Thursday, 23 February 2012

Moods, variableness of

This week I have been swerving between a pleasant relaxed "life is good, I love having the time to make marmalade and bake bread and have a cup of tea and a chat with my friends in the middle of a weekday afternoon" state of mind, and blind unreasoning panic which focusses entirely on finance:  "Gaaaaaah, I haven't got a job...there's no money coming in....we'll be out on the street by the summer, starving in the gutter...we're DOOOOOOOMED."

Yes, a strange and heady mixture of emotions.

I worked out why this has started happening again.  When I first stopped working, waaaay back in late May last year - yes, I have been Not Working for almost a twelvemonth now- I had a few weeks where it just felt like I was on leave.  Then a month or so of gloating about having the summer off work, helped by the fact that the weather was rather nice, and then a few weeks of panic.  It was probably around that panic-time that Mr WithaY decided that he too was going to give up his job, and follow his long-time ambition to become a bushcraft specialist.

So.  Two of us went from being long-term career Civil Servants in comparatively senior (and fairly well-paid) posts, to being two non-working middle-aged people intending to start up their own new businesses.

Mr WithaY is doing well.  He's now halfway through a year-long training course, at the end of which he will be a fully-qualified instructor, and has got himself onto a local apprenticeship scheme which will give him loads of useful and relevant experience.  Unfortunately, he is not getting paid for any of this.  Yet.

On the plus side, he is happier than he has been for a very long time, and is discovering he has a real skill in wood carving, making some fabulous pieces which I hope he will be able to sell in due course.

I'm feeling less positive - this week, at least - as my long-term business plan is grinding forward slowly and painfully.

I have tried to improve my mood by doing everything I can to facilitate progress:
  • I took (and passed, yay me) an online food hygiene training course.  
  • I drafted up a best-guess costs and liabilities account, trying to work out what we will need to do to turn a profit, when we finally go ahead with things.
  • I spent a while researching the grants available to small businesses, trying to establish what - if anything - we would be able to apply for.
  • I read several helpful blogs about setting up (and sometimes closing down) small retail businesses.
  • I now have a better understanding of some of the many and varied pitfalls, and have been able to start pulling together contingency plans.   
As if in answer to this burst of focussed activity, this morning I received a long-awaited email reply which we have been waiting for, and this afternoon am having a chat with my future business partner to decide how we will respond.  I'm hoping that by the weekend I will be a fledgeling small business part-owner.

Fingers crossed, eh.

Anyhoo, I worked out why the blind panic has gripped me this week.  It's because as long as I am planning and preparing to start a business, I am effectively taking myself off the job market.  I have had a few minor forays into getting a job, none successful, but by setting up this business I am removing the possibility of going and working in a local supermarket to pay the bills.  It's that whole "make a decision and stick to it" thing, which kills off the comforting "Ah, anything might happen" state of semi-denial.

It's getting real.

In other news, I have been making stuff like a madwoman to sell at a charity cake and craft sale at the end of next month.   We're all making cakes so people can come and buy a cup of tea and a cupcake or whatever, in aid of Sport Relief, but a few of us are also setting up little craft tables. I have decided to bite the bullet, take the plunge, grasp the nettle and many other clich├ęs, and see if anyone is interested in buying stuff I've made.

I'm also making some Medieval kit for Mr WithaY - he plans to do sword fighting demonstrations with a couple of other friends at events over the summer, and needs some hardwearing clothing to wear while he does it.  I've almost finished the pourpoint - a short sleeveless jacket, with lace holes around the waist to hold the hose (leggings) up.

Next on the "to make" list, a jacket with long sleeves, to wear over the top of the pourpoint and hose.  I'm not making hose. Too bloody difficult, matey.

And for those evening where the thought of sewing anything fills me with choking fury, I am knitting a scarf from a pattern pinched from Mrs Jones' blog.    If it works, I shall post a photo; if it doesn't, I shall unravel it and make something else with the wool.  It's looking rather pretty so far.

Oh, and I have reactivated my Twitter persona, but this time it's more about keeping tabs on local business and related stuff than broadcasting my own brand of trivia to the InterWeb.


Mrs Jones said...

Oh, yay!! It's an unbelievably forgiving pattern - I kept forgetting how many rows I'd done and whether I should actually be doing the 20 stitches right across row, but it didn't seem to matter. I've decided to bling mine up a bit by sewing sequins down the length of the central flat bit.

Good luck with your ventures, I really hope it works out for you.

rachel said...

Hey, this is getting rather exciting! And scary. Keep going!

Al21 said...

It's been a while since I looked at your blog, so I'll just wish you all the best with the new business!

livesbythewoods said...

Mrs J, I'm loving it, I've never tried anything like this before, so I'm delighted it's working so nicely.

Rachel, scary it is, but also very exciting.

Al! Hello! Glad you're still popping in now and again. And thank you!