Finally, I think I will have some time at the saw today. I used to think that if I could make designing projects my full time job, then I would be able to make things and work on them all day every day. While sometimes that is true, I never really understood how much time the other components of having a successful business entail and I find that just like everyone else, I long for those hours when I am actually creating.
There are many tasks that need to be done when running a small business. And many of them don’t have a lot to do with actual designing or creating the projects themselves. However, they are the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the business and without them, it would be impossible to function.
I feel as if I have been spending a lot of time on these behind the scenes things the past few months. In some ways, we are restructuring the business to fit not only what growth we have achieved, but also to accommodate the growth we foresee in the future. It is good that we have to look into those things, as we are getting larger little by little each day.
The only thing is that these changes are not always the most exciting thing to do or talk about. Many of them are behind the scenes things that keep the business running smoothly and seamlessly as we gain more customers and our sales volume increases. So far, I think we are doing OK.
But the hardest thing about that is that it doesn’t always leave the amount of design time that I would like to have and besides the things that I just mentioned, it seems that life itself just gets in the way sometimes.
I have felt a bit anxious lately. Not because I am worried about anything in particular, but mostly because the ideas that I have just seem to outweigh the time to complete them. I try to look upon that as a good problem, and in my heart I know it is. As a designer, having too many ideas translates into ‘job security’ for the future. The idea pool has not run dry by any stretch and I am afraid it is overflowing with thoughts and ideas of projects – both painting and woodworking – that need to be made. I know I will be busy for a long time to come.
But channeling these ideas into something that makes sense and putting them into workable time frames seems to be the greatest challenge that I see now days. The magazine is already into May, and the first snow hasn’t even fallen here in Nova Scotia and I need to train myself to flip between reality and design time and make things work. It is a challenge that I constantly battle.
Part of me wants to throw in the towel and just skip an entire season, and work a full year in advance. That way at least I would be making snowmen in the winter and bunnies and flowers in the spring, but I don’t think that I have the patience to sit on projects that long until their publish date has passed to offer them to my own customers. I am just not sure I could do it.
Like all of you, I enjoy ‘presenting’ a design as soon as it is completed. The feedback from my fellow creative people is energizing and a very large part of why I do what I do. I am not very good at keeping secrets when it comes to what I am creating, as like anyone else, I naturally want to share it with my colleagues and friends. And I love when customers are anxious to try the new designs themselves. I try not to dangle the carrot in front of people only to say that the design won’t be for sale for several months. While I know I have to do that sometimes when things are waiting for publication, I try not to make it the norm. It just doesn’t seem right.
So for now, I will go on doing things the way I am doing them. I have a bit of drawing to finish up today and then I can begin cutting the new design out. On paper it looks good, so I hope that when it is transformed into wood it will really knock my socks off.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend. The holiday rush is here and I am happy to say that I am through with stores for the season. Our trip last weekend was our first and last trip to the mall for holiday shopping and I think for the most part I am all set. That will leave me to enjoy the holidays from the sidelines here on the banks of the Meteghan River, tucked away in my little place here with Keith and my three kitties. Free to design and enjoy the season at a nice, leisurely pace.
Life is good!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"