Awwrighty, then! Changes are happening for me and it is time to make some decisions.
I am 62. In my life I have served in the Air Force (4 years, mostly as a teletype operator), spent time as a word processing technician in education (typing bilingual textbooks), then at 4 different lawfirms, worked as an executive assistant for the largest charity hospital in the state of Louisiana, then 13 years as the administrator for the Louisiana Cancer and Lung Trust Fund Board.
At various times along the way, between “normal” jobs I’ve also tried various multi-level-marketing platforms — Amways (twice), Tupperware, MiracleMaid cookware, and NuSkin. I’m not a born organizer or salesman anyway, and not the sort required for cheating people out of their money by recruiting them into MLM. I was also a minister, but never made much money at that. And, again, not the charismatic sales type required for the task. For a brief time in Seattle, after I was let go from the last law firm (they were merging with another firm, and the other firm had someone better for my position), and I painted reflective house numbers on curbs. And after I landed in New Orleans, I read Tarot on Jackson Square for a few months until I got a permanent job with the State of Louisiana.
And then Hurricane Katrina came around.
And I have now spent 10+ years earning all my money dyeing yarn for knitters, crocheters, weavers, and fiber artists. I didn’t know what else to do, plus it sounded like loads of fun and I saw a few other people making a go of it.
Granted, nearly all the people actually making a go of it were those who had an employed spouse or partner, OR they were dyeing yarn in their spare time to make a little extra money, OR they started out with enough money (or good enough credit) they could go BIG and crank out large volumes.
I’ve done this all by myself, and Every Damn Month it has been a struggle, some months more than others. But it has always been a matter of paying all the bills that are due, or buying a little more yarn to make a little more money. There are several people to whom thanks is owed — people who have sent cash in the lean times, as well as those who have participated in the Buy-a-Cone method, where people would buy a cone of yarn, and they’d get 3 or 4 skeins from the top of the cone, leaving me with 6 or 8 skeins available to dye and sell. Without these fine people, I would have been in a seriously tight spot, several times.
But dyeing yarn as an independent dyer is NOT a way to independent wealth. It just isn’t. Always have to buy more yarn, replenish the dye supplies, plus buy packing and other supplies. My son-in-law once told me that even the most successful business owners can expect maybe 20% profit for themselves, AFTER replacing inventory and supplies and paying all the business-related bills. I’ve never had that. Usually it is more like sell enough yarn to pay the overdue light bill, or cover the rent, or some other such thing. Always juggling, always struggling to cover the current most pressing thing, whether it is bills or supplies or yarn or whatever.
Thankfully, this is about to change. Next month it is going to change.
No, I’m not giving up dyeing yarn. But I will no longer have to sweat bullets to cover what must be covered. I will have a little bit of breathing room, so that I can dye on a regular schedule, sell on a regular schedule, and start taking time out to do other things as well – like take a day trip to town to visit museums, or get my teeth fixed, or get new glasses (it’s been 5+ years, if I remember correctly!). There are SO many things I’ve been putting off. It’s been 2 years or more since my daughter took me to get new shoes.
But beyond that, I will have the liberty to do Other Things with my life. I don’t know what I am good at, something I can do for money. I mean, I will always need to have some sort of income, right? I like dyeing yarn and I’m pretty good at it, but it also physically taxing and my body isn’t always up for the challenge.
So, as I prepare to round the bend and turn the next corner I need to be thinking of what I can do that I will enjoy doing, that I can do well, and that will create another little income stream.