This year has been my tipping point. It is the year that I have gone from sleeping well at night to tossing and turning. The year that my jaw began to clench. I have my eye on a couple culprits:
- My iPhone. I can pick it up at 2:00 a.m. and do a quick check of the emails or read up on the forum or check a twitter feed. I no longer come home at night and shut the door on the day's activities.
- Social media. Social media is a game changer when it comes to running a small business, and the changes are largely positive. But it also keeps me awake at night as I try to unravel the consequences of social behaviors that I was never very good at to begin with. In my private universe, social media is confirmation that the cool kids and the cheerleaders won the nerd war. I no longer feel confident in my relationships with my customers.
- The warehouse. Not only does paying rent on a physical space "up the ante" with regard to responsibilities, it also becomes space that needs filling, which means more products and more diverse creative projects. I no longer "know everything" about everything I sell.
- The employees. Not them particularly, just the fact that they exist. That someone has to rise to the occasion on every occasion. I no longer get to hide in my work.
Next to the list was an old business plan and it was interesting to see how much of that plan I had actually realized and also how outdated it was when considering our current situation. A recent Wall Street Journal article on small business suggests that the first defense against stress is to develop a long-range vision and business plan and then to simply work the plan.
With that flicker of insight lighting the way ahead, I set the old business plan on the top of the pile on my desk, and began to write this blog post.
The beginnings, I hope, towards unclenching the jaw.