Business, challenges and burnout

Yesterday I dropped off two Double Desks with my photographer, Tina, from Photographic View. She is going to provide all sorts of high-quality pictures. The close ups, pics of the parts and are needed for the “kit” desk. This is what is needed for the e-commerce section of my website. I’m looking forward to tidying up the last details of the website, just so that it’s one more thing off of my to do list. She’s also going to provide many other pictures in various settings in the future.

I was thrilled that she was excited about taking pictures. She quickly told me, “I have already sold a desk for you! My friend wants one and her kids will be models for you too!” I turned to her grinning friend who held up a framed picture of her two little tikes. This was great. My two first “future” customers were excited about my product, and I don’t have anything more than a couple of prototypes at the moment.

I went ahead and “liked” the facebook pages of about 75 mommy bloggers, added them to my Google circle and followed them if they had Google plus page, and I followed them on Pinterest. So far, only one of them liked and followed me back. I’m sure it takes time to build an audience.

To say this business is a challenge would be an understatement. I have a wife who is patient with me and three boys who all want to spend time with me. I threw a baseball with the oldest one yesterday in the cold. Last weekend we all celebrated one of their birthdays, so we went to LegoLand. Number 2 got a new bunk bed, so we enjoyed building that together. Number three is going to start basketball soon. Tomorrow scheduled is filled with activities and my lovely wife appears to be on the verge of feeling under the weather.

On top of the family of five and our activities, I am also finishing our basement. We are struggling to fit into this modest home and the bare concrete walls are sucking the heat right out of it. Two of the boys are in the basement bedroom and it’s always much colder down there. A couple of weeks ago I framed and insulated the coldest wall and I think the house warmed up 10 degrees. I don’t feel a blast of cold air when I walk down the stairs now.

Most of the real time that I put into this business is in the evenings, after everyone is in bed. I need to be careful about that. Several weeks ago, I was putting in quite a lot of hours every night working until midnight or 1 am every evening. I found myself struggling to think clearly during the day. I became extremely frustrated framing the basement wall because I kept making mistakes on the most simple tasks. One day, I had to walk away from framing a simple wall…..and I talked to my wife about it. This was not easy for me. We talked through it and over a couple of days and lots of rest we uncovered a few things; some were obvious and others, not so much. 1) Even though I did not feel sick, I found out that I had a sinus infection. This was interrupting my breathing and waking me up at night. That night my wife said that I was so restless, that I woke her up every 30 minutes. So not only am I lacking sleep, I’m also preventing her from sleeping well. 2) I was drinking way too much coffee and tea all day long. This was also preventing me from sleeping well. 3) And of course, I was staying up way too late working on this business, way too frequently, so my sleep was limited.

I immediately stopped working on the basement and the business for about a week. I took naps when I could to try to catch up and I took an anti-inflammatory to help with the sinus infection, which went away in a week or so.

I cut caffeine from my diet, cold turkey. No coffee, which was okay, and no tea, which I miss. I grew up enjoying iced tea. But it was giving me RLS (restless leg syndrome). The good thing is that my RLS went away in a few days. I also noticed that I rarely need to take TUMS anymore. This was the toughest part. But I realized that it was necessary. My wife’s sleep was affected, my health was affected and I did not want this business to fail. My wife, my health and this business are more important to me than my caffeine addiction.

Last, I’m getting more sleep and I have noticed that I am dreaming now, so I must be getting deeper, REM sleep. I don’t stay up until 1 am on a regular basis, and if for some reason I do, I make sure to get to be early the next day. I don’t exercise on a regular basis, these days. I enjoy the occasional jog. I really enjoy biking. I need some better weather and I’ll break out my old Kona Kilauea mountain bike with Bomber front suspension, suspension seat post and a rock ring guard.

This business is important to me. I have wanted to work for myself since I was a teenager. I’ll do what it takes to make this work, but not at the expense of my family or my health. But I’m not going to give up.

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Regular family guy working to change his stars for his kids.

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