These last three weeks have been incredibly busy. First, the first batch of Elfin Diaries arrived from the printer at least three weeks earlier than I’d expected, while I was still trying to unravel the structural mess that is the Astrological Association website and before I’d got the Elfin Diaries site sorted with new e-commerce software and a new design.
Then, I went down with a tooth abscess. The previous bouts of tooth pain I’d had before mild compared to this time. After a weekend of increasing pain I was was in a bad way by Monday, desperate enough to see a dentist. Came home with painkillers, antibiotics and instructions to return next month for extractions, fillings and drillings. Oh well. Was ill for a couple more days, occupying the sofa for much of the time. But now fully recovered.
Anyway, managed to get the diaries website up and running in record time, sent out hundreds of newsletters and am now busy dealing with orders. And still trying to sort out the AA site…
Sigh. So I’d best get on with it.
Hmmm. Don’t seem to be doing anything worth writing about these days. I spend my time in front of the computer, busy with lots of things – putting the 2013 Elfin Diary together, checking emails, reading Facebook and blogs.
Today, I’m updating the Oakleaf Circle site – there are updates that have been waiting since last October! I also found that the site’s contact form hasn’t been working for at least a month – mysteriously the entire contact form software had been deleted from the site, and I have no idea how. So I had to spend half an hour installing and configuring.
My ankles and knees still aren’t good enough for walking, the weather’s cloudy and cold, no great disasters – not a lot to write about, really. So I’ll go and make myself a cup of tea….. And maybe think myself lucky for not living in exciting times right now.
Well, got rid of all the first consignment of Elfin Diaries and still got hundreds of orders to fulfill. Another consignment should arrive any minute now. I’ve tidied up my desk, got all the labels and printer ready, got the order lists printed out.
So now I’m sat here just tapping my fingers.
I’ve decided to give up web design work. I never had many orders for it, never found it easy and spent all my time boning up on the latest techniques (there seemed to be new ones coming along every week). I reckon that publishing and distributing the Elfin Diary is going to be pretty much a full-time job for several months of the year at least. So I’m simplifying my (online) life, unsubbing from forums and email lists; I won’t have the time to read them all even if I was still professionally interested.
But all the work ought to be worthwhile; I’ve done the figures and the Diaries, while not making me a fortune, should be a decent little earner. After years and years of scrimping and doing without, I can’t wait to have a little spare cash.
…Yes, I’m not posting here much lately, am I? That’s because the Elfin Diary is really taking off now – orders are coming in daily and I haven’t even had the first batch of Diaries delivered yet. If sales continue at this rate, I’m on target for breaking even; in fact, I could quite possibly make a profit!
It’s keeping me very busy – for the first time in my life, I’m running a business all by myself. I’m having to talk to suppliers and shops, engage with customers, keep accounts and records, keep a very close eye on finances and constantly stay ahead of deadlines. It’s both frightening and exciting.
Strangely, I’m not feeling at all stressed (apart from those odd moments lying awake at 4am when I wonder what the hell I’ve got myself into…) Having something to do every day, a purpose and goals, seems to have cured a lot of the generalised ennui that’s been dogging me for years. I’ve even stopped the betablockers that I’ve been taking for years. It’s now been a fortnight and I haven’t had a tachycardia attack yet. Plus I’m sleeping a whole lot better and not constantly battling tiredness. I’ll not throw the pills away; they could come in useful for stressful times.
As I said, I’m busy – too busy for doing quite a lot of things that I used to do. So I’ve decided to give up the web design work. I’ve never had a lot of web work coming in and I’m not all that good at it anyway. So I’m retiring my web design portfolio pages on here. I won’t necessarily turn work away, but I will be putting the Elfin Diary work first. That’s going to pay rather better, I think.
So now the Elfin Diary site has been live since Monday, and taking orders for 2012 diaries and T-Shirts for the last 24 hours.
I’ve sent out an email newsletter to the 350 or so people on my Elfin Diary mailing list and so far I’ve had three Paypal orders. Hopefully, people will eventually be ordering by post as well; as soon as my new printer toner cartridge arrives tomorrow, I’ll be printing out copies of the order form and stuffing them into those 500+ addressed envelopes that Caroline left for me. I now owe rather a lot of money, so I need to sell this stuff! To that end, I’ve been beavering away at the site’s SEO; it’s now on the 2nd page of Google for “astrology diary 2012”, which I reckon is pretty good in such a short time.
Well, looks like I am now a businesswoman. I’ve been having to work on details like profit margins and unit prices, and working out pricing – you have to strike a compromise between charging too little (and not making any money) and charging too much (and losing customers). So far, I seem to have got the pricing thing about right and should end up making enough money to justify the work involved. And there will be quite a lot of work!
So let’s get on with it!