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Business Is Like a Box of Chocolates

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump - 1994: Paramount

As most of you know by now, I’ve been running my own business for over 2 years now. I can safely say (since we don’t have kids) that it has been the singularly most frustrating and rewarding thing we’ve done. I hear they’re more of the same, so business should be extra fun when that time comes.

The business has largely been the reason I’ve decreased my writing frequency and topic quality over the last 3 months, especially. It’s just plain been rough, but there are patterns and cycles based on the calendar and other strange things. Here are a few of them:

  • Full moons – we are the furthest thing from superstitious that you can find, but Beautiful and I both agree that people are just plain weird on full moon days. I don’t have any scientific reason for it, but after both of us working in customer service positions of some sort for a combined 18 years, there is a definite connection of weird people stories being escalated on those days.
  • February – my saddest month each year, even though my company anniversary day is on Groundhog Day. Sales in February are miserable! I think people get their Christmas credit card statements or just paid their January 15th estimated taxes and have nothing left for working on their online presence.
  • June – well, it just so happens to be June, doesn’t it?: our best month! There is something about June that just makes people step into the batter’s box and get things done. Last June, we took a 1-week vacation and still made more than 3x what I needed to at the time to make our household budget work. This month, well, I’ll tell you after this list.
  • Jan. 15th, Apr. 15th, Jun. 15th, Sep. 15th – my 4 least favorite days of the year. Those not in the know, those are the days the IRS demands that we pay homage to their tax code based on what we think we will earn the next quarter, plus the actual tax day. The first year, we didn’t pay quite enough and owed a lot in April. The second year, we paid a lot, lot more and still owed money. Last year, we paid a lot, lot, lot more and still owed. So… this year, we’re paying what the CPA recommends and see if we hit the mark this time.

Oh, look! It’s the end of the list.

Back to this month. What a rush! I’ve Tweeted and put on Facebook some of our frustrations, but nothing close to what’s been going on. We practically – almost literally – went two entire months without making our normal salary. We were stressed to the max. Beautiful was concerned, but it wasn’t bad until I started to not believe in myself. I went to Chicago to reconnect with clients and friends to drum up business and all I got were leads and no money for the entire month. We had the money in savings, but you can only take out of savings for so long, eh?

So, on May 31st, we’re on the flight back from vacation in California and the gravity of the situation was weighing pretty heavy on me. Did Beautiful have to get a job for a while? What should our plans be for the rest of the summer? Do I need to get a job and do this on the side? Can we afford to take time off for surgery? What if I’ve priced myself out of work? Do I need to stick with selling what I do and outsource all of the work so I can concentrate on volume?

Trust me, way more questions that that ran through my head in 5 hours of flying – and I read over 100 pages of a book, too.

We got back to working on June 1st. I played catch-up with e-mails and a simple task or two that were already pre-paid. No money.

Then June 2nd happened. One of my… wait… yes, my biggest ticket site to date arranged the deposit. I got 2 referrals from a friend from the Chicago trip, who happens to live here in Tampa – both sales. I also got a referral from the organizer of the conference in Chicago with a high-powered client who was instantly happy with our call and all in to get her site fixed and representing her properly.

FOUR sites in one day! Since then, I’ve done that again and my whiteboard has grown to a dozen projects due between now and the end of July. We have not only caught up to pay all of our obligations, but as of the evening of the 17th, we’ve got our savings that we used the last 8 weeks back to the previous levels. Now, we’re working on creating the cushion that allowed us to weather rough times by completing the projects.

The last 3 days have been almost a dream for me.

Excuse me, but I have to get some rest so I can keep on trucking. We have a lot of work to do in the next 6 weeks!

(This was originally written on the 3rd. That’s how completely out of topics my brain has been with these projects. I’ll be able to write more when I finish these and decrease my workload to something more… sane.)

Comments

  1. MiddleAgedLady says:

    What FABULOUS news!! Don’t worry about us — get ‘er done and send us more good news!

    • Thanks for the love. We really needed good news… and now it feels so good, like a reward for being patient and faithful. I’ll admit to not being very patient at the end, but people tell me I am, whether I feel like it or not.

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  3. Jesse, you’re about as patient as I am. Which means we both have room for improvement. LOL! But I’m glad you hung in there. I’m sure God will take you through some more trials, but He won’t abandon you to any of them. Enjoy the feast or famine world of entrepreneurial life. 😉

    • One month paying mortgage in the last 3 days of the month and the next paying it out of savings… I’m putting patience on my curriculum vitae. We were about 24-48 hours away from looking for a J.O.B. for Beautiful to be sure we had the mortgage in the bank no matter what. Only a couple of people knew how bad it was.

      That and we dated for 4 years, it took me 4 yrs to do my last 2 yrs of college, my computers are from 2007 and 2008, and my desk chair is from 1998, and I’ve been waiting for a cure for CF as long as you have – with more frequent reminders. I’ve won some patience awards in our house in the last few years. 😉