What a Difference A Year Makes

My parents are awesome supporters of what I’m doing, and  I’m grateful to have my family’s support.  When I opened in 2008, my mom and my dad took turns (they’re divorced) visiting me every month or so to pitch in and pick me up. They met my patrons, washed dishes and bussed tables and even paid for whatever they bought, always getting a kick out of saving their sales receipts.

My dad has an entrepreneurial mindset, having been a small business owner during different stages in his career.  He’s a fountain of ideas for Sweet Revenge®, and we jokingly grade them on a wattage basis ie sometimes they’re 500 megawatt and other times they’re about a 15.  He has been on my case to analyze year over year numbers. With tax prep well underway, I knew I’d get around to this exercise. I just got off the phone with him with a good news report. I’m up 50% this January over last January.  Back in November 2009 I viewed the upcoming December/January with hardcore trepidation, remembering how fucking gawdawful that period was in 2008.  This year, we’re both so excited for my progress.  Dad – that was a megawatt idea to analyze the numbers! I’m looking forward to calling my mom, my brother and boyfriend with the kickass news.

There are a number of factors influencing this year’s growth.  In NYC, there is a palpable difference in foot traffic to the start of this year versus last year.  Talk of the recession abating, better weather, and the cumulative effect of being in business for a year and a half  are contributing to the increase. I’m confident my Yelp advertising relationship merits its investment.  I believe my growth is indicative of the year ahead.  I’m  thankful to be looking back on the last year of the business, proud of what I survived and accomplished. I feel very good about what I am building and I am damn glad to be where I am, poised for a great year ahead.

As to my life outside of SR, I’m at an interesting point.  A year ago, I could never have imagined being in a relationship as I didn’t have any time for anything or anyone but work. I barely returned my family’s phone calls, and I never saw my friends.  I didn’t exercise.  I was a baaaad sleeper (I still am).  I really didn’t do anything but work day and night.  Looking back at how I worked I sure as shit never worked efficiently or effectively for the longest time because I was in survival mode.  My whole life was work, 100% of the time.  I sucked it up, kept focused, made small positive administrative and operational changes slowly over time and gradually built the business up into a healthier place financially. Baby steps.  Steps backwards.  Forward focused. It was fucking tough but I always kept positive about the future, and I tried hard not to get caught up in how bad the day to day was.  I had meltdowns. I picked myself up and sometimes when I couldn’t do that thankfully my friends or family did.  I celebrated milestones like my one year anniversary. I developed procedures and formalized processes in the last year. I got better at hiring and improved my staff.  I learned how to better message the wine and beer bar vibe to my patrons and the media.  I got lucky with PR and I busted my ass. I’m still getting lucky, and I’m still working my ass off. This is my life in small business.

An amazing thing happened six months ago. I took my very first vacation, taking 3 glorious days off to head home for my 20th high school year reunion.   It was awesome.  Time off was awesome.  Getting away was awesome. Not working was awesome.  I reconnected with a foxy remarkable man who I’d had a madcrush on when I met him in 7th grade cotillion. We used to write notes to eachother that my best galpal Heather exchanged for us since she went to his junior high.  He kept our notes in a box all these years, awwww.  After the reunion weekend, I began carving out small bits of time for myself, investing in a new and amazing relationship, plugging back in with my family and friendships, finding time to run on the Hudson or swim.  I started looking up and and out down the west village streets again as I strolled back and forth between home and work to get a jolt of joy at my charming surroundings.

It’s massive freedom to take a break and to feel like my life is defined by more than just Sweet Revenge®.  I really want more for myself.  I hope one day to get married and have a family.  I’ve got a big job in the coming year to build SR into a business where I can truely have this life beyond it.  I want and expect that freedom.  On the other hand, most of what is happening in my personal life is out of my control, much like where I was a year ago with the business.  It was so hard for me back then with my business and now it is hard for personally because I want something for myself that only fate knows how it will turn out.  I am working daily on finding peace with a pace and a path that I wouldn’t choose.  But I know that’s the way the world works.  Whenever I’m going through something hard, something that really tests and at times breaks me, I know that suffering is necessary and time reveals all, bringing healing and clarity.  It always works out for the best in the end.  I’m throwing everything I’ve got at SR.  I’m taking comfort in knowing I’m doing my best to be the best friend to someone I care deeply for during a really hard time in life.

Sigh.

Teaser Taste of Sweet Revenge®: thoughts on blogging and damn do I need to get a laptop

The safest bet is on oneself. To be clear that doesn’t mean one has to go it alone in this world.  I’m betting on my happy life where I get to have it all with the man I love and a business I’m proud of.  I believe very strongly it all will work out.

cheers,

Marlo

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