Monday, March 11, 2013

I turned down two days of getting paid to answer the phone in order to look out the window at my muddy wet riderless horses.

I figured, it's March Break.  Parents might want something fun and constructive to keep their kids busy.  I imagined how I'd feel sitting at a desk looking out the windows of the Ford dealership at the potential bright sunshine, regretting it.  I didn't have any lessons booked when I turned down the gig.  At this point, on Monday, I have only two lessons confirmed and two pending. I could have made $200.  Just by sitting on my butt staring out the windows when the phone isn't ringing.

Instead, I put my energy into what I really want to do.  I left room for it.  I felt that it was the right thing to do, to build my business.

It's just that when my husband is facing a rare week with no confirmed bookings, I get a little scared.  My income isn't supporting the family and didn't even exist four years ago.  But it has become so important to me, even if I earn less than $100 in a week.  It helps.  It makes a difference.  It can be the difference between buying horse feed and not, or like last week, paying for an (expensive) oil change for the little diesel car I'm driving when I don't need an eight-foot truck box behind me.  I don't want to depend on my husband's income to pay for my horses.  It's empowering to earn my way with my horses - I want that!  And I want to take the pressure off him.  He's got enough to deal with.

And... I LOVE my work.  I love putting people on horses and seeing the progress when they begin to understand each other.  I love how my horse looks after a happy ride.  I love that people pay me for this.

I don't hate the Ford dealership.  It can be fun.  But my job there is so occasional that I'm not even technically on the payroll, and they know that if they call, I'll do it if I can.

What to do, eh?  Take the gig and chance losing lessons, or turn down the gig and the pay and hope I get the work I really want?

So it's been raining all day, my horses are filthy, and my corral is full of melting ice and manure and combinations thereof.  I might pick up a couple lessons if the weather clears up, but I might not.  I'm telling myself that when you run a business, especially one as small as mine, you win some, you lose some, and it evens up eventually.  I've been getting new students signing up all winter despite this being the hardest winter in about five years, and I expect this summer to be even busier than last.  This is what I'm choosing to run through my head rather than the panic and regret of missing out on a paycheque: that I'd rather make $70 this week teaching two lessons in the mud than just about anything else.


mugwump said...

Heidi - You did the right thing. Your students have to know they can book...even when their mom's make them wait to see how the weather is doing.
Your business will build -- especially when they know you're there.
Hang in.

Cindy D. said...

Hello Heidi,
I'm new to your blog, just found it, and added it to my daily reading list. I think I'm going to enjoy it though. From what I've read you seem to be just the right amount of "whacked" that a gal needs to be oh so much fun!

I agree with Mugs, they will come. The minute the weather breaks, they will be lined up at your door. I can feel it.

Paul Tee said...

You have succinctly given voice to my (our) dilemma.

I often wonder what it would have been like, had I taken that leap of faith, quit my dayjob and concentrated on a writing career. I would certainly be farther ahead as a writer, not so well off, perhaps, but maybe happier.

I don't think leaps of faith are senseless or disappointing as long as you know the tradeoffs. It is an inner perception. I mean, one can easily leap from one set of frustration into another for there are no guarantees, but it is essential that you try. My advice to anyone is to nurture and invest in your dreams, that will keep you young and perhaps even fulfilled.

The flipside: don't measure your life in terms of money (or even success). It's contentment you should be aiming for, knowing who you are and where you are. Be grounded (horses and the country side, you couldn't be more grounded). Or so I tell myself.... when I remember, and not chasing the rest of the pack in the rat race.

Heidi the Hick said...

Guys - YES!!

Mugs - I'm hanging in there. And you are right!

Cindy D - Hello! Welcome to the weird! Thanks for the encouragement!

Paul - Thank you for understanding this, and the part about being aware of the tradeoffs is important to keep in mind.

So I'm sure I would have made an extra $60 if I'd taken the gig but I wouldn't have had these four lessons.

The weather this week has been stupid. Rain, snow, sun, wind, got it all. But we horse freaks don't give up easily...!