. And about taking care of yourself too. I admit recently that I have felt a bit overwhelmed, and if this order had come in last week, I would have been “concerned”. But with Keith helping me, it divides the time to put out this order in half. It also is a lot more fun to do it when you have someone in the trenches with you. We are both thrilled about the success of these kits. Between the two of us, they should take less than a week to cut – and that is if we work in 5 hour stretches. That will give me time for my scroll saw designs and it is a very reasonable time to get the order out the door. And the income that they will bring is pretty nice too. My car will need an exhaust system before the year is out and while I am not in NEED of anything right at the moment, there are a few things that I have been eyeing – one in particular – that I am going to treat myself to. I will certainly blog on that later, as it is really a cool thing. :)
So off I go today. I am going to have a wonderful relaxing day out and about. (oot and aboot as the Newfies say!) And when I get back, I will look forward to doing what I love to do most – creating!
Have a wonderful day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"