Thus endeth my first year as a business owner.
I did it! I did it!
Ok, so it was kind of depressing finding out how much money I actually made (eesh, lets speak of it no more), but I made it through the first year. Which I’m told by those that know is the most difficult.
What have you learned, noob?
I learned that it’s hard. But less hard than sticking it out for a year at my last straight job. So that must be good. By the end of a year at my last job, I was ready to kill my boss (truthfully, that point didn’t take me a whole year to reach) and then possibly myself. I was miserable beyond the telling of it. And at the end of a year working for myself, I’m not. I’m stressed out, yeah. I’m worried about money and show fees and building an inventory so I don’t have to make nichos ALL THE TIME. But on the scale of stressful things it’s not really so bad.
I learned that everything is expensive. Shows, equipment, supplies. Ev-ry-thing.
Hiring someone to do my taxes was a bit of a shock. I’d been under the impression that it was fairly simple stuff (hey, I only had 1099s and whatnot to compare it to), and it’s not. There are assets to inventory, spaces to reckon, profits, tools, sales tax, expenditures, mileage, on and on, and these guys have to list it all and make it so you owe as little as possible. So a shout out to my tax guys for hooking me up. Yeah, it was expensive, but I couldn’t have done it myself and I ended up not owing anything so, worth it. Next year, they assure me, won’t be as bad. I’m hearing that a lot, actually.
I learned to use my social capital. If not for my friend the professor, I wouldn’t have learned about SCORE mentors or had the (Required!) white tent for my shows. If not for my best friend and mah boo, I would have had to work those shows by myself, do my own sales tax (brain can’t math), and find my own drill press. If not for my old teacher I wouldn’t have known how to go about getting a business license, DBA or EIN. If not for my pal the chainmailer I wouldn’t have understood why raising my prices was going to improve my sales. If not for my friends who scavenge, pick, junk and dumpster dive on my behalf (Without being asked! They just freakin’ do it! I’m one lucky monkey.), I’d never have come up with half the shit I make, because who has the time to do the work of an entire flock of magpies their first year in business?
And if not for everyone who accidentally or on purpose gave me a pep talk when I was feeling low, I’d probably have thrown in the towel and, I dunno, run away with the circus. Again.
So, really? Thanks y’all.
I learned that I didn’t do it alone. That’s awesome.
So now I’ma do it again. Everybody says it gets easier after the first year. I have a nice, big inventory now and it’s getting bigger, I’ll have two more shows than last year (if I get in, of course, but I feel pretty good about it), and I don’t owe anybody any money.
I call that a successful first year in business. Here’s to another.