(Then again, when they hear “factory” they think “sweat shop,” so it’s really a lose/lose, which is just part of the reason why I tend to not spend a ton of time getting people up to speed when they ask “how’s business?” That, and I just spend way too much of my day talking and thinking about it as it is.) I’d been meaning to take this trip for weeks, struggling to fit in between client appointments, production, and capricious flight loads. Don’t make it weird.) Most normal days, I am on client appointments all over the city and working on production in town for this little company that I started earlier this year, and more often than not, I feel good about the way that company is growing.
But behind closed doors, that low-belly sinking feeling still sucks. What’s not okay is to succumb to actual social anxiety, and too often we don’t realize that and chalk it up to “introversion.” It’s not. You think you’re the only one who loves coloring books or forearms? A year from now, these will ideally be “everyday” too. The instability of a bad front end, the joy of taking a curve on a more stable and sporty bike. Pain in your wrists, from bike riding and fabric cutting. Look, like many firsts, nothing beats the feeling of the first customer.I say our sales started in April, but really the first sale was in March, from a stranger, before I even asked for or expected it.You practice restraint in some areas; you bleed out in others. There’s a lot I could write about this – and a lot that I already have – but, in short: shit’s broke, yo.I worked backwards from retail through production until I stopped getting bullshit and excuses from people in the industry telling me why it couldn’t be solved.I can’t believe I got this far in life not knowing this. I picked up the second bike, a Ducati, in early November, after months of trying to just make it through the season on old boy and finally caving (mostly because his front end threatened to.) The Duc doesn’t have a name (neither does old boy – it’s not really “old boy”), but he does have a personality, though perhaps not what you might expect: it’s the light, floating prance of an Arabian horse. I said I wasn’t gonna get sucked in – even swore I was gonna hate the city of Chicago even more than I already do if they won – but in the end I couldn’t not get sucked in. I was mid-conversation with someone during the game and didn’t even see that final play live, but when the replay surfaced the next day, I rewatched it like a million times.
Or a jingle horse (“pick up your feet.”) Sometimes he’s an actual duck. I’m not a sports fan, let alone a baseball fan, but I watched the games in the way everyone in Chicago was watching the games. Everyone fell in love with Kris Bryant and his idiot grin. But what I loved even more was the moment just after it: first baseman Rizzo, knowing, his arm outstretched and unmoving, no adjustments, just rock steady like “right here, buddy. The thrill of being in charge – and free of bullshit.
Get it here and I gotchu.” Like Snow reaching for Rickon in Battle of the Bastards. Pushing yourself to do something even when you don’t want to.
And like Kevin Costner’s character reaching for the letter in the final scene of The Postman. The good fit of a dress done well; the alterations – usually hips – of most others. Felt like: the rush of several new clients or successful client meetings in a row, the rush of brushing up against new things.
Mary Szczypta, from Huntley, Ill., writes in chalk on an outer wall at Wrigley Field where others have written messages in support of the Cubs’ championship run and in remembrance of friends and family who never saw the Cubs win the World Series, Monday, Nov. Fans started writing messages encouraging the Cubs on the walls outside the famed ballpark’s bleachers during the run to the team’s first championship since 1908. *A word on “bullshit business books:” about a year ago I reached my saturation point and tolerance level for authors out there who lacked firsthand experience with a subject and yet still felt entitled to write (and sell) books.
Wrigley Field’s days as the “Friendly Chalkboard” are coming to an end. Took a hiatus from this blog, mostly because I was focused on the company, thinking about other shit, and writing about it all elsewhere. This includes everyone with “credentials” such as (One author included that he’d traveled to 41(! Dude, this impresses nobody except you – and other insecure, fake-accolade-motivated people.) In short, all of these authors are inferior to any author with an actual degree in the domain, especially if it’s science or engineering, and/or anybody with “founder” following their name (when it’s associated with an actual company, not a committee, forum, or org.) As an aside, “expert,” like “couture” or “humble,” is one of those things you should never call yourself. The problem, of course, is that the “theorists” – unsurprisingly – make up the vast majority of the books out there (since the doers are busy, you know, write, is so much more valuable, and I’d take a single poorly-written paragraph from a doer over 100,000 words of rambling nothingness from a theorist any day.
I was still learning how to make dresses, using a bunch of “guinea pig” women I’d found online, and one of them insisted on paying me. Similarly awesome feelings: hitting revenue growth goals a bunch of months in a row, getting word of mouth, getting traction, getting visibility, and that feeling when a client loves your product so much she shoots you a candid photo of her wearing it at 10 pm Friday night. Worst part of starting a company is the period of deafening white noise between quitting your job and getting your first customer, when you’re not sure if this is a thing or people value it. You throw energy at it every day and eventually it’ll yield.