Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hitting bottom.

Obviously, I haven't written in a while. I haven't been in the shop, either.

In a word, I've been unemployed. And I needed to bottom out. It sounds a little weird, but it makes sense to me. I feel the need to clear the air, and iterate where I am now.

In short, I haven't brought anything I'm happy with to completion in almost a year. Since then, I've been either working temp jobs or looking for temp jobs. And I think I really needed that time away to think about things, and re-assess. It's not a new phenomenon... after the first few months of dating my fiancee, we broke up, and I had to take the summer to make the necessary adjustments, and come back with a better idea of what I wanted. Four years after we started dating, we're happily engaged, and getting married in the fall.

In the past three years I've set up shop three times. And when I wasn't doing that, I was panicking about how I was going to make it pay. And in the end, working militantly alone, I couldn't make it pay.

Looking back, I think that if I'd either focused on marketing myself as a builder, or focused on building and outsourced the marketing, I'd have been fine. But in the end, I can't do everything well, and I needed to learn that the hard way. Thankfully, two good friends have come forward to remind me that they are well enough connected that they think they can represent my interests to the right people. I'm in the process now of cleaning up my final piece from school, to test this theory. From now on, I'll rely on them to help me with the sales end of things.

For now, I'm still working temp jobs. The current one is predicted to run for 8-10 weeks, and has a pretty flexible schedule. I've also just completed bartending school. My plan, such as it is, is to continue to work flexible jobs to pay the bills. Money was my greatest source of stress. And my stress level kept me from doing good or efficient work. So, the side jobs will serve to help alleviate that stress. When I'm not working my temp job or tending bar, I'll be in the shop, focusing on two things: I want to build the best and most impressive pieces of furniture that I'm capable of building. And I want to continue to stretch my capabilities.

I committed myself to fine woodworking to pursue that kind of work, and that level of skill. It's taken me three years, and many bumps and bruises to remember that.