It’s Been Awhile | Personal Update

“I’ve been busy.” It’s the most classic and acceptable excuse for not doing something. But is it a valid excuse? The answer is No, most of the time.

I could easily say I’ve been too busy to post to my blog or send out an email. But there is always time to do things we make a priority. I’ve written about this previously in my post, “Saying Yes Means Saying No to Something Else.”

Here’s what I’ve learned since then; procrastination is a slippery slope. Achieving a goal is like climbing a mountain. When an obstacle gets in your way, there are 3 choices:

  1. Push through the obstacle.
  2. Camp out and try again later.
  3. Give up.

Procrastination falls into the second category. A person may think they’re “taking time to assess and plan,” but the more time that is lost the more ground is lost too. With the loss of momentum, the once simple task gets harder and harder.

The next phase of procrastination becomes, “I need to….” And excuses abound around why the task can’t be accomplished. The task becomes an anchor. To see it on a to-do list sends a signal of fear and guilt. And, I’ve found that the same feeling spreads like a disease to other tasks that once would have been easy.

Guess what? Now even more ground is lost and doing even the simplest task feels overwhelming.

All of this describes my personal experience in the last couple of years when I unknowingly put myself on this slippery slope and chose option 2 – to camp out. I was honestly incredibly busy in the fall of 2020 when I took on the momentous project of launching a trade show. It was a huge risk, but I would make the same decision all over again- and I have. We’re now organizing the 3rd annual trade show for January 2023.

Something else happened last year. My core business, Crate Insider, grew. A lot. My inventory outgrew the space and I had to move into a new building. That may be exciting, but the hardest part for me is that I could no longer work from home. I can’t even begin to express how much I’ve loved having 10 steps between my bedroom and my office. It’s been tough to make the transition.

Crate Insider in Rutherfordton, North Carolina

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to expand my business. And so grateful for the customers and manufacturers who have supported the growth. Next steps will require a bigger building.

Popular thought is that it is hard to start a business. It really isn’t. Growth is the tough part. Not enough sinks the best of businesses. But too much too fast can become difficult to manage. I would say that our growth is in the Goldilocks zone – just right. But, moving into a new building presented obstacles I couldn’t have anticipated.

I originally got the building so that we could use it as a warehouse for shipping since our business has been solely online all of these years. But, with a physical location, it meant that customers started to come in the doors. We weren’t set up for retail at all. Changes in the past year included:

  • Getting display shelving in addition to the pallet racking.
  • Resetting all of the merchandise to make sense from a retail point-of-view versus a warehouse setup.
  • Setting up new retail software.
  • Having price labels for thousands of products.
  • Keeping up with the ridiculous numbers of price changes through 2021 and 2022 (it used to be once a year per brand, but now it’s multiple times a year).
  • Getting new signage – way more difficult than I would have ever thought.

I think we’re finally in a good spot with the warehouse. Of course, I’m constantly finding new products to add and we have to find a home for them. And I’m still rearranging the furniture. But we’re leagues beyond where we started. While I often prefer projects rather than maintenance, in this case, maintenance has now become manageable. We’ve created systems for restocking and receiving products, and we have a streamlined shipping system. It works.

Oh, and for good measure, I started up three Air BnB properties. That means furnishing, decorating, and managing three properties. Two of them have turned into long-term furnished rentals, so I just have one left on the AirBnB platform now. They’re fun projects, but definitely take some time and coordination to manage properly.

R-town Retreat in Rutherfordton, NC

So yes, I’ve been mostly absent from my blog, my email list, and my YouTube channel. I’ve really missed it.

Yesterday I wrote about it in my journal. Saying, “I need to…” feels heavy for me. Instead, I am now saying, “I get to…” It’s a privilege to have a blog that people want to read, an email list that people want to join, and a YouTube channel that an audience wants to watch. And I am so incredibly grateful.

Thank you!