Monday, March 26, 2007

On Tiny Heads and Business Things

This business thing is starting to really annoy me. Not so much dealing with customers or anything like that but just trying to grow something while you are in the midst of growing something else - a young marriage, kids, a fruitful career. People do this all the time but it's just plain hard to figure out how to successfully and steadily grow a business when you don't have the number one resource needed to make it work - time. If you have the number two resource at your disposal - money - then you can hire the necessary help. But my partner and I are short on both. And yes, lack of money really is secondary to lack of time. Money can buy you time but can only stretch so far and you can't bank it. Well, vacation time at work is one thing, but I'm talking the daily kind.

It's frustrating. We KNOW we have a good thing here. We KNOW if we could work it, we could make it. But we have to try to keep things small and manageable and that may mean very little profit for a long time, if any at all. And the thing is no matter how hard you try to do one thing at a time, you really can't do that in a business. You have to be all things to all people until you can hire someone to help you out and even then you still have to keep your finger on the pulse so you can communicate effectively with your hire. Plus, my partner and I prefer to work with people as like-minded as possible and that can take time to find.

So we've thought about this and we already know that ultimately, this business was never meant to be a full-time thing for my partner. She loves her job and has no intention of leaving. She's our pastor's administrative assistant and as thankless as that can be, it's still a rewarding thing. I know. I used to volunteer way back before the family came along. We are both helpers, in terms of spiritual gifts, so it works for us to help others. It's the same in my job except no matter how much I love it, I do want to work for myself one day and I would like this business to be one of the things I do for myself one day. This and writing.

But I'm frustrated by our lack of growth and I know we aren't growing because of our inability to give that aforementioned time. I told my partner that I've come to the conclusion that really all I need and want from this business right now is for it to stay small and manageable. If we can get just 1 custom job per month, that would be a success for me and I'd be happy to maintain that while still trying to build some business for the future when I can give more of my time. In the meanwhile, we seek out help and even THAT is frustrating. Our web developer is slow as molasses as in the beginning that was cool because we weren't able to do but so much at one time either. But my philosophy now is if I can't give it the time it needs to because I work, then the person I hire must do their job full-time. The web developer is not solely a web developer and if I had come to this conclusion even this time last year, he wouldn't have been hired (though we liked his work and his willingness to work with us on price). WE simply needs our consultants to be 100% committed to their business in the way of time where we can't be because our time is divided.

I cannot give up this fight. We've been working on this too many years to stop now and neither of us think we can call it quits until we feel like we really did give it our ALL and no, it didn't work. But we don't see that. We don't feel it. We know it can work and we have to keep trying. All the guarding of my time doesn't make it easier to do what I need to - family and job are major time consumers that hopefully will never end (the job, not until I am ready to call it quits) - so this all must jibe no matter how hard it is.

And this is why I am the multi-object manipulator. I want to drop a ball from sheer frustration but I can't let myself do that. I love everything that helps make my life my life.

Guess I'll just keep on keeping on. But for now, it's almost midnight and I have to take off the business cap and get some rest so I can put the mommy cap back on for the morning. I put the businessowner cap on right after I drop off Daughter and think/talk while I'm driving to work where I may have to wear at least 2 caps at once like I did today. According to anyone who has ever done my hair, I have a small head so this can be quite tricky.

I need a vacation. And a hat rack.

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