Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Planning, thinking, mulling

Only a minority of my peppers and tomatoes have germinated. I'm worried. I also had my first garden worry dream last night. I dreamed that I was at a local farm and they had large okra and full-grown peas and all sorts of delicious veggies already in the fields, not to mention bearing fruit. I sat up in a tree, oggling the lush, spring fields below me thinking, "How could I get so far behind! My okra isn't even started yet!" Then I woke up. My garden hasn't even been tilled yet!

Mulling, continued

When I start thinking about jobs and career paths I inevitably bump into my freelancing ideas and small business concepts, which, while scarier and much less fail-safe than the jobs I was mulling over yesterday, are actually better suited for my long-term hopes and dreams. The trade-off between short-term security and long-term gain, when it comes with what feels like a significant chunk of risk in the immediate future (my savings, my financial security and stability, my resume) is a lot to wrap my mind around.

So I need to keep mulling. This time, about the summer, and a half-baked plan I keep toying with to work fewer hours this summer in order to focus on starting a home business either making salves and such things or writing more (freelance, etc.)

If I cut back on my hours and work 35 hours a week, I will have to make $50/week (after taxes) to make it worth taking the cut. If I actually committed to starting a small business, that $50 would actually be reflective of many, many more hours than 5 per week. The question is whether the extra 5 hours of personal time would be a big enough time investment in my freelance writing/small business to make the cut pay off.

Let's say, for example, that I take fridays off and work 8:15 - 5:00 (35 hours) Monday-Thursdays. Monday-Thursdays would basically function like normal weekdays, the extra :45 morning minutes wouldn't change much in how I function. Friday, however, would turn into a full, 8-hour (9-5) work day for me, in which I could focus on developing whatever business plans, etc I'd like.

That seems like a good trade, but I think it'll only make sense to make that tradeoff if I start working on the business ideas now so that making money starts happening when I start taking time off from work (Let's say at the beginning of June), rather than that time-off serving as more planning time. Which means that in the next few months I need to see what it feels like to work 2 jobs at once, if that's what I want to do (plus having a garden!)

Now, the question is, do I focus on selling the book and on freelance writing or do I keep the book going in my spare time as my hobby and focus on salves, teas, and products of that nature? Or do I sit tight, keep on working, and take some horticulture classes while waiting to apply for a job that's really in the field I like?

Yesterday's mulling and today's is a conflict that is, inherently, about whether I want to organize my life around career-building or around homemaking. Yesterday's plan is a career-path that would make me happy. Today's plan is a make-money-and-homemake-path that would make me happy. I'm not sure how well I could do yesterday's plan and then switch to this one if and when I decide to have kids and settle down - starting a new and successful business while starting a family sounds about as easy as becoming superwoman (and would require something of the sort). However, an established home business based in the rural lifestyle I love is something that could grow with me. Not contributing to a household income and not continuing to maintain self-sufficiency isn't an option.

I go back and forth. A lot. There is something extremely appealing about just having a job in a field I feel strongly about and not worrying about clients, sudden flare-ups, or anything work-related after 5. I am not particularly ambitious, and I don't know how well that would translate to entrepreneurship. I seriously would love to be a part of a public garden. Furthermore, one of my fatal flaws is a lack of patience - which often translates into me working for a future that is by no means certain and for future desires at which I can only guess. And yet - isn't it foolish to not try and guess and work towards that guess? And, besides that, few things are more appealing to me than being able to define where and how I live. The idea of being able to make it on my own with my own business, and with my own ideas of success is absolutely thrilling.

I think, when it comes down to it, I want a business partner and a part-time job at a public garden.

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