The Cost of Doing Business

 I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone that the past couple of years have been strange. Normally, for me, business is steady during spring and summer. It gets busier in the fall just before the holidays. Then the day after Christmas, work seems to stop until springtime. This has been the trend for years and I’ve learned to prepare for it. But 2020 changed everything.

When Covid hit everyone and everything got turned upside down. People began to panic and the plugs on all projects got pulled. Any teaching or public speaking events I used to do were canceled. Sponsors made cuts to their budgets to adjust for the loss of sales. Homeowners decided to put projects on hold. And so 2020 started off pretty rough. 

When I first lost the sponsors and the teaching/demonstrating events it hurt at first. I felt a sting to my ego. I felt rejected. I also wondered how I would survive with such a pay cut. I felt that I was being tossed aside and discarded. I then thought about all the great opportunities I had over the years.  I worked as a contributing editor for two national magazines. I was the host of a corporate video series for three seasons. I had a book published that is sold globally. I was a guest star on a national tv show. I have been a guest speaker for clubs and events all across America. And for those things, I am truly appreciative and thankful. But as much fun as that was, I realized something was missing. 

Being self-employed, I had to rely on my savings and restructure what I am doing for my business. Work got slow for me and it gave me time to think. Many times in life, we can get sidetracked, disrupted, and lose focus on our true goal. Sometimes we can get caught up in the hype of thinking something is better and forget what it was we really were meant to do. That’s what I believe was happening to me. I felt I had to change my business methods.

But it seems I wasn’t the only one changing business strategies. It seems companies have realized it’s not necessary to have a big office. Employees can work from home. Nearly all restaurants now offer delivery.  No need to go grocery shopping, just order it and pick it up. Having a brick-and-mortar building is not required, just an online website and you’re in business. Products can be made and shipped anywhere in the world. Things truly have changed. But the way business is being done is not the only thing that has changed. I myself have changed.  

I decided, instead of reaching out to national companies and big corporate businesses, I went back where I started. Close to home, local, city folks. With more and more people working from home there was an opportunity to find some work. I figured if people were turning their home into the workplace office, there would be a need for desks, bookcases, and shelves. And I was correct. Business is now booming! I have raised my prices and still have tons of work being booked out for months on end.

Now some time has passed, Covid is slowly calming down and the country is trying to get back to normal. Those sponsors and companies are starting to call again, but I feel different from them now.

I’ve come to realize that doing work just for the paycheck doesn’t have the same fulfilling feeling when I do work for the challenge of it. Being able to work one on one with my local clients and bring their ideas and visions to reality is true enjoyment. 

From the beginning, my true passion has been building furniture. It was the core of what I am meant to do in life. Large companies looking to balance their budget or to make huge profit gains is not my idea of enjoyment. So for now, I’m passing on large corporate companies and focusing on what’s best for me. Working one on one with my clients. And although I do get paid by my clients, the real joy comes from seeing the expression on their faces when I present my furniture to them. 

Chad Stanton- Stanton Fine Furniture 10-30-2021