It’s better this way

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When I set up my first shop, it was because I wanted to make things out of wood. And for many years, that's what I did – one piece or for customer at a time.

It soon became apparent that I was not really making much money. For myself, this was not a big problem because my personal needs are basic. "Getting rich" was never a big thing for me.

But I had a family and they had needs that were not really being met, so I began to expand my shop. I added employees and my business grew to the point where I was spending less and less time in the shop. I became a one-man office staff, fielding phone calls, drawing plans, writing contracts, measuring job sites and, most important, selling more jobs. More and more time was going into trying to get less competent people to do the work I started out to do in the first place, while I spent my time doing work that others might have been much more suited for.

At a certain point, I realized that this was not making me feel very satisfied. I was still not making a lot of money even though the numbers were, overall, much higher than when I ran a one-man shop. I was gaining weight from working in the seated position most of the time and my stress level was off the chart. That was when I decided to downsize.

I ended up just working with my son. We got a lot of work done and had a great time. The fact that neither of us had to stop to explain how to do something to someone else meant that we could be much more efficient with our own time. I'm still not getting rich, but I like it better this way.

D.D.

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