Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Going through 35 years of journals, looking for nuggets of wisdom for the Small Business Survivalist Handbook.

Not going to be able to use much, but it certainly is edifying.

First of all, a third of the stack is actually fiction fragments. Beginnings of innumerable stories, snippets, ideas, poems, misc. Never really did give up writing altogether, especially in those first few years. Most of these stories I don't remember writing at all.

The early business notes are almost all to-do lists, business plans, notes to myself, calculations. It's amazing how much analysis I did in that first decade.

The mid-nineties are when I really started a journal. The entries are surprising clear-eyed, but specific to the circumstances at the time. This is when things were going off the rails, but the credit card problem hadn't really started. (It was happening, but the crunch didn't come for a couple of years.)

Unexpected, while things are going wrong, I give the tone of observation. Not as much sturm and drang as I would have expected. I'm not really as bitter and angry in these journals as I was later; again, probably because I hadn't started my seven year slog of working every day yet and still had some perspective.

The journals in the early 00's are mostly just day-to-day ups-and-downs; not lots of insight, just either "Oh, great! Business is better than I expected!" Or "Damn. Business sucks." Not very informational. There's a bit of underlying bitterness going on.

By the way, my first mention of "overbuilding" in Bend was in 2002. Heh.

Everything changes when I pay off the debt in 2004. Still tight as I'm building my inventory back up to sufficient levels, but the stress is much reduced. Started hiring again, but there is residual bitterness.

Then in 2006, I start doing my journal on my blog, The Best Minimum Wage Job a Middle Aged Guy Ever Had. A lot of these entries, where they involve the business, could actually go right into the book, actually. So I'm going to concentrate on these  last 10 years worth of entries.

I wish I had snappy journal entries all the way through that I could use to frame my business story, but it doesn't look like anything is usable until all the crisis's were over and I started making money again.

I think I'm going to toss all this stuff out when I'm done. If ever there was going to be a use for it, it's for this book. Most of it is just crap.

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