growing pains

That’s what my rep, Carolyn, told me I had when I went into this lengthy explanation of all I was trying to accomplish last week.  Really too much has been on my plate, I feel, for some time.  The good news is my business continues to grow at about a 33% pace.  That’s held true for quite a while (years).  About as much as a pace as one person can handle!  With the help of John, my printer, and Leewood Press I’ve had help with fulfillment and a space for all my inventory the past 2 years since I began working with them.  They have helped me in countless ways from shipping pallets to gift/trade shows to creating posters for said shows to brainstorming and creating new product in the line.  Even with all that help plus assistance from a bookkeeper and graphic designer I am still the one doing all back office functions which has left me little to no time to paint, write or be creative in the ways I enjoy.  It was becoming clear to both John and I earlier this year that I couldn’t keep being the one to enter all the orders, send out all the invoices, receive payments, enter those in QB,  take them to bank, figure out commissions, pay the bills, etc…etc…I’ve had some tough discussions with John, with Mark (my husband) and with myself.  As many entrepreneurs can tell you, you seem to be paying everyone else, when is it your turn?!?  My goal has been to make Words and Watercolors financially viable.  It’s easier said than done, it seems.  Yet I keep thinking I’m getting close!  (the eternal optimist that I am).

So when Carolyn called me to see if I had done the research and found a solution for canvas wrapped artwork that one of her retailers would like to see from Words and Watercolors I had to say  “NO, I haven’t even had time to try and figure it out.”  I did put forth about 15 minutes of effort in googling canvas wrapped artwork but I wasn’t sure about any of the sites I found.  I tried to remember where to find the business card I had from someone I met at the Stationery Show last year who does manufacturing for wholesale canvas wrapped products.  Couldn’t find it.  My attention went off of that and on to the next thing on my plate…never returning back to sourcing solutions for canvas wrapped art.

I am happy to report, however, that I feel like I have found a solution for the back office functions that have been keeping me busy with what’s in front of me leaving little time to dream/create/plan for W&W into the future.  Like most things that happen to me when I know it is “right”, the answer was rather effortless, once I finally stumbled upon it.  I don’t even know how I began receiving emails from TD Back Office but somehow I must have signed up for their newsletters.  I began reading them.  They’d show up in my box about every 2 weeks.  I didn’t read them all but the ones I did I always thought, “this guy knows what he’s talking about!”.  So after one particularly difficult conversation about the state of Words and Watercolors, I shot off an email to Tom Larsen of TD Back Office.  We emailed back and forth a bit and then set up a phone call.   That was over a month ago and we’ve continued to talk and learn more about each other and our respective businesses.  I’ve been impressed with Tom’s own entrepreneur stories.  He’s savvy.  He’s been there and done that.  He’s been in the gift industry. He’s had booths at the ATL gift show!  He’s dealt with reps.  He understands inventory issues.  He’s been in sales and management.  Unlike me, he understands financials and numbers and knows how to read them.  So with all that, I’ve finally decided to give it a whirl.  Now we move into the nuts and bolts of how this change gets implemented.  I won’t go into the details here as I don’t know them all but suffice to say that I feel like I’ve just swallowed 2 aspirin and relief is on its way!!



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