Being A Small Business Owner

April 05, 2019

Being A Small Business Owner

Some days my job is so varied that I journal about it. Today I decided to do that publicly. This morning I reviewed my goals for the day, did a brief email check from home and launched two new products on our wholesale website (they were all set to go, I just had to click a few buttons to make them live, something that a bigger company probably does with automation). Then I drove to work and began the process of backing up one of our servers (a Mac Mini) to a newer one. The newer one was pretty dusty so I opened it up (hadn't opened a Mini before) and used some canned air to clean out the dust (really satisfying). I checked the RAM because I some spare RAM but it already had plenty so I left that alone. I closed up the machine and began the cloning process using SuperDuper software which I highly recommend. This - tackling something first because it takes a while - is what I called Green Lights, the idea that if you get through the light you can cruise for a while before the next one. Once the cloning process began I chose an outdoor project next because it isn't raining (yet). We are out in the country and yellow jackets can be a problem so we set traps for the queens in the spring. The traps are yellow plastic cylinders you can hang from trees or poles and each year you bait them with a tiny amount of attractant liquid. We have six of these traps around our buildings which cover a few acres of land. It is nice to get outside and walk around and the process of reaching up and opening the traps and dumping out the dead yellow jackets from last year is oddly satisfying if a little macabre. Once that was done I washed my hands (not exactly sure what the attractant is) and had half of the sandwich I brought for lunch. I don't drink coffee but I definitely need regular doses of food and water to keep me going throughout the day. Then I checked on the Minis and the process was about half done, so I tackled some more emails, edited the name of a product on our website and in our accounting software, and then did some design work in Corel on a PC that lives in our production building. I quickly realized the project I was trying to do was impossible (I was trying to design something over 10" in diameter that I would wrap recycled bike chain around but above about 8" chain starts to get loose given the variations in stretch in the used chain we collect). So I came up with an alternate idea for the customer and emailed them a simple proposal.

(A few words about emails. When I'm checking emails I'm doing a wide range of things. I might be ordering supplies or materials from a vendor, checking to make sure those orders are on schedule, scanning an email sent by our customer service person so I'm in the loop, replying to an email from an employee approving a draft of an email marketing piece, answering a question from a customer, etc. My goal is inbox zero and I'm pretty good at clearing things out. Gmail's new snooze feature is helpful, though it can be used as a procrastinating tool. My strategy is to snooze emails to the day I will tackle them and then tackle them that day. Seems to work pretty well so far. Overall, email is like another form of snacking, something I have to do periodically throughout the day to stay on top of it, and something that is best done with an hour or two between sessions for a break.)

Cloning is 75% complete so I tackled another to do: writing a draft email promoting the new products we launched today. We try to send emails to our customers once a month but sometimes it can be a chore when there isn't anything special to report. New product launches are the opposite. The emails write themselves and the fresh photography makes them shine. We put a lot of time and effort into new designs and there's a definite dopamine hit when you let the world know about them.

One thing that hadn't happened today is something unexpected. I'm going to write a separate blog post about some of the unexpected things that have happened at work in the 25 years since I founded Resource Revival, but the quick summary is that they are usually not relaxing. In this case, the cloned computer didn't boot after cloning due to an operating system issue, so I have to backtrack and do some Mac OS upgrades and downgrades and try again.

That's it for today.