Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Coming to the Finish/Starting Line

It's feels good to finish things. I've got two pressing unfinished projects in my life that I know I will complete eventually. For now, I've allowed myself to be consumed by Village Works and that's OK because there have been lots of things to start and complete there too. It's been funny, though, because out of the three completely sets of jobs we have pressing right now, 2 of them are not complete because of outside forces - one printer screwed up and now we're waiting on the fix so our customers will get their greeting cards before they start singing Auld Lang Syne. The other is one last person waiting to receive their custom puzzle, which seems to be AWOL. Thankfully, we never do just one of anything and a replacement was easy to send off yet again. Still, this particular job was already held up by - you guessed it - issues with the printer, a different one from the one just mentioned above.

Bizzy Girl and I started this year saying it was a do-or-die year. We knew what we wanted to do and simply needed to get ourselves there. We knew what we wanted to earn but it wasn't really about the money just yet. It was about creating the space to have the success we know we can have. She and I teamed up with Graphic Guru and together we planned out the year, month by month, sale by sale, greeting card by greeting card. Even though Graphic Guru had her own budding business, we wanted to work together to help each other - she helped us develop a new line of greeting cards and we took her wherever we went vending and the like. We also needed new greeting card jigsaw puzzles. But first our focus this year would be the website.

It was a do-or-die year, a year of life-altering changes. And now, 23 days away from a new year and 1 project away from wrapping up this season, Bizzy Girl and I took a quick moment to realize it was a very good year.

  • Lots more consistency with our newsletter and special offers.
  • Bizzy Girl's summer program that took her away for months is now no more (but this was also one of our best clients so it's a mixed blessing).
  • We did our first big 2-day expo and met all sorts of great people.
  • Graphic Guru finished the business workshop that Bizzy Girl and I completed some years back and now she's ready to step forward.
  • Graphic Guru also had to lay to rest a marriage that never quite got off the ground and by 2010, she will be literally in a new space ready to breathe again.
  • I don't know yet how many custom jobs we had this year but more than ever before.
  • Did I mention, THE WEBSITE IS REVAMPED AND READY FOR ACTION! This means in 2010, a whole new focus on marketing.

It's all good. Great, even. When we thought about it, we realized we were truly nonstop there from September until now. I've barely written about anything else because I am inhaling and exhaling Village Works. And there is still so much more on our list of things to do. Since we're not yet profitable, you'd think this was really a year to give up. But how can we? We learned we were capable of so much more than we knew or wanted to admit.

Growing a business when you have a family and full-time job is not easy. at. all. If you a super-disciplined person who can stay on course no matter what, you might have some of what you need to get to your goal. But it won't be easy for you either. Sacrifice is a part of this and something or someone gets shortchanged in this process. It may be us not being our healthiest or doing the little things here and there that make us feel good. It may be our kids who, in my case, stay up late a little too much waiting for me to come home to check homework and do all the before-bed rituals because daddy just doesn't do the homework thing. It may be our homes, like Bizzy Girl who has been organizing her office bit by bit for more months (years?) than I care to recall, or mine that still looks like we just moved in a month ago (well, just downstairs which is what everyone sees first). It may be our relationships, which Bizzy Girl isn't really seeking as long as her daughter is young and I can't complain about given how well things flow for Mr. T and me but do we see each other long? Well, his schedule is as much to blame as mine. It could be our jobs but Bizzy Girl and I have been blessed with jobs that we pour ourselves into and when we need to pull back, we have some room to do so. Still, how long can one do that before it's time to figure out a real schedule to balance the job with the business until the business can take over?

Sacrifice is what makes the process take so long for us. We simply aren't willing to take the all big steps we need to at the moment people tell us we need to, at least not all at once. A few late nights for my kids are just golden opportunities to goof off but I won't keep them on the back burner. Sometimes they have to wait. Sometimes the business has to wait. Sometimes I need time to convince Bizzy Girl to just pick up her fears and let's go! Sometimes she has to tell me to slow down. Sometimes the money goes to VWE. Sometimes it goes to our own needs. It's a bus probably riding its brakes a bit too much but we're all going to get their, families, futures, ourselves intact.

I was afraid we might have to make this our last year. Bizzy Girl and I, as different as we are in how we handle things, came out in the same place once again - you ain't seen nothing yet.

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