Saturday, February 9, 2008

The stress, it's stressy...

...but I think I'm getting a handle on it.

Between the money issues (I don't really make enough at Walmart to survive easily anyway; add to that a surprise two thousand dollar car fix) and my general hatred for my job (it's, well, Walmart) I've been hanging on pretty tight just to stay together. Let's just say that my stomach has been unsettled for the last month continuously and leave it at that without further description, shall we?

To the point that I'm on the edge of tears a good half the time. That I have little energy for Tim, much less anyone else. That I spend whole days wondering what the point is of getting up and going to work anyway, since even if I work my butt off I'll only end the day further in the hole than when I began it.

Now, I've the beginnings of a possible long-term solution -- I want to open a business selling my jewelry, my bath salts and soaps, all those lovely little things I sent out as presents not long ago -- and that's actually given me hope from time to time, and something to do other than 'work I hate' or 'rest up for work I hate'. It's stressful of itself, mind you. Starting a business always is. But it's a different stress.

It's been hampered, though, by the fact that my budget for advertising, materials, tools, html work, graphics work, et cetera is: squat. I can do a fair bit on my own and I have friends to take care of some of the rest (thank you, Tim, for the camera work) but some things ya just need money. And that's exactly what I hain't got.

Except that I sort of do. Mom's still holding a bunch of money for me from Dad's inheritance. I've been holding off on asking her for any of it for a number of reasons: I wanted to prove to myself that I could make it on my own, for one, and for another, it was my fund for whenever I got on my feet and started thinking about a downpayment on land, or starting up a business, going back to school, or whatever. I didn't want to use it all up just surviving.

Well...I've gotten to the point where I need a respite somewhere. I need either time to relax, to get the stress out of my body, to pull myself out of the ever-threatening depression (and not just a day or two off work, either; I think I truly need a month or two leave of absence right now), or I need enough money that I'm not in constant fear of running out. Since taking time off work means no money, I was feeling kinda stuck.

Pride is a bitch, I tell you what. And it'd gotten to the point where it was a sort of 'I can make it All By Myself' pride that was holding me back from asking my mom for money that's mine, anyway. It's not a handout, it's not asking for help (see, I'm trying to convince myself here, too). It's a respite.

It's also, as I said to my mom, capital. Venture capital, I suppose one could call it, except that I'm not getting it from some bigwig investor looking for the next dotcom, it's mine. Why, I realized, should I wait and wait to use the money to start my business when I can be doing that with it now?

And so there's a bunch of moneys heading my way once Mom gets the paperwork done. Enough to pay for the car, get rid of a couple of other debts hanging over my head, put a goodly amount into the business and yet give me the beginnings of an emergency fund.

I've been working a lot. Labels and fliers, banners and web design, advertising campaigns, pricing, materials and recipes, craft shows and donations. What people like and what they don't. The right names for things, starting with my company and working my way down to the antifungal powder that'll be among my products (despite severe provocation I'm not naming it Love My Bits Powder). It's a bunch of work and not the part I thought I'd like -- I like the making, choosing what beads will go together in what order, stirring the melted soap to make sure the lavender is evenly distributed -- but I'm thoroughly enjoying this part, too.

It's stressful, of course. I spent a week wrestling with labels in a graphics program I'm not familiar with, only to discover that while they look great on a monitor, they print like crap. I nearly had a meltdown over the price of olive oil. I'm still very nervous about the thought of messing with lye, but I do want to make my own soap instead of buying melt-and-pour. I've almost thrown Tim's camera twice trying to get the colours of my jewelry to show up right, and somehow negate the fact that my hands shake.

On the up side? After a couple hours of fighting with it (and several years of being told it was impossible) I got Corel Draw to run under Linux, and great is my glee. That is the graphics program I'm familiar with, and I can do things in it that blow graphics people away. I'm redoing the labels in my native tongue and enjoying it thoroughly.

Tim's taken over the camera work, at least for now, and I'm planning to learn how to adjust the exposure myself so that I can do it right. With some of the money from my mom I'm going to buy a decent camera and tripod (which I've wanted for a long time anyway, I'll admit). I'm learning that there are a lot of things I can do that I didn't think I could -- business things, things I didn't think I had a head for.

Course, I'm starting a business. What are the stats on those, anyway? Yeah, not good. But fortune favors the prepared, and I'm doing what I can to prepare properly.

Crass commercial announcement to follow at the appropriate point. Oh, and Nina? Thank you, thank you, thank you for the well-timed poke. :)

(Hey Sharon, have you got your stuff yet? Getting concerned...)


HilbertAstronaut said...

Wow, best wishes with the business!!! and great nerd fu getting Corel Draw to work on Linux!

Nina said...

Brava! Glad to have been of help. I look forward to watching you succeed.

Mother Laura said...

Oh, good for you, Kate! Speaking up for what you need, working hard to use it well, taking care of yourself in the meantime....I am so excited for you. And I look forward to seeing you succeed, too!

Kate said...

Thanks Hilbert! I'm just pleased as punch I pulled it off.

Nina, thanks for the vote of confidence. I only hope to be up to it. :)

Mother Laura, dearest, as always, thank you for your kind words. I'm just kinda hopin, ya know?