Act 309

Talk to the big kids

I had a tough day at the office. Nothing major. Just the weight of some deadlines and some budget constraints and that nagging feeling that some days I would be better off working at Tim Horton’s if my work was only about making money.

I suspect, in fact, I know, that many business owners have days like this. Owning a business is very rewarding, very challenging, very motivating but not always very profitable. Small business is the biggest business we have as an economy and business owners take a great deal of risk to ensure their own employment as well as the employment of their employees, their contractors and their suppliers. It’s a team effort. But when you own it, you’re the captain. Which means, when the ship goes off course, even slightly, it’s your responsibility and your dime.

Anyway, that aside (I would write about owning a business for a living if I could make a living at it, truth be told) toward the end of the day, I met with a prospective client who is an inspiration. I’ve watched on the sideline as she’s expanded her business to our area. We got to talking and I realized that it’s really all about perspective. Our numbers are proportionately the same – hers just have more zeros than mine. It doesn’t matter how big you are, if you’re small, and not backed by a giant money, well, you’re small and not backed by giant money, so you have to make it work sans excuses or drama or pity. Just make it work.

Which is what I’ll do tomorrow when I head back to the office to face the day. I just might do it with a bit more perspective.

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Act 306

Find the quiet

It’s been a busy and loud few days. Fun. But busy and loud. Halloween party, a gallery party, a gallery fundraiser and a banquet. I planned to make up for some of that fun by working today only to awake knowing that what I really needed was quiet.

So the kids went off for a bit with their dad and I had some alone time in my house. A rare occasion. I sometimes crave solitude. Having lived on my own in Vancouver, I came to enjoy my own time and my own company. I love my family, no question, but when I’m alone I can reconnect my thoughts in a way that doesn’t always happen when I’m surrounded by others. It’s good for me, like a tonic. And it helps me regain perspective for the busy and expensive, season ahead.

Act 301

Pretend it’s not your problem

For a new perspective that is. I’m not suggesting you ignore things, only that you approach the particularly challenging ones by imagining it’s someone else’s problem. This way, you might be surprised to come up with more practical, less emotional choices.

For example, my husband’s business needs a new piece of equipment. My first reaction: OMG, not another thing? When, upon sober second thought (sorry, couldn’t help but put a wee dig in for the senate scandal),  I realized this is an opportunity. A business that’s growing, needs new piece of equipment that in turn will generate more income. Sounds like a need we need a plan, not an OMG.

I think that if others were looking at our financial situation they would say we are meeting (well mostly) our obligations but are clearly not making enough money for the experience and training we bring to the table. As a result, we’re leaving a lot on the table. At a higher income level, our debt would be easier to pay down. We can’t change the debt. We can’t change the amount of time we have, we can’t change the expenses (at least not much more – there’s always some room) so we have to focus on more net income. And sometimes net income can come with a start up cost as long as the long and short term net benefit is clear. More net income.

So I’ll stay on track and keep the opportunity for more income at the forefront as I count down these last 64 days of 2013. Time sure flies.