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I'm thinking about giving it up


Enchanted
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I just need to vent with others that understand where I'm coming from. If you don't have the time please don't read on as I'm sure this is going to get long winded. :undecided

I've been in business for five years this November, for the last six months or so I've really been thinking about giving it up. My business...candles...all of it. I'm tired and worn out both physically and mentally. I've tried taking a weekend off only to come back to piles of orders and even more stress. I'm working 60-70 hours a week anymore just trying to keep up. Our ship time keeps getting longer because I'm so worn out. We purchased pouring equipment the first of the year thinking it would help us out and I wouldn't be so tired but we can't seem to find the time to really use it often. It takes forever to switch scents and the waste...omg.

I've tried cutting back on the number of products we have, I've cut back on the number of fragrances, it's just not enough. I'm tired of people talking to me like I'm dirt...if I hear Yankme ships faster than us one more time I'm going to puke! We hand pour every candle we make people... it's not factory made crap! Whew, that felt good I've wanted to say that to a few people.

My husband and I are getting aweful, we walk by each other and say "have I told you lately how much I hate this business". We live like hermits, we never see anybody, never go out, never spend time together if we aren't working. We nit pic at each other all day then we snap at ds for stupid stuff. It makes me cry when I think that I might be taking my stress out on ds or think about how we didn't notice how intellegent he is because we work all the time. How can a parent miss that stuff? I feel like my wonderful family is falling apart because of our business. Thanks for reading this far I thought I would feel better if I let it out but that didn't really work. What do you do when you get to this point?

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Sorry to hear how hectic its been for you. I was thinking, Is there a way for you to hire some help? While most of us would be thrilled to have that many orders, theres a fine line when you have enough orders that hiring help would be the next step. Maybe finding some help to label, wick or package might take a load off. Good Luck , hope it gets better!

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If you don't love what you do then don't do it! It's not worth the toll it seems to be taking on your family! Is there no way you can scale back? Or...perhaps hire someone part time to help you out? Your business sounds like it's overwhelming you and it should be fun, not a chore!

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Thanks for the kind words, it really helps to talk to someone that can relate.

I can't seem to talk my dh and mom into actually hire anybody full time, dh seems to think we won't be able to find somebody worth training. He has this thing that we will hire them and train them then they quit and go start their own business. I guess that's a possibility with any business. Dh and I work our business full time. My sister comes and cleans for us two days a week (just of the mornings) and helps with whatever else I need her to do. My mom comes on the weekends and makes all our bath stuff for the week's worth of orders. My dh and I pour candles by ourself, it usually takes us three days as fast as we can go to pour a week's batch of fifty scents then another two to three days to label and box. Lately, we've been behind and have had to work right through the weekends. I spend my evenings processing orders and replying to emails, by the time I'm finished I usually only have time to bath my son and get him to bed to start over again. I guess if it didn't seem so repetitive it wouldn't be as bad. :sad2:

I don't really know what else we could do besides cut the product and scent list back more? I already feel like we don't have that much of a variety. I keep telling myself the big guys only sell one style of candle in three sizes in twenty scents for a reason. lol I've thought about shutting down the site for a week or so to let us pour up some stock but I'm still undecided on that. Thank you again for your support, it means alot.

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If your both working full time on this and still can't manage to get everything done in time, I would say you definitely need to hire some help!! It sounds to me that you're business is really growing, in order to continue that growth you have to accomodate.. know what I mean.

I guess you just have to take that chance when it comes to your concerns about the person you hire running off and creating their own business. I suppose it could happen. Something to consider.. there are alot of people out there that may just want to make the candles, but don't have it in them to run their own business, not everyone is cut out to do that or even has an interest in doing so.

Until you make that decision, I would say closing the site down for like a week or two is not a bad idea, just to get ahead of the game. I've seen many internet sites that have said they were closed for a week for vacation! I don't see why you couldn't do that (shame you wouldnt be able to actually take a vacation!!)

I can only imagine how stressful all that is, on a positive note... Your business is successful! that is awesome! Most of us only wish to have that one day. It's time for you business to expand with your success!

Good Luck

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I think it sounds like you do need to hire some help even if it is to label and box. May be a temporary help from an agency just to get caught up? This way if it doesn't work out you just call them and tell them that you do not need any more help. My boss does it and it works out well. I don't think it would be a bad idea to shut down the site for 2 weeks to get stocked up again. May be use a week to do the restocking then a week for just fun times. a vacation or what ever. Then see how you feel. Maybe you will come back to it with a new look. Being that stressed about it will make more problems with in your family. Losing site of the important things like your DS and each other will only end in disaster. It is not healthy to be that stressed. Life is too short as it is. You ned some happiness in your life.

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Enchanted, I feel your pain, and have been in your shoes before.

When you get to this point, you need to have a serious "PowWow" with DH. Make your list...Pros...Cons. Determine your goals. Short Term, Mid Term, Long Term. DEFINE what you want the outcome to be. Start with the end in mind.

I responded to your post because I saw a red flag when you mentioned your solution being to "cut back" on various products you are offering. In all sincerity, I do not believe this is the answer. It is not logical to think that the answer would be to "cut back" on what is SELLING! I really never think that the solution is to sabotage the business you have worked so hard for and sacrificed many things for.

Repeat after me. D E L E G A T E. One more time. D E L E G A T E.

And yes, throughout history it is well known that there are challenges that arise when you step back from doing everything and start "trusting" your new employees to do much of what you are doing. The quality control MUST be in place....obviously that will be your job. You will spend most of your time INSPECTING. You get what you INSPECT, not what you EXPECT! Your inspecting will never stop...even once you have managers in place to inspect....you will be inspecting the managers.

Training is worth its weight in gold. Take the time to train your tribe properly, and than hold them accountable for their jobs. Of course in the beginning if you do not already have your systems down IN WRITING, you will need to do that.

If it is not in writing, it doesn't exist.

I, for one, do not believe you should take a vacation or time off. Not now. While business is booming! That will come when you have your systems in place, staff hired and well trained etc. I just don't grasp the concept of a "company" taking a vacation. ..and now, you are the company. KWIM?? ( I am sorry, you can not spend your money with my company this week, my products are on a vacation and are not sold from _May___ until _June__ because the owners are burned out???)..I think that Floyd The Barber did that in Mayberry (Gone Fishin') but it doesn't make sense in a competitive market you have worked hard to grow in.

As far as the customers complaining about your slow shipping. Step it UP. Don't make excuses to the client just assure her that fast customer service is paramount with you and you will assure her in the future it will not be an issue. Make notes on these customers and make sure their products FLY out that door. Believe me...they WILL be talking about you if you turn this around and ship in record time.!

Nine times out of ten when small businesses get into this mode it is because they are still thinking small and their businesses are not. The rationale is off kilter. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to say "We have always done it that way". You have new challenges from the ones you once had...with new solutions.

Sometimes one or more partners are not receptive to hiring more people because they do not want to "share the wealth...let go of the $$$$! You Must let go of the money in order to grow enough to make big money. The more money you make...the more you will spend on people to help you build and grow.

Trade secrets? There are many things you can put in place to guard trade secrets...none of them perfect, but that can't stop you from growing. You must define your goals. If your goal is to have your company working for you...you have no choice but to bite the bullet, hire some GOOD help (they will not be perfect...look for the ones that are eager with good hearts...dependable with good job histories.

I hope this has been helpful. I certainly intended it to be. A Happy life is about Balance. Work/Play/Spiritual/Giving back to the community/Relationships/Family....it is all a juggling act...with the goal to be balanced. If you are fabulous at your job, but you relationship is suffering, you can not be happy because you are out of balance. If you are great at your job and your relationship is awesome, but you have neglected your body (diet/excersice)...than you can not be happy because you are out of balance. KWIM?? You MUST manage your time where you contribute in every area of your life to be balanced.

I KNOW you can do it! Rethink the way you are doing things...Write out your plan... Make the changes you need to free up your time so you can concentrate on other areas that need your attention.

You will see.....you CAN have it ALL......but you have to let go of a few things to LET it happen!

Good Luck to you. You deserve the best. It is there for the taking.

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I know exactly what you mean, because I myself have been through this some weeks ago. As I am ill as well (depressions since several years) AND have huge financial debts because of my earlier patchwork supplies business - they're diminishing now, however, but don't ask me what horrible situations I've been through, with marshalls, garnishments, begging for time....), everything had gotten worse and worse. I've made the decision to give up my retail business and only offer wholesale from now on. I do have a very interesting wholesale account which unfortunately will pay off only in autumn/winter, but I will hold on. We don't have much money every month because I have to use most of my hubby's money to pay my debts. This will change and slowly I begin to breath again, stress is much less, my mental health begins to recover and I know I can make it (even if there will be further "dry" months, but not for ever).

Take some timeto reflect and do what's necessary. Life is too short to be so exhausted all the time.

Hugs,

Inez

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I'm sorry to hear you're considering throwing in the towel. Your business seems successful with your sales so you'll have to seriously consider hiring employees. You're at your maximum capacity now and I certainly don't htink cutting back product lines/fragrances will help. You definately need to hire someone, whether it's several part-timers or or one full-time individual. If you're concerned about training someone and then having them leave and start their business then you need to have a contract with a no-compete clause. Perhaps even hiring someone to just package and ship will help. I one part timer who assists me with packaging and shipping and another who assists with the misc stuff.

That was good advice about stopping to take a break and catch up. I do that periodically and it certainly helps. I also close down right after the holidays to take a breather. If you get orders in during the time you are closed then just inform them you received your order but their orders won't be processed for "X" number of days/weeks.

Also keep in mind that by hiring out it takes the stress off of your family, you'll have more time with each other and time to just relax- that is certainly something you can't put a price on. When a person is on their death bed, they never say "I should have worked more."

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Enchanted, I feel your pain, and have been in your shoes before.

When you get to this point, you need to have a serious "PowWow" with DH. Make your list...Pros...Cons. Determine your goals. Short Term, Mid Term, Long Term. DEFINE what you want the outcome to be. Start with the end in mind.

I responded to your post because I saw a red flag when you mentioned your solution being to "cut back" on various products you are offering. In all sincerity, I do not believe this is the answer. It is not logical to think that the answer would be to "cut back" on what is SELLING! I really never think that the solution is to sabotage the business you have worked so hard for and sacrificed many things for.

Repeat after me. D E L E G A T E. One more time. D E L E G A T E.

And yes, throughout history it is well known that there are challenges that arise when you step back from doing everything and start "trusting" your new employees to do much of what you are doing. The quality control MUST be in place....obviously that will be your job. You will spend most of your time INSPECTING. You get what you INSPECT, not what you EXPECT! Your inspecting will never stop...even once you have managers in place to inspect....you will be inspecting the managers.

Training is worth its weight in gold. Take the time to train your tribe properly, and than hold them accountable for their jobs. Of course in the beginning if you do not already have your systems down IN WRITING, you will need to do that.

If it is not in writing, it doesn't exist.

I, for one, do not believe you should take a vacation or time off. Not now. While business is booming! That will come when you have your systems in place, staff hired and well trained etc. I just don't grasp the concept of a "company" taking a vacation. ..and now, you are the company. KWIM?? ( I am sorry, you can not spend your money with my company this week, my products are on a vacation and are not sold from _May___ until _June__ because the owners are burned out???)..I think that Floyd The Barber did that in Mayberry (Gone Fishin') but it doesn't make sense in a competitive market you have worked hard to grow in.

As far as the customers complaining about your slow shipping. Step it UP. Don't make excuses to the client just assure her that fast customer service is paramount with you and you will assure her in the future it will not be an issue. Make notes on these customers and make sure their products FLY out that door. Believe me...they WILL be talking about you if you turn this around and ship in record time.!

Nine times out of ten when small businesses get into this mode it is because they are still thinking small and their businesses are not. The rationale is off kilter. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to say "We have always done it that way". You have new challenges from the ones you once had...with new solutions.

Sometimes one or more partners are not receptive to hiring more people because they do not want to "share the wealth...let go of the $$$$! You Must let go of the money in order to grow enough to make big money. The more money you make...the more you will spend on people to help you build and grow.

Trade secrets? There are many things you can put in place to guard trade secrets...none of them perfect, but that can't stop you from growing. You must define your goals. If your goal is to have your company working for you...you have no choice but to bite the bullet, hire some GOOD help (they will not be perfect...look for the ones that are eager with good hearts...dependable with good job histories.

I hope this has been helpful. I certainly intended it to be. A Happy life is about Balance. Work/Play/Spiritual/Giving back to the community/Relationships/Family....it is all a juggling act...with the goal to be balanced. If you are fabulous at your job, but you relationship is suffering, you can not be happy because you are out of balance. If you are great at your job and your relationship is awesome, but you have neglected your body (diet/excersice)...than you can not be happy because you are out of balance. KWIM?? You MUST manage your time where you contribute in every area of your life to be balanced.

I KNOW you can do it! Rethink the way you are doing things...Write out your plan... Make the changes you need to free up your time so you can concentrate on other areas that need your attention.

You will see.....you CAN have it ALL......but you have to let go of a few things to LET it happen!

Good Luck to you. You deserve the best. It is there for the taking.

:highfive: well said!

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Some good advice there, it's like any job there are times when it all seems too much, we all bite off more than we can chew sometimes. I've been there many a time working for an employer, but the same things must run true.

Take a big deep breath, you have taken the first step in acknowledging that you have a problem, now we have to see if 'we' can fix this. I don't have any answers, but I don't think you should give up. If your not keen on the hired help, then you must for your own sanity find ways to work smarter - not harder. Some Time Management skills could help you.

You say you don't have time for yourself or your family - well you jolly well have to make that time. Lists and lists, you need lists! You must plan your day, spend a few minutes in the morning and make a plan of action, prioritise and allocate the time each will take. Book some time out for you, your DS or whatever - an hour here or there, make the appointment and stick to it. Tomorrow from 6pm until 7pm I wil do ******, book it in and do it. You will be amazed at what you can achieve and it's very therapeutic to have a plan and see big ticks as you mark off the things you have completed.

You know that old saying about if you want something done ask a busy person, other people often work longer hours but don't achieve as much because they spend their time doing the wrong tasks. You need to differentiate between urgent jobs and important jobs, sometimes we create our own emergencies and spend time doing stuff that isn't particularly important. Reacting fast and firefighting can be counter-productive; giving into the demands of the loudest, eats your time and distracts your focus from more important stuff.

Feelings of being overwhelmed? A distraction in itself as you don't work most effectively when you don't know where to start. Under that kind of pressure, we invariably choose to do the easy stuff, hoping the big stuff will go away. It doesn't and we get more stressed. So write those big tasks down, you don't have to do them all today, but simply making a plan of when you will do them makes you will feel a whole lot better and most importantly you are back in control.

So make a plan - it has to be very visual and very graphic - but it does work.

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In Jan 07, I was where you are now, just exhausted & totally "burned out." It was also 5 yrs for me. I have done a few things to help. I no longer order supplies by the tons. In fact, I have really cut down on inventory. I got out of a couple accts that were "just trouble." We are limiting the # of fundraisers & will do only 2 a season. No fundraisers delivered after Thanksgiving. Cut down on the # of scents. If I want to stop completely, I can!!!!!!

All of these things make me feel less trapped & give me more time to play with B&B and test some new products/scents for ME, for DH. For 5 yrs I was climbing UP the hill, been there, done that, don't like it, now slowly coming down the hill. Does that make sense? I will always make candles, B&B because I want to, just won't work like mad for customers that probably don't appreciate the effort.

With the high cost of wax, supplies & SHIPPING, I don't think small chandlers like us can be successful without working themselves to death. This is my reality. Take time for your DH, DS, and STOP & smell the roses. Carole

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Thanks for the kind words, it really helps to talk to someone that can relate.

I can't seem to talk my dh and mom into actually hire anybody full time, dh seems to think we won't be able to find somebody worth training. He has this thing that we will hire them and train them then they quit and go start their own business. I guess that's a possibility with any business. Dh and I work our business full time. My sister comes and cleans for us two days a week (just of the mornings) and helps with whatever else I need her to do. My mom comes on the weekends and makes all our bath stuff for the week's worth of orders. My dh and I pour candles by ourself, it usually takes us three days as fast as we can go to pour a week's batch of fifty scents then another two to three days to label and box. Lately, we've been behind and have had to work right through the weekends. I spend my evenings processing orders and replying to emails, by the time I'm finished I usually only have time to bath my son and get him to bed to start over again. I guess if it didn't seem so repetitive it wouldn't be as bad. :sad2:

I don't really know what else we could do besides cut the product and scent list back more? I already feel like we don't have that much of a variety. I keep telling myself the big guys only sell one style of candle in three sizes in twenty scents for a reason. lol I've thought about shutting down the site for a week or so to let us pour up some stock but I'm still undecided on that. Thank you again for your support, it means alot.

You've pretty much quoted my life. Do as much yourselves as possible before hiring emplyees. Once you get into employees it doesn't always get better. Training, watching them all the time, putting the wrong scent in, the wrong colors, casuse they dont know the differnce between blue and navy dye, etc... If you need to hire someone, do it PT. any other friends or relatives you can hire just to do packaging? maybe exchange their work for candles.

I would suggest shutting down for 2 weeks. Go somewhere, and don't go into a gift shop with candles!! I can never get away with out involving a trade show or going out shopping and checking out the competition. Everyone gets burned out, beilieve me, for a while I didn't come in until 11 or sometimes at all, because i just didn;t like it any more. but things have changed, and I'm back in to it again.

How old is your son? Get him invilved. i'm sure he would enjoy spending more timt with you. my son is 5 and can weigh out tarts, unpakage supplies, heck now hes into dipping candles!! he enjoys it by spending time with us, and I also pay him a few dollars too! He's saving up for a 4 wheeler. he even wants to make his own stuff for a craft show.

We come in sometimes at 7am and can easily work until 11pm. Your not the only one. I was watching tv one night and the owner of a restaurant said he worked 120 hours a week and I thought I wasnt working enough. By actually taking all the orders in and creating a schedule you can effectively reduce your time. We now go home at 6pm. yet, i alwyas take paerwork home and work on the laptop, but I'm still technically "home" and can put it down if needed be.

Do you ahve quickbooks? if not get it! You can imput your orders and have it spit out a report for what you need for the week. This eliminates having to make the same thing twice.

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There's a difference between blue and navy blue!?! OMG no way LOL!!! Enchanted, there's lots of good advice here. All I can really add is that it may be a PITA to find good, honest help, but if you seriously want to continue in business, it is a necessity. Check the local Womens Resource Center, Senior Citizens Center, temp agencies and state employment boards. I guarentee there are lots of people in your area who'd like an opportunity to just get out of the house and make a little spending or tide me over money. Good Luck, regardless of which way you decide to go.

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It's a hard spot to be in, and I bet there's lots of people here that can relate. There's a point in business where you're at the edge of "can handle it by ourselves" and "take that next step and really grow". That next step can be quite a big one, if it includes employees, loans, more space...

This is the point where you really have to look at things and ask if you want to be the next (better) Y*, or to do something else, chuck it all and turn it back into a hobby, and live your life with your family.

Dallas' thoughts are good for how to take your company to the next level. It's up to you to decide whether it's worth it or not. What you are experiencing now is what working for yourself is all about.

Good luck. It's a hard decision to make.

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I agree that there is A LOT of very very good advice in here. We're finding ourselved coming up against this very hard wall as well, except we're looking forward to it!

I understand your husband's concerns about hiring someone, training them, and then having them run off to start their own candle business. We have very similar concerns. HOWEVER, as someone stated, the proprietary parts of your business can very much be "hidden". As for the creation techiniques, the pouring, well, if your workers are really that interested in learning so they can make their own for their own business, well, it's not that hard to learn it elsewhere. After all, we all did!

But the more proprietary parts, such as scent blends, well, take precautionary steps to make sure they stay "secret". Even if it's simply a matter of relabeling bottles so they don't know where they came from. If you do bath and body, keeping stuff proprietary may be more difficult, but it's still doable.

If you're still concerned, then look into hiring help for the rest of it. Labeling the candles, packaging, and packing orders. Heck, if I could have someone come in to simply pack my orders, and deal with the shipping, and the paperwork involved with that, I'd be in heaven! Depending on my order load, packing and shipping orders can take half my day.

So hire someone for those jobs. And then, when you keep growing, and you have employees that have proven their worth to you, promote them, and teach them some of the more proprietary parts of the business. AFTER they have gained your trust, and proven their worth and their loyalty.

As for taking a week or two off, I view it two ways. Yes, I think you can benefit from it, IF you actually take some time off in there for yourself. So if you work the entire "break", you'll still be burned out. Also, make sure you actually shut your website down. Don't allow orders to come in while you're gone. Simply say you'll re-open on whatever date you decide. Otherwise you'll come back to a nasty backlog of orders, and you could very easily end up buried again. And two, I definitely can see the point one lady made about the pros of not closing. Yes, it can hurt momentum, and momentum is very important in business.

I think the break is something you'll need to decide for yourself. In businesses like ours, even the bigger companies, I frequently see them take a week or two off, especially in the spring. And it's frequently to restock the next season's line. I would just greatly encourage you to take at least several days off completely for yourself. Get out of town if you can, make sure you ignore your computer, e-mails, and everything work related. Spend some time with your husband and your son.

I hope things work for you. If you want to grow though, you'll need to hire help. But you don't need to grow. There are a lot of moms who got into businesses like this so they could spend time at home, and then the business grew beyond their dreams. And they had this exact decision you do. Grow, or hold the reins in on the growth. Both are possible. And only you (none of us), can decide that for you. Go Pow Wow with your husband. Since he seems to be a very integral part of your business, this needs to be decided with both of you, or someone is going to end up miserable and angry.

One last thing (I'm long-winded this morning!!!)... Make a list of anything you think you can possibly outsource. There's probably more than you think. A lot of your e-mail and paperwork can be delegated, often online to a Virtual Assistant. It sounds like your Mom (MIL? don't remember) has the B&B line covered. If she doesn't, let me know, I could probably help. Have someone else print your labels, so all you have to do is apply them. I even know some soapers who delegate orders to other soapers when their workload is more than they can handle. Granted, a lot more thought has to go into this, research, and a lot of trust. But it's simple. You can't do it all yourself. I wish we could. I've frequently wished for about 6 more hours in my day. But make a list of ALL the tasks you do. See what can be delegated, or what you'd be willing to hire someone to do for you. Include everything, including cleaning jobs. There are even companies who basically work as a warehouse for you. You store your completed stock at their warehouse, and when the orders come in, they pack them for you, ship them, etc. You'd most likely want someone local for this, and I have no idea how to go about finding these types of companies. I only know they exist because I was solicited by a local company last year. There are tons of ways you can outsource and delegate. You just need to commit yourself to doing it.

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There's a difference between blue and navy blue!?! OMG no way LOL!!! .

You laugh, but it costs me about $500 in their screw up! i couldn't sell it to our customers cause it wasn't the same color. And another $200 in materials and 5 hours in labor fixing it cause they poured contianer wax into pillar silcone molds! and on and on......

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sig.jsp?pc=ZSzeb114&pp=ZNxmk121JJUS

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I don't have any great advice for you, just wanted to offer how much I feel your pain. I basically just have a cool hobby I love that turns a decent profit, but I have been to a point where the orders were too much & I wasn't having fun ... it was a chore I had to force myself to do. I scaled back & stopped trying to please everyone else. I would suggest getting your son in the shop, maybe he has a few friends that would like to join in & make a little spending money. You'd be amazed how close you can get when you spend that kind of time together & if you pull in some of his friends it could turn out to be really fun. Better yet, hire on a couple girls & you'll have helpful boys banging down your door!!

Good luck -- I hope everything works out for all of you.

Susan.

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I've been where you are at for 20 years now so I kinda get it. Just a thought here, have you thought about hiring high school kids to do some of the less skilled chores? They may not be a threat as far as starting their own business and would be part-time.

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Thank you all for the advice, I really appreciate it. You have helped me realize that I really don't want to give it up. Giving up would be giving up on my dream and what I stand for. I guess I just lost sight of the happiness it brings to people, including myself. We went ahead and took today off and are not going to work this weekend. I called my mom to come by after work, her, dh, and I are going to have a good talk this evening and try to come up with a better plan. She's been wanting to buy out the bath portion of the business for months, I'm going to ahead and let her do that. We will still be able to offer the same products we always have with the same quality and our name still on everything, we just wouldn't be making the product in house and not making as much profit. I think that's a good compromise and quiet a bit of stress off me not having to deal with inventory, ordering, and production of those items.

I believe we can avoid hiring so much help if we do a bit more outsourcing and put our pouring equipment to use faithfully. It has the capability to take the place of two to three employees it's just so time consuming to switch scents. We can't pour as many scents a day as we can by hand but we can get alot more candles. I know your thinking it's nuts to have this and not really use it but time has been the problem lately. It's been go go go as fast as you can to get the batch done by such and such day.

I do have Quickbooks but I don't put each order in, I used too but it was so time consuming to type all that in. Now I just input my days worth of sales for accounting purposes. I automated our payment system the first of the year that helped alot with the time required for processing. Usually on Sunday night, dh and I sit down with the week's batch of orders from Sunday to Sunday and compose a production list based on the orders. I have an excel file that seperates everything by scents, so we know how many of each candle we need in that particular scent and we pour it all at once. It generally takes us three days to pour all fifty scents by hand whereas it would probably take five days to use the machine but we would have extra stock. KWIM?

I've made a list of the things that seems to be taking alot of time and labels is one of those. If I outsourced labels we could probably cut off at least a day production time. Wrapping melts and votives is killing us also I need to come up with a more time efficient way to do those. Any ideas there?

In response to the suggestion about raising prices, we did that in Jan when the freight cost went up again. We also switched over to UPS only shipping because we had so much lost and damaged by USPS it was costing us a fortune. We have probably lost a couple of the small orders but for the most part it hasn't really dampered business. Again, I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for your advice and suggestions. Hopefully, my melt down will help those that think they want to be the next Yank** to think long and hard about it. That used to be me, but now I'm not so sure about it. A part of me just wants to stabilize at the level we are now and not push to go bigger but another part keeps saying I should adjust to the growth and keep going.

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Wrapping melts and votives is killing us also I need to come up with a more time efficient way to do those. Any ideas there?

This would be one of those ideal jobs to hire someone for! The obviously don't have access to any of your proprietary info, so no worrying about secrets being stolen. If you're like me, it's probably a part of the job that you absolutely hate (my PITA is wrapping soaps, and shrink sleeving lip balms). So rejoice! And pass the job onto someone else! The time it would free up for YOU to pour more candles will be invaluable!

I'm glad you're working things out. And keep this in mind...many of us would LOVE to have these problems! :D

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