Most of the Word Up year is spent in a heid birlin’, plate spinning, perpetual motion state. If Word Up’s working life was animated, it would give cartoon legend the Road Runner a sprint for his small business money. Admittedly, there’s no Wily E. Coyote hot on my heels, but much of my self-employed existence is full tilt.
Sometimes, that adrenaline and packed schedule rush is super exciting and feels kinda edgy, yeah baby! But in truth, it’s a fiendishly tricky balancing act. Most of the time this whirling dervish working life doesn’t feel that it will tip me over the entrepreneurial edge, but there have been a couple of close shaves with the old crash and burn. And boy, it sure takes its toll on the entrepreneurial energy reserves from someone who’s not so much spring chicken as auld broiler…
This ain’t no complaint, no siree. Merely an observation made during the summertime slo mo. This, you see, is one of two times in my annual small biz spin cycle when everything slows down to a gentle tumble. Thankfully, never during the four years Word Up has been plying its wordy trade has it ever felt that we’ve ground to a complete halt, but it’s been surprisingly difficult to learn to adjust speed according to seasonal gear shifts. Downing tools and peeling off the go-faster stripes in favour of a deckchair and something nice on ice just doesn’t sit well with my own DNA and hard-wired work ethic. Add to that the gut-churning panic created by seasonal slow down. Grown up responsibilities combined with the uncertainty of small business create a vortex of fear unlike any other. When you’re self-employed I’m not sure it’s ever possible to get over the worry of where the next few quid might be coming from.
Having said that, every entrepreneurial cloud has a summertime silver lining (or some Christmas sparkle). If my own experience is anything to go by, then it’s possible to learn to live with, and manage, the profit and loss panic. Sort of.
Slowly, slowly and with each passing year, I’m getting better at accepting that these enforced slow downs are all for the best. Not sure I’ll ever be chilled out enough to completely go with the slow flow – the weight of the mortgage and the costs of raising a wean (the latter an eye-watering £230K) sit heavy on these rather wimpy Word Up shoulders – but I reckon it’s better for business, and for me too. For business because it provides much-needed space for powering through (at a sedate pace) the dreaded To Do list, not to mention plotting, planning and looking ahead. It’s good for me too because frankly, I can’t keep the pace up all of the time – it makes me a grumpy old bag when I try. What’s more, it’s a gift to have some time now and again to hang out with my gang, so you’ll understand that I’m going to grab that those precious moments with both arms outstretched.
But if you think it’s all seaside and swanning about, think on. There’s graft going on aplenty, just at a less frantic pace. And anyway, August approaches, signalling the end of the dog days. This small biz Speedy Gonzales is about to hit the floor running again. Andale andale!