Sometimes people approach Howard and I to ask our advice on starting up and running a small business. Our responses vary depending upon the particulars of the person asking, but we always caution them to pick a failure point. This is a defined set of circumstances under which it is time to give up and do something else. No one wants to contemplate failure when they are the shiny, exciting end of a new business venture, but without a defined failure point a failing business can sink the person or family as well. We know too many small business owners who completely bankrupted themselves and their friends trying to keep a business alive through force of will. A thriving business is always work, but it should not be a constant scramble.
That last point had me worried earlier this week. Very often lately it feels like our business has been full of scrambling. So Howard and I sat down and had an overdue conversation about the current state of the business with a specific emphasis on what we will do if sales decline from where we are. Obviously we hope for the reverse, but the conversation was very important to have. It also gave us a chance to throw all our business fears into a communal pile rather than each of us keeping a separate stash. That too was distinctly unpleasant and it took us a couple of days to shake it off. The thing is, all evidence suggests that our business is thriving despite currently being in something of an ebb. This is happy, but we are aware of the fragility of what we have built. Right now we have a little organism. We’d like to have an ecosystem with multiple organisms. We want there to be the comic, but also Howard wants to write prose novels. I want to write books. We want to spread out our sources of income so that we do not have to panic at the thought of losing one.
What this means on a day to day basis is a careful rescheduling of our time. We need to retain the hobbies and leisure which bring us joy, but trade in all the mindless time-killing activities. We’ll trade the latter for work which will hopefully bring new organisms into our financial ecosystem. This means it is time for writing and revision to fit back into my days. Now I just need to figure out how.