Thursday, July 08, 2010

Counting Some Blessings

Another late night hard at it before I am able to decompress and either sleep or write something here. I guess I don't need to tell you which way it went.

My wife informed me the other day that the gross sales at the bike shop were up 75% over the same January to June period last year.

I have learned not to get too excited over news like this. Gross sales are a far cry from what actually ends up in my pocket. Especially in the economy we have now saddled with the debt I incurred over the period 2006 through 2007.

Certainly good news considering where I could be. But again, I temper my enthusiasm because the better I do, the more I have to spend to do better. There seems to be a finite profit margin I can squeeze out of the store. And unfortunately, no matter how much there is left at the end of each week, it all goes to pay down debt or buy product to sell to pay down more debt in the future.

Funny where I turned up at the age of 58. Given the fact I never had a plan, I guess owning a struggling bike shop is as good a place to end up as any. While there is not much folding money to bank at the end of the year, I do have many bennies I would never have working for someone else.

I often overlook the blessings that come from owning my own business when constantly striving to overcome the obstacles that are inherent in a small retail operation in a struggling part of the country. So, I guess it's time to count some blessings.

I wear what I want - When the Sun grows hot and the grass begins to wilt, you will find me daily wearing shorts, a tee, and flip flops. Okay, so I don't present a very professional front. Hey, it's a bike shop. People expect eccentricities.

I sell fun and fitness. What I do often creates true pleasure for my customers. No one can know the satisfaction I derive from placing that first bike under the butt of some 3 foot scamp, or outfitting an adult coming full circle back to a conveyance they enjoyed as a youth. I have had grown men hug me. And yeah, it was weird. But how could I pop their bubble?

I get to work with my hands and my brain. Twisting wrenches and twisting my cranial abilities trying to keep it all going is about as rewarding an occupation as I have ever had.

I meet some seriously odd folks. From the town drunks who have lost their licenses, to the pillars of the community and pretty much every kid in town under the age of 15. Every one of them has a story and often I get to take the time to hear them.

My shop is but a short down hill drive or ride of 8 miles from my house. No lights, just some slow poke or lost tourists in the summer to impede my progress.

I am sure there are more benefits lurking in the shadows, but I just hit my exhaustion wall. I need to go to sleep. Let's just say no matter how overwhelmed or twisted around I become, there is always an upside to the situation provided I take the time to look for it.



The Blog Fodder said...

I like your blog. You write great short stories. And you are usually positive. Even when you get down on the realities of life - economy and politics; you still finish with a photo of nature's handiwork.

My grandfather came from Ireland with $400, farmed for 40 years, raised four kids and finished with $400. He said life never cost him anything. I guess that is as good as it gets for most of us.

David Barber said...

Mike, make the most of what you've got mate. You don't have anyone looking over your shoulder telling you you're not pulling your weight etc. NO better feeling! And any spare few quid is a bonus.

Take care my friend.

sunshine said...

Sounds like you do have some things to be happy about. :)
You're right. Even though it can be very difficult, owning your own business can be quite rewarding as well and does have an upside.
I'm happy to hear that things are looking better for you, even though you are still being cautious. :)


Randal Graves said...

I'm not a 'look on the bright side of life' kind of guy, but dude, any time you're feeling 'fucking hell, this sucks' you don't need to don the three-piece and insert yourself in a cubicle working for the man.

Of course, in five minutes I might tell you that the debt will eventually grow 'cause that's just how it is. :)

BBC said...

I have learned not to get too excited over news like this. Gross sales are a far cry from what actually ends up in my pocket.

You got that part right, and when I had my own businesses I didn't expect to get rich, just to get by working for myself.

It all worked out very well for me but I never once went very far in debt to make it happen, I just built things up as I went along.

Now I'm more than happy to sit under an apple tree or going camping while I enjoy my fading years with my little bit of retirement money that most monkeys would think isn't enough.

But it's enough for me.