We're three-quarters into 2013, and this year is shaping up to be mind-blowing. Over the past couple of weeks David and I have been talking a lot about what our growth plans are going forward, with the fates of both Indie Spaces and Indie Shopography in the balance.
When we began to seriously consider opening Indie Spaces a year ago, we were thrilled to offer our local community a workspace for creatives. What we quickly found out after we opened in February is that most creatives around these parts are clinging onto their 9-to-5 jobs for dear life. I'm not saying that this is bad, goodness knows the security and benefits of a 9-to-5 job are damn nice, and leaving them isn't for everyone.
But, our community isn't the creative free-for-all that we felt in the beginning. We quickly found ourselves as role models, bringing in a good group of both Indies slowly making the jump (to whom we've been able to act as mentors, and have enjoyed watching them flourish) and a group of creatives that would never make the jump.
What that meant for Indie Spaces is that the bulk of our dream customers were only available and/or willing to come in during the late evenings, or wanted us to be open all night. David and I did not open Indie Spaces so that we could become chained to a 24/7 endeavor, so we pulled back, putting our focus into the handful of people who have grown here in the space.
It's been gratifying beyond belief, but we're wondering what could happen if we were to put our efforts into something else...
... Because what has also happened in the past year is massive growth in Indie Shopography. I'm coming up on closing out my biggest financial quarter to date, the biggest month to date, making the biggest year to date (by far), and am recording growth at every corner. Not to mention, I haven't had a single nightmare client in over a year (meaning I'm attracting the right kind of people), I have new offerings to launch, and am working more than ever.
Indie Shopography is growing by leaps and bounds.
Admittedly, this is the biggest reason we're second-guessing ourselves about Indie Spaces. It's a lot easier for us to give up a one-year endeavor for the undivided attention of my almost-4-year old baby, than to split the attention and chance one dwindling for the rise of the other.
And here's another confession and proof of growth I can't control by myself: last week I hired David as my business and project manager.
David: business and project manager
The amount of which I discuss my business with David has been a bit foreshadowing. In a way, David's been in the shadows as a wisp of a business manager for years. Or, at least a bit of a consultant. Ok, fine – more of an ear that listens constantly to my nonsense talks about my biz. But, the fab guy listens well and gives support and advice where it's due.
A few weeks ago, during one of my biz chats where I was moaning about how I'd spent a whole day invoicing, bookkeeping, and otherwise managing, instead of doing what I really needed to do, which was working to meet some project deadlines, David voiced his desire to help. You know, in a "I wish you didn't work so hard and I could help make it easier" kind of way.
I then, in a plea of help, asked if he would. Really. Like, as a business manager. So that he could take care of all that, and I could just work.
After a lot discussion, we decided that was exactly what needed to happen.
I could have went in search of a "legitimate" business manager. Or an in-house accountant. Or a project manager. But, here's the thing: Indie Shopography is my baby. I couldn't just get somebody. I had to trust this person. With anything.
Since I trust David with my other real baby (Cute Kid), I figured he qualifies under the can-I-trust-you filter of the job application
Also, the idea of teaching someone my biz from the ground up made me want to throw up. Hard. David already knows so much about what makes Indie Shopography tick that he's practically just being grandfathered in.
Not to mention he's completely capable. He's been the business manager for Indie Spaces, and has plenty of accounting, finance, and management schooling under his belt. Much more than I do (I have none, so yea) and I've been running this baby for years. He'll be great.
What He'll Be Doing
To begin, David will be catching up on my bookkeeping, and will be immediately taking over invoicing (and getting with people to pay invoices). Soon, he'll take over most of my client intake process and making sure projects run smoothly between Corey and I. And he'll be taking care of payroll, payin' da bills, and all other money-related stuff. He's gonna make it all work.
I have a lot of work ahead of me as I'm defining my processes so he can implement them. It's a big job for both of us.
growth and goals
So, with this, we're focusing on how to grow in a smart way.
BTW, another reason we're almost completely decided upon the fate of Indie Spaces, is we're afraid our landlord is going to make signing a new lease not a pleasant experience. We've had some serious issues and she's been sweet enough to completely ignore them for months now. Not to mention the fact that our store front is officially the least-updated on 3+ blocks of downtown Court St, with no plans for updating. And she's hinted previously that she has the right to raise the rent. Oooooo, I get heated.
Which brings us to something that's important to me: security.
The moment it came to mind that our awesome downtown studio space may be made less desirable, the insecurity of where we'd be in mere months had me floundering. We've since been looking at potential new spaces, just in case.
Our current growth goals include downsizing to grow. The current Indie Spaces space is 2200 sq ft. If we cut out the Indie usage, Indie Shopography certainly doesn't need 2200 sq ft, nor do I want to foot all those expenses.
I'm also playing with the idea of getting a design intern next semester. Just to throw a bit more out there.
So, here we are [again] in a crossroads. We're working through the details, setting goals, and want to make sure we're growing as smartly as I can, but it's hard finding the balance between growing too fast and not overworking yourself. We'll just have to wait and see, plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
Today marks the half-way point to our Whole30. Yesterday was the end of 2 weeks.
The past two weeks have been a mix between tough and super easy. On the one hand we're loving how we feel (for the most part), loving the food we're eating, and loving accomplishing something. On the other hand we're ready for a little convenience, I still feel like utter shit occasionally, and we miss our friends.
You'll have to excuse me a little today, as I'm suffering from another one of these Whole30 headaches this morning, and I'm not feeling very friendly towards this whole experience.
What We Enjoyed About This Week
Unlike the first week, we're definitely getting into the flow. Meals are coming together easier, and therefore the rest of our day is too.
We're both seeing huge changes in our bodies, too. David's abs are getting crazy defined, and he swears his arms are visibly growing with every workout. He's always had such a big imagination.
My shorts are way loose, my bras are more comfy, and I went for my first jogs since starting Whole30 this week. For the first time in years I didn't have to ice my knee afterwards. Effin' magic.
Both of our faces are getting super clear and smooth. We're pretty.
David's sleeping like a baby. I'm not because his sleeping-so-good snoring is keeping me awake. I can only imagine how nice it would be, though!
What We Didn't Love About This Week
I'm still getting killer headaches, and David is always hungry. I honestly just can't cook enough for him, and I'm not about to go home mid-workday to cook him a fourth meal. So, during regular meals I'm cooking up more veggies and protein than I feel any three people should eat in a sitting to satisfy his hunger. My god, I just wish I could fill him with some rice.
My headaches aren't a daily occurrence now, but are still around occasionally. I think I may not be eating enough too, but I honestly can't put more food in my mouth. And I'm about to turn orange from all the sweet potatoes and butternut squashes we've been eating. And the eggs!! I'm sick of eggs. We're going through about a carton a day.
(OMG, talk about some disgusting first world problems. I hate this post.)
(Told you, I'm feeling foul.)
The Next Two Weeks
We're both over the honeymoon phase and just ready for this doggone thing to be over. Though we both agree that we'll probably both adopt a largely paleo diet after this Whole30 is done, because we really do feel great (besides my headaches), we're both ready to have options again.
We're excited to get back to having a glass of wine with our friends, or finishing chewing food that we realize last-minute isn't Whole30-compliant (like we did earlier this week when we realized the rice paper wrapping our summer rolls was a no-no, mid-chew), or when planning a night out doesn't involve picking out all the places we can't go because we don't want to be oddballs (wine tasting, movie theater [I don't think I can hack the smell of popcorn right now], or snack-filled game night).
Only two more weeks of hibernation and we'll be done. We're ready.
Last week was absolutely insane around our house/life. For starters (and definitely most importantly) Cute Kid started kindergarten. Big girl school. Practically college.
I've joked around that walking her into kindergarten was the moment of our lives I've been working for since I found out I was preggers 6 years ago. But, in reality, it's really not a joke at all.
When I think about pushing her out, raising her, teaching her things to say and not to say (and who you can and cannot say them in front of), and how to deal with bullies (David's much better at this than my hot head is), and how to make good choices, and to eat all your lunch, and all the other things that David and I have been teaching her for years, walking her into her first day of kindergarten really, really was the singular moment that we've worked years for.
We walked her into school, with me holding her hand even though she was trying with all her might to wiggle out, and took her to her class room and waited for the teacher. When her teacher arrived, she gave Cute Kid a little hug and welcomed her to her first day of class, and then she was gone. She walked on in without a backwards glance.
It was then that I realized what those 6 years gave her, and us. We've made her independent and strong, something that's honestly a bit of an issue around the house, but in the "real world" I'm so grateful. She didn't cling to us for a minute, but curiously moved forward to check everything out.
David and I took the hint and left, joking about grabbing mimosas immediately. We had done it. We had sent that Cute Kid into the world, with everything we've taught her. Even though it's just kindergarten, I'm really very proud of her, and really very proud of us too.
I'll be honest, I didn't cry. I thought about it, wondering if I would, but I didn't. Not that morning.
It was two mornings later, when she asked us to drop her off at the gym with all the other kids, when I saw her get out of the car and strut her little self into that big ol' building all on her own with that big ol' backpack on her back, and with all the independence a 5-yr old can have, that I teared up. Just a bit.
And so, Cute Kid has begun kindergarten. She's decided that she wants to be a chef when she grows up. Just like me, supposedly. I can't wait to introduce her to the magic of my food Pinterest board. Blow her mind.
I'm just glad she's over the "I wanna be a rockstar" phase. I'd rather have a good soufflé any day.
This spring I took a long weekend with my Mikey to Austin. We had a serious talk about how hard we work, and how that allows us to play as hard as we'd like. During that conversation I promised myself that I wouldn't let this mantra die, and I made a silent promise to myself that I would travel somewhere every month, at least for the summer, but hopefully for the rest of forever.
So far, so good.
Our trip to New Orleans was pretty epic. There was good food, great drinks, drag queens, and stories we'll never tell anyone. I had multiple craft popsicles from a cute shop called Meltdown, a fantastic French 75 from Café Soulé, and came really close to buying a couple of voodoo dolls (and might have gotten cursed by a voodoo mistress).
All in all, I could not have asked for a better birthday weekend, or to have spent it with more fabulous people (except for maybe you, La).
As for my summer travels, we're thinking a weekend in Chattanooga may be on the books soon, and definitely some fun in Nashville. And, just maybe, New Years in New Orleans. Because we flippin' love that fabulously smelly place.
I'm pretty sure that I live and work for weekend mornings these days. There's no rhyme or reason to what we do on weekend mornings. We may be laying low at the house, or heading out for brunch with friends, or inviting people over for waffles and mimosas. All I know is that I love them.
Yesterday morning was a lay-low-at-the-house kind of morning. Cute Kid came up and snuggled in bed while we finished watching Hercules, which we had began the night before. Then we pondered over breakfast, and after realizing we had no usual breakfast fare (seriously out of eggs, milk, cereal, fruit; I really need to go grocery shopping) a trip into the pantry had me coming out with grits in hand. The only thing we had that resembled breakfast food.
It was then that I decided to whip up shrimp and grits (which freaked me out, because I usually plan this one out a week in advance; I altered this shrimp and grits recipe to cater to some missing ingredients and the fact that we were hungry now), and sent David out for real bacon, which we very rarely eat.
We set up our patio table with breakfast, brewed up some green tea, and enjoyed it all al fresco, chatting about the garden and our growing herbs (and maybe getting eaten by some ants). We wondered what we'd do for the rest of the day, and leisurely ate, enjoying the hell out our weekend morning.
I live for weekend mornings.