So, if it wasn’t obvious from reading between the lines, I am at somewhat of a crossroads with life, in particular, business life.
As well as working full time at subtitling HQ, 40 – 50 hours a week, 10 hour shifts and weekends included, I’m running two businesses and trying to keep multiple other plates spinning, quite aside from all the other stuff like being a wife, friend, daughter, sister, etc.
So, when my best friend asked me last week, “Why are you doing all this? What is driving you to go on with working every single minute of the day?” I was at a loss to answer her. I thought the answer would have come straight to me without having to think but I’ve been thinking for over a week now and still haven’t come up with one (luckily, she’s gone on honeymoon for 2 weeks, so I still have plenty of time to find one).
What drives me to put literally my all into my business? What drives me to put it above almost everything else in life?
Is it the money? No, it’s not the money. Although I made a healthy profit last year, I have a full time job which pays very reasonably. I’ve just been promoted and I’m now earning more per year than I ever have before. I certainly wont be missing any meals, so although the extra few pounds the business brings me each month is nice, it wouldn’t be missed desperately (most of it goes straight back into the business anyway).
Is it for my love of creating things? Well, no, it’s not that either. Whilst I do enjoy creating things, I don’t really have the same love of it at the moment as I did at the start. That is to be expected after almost 7 years of it, I’d say. As the business has expanded, it’s been necessary to take on extra hands, too, so often times I am merely assembling work someone else has done for me, finishing it off and packing and distributing it. At the busiest times, I am co-ordinating my 5 or 6 sub-contractors and making up the more elaborate pieces myself, leaving me little or no time for real creating, or designing new pieces or getting the 800 ideas in my head.
Is it with the aim of giving up the day job? Well, it was, but it’s not any more. Now I’ve been promoted and doing a more challenging job which pays me very well, I’d be utterly out of my mind to leave it now. Although money is not the be all and end all, it’s important to me, personally, that I can live comfortably, buy those new shoes, take those holidays, without worrying too much. I’m also slightly more conscious of our “live in the now” attitude chez Brown and that we should think about our future at some point, which I don’t feel I can do relying solely on my self-employed income. Also, I am enjoying the day job and am lucky to have one in the current climate.
So, what is my motivation? I don’t know. I do know that I’ve spent almost 7 years on building a brand, a name, a reputation, contributing to the crafty community both in Glasgow and the UK as a whole, building up a rather hefty customer base, racking up the Twitter posts, the products, the bon mots and the feedback. But I need a break. Of undetermined duration. Is it forever? Is it a few months? I know I can’t go through another Christmas period like last year, where I was averaging about 3 hours sleep a night and having kittens every time I opened my email to another 100 emails asking where their order was. So what do I do now?
Do I give it up entirely? I don’t feel comfortable with dropping everything I’ve worked for like a hot potato. I couldn’t do that. Do I scale it right back? It’s an option. So is selling the business (how does one value something like that?) and so is taking on an employee to run it for me until I decide long term. There have been several good suggestions to come from friends but I still don’t know what the solution is. Maybe that’s because I still haven’t figured out what the answer to the original question is – “What is driving you on?”.
Answers on a postcard please…