Without going into a lot of details, let’s just say the last year of my life has been perhaps the most difficult one I have ever faced, and there have been many moments where I have felt like I was not only at the end of my rope, but dangling on the last thread in mid-air and wondering how I could ever overcome the seemingly impossible obstacles and difficulties firing my way from all fronts (personal, professional, relational, parental, physical, social, etc.) in even one area, much less all of them?
Month after trying month, when one thing would wrap up and I dared breathe a sigh of relief, something new just as dire would emerge and the dance would start all over. It’s been like a sprint that’s turned into a long distance event and the finish line keeps moving, just when I am think I am almost there, surprise! The race gets extended again, and the finish line is again moved to a new undisclosed location.
As I said in my visualization post, something I circle back to when things just seem too big is the many times the impossible has become possible before. So many times in my life the right person, information, connection, or solution pops up in the most coincidental and serendipitous fashion just when I need it most and I can only read it as a sign from the universe to just keep going…to trust.
One would think after experiencing this 11th hour solution phenomenon so many times I would have faith and simply believe. And I am starting to think this past year may have been a hammering home of that very point. Over and over. Oh me of little faith, do the lilies of the field toil and spin? Do the birds worry about what they will eat or where it will come from. And yet there I am, fretting with each new challenge just the same.
Just last week I was wondering if maybe it was time to cash out my chips and let go of a dream I have been working toward for the past 12 years. Maybe it was too big. Maybe I had taken on too much. Maybe it was time to accept defeat. Increasing thoughts of “Maybe I just can’t” or “Maybe I am fooling myself” have plagued me over the past year, and the never ending challenges fired at me have not helped ease my mind.
I operate a cottage industry, small, local, boutique farm-based business on my property and just celebrated the fourth year in business.
In addition to that I work as a freelance writer, but freelance writing work has been in short supply since hurricane Sandy hit New York where most of my major clients up to that point had their offices wiped out and in turn slashed budgets drastically overnight. Likewise in the past few years content sweatshops have sprung up and companies who used to employ freelance writers and pay them a living wage now are paying less than one-tenth that to companies that take advantage of newer writers and keep the profit to themselves. I could work for them, but by the time it’s all said and done, it barely covers the childcare much less pays the bills.
So what was supposed to be my “side gig” has unexpectedly become my main gig. And I am not the only one facing this scenario, I see people all around me struggling to find themselves a foothold in today’s quickly changing economy as their former profession seems to vaporize right before their very eyes.
So yesterday morning there I was, thinking to myself, “What I need is a BIG sale. What I need is to move a lot of product at once, wholesale. I know I will get less for it, but at the same time it would be a nice cash infusion to put some space between myself and the wolves at the door. That’s what I really, really need.”
It’s been a recurring thought actually as I realized over the winter months that the seasonal nature of my business just doesn’t bring home the bacon during the wet, cold winter season. My direct to customer business sale strategy worked when I had the writing income to cover the day-to-day expenses but without that, I needed to set up a more consistent cash flow. Somehow.
Not three hours after thinking how what I needed was to make that BIG sale happen and asap, I am outside weeding and cleaning up for the first wedding of the season this weekend (I also rent my property out, for such events, as a side income) and I see a car parked at the gate. Then I spy a little fellow coming up the walk.
“Can I help you?” I asked, figuring he was going to hit me up for a donation for a local charitable event.
He introduces himself and says he works for a local distributing company who is looking to build out their hyper-local offerings and he had heard great things about my product and so he was wondering if I had ever considered selling some of it wholesale?
As much as I wanted to hug him and jump up and down, I play it cool. “I have thought about it,” I say casually. “But the price would have to be right. What are you offering per unit?”
Inside I am thinking, “Just say $10. I can do $10. I’d gladly do it for $10. Please God, at least say $10.”
“Well it’s really up to you,” he says, “But right now others in the area are selling for between $11 and $14 per unit.”
Controlling myself, I nonchalantly say, “I could probably let some go for that. So how much are you willing to take at a time?”
Inside I am thinking, “50 cases. Please say 50 cases. 50 cases would be perfect!”
“We usually buy a pallet at a time, mixed varieties.”
“Hummm, a pallet,” I say. “So how much is that?”
“50 cases, more or less,” he replies.
Inside, I am doing the happy dance. Yes!
“I’d be interested,” I say. “I have been thinking it’s time for me to consider wholesale, in fact I was thinking it just this morning, funny in fact you showed up today.”
Then we shoot the breeze, I share my story of how I got into all of this, he shares his background, we banter around some ideas for positioning the hyper-local offerings they are lining up and share some markets I wouldn’t mind getting my product into. Soon we are dreaming together, totally in tune and in step about how all this could roll out and be a win-win for both of us. We shake hands, I say I am in, I will get to bottling, and that he should go ahead and start making some sales calls. Let’s do this!
As he pulls away I thank God and the universe and breathe a huge sigh of relief. Maybe all this is going to work out after all. Maybe even better than I had dare hoped!
And then I check my e-mail and there is a message waiting for me from a client I would be ghostwriting blogs for (a medical group) that I had spoken to several months back but had figured didn’t work out. They want to get going, and asap. And they are paying my old rates, not the sweatshop ones. And they pay every two weeks, direct deposit. Will that be ok? When can I start?
Yes, yes it will. I am available immediately. Let’s get started! You bet!
And just like that I am reminded that it’s always darkest before dawn. Sure there are multiple challenges ahead, things could go wrong, but then again things could go right. You can never give up. And you can never lose faith. Because what you want more than anything often falls right into your lap just when you need it most. And when it does, rejoice and be grateful and ponder how sometimes it’s not so much about us making it happen, as it is surrendering to the reality that it’s way bigger than you, and it always has been. And when it seems like nothing is happening, a lot is happening that you just don’t know about. No matter how bleak things seem, the solution is to get up, show up, give it up in prayer, and take it one day at a time. The rest will take care of itself.
Let those who have ears hear.
(This post is dedicated to the memory of two individuals who tragically did give up in the biggest possible way, and to all those who struggle with similar thoughts. DO NOT GIVE UP. If you are alive, it is because you are supposed to be! Stick it out and find your purpose, you are here for a reason. Do not let the darkness in your mind win. Please do not. If you think nobody cares, know it’s not true — I care. Be a light unto the world. Be a survivor story. If you are in crisis, you can find help and someone to talk to anytime, day or night, right here. Promise me right now you won’t give up, that you will never give up. The world needs you. We are all in this together!)