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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Growing pains of an adolescent business

In issue 7 of Bespoke Zine, there was a nutty little piece of writing by yours truly - (re published below) This issue was full of great hints tips and general pick me up stories perfect for small business owners.

*bespoke* is a quarterly Australian Zine (with both print and digital versions available) made by the handmade community, for the handmade community.
It is full of stories, interviews, features, tutorials, recipes, and much more! Topics covered include craft/handmade, vintage, art, photography, and all things creative.

To purchase your very own copy head to the Bespoke Zine website.

Growing pains of an adolescent business

By Davina Farinola,
Owner Operator of micro businesses Fluid Ink Letterpress and Mini Ink baby photo cards

I have a meditation podcast that I use to turn my mind off from the day’s babble and allow me to sleep. Honestly, most of them are a little too much on the fruity side but they tend to do the trick never the less. One of them has a section asking you to define what you want out of life. It repeats ‘What do you want? in soft meditative tones. (Just so you know ‘Shut up brain I want to sleeeeep’ doesn’t work) As I ponder this, a good nights sleep is generally up there, but also, guidance, a sign I’m heading in the right direction, a lotto win, perhaps a non life threatening illness where the only cure is being fed through a drip, being quarantined and made to sleep, read trashy magazines and watch TV for 7days…
Running a micro business from home, raising 2 active young boys and participating in ‘growing pains’ with my letterpress hobby – is tough. My hobby is making that awkward transition into small business and like an acne infested 16yo boy with a breaking voice, it is stretching and squeaking, resisting then blooming and creating general chaos around our home. At times there will be a flash of maturity and success, but otherwise, its growth although unstoppable and necessary, is proving to be ungainly and exhausting.
On the difficult days I’m thinking that running small businesses isn’t for me. There’s just too much pressure, too many decisions and compromises. Working as a check out chick seems so much simpler. Its what I did at Uni, it was fun and at least I would be out of the house and the massive mound of ironing, breakfast dishes and scattered papers wouldn’t be giving me the hairy eyeball. I’d be permitted to come home and have a reason to be knackered. But alas, I’m a creator now, the supermarket monotony would do me in. To stave off boredom I’d probably re-arrange the check out chocolates by colour, size, or maybe even prettiness.
So what do I want?
Well.. to be recognized as a professional printer, for others to admire my work and to live off the earnings. But with success comes a whole bucket-load of things I don’t have or don’t like.
1.     Time & energy: Seriously, if there was just a way that I could go to sleep past midnight and be able to function properly before 10am, then I would be set. And would 3 extra hours each day be too much to ask?
2.     Accounting. When you are forced to ask your husband how to add 10% to a number for the 10th time, accounting is definitely not your thing and unfortunately unless you can live on ‘happy’, then its kind of necessary in business.
3.     Perfection: Since I am not ‘trained’ in letterpress, I have no printers certificate, I am self taught and no - I don’t now everything yet. I’m petrified that someone will find out that I’m perhaps not an expert, that there is more to learn and there are possibly others out there who know more, have been doing it longer and have the tools, equipment and finances to do it better.
4.     Confidence: I’m usually referred to as ‘quirky’ or ‘ a little bit out there’, and I like that! I’m quietly proud of thinking differently and I’m usually a pretty confident sort. However, try and make me admit my stuff could be pretty good; well I squirm like a nerd being chatted up by a buxom wench. And why? Because I believe– as many other crafters do - that until (insert famous Hollywood actor/starlet here) owns something that I have made, then its not quite fabulous yet!
5.     Doubt: What if I do this ‘for real’ make a go of it and subsequently don’t like it and get bored, fail, or disappoint? I have invested time and money, not to mention insisting my long suffering and patient husband sub let a portion of his (our) man cave (shed) out to me.
So what I do know?
Thankfully, these troubles are not unique. You are not alone. If you’re worried, have an issue or a question, or just want to know that someone else in the world is also puzzled by the chaos that is math, you should know, without a doubt, that someone else is in the same predicament. Thanks to the magnificent world of internet, forums, online teams social medias and such, there is always someone else sharing advice and offering assistance and venting their own frustrations.
Seek advice but listen to your heart – do not hesitate!
Be well read, but make sure you write your own book - you know more than you think!
Think about your lotto dream and what YOU want. If you did win lotto, would you still want to make and create? If so, you can’t possibly go wrong!

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