It's been six months and I've made progress but at the same time feel like we haven't moved at all. The honest truth of the matter is that I am a heavy dreamer and over the years have moved without a lot of purpose or direction, just following whatever dream pulled me the strongest. I've ended up with some big messes to clean up as a result. The two biggest messes that really affect us starting a business are finances and home organization.
Finances are still rough. We are still planning to move to North Carolina next summer so most 'starting a business' plans are on hold until then (I do have some things I can work on in the meantime, and I have plans to do them after I finish tackling the next hurdle). We've taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course (wonderful material) and have improved the way we handle our finances as a family over the past year, but there's a lot more work we need to do. I'd love to start all my businesses debt-free and continue running them debt-free. I think that's a worthwhile and important goal, but it also means it'll take longer to get to the OPENING THE BUSINESS point. The focus for 2013 is to really cut back on spending, save enough for the move and for six months' worth of living expenses (my husband will be trying to find a job in North Carolina before the summer but if he doesn't, we will most likely be moving anyway), and to be debt free by the end of the year. There's a lot of dollar signs involved in those goals, so they're pretty lofty, but that's the aim.
Home organization. I'm probably a hoarder. I call myself a recovering hoarder, at any rate. Are you always a hoarder, or are you no longer a hoarder once you've moved out of the hoarding mentality? I believe I have moved out of it over the past few years. I don't NEED things anymore. I don't have a burning desire to acquire STUFF. I rarely shop. I have gotten rid of hundreds (literally) of boxes of items from our home. It's still like having ten pounds of sugar in a five pound bag though. I'm not quite done with my first decluttering pass-through (which has only taken me, oh, YEARS to do, and that's no exaggeration) but I'm close. I can see the end, I know what's going to be left and what's going to go, and I mostly know where I want everything to live.
Over the past month I've been critically reevaluating my home and what will be left in it. It's a small home but it's still packed to the gills. There are a lot of things I'd like to keep. Things I just plain LOVE (books being the big one there; it breaks my heart to imagine getting rid of any more books than I already have, and yet I STILL have too many). Things I want to keep for the Not House. Crafting supplies, of which I have WAY too many - yet they are important for my business endeavors. General house detritus. Some days I'm ready to sell it all and start with a clean slate. Some days I'm on Pinterest, pinning beautiful homes and thinking I should just become a minimalist already. There's a balance I need to strike, and I'm not quite there yet. Do I box up all my collections, my Not House items, until I have the business? Do I box up all but my favorite books until I have the space? Or would it be better to let these things go, and acquire them again when my dreams are realized? (The books, by the by, can also go in the Not House.)
There's also the question of moving. How much of this stuff do I REALLY want to move with us in six or seven months?
Those questions are largely rhetorical, as what is right for YOU isn't necessarily what is right for me. They are just the things that go 'round my mind when I'm cleaning the same things over and over and feeling it wear on me. I'm slowly figuring it out. It's getting there.
This affects the business at this time largely because I don't have much space. I don't have much crafting space (I do have a crafting desk and some space to work, but it's small), I certainly don't have a lot of STORAGE space, and as far as crafting the miniature displays I mentioned in my last post six months ago? I REALLY don't have the space for those yet. It's frustrating, because it's something I really want to tackle, but I have to accept my current limitations and change course again.
Right now I'm planning, once I get just a tad more organized, on starting with a subset of the Not House that I will call Fudge & Oddities. My vision for the store itself is a fudgery (and popcorn, and possibly retro candy) with eclectic crafts / home decor for sale. I need to find a rental commercial kitchen up here before I can launch the food part of it (I already located one in North Carolina), but the Oddities part I can start pretty much right away. I can start it before I move because I can go to vendor fairs with my wares... and I can continue to sell that way when we move to North Carolina, and until we have the money for a storefront. At which point I will have to make a decision: buy land for the Not House and start there, OR open a store in town and then move later to the Not House land, wherever it may be. That's a ways down the road though. I'm still not sure where this whole thing will end up. I'm just going to start with making some wares and selling at fairs (and on etsy), and we will see where we go. I certainly never imagined two years ago that I'd be moving to North Carolina, so who knows where we'll be two years from now?? It's good to have a vision but it pays to be flexible because life throws lots of curves.
In the meantime the hardest thing for me to do is to pull myself out of dreams and stick to the path. There's plenty of room for productive dreaming ON the path, but I often get distracted by dreams not on this exact path. For instance, there's a piece of commercial real estate for sale in the town we currently live in that I keep dreaming about. I could start Fudge & Oddities AND a holiday store in one location, AND live above it! But it's in my home town, which we plan on leaving in six months, AND we are not financially ready to buy a building at this time. This isn't the first piece of real estate that has caught me like this, and it certainly won't be the last, but man they really tug at my heart when they catch me. I could do so much with it! It's hard to be a dreamer sometimes, it really is. I still mourn that bar in Mount Carroll. (It was so very lovely.) I still desperately want to start Spirits Haunted Pub (there's a restaurant for sale 15 minutes from me that would be a great location for it, and I dream about that frequently as well).
If I won the lottery these are the things I'd be launching right away, along with a few other key businesses. I would happily work these businesses until the day I die. I certainly wouldn't be trudging along, spending years of my life digging myself out from the pile of STUFF in which I live. I'd hire a few professional organizers to help me sort it all out, I'd hire a cleaning person to help me keep my house clean (I LOATHE cleaning, I really do), I'd figure out exactly where my ideal Not House location is, I'd buy some land, and I'd start launching my businesses.
Since I don't have millions of dollars at my disposal though, I can't even hire ONE professional organizer. I have to keep doing it myself, step by step (with my limited home-organization skill set, at that!). It's slow, sometimes excrutiatingly slow. Sometimes it's hard to see the progress and I have to slow down and remind myself of all the work I've done. Sometimes I dream about where I want to be and I want to fast forward SO DESPERATELY... except I don't really want to fast-forward my life. I just want the drudgery to be done.
It's important to lay a good foundation though, or the whole thing will crumble; I know this. I think we are working hard to do it the right way. I'm proud of us for taking the time to do it RIGHT.
But if any eccentric billionaires happen across this blog and want to donate some money to the cause, I certainly wouldn't turn you down! I ain't gettin' any younger... and I have enough dreams to occupy me for several lifetimes.