Burnt Out

"Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone..."

-Elton John

We have had some amazing growth over the last 10 months. I was watching a video Leah made August of last year where she shows our little one room workshop. Since then we moved from our two bedroom apartment to three bedroom (with two rooms for the workshop). Then in February we moved the company again, this time into an apartment of its own.

Sales were growing 20% month over month this year, and we have been adding employees fast. With the growth, the company has relied heavily on cash flow. We have avoided debt as much as possible, and instead reinvested the cash back into fueling our growth. This left us without a solid cash safety net.

In May, we finally met some resistance. Sales slowed unexpectedly and seemingly without cause. Bulk orders slowed. Just when I thought our busy wedding and graduation gift season should have been taking off, we were seeing our first days in the red. At the same time we were negotiating a move into a 5,200 sq/ft and starting a new expensive marketing campaign.

When you are the one at the top, the wins are sweeter, but the losses are much tougher. I have had to spend a lot of time and late nights trying to get us back on course. Consequently, I am feeling very burnt out. I am a believer in our product. I know that it is solid. I just can't figure out why our sales have slowed.

In all of this I am learning some things:

1. When you start to see your website traffic drop, don't ignore it. Maybe its foreshadowing bigger problems.

2. Don't neglect the marketing avenues that have got you where you are.

3. Build alternative marketing avenues and revenue streams early.

4. Past performance does not predict future success.

I'm sure we will pull through this. I need to be nimble and creative. To do that though, I need to reset. I haven't taken time away from the company since the beginning and I don't even know how to at this point. But I have to try.

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