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  1. #961

  2. #962
    She's not a beard! I love her for reals
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  3. #963

  4. #964

  5. #965
    OMG it's Bitter! Good to see you again, how the hell are you?! <puts on some ZZ Top in the background>

  6. #966
    Man, how have you not written a book yet??
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  7. #967

  8. #968
    Hi GGT! I'm on top of the world right now!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Man, how have you not written a book yet??
    Every year on the anniversary of starting my business, I have wanted to give ya'll an update, then I forget. And another year passes. Almost 10 years in, the story of my business would be a book. This whole experience has been insane!

    The end of both 2015, and 2016 were very trying. Expensive equipment failure nearly did me in during both years, at xMas busiest time of year. Anxiety, deep depression (which was always a struggle, but not to this degree), and suicidal thoughts were taking hold of me. It was sooo hard. Fortunately Stephen, my husband of 18 years, was my rock, and helped me through it. I had to make changes to turn things around, and they have started paying off in 2017. Last year was really strong, and this year I have made some more changes, and while early, it's looking like it's going to be the best yet!

    Owning a business is very hard. Every time you turn around, something tries to kick you down. It's a constant struggle trying to get ahead. Let alone the dark clouds that have been looming from the beginning. Taxes was one of those clouds. A bad accountant started me off on a very bad foot. Trying to get ahead of taxes has taken 9 years. The two bad years really hit that plan hard. But it's been resolved, in that I got a reasonable payment plan for back taxes, and am on track to remain current. So that cloud has lifted. I mean, I'll be paying for it for a while, but it's not going to get worse now.

    I still work 60-80 hours a week, but I love what I do still so it's not bad. Technology has changed the business a lot. CAD design allows many of those hours to be done at home. 3D printing gas increased production. It has also increased creative possibilities!!! It has also pushed my skill level even farther!

    There is more drama than you would realize in the jewelry industry locally. I've been stepping on some toes, and some people aren't happy. LOL But, I have to do what I need to succeed, AND make money. So, F'em. I am still a trade shop, doing wholesale work for area retailers. Over the course of the 10 years, I've gone from getting 85% of my income from repair work to now getting 90% of my income from custom design. Which is what I love the most. There is more money in custom work than repair work. I've started a plan to go retail myself. Retail custom design. I have slowly built a little retail clientele base over the years strictly from word of mouth. But now it's time to really get myself out there. It's going to be hard though. Getting yourself noticed on the internet is a job itself. Trying to get yourself in front of potential local customers searching for a jeweler is key. Gone are the days of traditional advertising.

    In my building, when I started up, there were 4 other trade shops competing for business. Now there are two of us.
    They were never my competition though. I was always a step above them. I know it sounds egotistical, but it's true.
    The quality of my work was always higher, but so were my prices. Customers of the other jewelers wouldn't come to me, because they wanted cheap work, and didn't care about quality. None of them adapted to the changing times, or took the risk to buy expensive equipment, like laser welders, microscopes for setting, 3D milling, and 3D printing.

    I have also solved the problems of equipment I depended on by getting backups. So I won't face literally being shut down by 3D printer failure for two months like in 2015-16. All in all it's been one hell of a rollercoaster ride. I've learned I can't stand still and have to adapt and grow for the better. It turns out I have better business sense than I ever thought I had. To the dismay of a few current and former customers who felt they had some control over me. Especially the people who lent me money to start my business to begin with. They thought they had strings attached, and didn't think I had scissors! Over the years I learned I CAN stand up for myself, and I CAN make the rules.

    10 years, I can finally say I think I got this. I know things can change. But I know I can change too.

    Onwards and upwards!

  9. #969
    Psst, Bitbit... I am, now and always, so glad that it is a success (but I knew it would be, because you are amazing).
    We're stuck in a bloody snowglobe.

  10. #970
    That's great, Bitter. Congratulations on your successes!

  11. #971
    Thanks! I wouldn't say it's a success yet. At least by the numbers. That's what I'm working on!

    I have thought about working for somebody else again. I would make almost as much, and work half as much.
    But I don't think that would ever work. I like playing whatever music I want, as loud as I want, and I can dance when I feel like it! This is also why I would never have employees. They ruin everything.

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