I wanted to write a week ago, but didn't. I thought about it and I decided I didn't have much to say. I was at a loss for words, and I'm often told I have a lot to say. I don't think it's meant as a compliment, but I appreciate it, nonetheless.
But now, I've thought about it some more, and in between moments of, "OMG, I think I have the virus!" as a result of insufferable hay fever, and, "Did I just waste the last five years of my life?", I think I would like to comment on the experience.
I'm losing control. I haven't had much to say, because I can't make sense of the world around me. I feel discombobulated, you know...how you feel when someone puts a blindfold over your eyes, spins you around, and it's in those first few seconds of revealing the blindfold where things are blurred...you swing, and, well, you probably miss. It's one hundred percent a bad time for judgment calls.
In the beginning, I wasn't sure of the exact emotions I was feeling. Now I'm angry and sad and disturbed. We keep being told to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. We keep hearing promises that never come to fruition. We keep falling for the same old tricks. Yeah, I'm angry. I've worked hard. I've paid taxes. But here and now, I have no government aid. SM Co didn't qualify for SBA loans. I haven't received a stimulus check. Our suppliers are weeks behind, supply continues to shorten, and soon, I know I'll be unable to afford them. There's a brick wall in my near future. I'm aware of it.
Certain adrenaline rushes come with owning a business. This isn't the good kind. I like to compare it to gambling. When you make good business decisions, it's like beating the odds. To be honest, I'm not that good at math. Maybe I'm average, but I am good at identifying patterns. I spent five years running a business and simultaneously collecting data that helped me understand my business and what exactly it needs to survive.
So much for those numbers. I'm witnessing extreme high and low peaks, buying patterns are totally unpredictable. Our customers have been incredibly supportive, generous, and understanding. I know so many of my customers personally. I know how much they are struggling, too. It's hard to determine what will happen next week, let alone in 4, 6, 12 months. What experience do I go on now? What do I compare this to? Will this flatten out or will it take a huge dip? (FYI, my senses are leaning towards huge dip with a long, slow recovery).
This is what it's like to "pull yourself up by the bootstraps." You pull, and you pull, and you pull... I feel like I just found out that getting to the end of the bootstrap wasn't the real goal. I feel like I've been churning butter while someone else collected my sweat and used it for their own fuel (ahem, tax dollars bailing out billion dollar corporations, banking institutions, and Ivy League schools). Is everyone else seeing this? Again?
So, this is probably close to the end. In conclusion, I'm not going to tell you it's going to be okay, because I simply do not know. I will say that I'm not giving up. I'm paying attention to everything, and when I vote, I'll remember all of the injustices that have come from this administration. I'm researching businesses that are currently booming. What are they offering? What are their strategies? I'm reading up on past recessions, and what our economists have to say about the aftermath of COVID19.
It's safest to say that multiple updates will likely be needed. We're going to hit some dead ends. I'm going to have to make hard decisions, but aren't we all? My goal is to break even and maintain the business as best I can. We're going to run out of some stock. Some products will be more difficult to make available than others. Shipping may be delayed. Lord knows how many packages have already been lost in transit. It's a storm. It's going to pass. Things may not be the same when all is said and done. Life is tough for a lot of people. Despite all the unfairness in the world, I just beg you to never underestimate yourself. You make an impact. Over the past few years, I've seen our little town bloom, and its because you supported it, you inspired it, you changed it. When shit gets really bad, some times the best thing we can do is learn from it.
Thanks for hanging in there with us.