I have this habit of making a list of all the things I want to accomplish, trying to attack all of them at once, and getting (unsurprisingly) overwhelmed. ("Let's paint the kitchen! And hang curtains in the living room! And clean out the garage! And bring about world peace! Let's do it on Saturday!") This ambition (foolhardiness?) doesn't mean that at some point I up and abandon all of the projects, but it does mean that I'm likely to procrastinate on one or all, and let one or all of them slip by the wayside for a while.
Until I pick them up again in another moment of frantic energy and I-think-I-can optimism.
This five-year-plan for opening a bookstore makes it at least a little easier to deal with. I have five years to clean up finances and save money, five years to cobble together a business plan and learn all I can about...well, everything. Still, it's daunting. Most likely, it's a case of Winter Blues talking (I know, it's April, but right now, I can see snow coming down outside), or a bit of self-doubt rearing its head, but I find myself wondering how much of it is just a pretty dream.
Now, that's not me being defeatist. I will still go through with it - it's way too early to walk away from, and truly, the idea of giving up hasn't crossed my mind. Wanting something like this for ten or fifteen years means it's a pretty hard dream to shake. I'm just saying that there's this little part of me that wonders if I have the stuff.
I'm pretty sure I do. I know that bookselling isn't all warm and fuzzy connecting people with books, or intriguing conversations with brilliant customers. There's credit and accounting, stacks upon stacks upon stacks of catalogs and trying to pick out which books are going to be sleepers, and which you really can skip even though your sales rep says you need at least three (no, really, you can skip it.)
Bookselling is hard. I know that, and I'm ready for it. It's funny, I feel ready for the future, even though I'm aware that I certainly don't know everything about running a store.
What I'm bemoaning is the now. The waiting. Knowing that I'm not ready, really, to start thinking about small business loans (not in the sense of filling out and handing in the paperwork, that is) and setting up accounts with publishers, and deciding what kind of shelving I need, or what inventory system I'll go with. All I can do right this second is read the books I bought on small businesses, and save money where I can. Paying off bills is a long, slow process. I know I'm getting there, but watching month to month feels useless.
Ah, well. Patience and virtues and all.
I should think instead of actual tangible things I've done, and start considering them as progress, no matter how insignificant they seem to me.
So, look out, I'm going to give this a try.
-Earlier this year, I paid off two credit card bills. Two down, two to go.
-I actually cracked the covers of one of the small business books and started reading. Now, the first chapter devotes a lot of time to people who don't know what kind of business they want to run, and helping them figure that out.
Chapter two is a brief look at money - finding out where you stand now, personally, and ways to fund starting a business. I'm fairly certain it will go into more detail later on in the book, but one exercise I know I need to do in there is the worksheet of income vs. expenses. I'm putting that off for the moment because I know looking at those numbers is going to depress me and discourage me. I'd like to be on better footing before I actually do that. I know I'll have to do it soon enough, just...not right now. I do still have time, and I'm aware that I need to save more. That'll have to be good enough for today.
Chapter three gets into mission statements and business plans. I'll be going over that in the next couple of days, and posting my rambling reactions to them. Somehow I doubt rejected mission statements will be a source of high comedy (or any entertainment, really), but again, it will feel like I've done something.
Four years, eight months to go.