What a fast and furious couple of weeks...After finishing the big push that got us through Serving up Style and Design Week Portland, we celebrated by heading to BC to see friends (while someone else moved into our place for a week). We also happened to paint an entire 2br apartment and install a ceiling fan while there; but that just kind of happened in our spare time between drinks and sporting events. Seriously...if anyone still paints alone you need to vow to never do that again.
This is one of those group events that should be done with friends (unless you pay someone else to do it). Everything is more fun as a team sport, and painting is too much work to take on alone. Buy some beers or tap a keg, turn on the game, phone some friends and you'll be done in no time and have a good time in the process. Unless of course you're our friends- I'm retired from painting (again). ;) It should also be noted that i actually installed said ceiling fan without electrocuting myself, a huge step in the right direction.
On the way back to Portland we swung by hood river for a meeting with a prospective client. We couldn't stay long, but had a blast and remembered how much we love HR and how much we want to return each time we stop in. I had an opportunity to move to HR years ago when i first came to Portland...and can't help but imagine how much better shape id be in (and how much more gear i'd own) if i had done so. We left inspired and excited, and I started working on the design of the garage conversion now referred to as "the gearage" before we even hit the freeway. That also means hours spent before we had agreed upon price or payment terms with our new client... oops.
Back in town we had a few more meetings and started a few more design projects. It's fun to watch this thing that is our "business" slowly evolve as it finds its own legs. I'm not sure we are even involved in what it becomes or if we're merely bystanders with a good view- but so far its mostly a fun ride. This month seems to be the perfect example of diversity. Custom stools for a bar in SF, designing a garage conversion in HR, consulting with a neighbor in the midst of a basement remodel and another opening a retail shop... and somehow trying to keep focused on that custom furniture piece i promised months ago. Suffice to say my ADD is out in full force these days.
Each new scenario somehow creates a new learning experience and often a deep reality and confidence check. Let's be very honest- we have no experience in or knowledge of running a business. We are short in marketing skills (at least when it comes to our own work), have no idea how to write a contract or negotiate terms and no clue what to charge or how to manage clients. We know we need to stop working for free, but the rest is a mystery. Websites, cards, business entities, bank accounts, insurance...ack.
Every day that we meet a new client we find yet one more thing we don't yet know or hadn't yet thought of. Each time we approach a conversation that we aren't really prepared for brings with it a whole new set of fears, angsts and worries. This whole endeavor is humbling, terrifying and sometimes gut wrenching. Some days we aren't even sure why we are doing this, if we actually want to own/run a business or what kind of path were charting. All we know is that it keeps leading us to good conversations with good people who have similar interests, paths and aspirations to our own. The parts that are unknown scare us, but also seem to be what make it fun, and somehow people keep coming to us without us going out to find them...which is a good problem to have.
Speaking of evolution...we also couldn't help but notice that while we drove away from a warm and sunny Portland, we returned to the cold gray skies we had expected all October long. I can't say we mind yet as we've been blessed with near perfect weather all year...but i know it will start take it's toll soon enough. The main street just blocks away from us had a bit of a festival last week to commemorate the end of construction and updates. It was awesome that we were a few of the people able to get out and enjoy a mid-week event, but walking the street made us vividly aware of how cold and wet it had become.
My flipflops and shorts suddenly seem unfashionable compared to everyone else's jackets and boots. I know its almost time...but somehow putting on a real pair of paints or shoes just symbolizes the end of summer. I'm slightly less than comfortable admitting that the seasons are changing.
We also know we'll be leaving soon. While we haven't set dates we know that our return to get the bus this winter is inevitable, and since we already have other travel plans in the spring we have to get the trip underway in either December or January. The funny thing is that while i know the trip will be a blast, but I'm not yet excited to go. I couldn't have imagined ever sitting through two weeks of cold and rain and not jumping on the idea of a flight to Central America...but I'm simply having too much fun here to be longing for someplace else to be. How very odd.
Give me another week of rain and we'll see what tune I'm singing at the end of it...