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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne


I feel like I'm Ali Baba and surrounded by the gold and gems of the secret cave, but I don't know which piece to pick up first.  I'm surrounded by things that I want to grab, want to DO all at once . . . but I don't know where to start.  In other words, I am home for two days.  Two.  Whole.  Days!  I haven't that luxury since May 24th & 25th!

The talk with my wise mama (and another that followed with both her & Dad) that I alluded to earlier has resulted in this:  I need my own store-front . . . well, office, really . . . in town.  In supporting myself financially, what is it that I really WANT to spend those hours doing?  The answer is my photography & photographic notecard business.  Both locally and online.  What's the second-best way to support myself financially?  My graphic & web design business.

Now, I've been trying to get the 1st business up and going from home since March of '07.  The graphic & web design business has been hovering over the ground for about 2 years, I'm guessing.  And, as much as I believe that I CAN overcome my personal obstacles because working (at those jobs) from home is SUCH an ideal situation . . . I can't.  I just DON'T have the self-discipline.  I need to GO somewhere to work on those things.  Have a space where it can all be spread out all the time.  And, yes, I could convert one of the rooms here in the house to be my studio, but the fact is that I like each of the rooms just as they are (if they were CLEAN - ha!) . . . and my office (room) isn't large enough.  

I need to have SET HOURS in my studio / store-front.  I need to be able to tell clients / customers WHERE they can meet with me.  WHERE we can go over, in person, what they want done regarding a website.  WHERE they can see some of my photography and choose which images they'd like me to make into cards.  I have my cards in two business in town, but I'm not keeping either of those stocked properly . . . or with timely inventory.  For example, the flower shop wants Father's Day cards.  Father's Day is 4 days away.  Do I have any of them in there?  Nope.  There's an art gallery in town that wants to carry my cards.  I think this last winter was the 2nd that I'd promised the owner to present them to her quarterly-meeting juried committee.  And I still haven't done it.

I'm in danger of losing a website client right now because I can't commit definite hours each week to the work.  At the moment, I'm sure she doesn't find me very dependable.  I've already done about half the work for her new & improved website . . . hours which I won't bill her for until the job is complete . . . but if I don't finish the job (or, more to the point, she finds someone who WILL right NOW)?  Well, I can kiss those couple of hundred dineros (already spent in hours) away.

So!  Here's my plan:  these past couple of days, since the night of my revelation, I have been shopping around town for office space.  I tell them that I'll be a good financial bet since, as a renter, I'll hardly ever BE there (to begin with), and I'll rarely (if EVER) be there at night . . . thus using the barest of utilities, etc., etc.  I've had 4 strike-outs so far, but one of those folks have a possibility opening August 1st.  I really need to get into something before then, though.  Like, next week, if possible!  Today, I'll be on to the 5th in my line of options.

Okay.  In all its jumbled ramblings, I'm gonna post this w/o further ado (or proof-reading).  I fix any errors later.  :)  I'm pooped.


  1. Okay, here's my 2 cents, for what it's worth! (and remember, I speak my mind, sometimes to a fault)! Before becoming a stay at home mom of 2, I was a bona fide manager of a couple of small businesses with a degree and everything (insert laughter here)! I will say that I would have gone straight to a different approach with the festival scheduling: Tell them there is a volunteer shift sign up hanging (wherever) and they can sign up for their preference, give them a deadline like end of business day, and if it isn't filled in, then shifts will be assigned. This puts the responsibility on them instead of blame on you for whatever they get. I wouldn't make anyone work the entire festival, though. But they would understand that it is in their best interest to bicker it out amongst themselves and work together without me if they hope to have any say in the matter!

    i would not tell your boss that you are looking for another job - when someone would give me an ultimatum or similar, it was then that I knew that their mind was already elsewhere and that it was only a matter of time before they were gone. That was my signal to start seeking out a replacement pronto. I hired a 17 year old boy to completely take over my Collections because I had too many demands from the more qualified person, and it turned out that he was a natural, and for far less money.

    Ok, now you want to smack me right? I'm just saying to do your thing, but keep it under the radar until you are officially making the jump, that will ensure a continued income, even if it's not enough. I do think you are smart to be considering working for yourself for the long term, and it sounds like the web design could do this for you if you had a "place of business" so you could concentrate and I really think the change in your own happiness would lead to greater success and sense of well being and contentment, which is worth so much today! Keep trudging along on the clients you have even though you have limited time, because they are going to be part of what makes you a success, through their recommendations and such.

    Not to be cheesy, but remember that every satisfied customer tells 1 or 2 people, every DISsatisfied customer tells about 100! So keep on with your web design accounts!

    I so wish I was there to help you right now! I am lucky at this point to be able to be home with the kids, but I long for something to do to keep my mind sharp, and I'd work on the homestead or in your storefront for free! Okay, not free, you would have to make me a cocktail after work every now and then!

    Is MamaPea going to come after me? LOL Please tell her I said "hi" and we are waiting anxiously for her computer to recover!

  2. omg I just saw my comment post, did I really write THAT MUCH? Yes, I obviously need a job

  3. Erin, you HAVE a job! :) You just care about me and want to offer as much sage advice as you can! So, here's the question, though: it's a small town, and I want to keep my "good name" in it. So, why would I shop around for a new job w/o first giving her the opportunity to step up to the plate and pay me a Living Wage? (That said, make no mistake: my application and resumé ARE going in to the library!)

  4. I wish I had some wise words of advice but I'm floundering myself here... still!! But it looks like you're in good hands with Erin.
    All i can say is make sure you look after YOURSELF during all this. I know you're a tough lady but working this long and hard under so much stress wears a body down. And please don't stress about the grey hair... I started going grey in my late 20s and 10 years later, folks compliment me on my "highlights" :)

  5. I have to plead ignorance on this one, I had to look up the definition of "living wage" as I had never heard the term before. Does that mean she isn't paying you minimum wage? Hmmm, you have a point about being in a small town.... I guess if you have to approach her about it, make sure she knows everything you bring to the table that others couldn't, sell yourself big, but make her think it was all her idea, confusing, I know, LOL! Since you are probably scheduled to work 40 hours a week and obviously put in way more, ask if she can put you on salary (for more $) and then commit to being available for all the extra time she may need, scratch, that's illegal too... damn, you are in a difficult situation! Okay, definitely talk to her, you should do it either when things are quiet and she's relaxed, or when things are busy on a weekend and she blurts out "yeah, whatever you want!" because she knows she can't lose you ...... yikes I am no help am I? The small town talk has me stumped!

  6. hey completely unrelated but have you thought of a higher paying but temporary job like smokechaser? It might give you a breather financially to prepare for your next adventure!

  7. Erin, ha! You have to be in SHAPE for that! That said, I've always had fantasies of being a wildfire bush pilot! ;)

    But, no - such a thing wouldn't be practical at all since I'm trying to keep Swamp River Ridge up.

  8. Maybe others have had the same comment (I didn't read all the comments); however, DO NOT go to your boss with a job posting. Go to her to negotiate when you have an OFFER. Otherwise, you may find yourself without either job.
    Also....no chance your boss is going to stumble across your blogsite, by chance?

  9. Hey CM! In reading this, my first reaction is that wow, your boss is taking advantage of your great work ethic! I think she must figure if you're willing to work all of those hours and do a great job, she's going to let you. You're obviously making her look very good and I would bet she's come to depend on you, especially as you move closer to your grand opening. That might be your bargaining chip-where is she going to find someone else to step in and carry on at such a critical time?

    The best bosses I've ever worked for put us first-if we worked 8 hours they'd work 10. They'd take care of their employees financially before they took a dime for themselves. That kind of care creates greater employer loyalty which is a win-win situation all the way around.

    It sounds like you have some great plans in the works. How you keep it all going is a mystery! Take care of yourself-rest, eat well, and take even a little time for yourself. Remember, you can't give away what you don't have!

    Blessings my friend. You have a friend her in K'zoo pulling for you!

  10. First let me say I totally understand your work ethic - I'm hardwired that way myself.

    It sounds like your current boss is enjoying your skills tremendously - delegating to you is letting her work much shorter hours because she can depend on you to pick up the slack. DO NOT DO IT. The thing about work is that there will always be more of it so you'll never "finish". Prioritize, do what needs to be done, and go home. Think of your dogs and your chickens if nothing else!

    Also, do apply for the other job. Personally, I would let her know that because the grant she applied for did not come through, you will have to consider other options. You agreed to the job on certain terms and they have not been met. It is a very small town, and news will get back to her anyway, you might as well tell her yourself. If she chooses to up your pay or come to new terms, she will (and she'd be a fool not too from the way it sounds like she depends on you)

    If you stay, you definitely need to work out who has responsibility for what with the staff - she has to back up your decisions and support you if you are going to have authority.

    I love the idea of you getting your own office and starting up your own business though - it is more of a risk in some ways since you have to drum up your own business, but if you are going to be working such long hours, it might as well be for yourself!!!

    Good luck with whatever you decide!


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!