Thursday, May 31, 2012

:: may take-away ::

it's may 31st, month's end, and i'm frustrated tonight. this month was totally great for my business: sales were (very!) high, customers were awesome, feedback was excellent. i got two new printers (bringing my tally to five), hired a virtual assistant, and made a lot of great business connections at NSS. i spent a lot of the month feeling really great about things.

but holy hell i worked my ass off. when i wasn't busy, i was beyond busy. there were days this week i was actually sweating, not from the heat but from my own frenzied work pace. i got no exercise this week. or last. didn't even have time to walk to my therapist's office like i usually do for my appointment. i was late picking up the kids twice this week and worked each night here at home until ten.

we have had an empty fridge since monday (it currently contains: week-old olives, soy milk, a baggie of leftover bacon, bread machine yeast, a smattering of condiments, a mostly-full tub of hummus, a few slices of american cheese, one 6oz. container of vanilla yogurt, V8 juice for the kids (the kind with fruit and veggies, not just the regular kind), diet coke, a few random beers, two kinds of jelly, and a bag of wrinkled sweet peppers. oh, and half a lemon i already zested. two weeks ago). neither brian nor i has had the chance to shop.

i'm torn between enthusiasm for the growth of the business and the sure sense that at this pace, i'm going to keel over.

i've been telling myself - and anyone who asks, actually - that i feel like i just need a few more months of this and then i'll be in the position to hire someone to help. my burden will be lifted.

which is where the fact that it's may 31st comes in.

i ran may's numbers and while the plus column is good, the minus column isn't. it's expected in the early months of a new business, of course. when i started this endeavor i calculated that it would be 9 months before i'd be breaking even, and i'm only 3.5 months in. trouble is, ignoring the usual kinds of "starting a new business" expenses, like buying new printers and such, operating expenses are (understandably) high. the question is, can i up my sales volume enough to allow for an employee when i'm already working at my own capacity? how can i increase my through-put capacity without working any harder, or longer? how can i make more money appear in the plus column without adding stuff to the minus column, or working through the night seven nights a week?

i've had offers of help, and the offers have been awesome. people have been so kind and willing. but i'm sitting here trying to plan for long-term viability, and free help isn't going to get me there. if the business model isn't working, it needs to fail on its own, not succeed with the help of kind free-working souls. otherwise, i can't figure out how best to strengthen it so that it can stand on its own, paying the people who make it work.

so i guess the take-away from may is this: things are good, very good, even, but not as good as my sanity needs them to be. i'm very happy to be able to keep putting money back into the business - to buy equipment and such - but i need to be able to do more than that.

bring it on, june.