Yes, I know I should be studying for my Business classes. I’m not. Will this bite me? I don’t know. Chances are unlikely: I’m taking all my classes, Pass/No Pass. The biggest thing that will be bruised is my ego. Taking a long view…maybe it actually is a better use of my time to write out my thoughts, right now, than it is to keep trying to overperform in the short term.
Unless, that is, I want Job References from any of my current teachers, which will all be far more recent than my latest employment history. I have about a month and a half left of classes, which — for one thing, is mind-boggling. I can’t believe so much time has passed: three months! But maybe it just seems short, because I haven’t been logging it. I’ve been going from project to project. Particularly, the last two weeks have been really rough for me, and I’m sure this is because I’m putting in a lot more effort than necessary. I’m going by the idea that you get out of school, what you put into school. Even if you’re just taking little Community College classes, when you’ve done much more in your time. And even if a D still counts as a Pass (which I’m amazed at).
At the beginning of this week, I turned in a 35-page paper(!). Sure, only 24 of those were actual writing (not Bibliography or Title Page or Table of Contents), and sure, it was double-spaced, which is standard. And it wasn’t perfect. But I worked my butt off for four days in a row, researching and writing this thing, and doing little else. Of course, I had done research prior, as well — but definitely no more than two weeks’ worth. Then we had a Test the other night — same class. And we’re supposed to be constantly working on a financial project, which I’m not doing very well at keeping up with, but it’s flexible. Same class. And, right, I was supposed to read a book chapter to prepare for lecture on the same night of the test. (It didn’t get done.) Same class.
NOBODY probably got all of that done, except people with no other responsibilities…and maybe, no other classes. No, I’m not asking that teacher for a Job Reference. And yes, I have noticed that I don’t like trying to comprehend (or worse, work out) complex math. I probably don’t actually want to be an Accountant or Bookkeeper, that is. There’s a magic to quantitative reasoning, but …still. Math and logic are difficult. The question I have is whether they are difficult, even for people who are good at them, at least with a recent Math history like mine? Am I alone, or in good company?
My other classes mostly take into account the fact that people have lives — and multiple other classes, although two of those classes allow no late work, period. Which means that I have one other class that can flex.
You see where I’m at.
The thing is, I seem to be overperforming on pretty much everything (except Math). Many assignments only require a 100-to-250-word response, and I’m going way over that. Regularly.
Right now…I’m thinking about why it was that I wanted to take these classes, which clarifies my goals; what is really important, in light of those goals; and hence, which activities are of most value at this time. There are some questions I can’t really work on at this point in my life: like how much money I’ll need to put away for retirement. I don’t even know how much money it would take to keep me alive now, if I were not living with other people! How am I supposed to forecast my living expenses in 30 years? Especially in an economy like today’s?
I don’t mean by that, some generic idea referring to whatever romanticized current zeitgeist we’ll see, looking wistfully back on this, from the future; I mean today’s economy, with vast income inequality meaning generally low wages for most people; high unemployment; a housing price bubble; rapid short-term inflation; supply chain bottlenecks; COVID lockdowns; repeated economic stimulus checks — and there’s more. There is nothing “normal” about today. How can I predict anything about 30 years into the future, when I can’t predict what my life will be like, three months from now?
At least I know enough to know that I can’t know. That’s something.
In any case…I’ve been working on assembling the information necessary to have, if I want to open a small business. The thing is, this would essentially be a microbusiness, employing fewer than five people. I would not be able to charge a living wage, at least if I’m looking at an hourly pay rate for myself (though that’s not how you pay yourself in a microbusiness, I know).
I’m looking at the overhead: hiring legal counsel, hiring a bookkeeper or accountant, hiring IT help, hiring a photographer (or buying a good digital camera and taking some classes), purchasing insurance, getting a Business bank account, getting a P.O. Box, getting a DBA, getting a Seller’s Permit and FEIN, buying Web hosting, transferring existing data or purchasing a new domain, subscribing to and learning to use image-editing and desktop-publishing software, getting trademark protection, getting the necessary tax and legal forms, possibly getting an extra computer to process payments as versus surf the Web, etc…this is stuff you do when you think you’re actually going to experience financial gain.
Like, ACTUALLY. Not like, “I’m one person paying myself $12/hour; $0, when I’m not directly working on something to be sold.”
The easy way to start, is to sell in-person only, and/or go through Etsy. That’s the easy way. Or through Amazon Handmade, or through ArtFire, or through BigCartel, or through eBay (although eBay won’t let you mention you sell online elsewhere). Though even going through a marketplace like one of these requires some of the steps, above. The rest of this…?
It’s like, dang girl, I just wanted to sell some earrings.
And I just wanted to sell some earrings because no one can afford my necklaces but rich people.
In short…this is looking like it will cost me more money than I’ll be able to earn. If I just want to share my craft, that’s something else, isn’t it? None of this. None of this legal and tax and liability-ridden garbage clogging up the lines of communication. None of this secrecy about where I get my materials from and how much they cost. Sure, I won’t have access to the wholesale markets. It’s not a big deal if I’m not making a lot. And I can make it on my own schedule. And I can make it for my friends, and give it to my friends, and I don’t have to worry if they meet my own high quality standards, as I would with something I’d give in trade.
I just need to get an actual job.
Like maybe working as a writer? For a related local organization?
The wind whispers, “Yesssss…”