The weekly blog post is pretty late this week, partially due to my overall work load and partially because I just haven’t been able to quite settle on a topic. As I sit here tonight working on this post, Winter Storm Stella is popping our power on and off, and my wireless router keeps resetting. The wind is howling, we can’t keep the wood stoves lit because of the down drafts, and the snow continues to pile up. I can’t really tell you how much snow there is, because in some places it’s drifted to about three feet and in other places the wind has swept the ground clean. Corgi Tru couldn’t go out tonight before bedtime until my husband shoveled a way for her. A window pane blew out of one of our attic windows and we had to take a shutter down that was in danger of being ripped off the house. In a nutshell, it’s pretty harsh here at the moment.
Our part of the northeast was largely shut down today, but this is Maine; storms roll in, they are extremely unpredictable in terms of actual outcome, and we do whatever we have to do to navigate through them. We do this more or less from October through April. We put up with this for the love of Maine…or something.
Always being one to see life analogies in natural situations, I am finding Stella informative.
I worked pretty much nonstop through this past weekend. My current to-do list includes a super-exciting-project-I-can’t-talk-about-yet, two more design/writing projects I can’t talk about, two classes I can’t announce yet, two to three designs that are still under wraps, a floor sized custom order, an upcoming trip to Rochester, NY to teach college students, an outstanding Beekman 1802 order, continuing to set up my new Handmade at Amazon shop, tweaking Shopify to help our Hookers Circle members have the option of paying in installments, and the every day operations of the existing online shops and the physical studio, which are a full time job by themselves. Oh, and I’ve also just begun training for a four mile run in May. 😉 There is absolutely nothing unusual about this, not for me, not for any other small business owner out there. We all do it. We all work this hard or harder. We’re not heroes. We just have dreams and love what we do and get a little OCD about it sometimes.
I think we all try to make it look to each customer like she is the only customer we have and that her order is the only thing we have to attend to that day. My Tuesday hooking group knows better, because they are here in a big group together and sometimes need to wait a turn, or sometimes have to hear me say, “I’m so sorry; I didn’t get to that this week” (which I invariably feel terrible about), or see the projects I’m working on that have to ship the next day. They see when I mess up, and they see when I pull something off just the way they’d hoped.
One of the issues with online shops is that the context of a business is much harder for a customer to see from the distance and filter of the internet, and the illusion we so carefully try to maintain of any one customer’s order being all we have to do that day is virtually complete (pun intended). Miraculously, 99.9% of the time, things still go smoothly and to expectation. (That other .1% tho…) This is where social media comes in, of course. Business owners use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all the other social media sites to try to recreate, in the virtual world, the first hand knowledge that our Tuesday group experiences in the physical world. Unfortunately, I can’t fit a couple thousand of you into the Parris House. Fortunately, however, you fit just fine in our online community, which I cherish.
So where am I going with this?
“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” (Thanks, Robert Burns.)
Stella rolled in here this morning and disrupted everyone’s plans. She even disrupted the plans of those who had planned specifically for her when she didn’t perform as forecast. Nature is that way. Small business is that way too. I have a planner. Who am I kidding? I have several planners for different purposes. I am vigilant about using these tools to plan out every single day of my business life, and yet…sometimes something akin to Stella bursts through and disrupts everything, whether it’s an actual event that demands the rearrangement of my schedule, or just something that breaks my concentration or flow and throws off the rest of the day.
The lesson here is this: I can work through Stella, even as she makes a play for my wifi, and I can work through almost anything the serendipity of running a small creative business throws my way too.
What Stellas have you faced down recently that have taught you just how resilient you are? Because I know you all have Stellas, I’m offering a coupon code in the Etsy shop this week only (ends Friday night at midnight): MYPERSONALSTELLA. This will get you 10% off any order of $25 or more.
Happy persisting and happy hooking. – Beth