August is a weird month for me. It’s the month of panic and relaxation, all at the same time.
August is relaxing because it’s my slowest month of the year. In August, most of my customers are in one of three different modes:
- About to leave for vacation, and saving their money,
- Just got back from vacation, and don’t have any money, or,
- On vacation and spending their (my) money.
Regardless of which one they are experiencing at the moment, the result is the same for me; my store is a ghost town.
Whenever I’m asked, ‘What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone who’s about to start their own business’, my answer is always the same. DON’T DO IT! Ha ha, just kidding. My advice is to publicly post your business hours, and be there during those hours – PERIOD! I religiously follow that rule all year – except in August. August is that one month that I break that rule multiple times. Let’s face it, sometimes you’ve got to get out of the box and just go free-range and see what happens out there in the world during your normal business hours, which you never get to see. It’s amazing how many people are out there running around, just doing things.
Of course, nowadays, as soon as I leave early, my doorbell cam dings my phone because someone is standing there trying to come in. I liked it better in the old days where I didn’t know someone showed up until a week or so later when they came back and said; “I tried coming by last Thursday but you were closed.” By then, I don’t feel guilty anymore. But when I’m looking at my phone, in real time, and I can see who it is, I feel kinda guilty. I’m not going back, mind you. I don’t feel that guilty. But I do feel bad for the next beer or two.
August is also the month of panic for me. August is the month where I look at that long list of projects I’ve been making all year (plus last year’s I didn’t get to) that I planned to complete over the summer, that I haven’t even started yet. August is the perfect month to tackle a lot of projects that you would never consider doing during your normal or busy months. August is that month where I realize I’m great at making lists, but lousy at checking things off of said list.
This summer, I planned on finishing out the worktops in one of my shop areas. When I moved in 2½ years ago, I just used the counter tops I’d built for my last location. They work okay, but they don’t fit like I need them to fit. There is about a 2 inch gap at the back that allows something you’re steaming to fly out of your tweezers and ‘shoot the gap’. This means getting down on my hands and knees, removing everything out of the cabinet below, one piece at a time, until I find what just flew in there. All while saying; “I’m going to install new countertops this summer, no matter what else comes up. Well, laziness came up, and here we are.
August is also a great month to close for a week and take that much needed vacation. Owning and operating a business is hard work. It requires your attention 24/7. I’ve always said the best parts of my days off are I only have to go in and work for 6 hours instead of 10. At least once a year, you’ve got to get away from it all. It’s also the only time of the year that my fingers actually come clean. After a week at the beach, between digging in the sand, and not polishing jewelry all day, my hands actually look normal. But, there’s always a major problem with taking a week off. The problem is I needed that week to do all of the projects on my list that I haven’t started yet.
Another problem with leaving for a short vacation is I find myself spending the money for my projects on silly things like gas, hotels, airport beers, and beach bars. It’s not easy being me, I promise.
August is also a great month for people to complain. If we’re not complaining about the heat, we’re talking about how we can’t wait for fall to get here and cool things off. It’s literally the first words out of the mouths of every single customer that comes through my front door.
I heard a theory recently I thought I’d pass along, because it’s got me wondering if it’s true. Someone told me that the main reason people ‘like’ the summer months, is because growing up, that’s when we were all out of school for a few months. If the months long school break would have been December through February, we’d probably think we like that season. So now, as adults, we just think we like summer!
That makes a lot of sense, since one of my favorite pastimes during the month of August is going back inside to the air conditioning. And, every single conversation, with anyone, starts out the exact same way; “Boy, it sure is hot out there.”
For such a great month, there sure is a lot of stuff wrong with August!
Enjoy the last month of summer, and remember, the Christmas pre-season starts in about 45 days. Play now, work later, and have a great rest of your summer.