What I'm Thankful For.

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Happy Turkey Day Everyone!!!!

Sorry blogging has been light. Been busy… Lately!

Things have picked up a bit in the last month. For a while, I was in work limbo for quite a while as both subbing and spa repair jobs were few and far between. Things are starting to change, and this change is a long time coming. Here is some history to show how I got from there to here.

Uh Oh, this sounds like long post. “So what are you thankful for” you may be asking? Be patient. I’ get to that in due time.

After a decade in the pool and spa industry, I started my own little business, Frog’s Pool Service and Spa Repair, back in 2000. I will admit that from the very beginning, when I started I never really put much effort into running and building the business. I figured after a year or two I was going to move back to San Diego and used that as a excuse not to work on building the business. I was paying the bills, getting by, and that was good enough… for a while. From the start, I had wanted to be mainly a spa repair business. The downside to running a spa repair company, is that spa repair work is spotty by nature – sometimes you get a lot of work, and sometimes there are no calls for weeks at a time. Also, in 2000, there was more spa repair competition, so it was harder to get that kind of business. I needed a steady income stream, and built up the pools service side of the business to achieve that.

Though I was earning a living, I was bored serving pools, and I was was not doing what I wanted to do… spa repairs. If you run your own business, you have to be doing something you love. If you don’t like it, you are less likely to run the business properly, i.e. keep up with the various administrative duties, work to expand the business, etc. etc. I had fallen into that trap. A few years ago, I decided to switch careers and become a high school social science teacher (history, econ, govt, the like). Two years ago, I let go of most of my pool clients to free more time for my studies. Up to this summer, my income consisted of a mix of student loans, substitute work, the occasional spa job, and the few pools I hung on to.

This brings us to the present. The student loans ran out in the middle of summer. I have my teaching credential…. Finally! But I don’t have a teaching job, and the prospects of getting one do not look promising at the moment. I got it later than I had wanted, and missed the hiring deadlines for the current semester. I’m not sure if it would have mattered much. Because of our state’s inability to balances its budget (I’ll be blogging on that soon), many of the school districts refrained from hiring new teachers. We’re not four months into the new budget and the state is already saying they’re $28 billion in the red, which means that once again, hiring prospects will probably be slim after this school year. California has been balancing the budget by borrowing to pay for stuff today. I have been surviving in a similar fashion.  I have been buying some spa parts with my credit card, but instead of paying back the purchases when the job was done, I was only paying the minimum payment on the cards and using the extra money to pay other bills and eat and what not. As of now, my credit cards are close to being maxed out. Unlike the state government, I recognize I have a limit to how long I could survive on this type of borrowing, and have come to that limit. So now I had to change the way I ran my business, and the way I ran my life.

So here I am at a crossroad. One of the reasons I’ve been so poor lately is that I’ve been trying to balance an income between two sources – teaching and spa work. I have come to the conclusion that this has been counterproductive for me, the way I was doing it. By splitting my time between the two, I have not focused on either one. I have decided that, since the availability of teaching opportunities are beyond my control, I would focus my energies on the spa repair business. I do not have an add in the phone book, and rely on word of mouth for a good portion of my clientel. Many in the local area knew that I was getting my teaching credential and may have thought I was not in business anymore, so this last week I spent some time handing out cards to the local pool and spa supply stores to remind them I am still around. I finally started advertizing on line at FrogsSpaRepair.Com, and I will put an add on Craigs List tomorrow. Sometime next month I am going to officialy change the name of the business from Frog’s Pool Service and Spa Repair, to simply Frog Spa Repair, to reflect the new emphasis on the spa side of the indusrty.

But what about the education career. I haven’t given up on that by any means. By this summer, the business will be financially stable. If I get a teaching job next fall, I will be able to hire someone to handle the repairs while I work during the day. This way I’ll have two incomes.

So, what am I thankful for?

During recessionary periods, many people find success striking out on their own. Since I already run my own little business I have a head start. I am thankful that I have a skill set that allows me to do something I love. But i can not just coast through any longer. With the changes I described above, I hope to grow a thriving business, and not just setle for one that survives.

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