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Should I shut down my business?

14 replies

kickassangel · 15/04/2012 19:26

Background: I have 2 jobs - my main one is part time teaching, but it is 70%, so close to full time & quite busy.
I also run a small business doing cakes for weddings & selling at markets over the summer. This is pretty much a hobby that pays for itself, and I have no illusions that it will ever be a serious income without some major input from me.

A month ago I was diagnosed with profound hypo-thyroidism & Vit D deficiency. This leaves me truly exhausted - I need about 14 hours sleep out of every 24, and just walking around/doing easy housework wears me out within minutes. Sometimes I can't even manage to cook dinner.

The school I work at have been great - I have had my hours cut back so that I can go home at lunch time each day and sleep for a few hours, then I return for any meetings/grade papers & collect dd (who is also at the school).

It is probable that I will be too ill to work full time for several weeks/months, possibly even a year

Anyway, I really don't have the energy to do baking as well as teaching. I was sort of thinking that I could do the few orders I have at weekends in the next few weeks, then see how I am. Suddenly, of course, I am getting a load of serious enquiries, people want to book me for weddings, market season will start soon, and I could be making money.

Do I give up on the business, just accept that I am not well enough to teach and run a business, OR do I hope that the meds will help me out soon (Sep seems realistic to be fully back on my feet), and that I should just struggle through?

there isn't really the option of just coasting & kick-starting it again later - I kind of need to make a decision soon - there are emails in the in-box from brides wanting to book me.

In addition, this thyroid problem means I have no enthusiasm for anything, or interest, or concentration. so I'm really thinking I should just give up, but then I wonder if that's just the exhaustion speaking & I'll regret it later?

OP posts:
OneHandFlapping · 15/04/2012 19:34

I expect you would feel awful if you were too ill to fulfil orders for wedding cakes etc, so why don't you let the business run down for now? Surely you can build it up again when yyou feel better?

The last thing you want is to exhaust yourself on a hobby, and make yourself so ill that you end up losing your day-job.

On theplus side, the couple of people I know who have thyroid problems lead normal lives and have normal energy levels, now that they are medicated. Hopefully it will be the same for you.

DilysPrice · 15/04/2012 19:35

Well presumably you don't get a lot of repeat business from brides, so there's little to be lost from turning down the ones in your in tray now with a polite "due to prior commitments at that time I will not be able - I can recommend you try XYZ cakes instead" and seeing how you feel about markets in a month's time when the meds have perhaps started to kick in?

I don't see that this is a decision which needs to be taken definitively right now when you're feeling so low.

Very best of luck for a speedy recovery

LesAnimaux · 15/04/2012 19:35

TBH, I think if you are taking time off your main job to sleep, but are putting time into your part time business, it's taking the piss a bit.

Only you know what you are capable of, though. Will you be running at 100% in 6 months or 12?

kickassangel · 15/04/2012 19:39

Yes, once I am better I will be fine, but that is at least months, if not a year away. Drifting along not really an option, it costs money to keep the business open so I need to do a certain amount. I will also lose my place at market and piss off customers if I don't do this properly.

And yes, the idea of messing up someone's wedding order is pretty stressful

OP posts:
fussbucket · 15/04/2012 19:40

I think Dilys has the best idea, you don't need to broadcast to the world that you're currently not well enough to take on any new work, and it takes such a long time to get one's website to the top of google's search (mine has just made it after three years) that it would be a shame to lose your place in the market now. Get well soon I hope.

kickassangel · 15/04/2012 19:41

Animaux I agree about taking the piss. Hence thinking I could do small orders at weekends, but nothing on a school day as that is my first commitment (and provides health insurance so now my life line)

It's another thing that is bothering me

OP posts:
fussbucket · 15/04/2012 19:42

What are the costs associated with keeping the business open? Do you have staff who need to be paid, premises, signed and sealed advertising contracts?

kickassangel · 15/04/2012 19:45

Oh and markets are summer farmers markets. If they think I'll be there and I bail, they won't let me back. If I am upfront, then re-apply next year, they will be fine. I could reinstate the business for $10

OP posts:
kickassangel · 15/04/2012 19:47

Fusbucket, insurance, web site, some advertising.

Doing a few small orders makes almost no money. I need to do weddings and markets to be profitable

OP posts:
upahill · 15/04/2012 19:51

I would concentrate on getting well again as my priority.
I would let the cake buisness go as it is not your main wage assuming you are not relaying on it for income to pay your bills.

In future, if you recover fully, you will get breaks somewhere to promote yourself but it is senseless streching yourself and neglecting your health.

LesAnimaux · 15/04/2012 19:53

I think take a break, be honest with the markets, say you will be back next year. Do the small orders, tell the big orders you are fully booked. Keep advertising, because people who are just getting engaged will be looking, if not booking.

fussbucket · 15/04/2012 20:02

I would mothball as much as possible, let the farmer's markets know you won't be able to come this year but hope to be back next year, and make a definite decision at the end of the first month of treatment. Don't accept any new commissions using Dilys' beautiful wording.
Back in September I was crippled very suddenly by sciatica, the level of debility was very similar to what you describe, and worst of all I could not drive. My GP (and websites) told me it could be as much as two years, and very likely many months, before I would be able to do my work - I run a dogwalking business.
In fact, I was very lucky and once I started taking the anti-inflamatory drugs and using the tens machine prescribed I was able to function normally within three weeks, so I am very glad I did not let the business go. I was also very lucky in that friends and family helped out and that my insurers were very good about me putting short term temporary helpers on the policy.

Going offline now as children back to school tomorrow and probably haven't a clue where their shoes are etc...All the best.

kickassangel · 15/04/2012 21:02

You lot have cheered me up now. Thanks for the comments.

I shall do as many of you suggest and let things trundle along. Just very hard to keep going. Hoping that my next doc appt I can have my dose increased and feel better sooner

OP posts:
bumperella · 17/04/2012 09:47

I would do only the very important/useful orders, and be very strict about turning other things down.
My Dad had his thyroid removed altogether about 20 years ago, (it produced varying amounts and grew to the point it was causing a lot of problems). Took a while to get the thyroxine dose correct, (they got it broadly OK at which point he was feeling much better, then fine tune-it) he's absolutely fine now.

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