On Thursday I became a business owner and I ran out of tampons.
You’re probably wondering how those two things are connected, but I’m guessing that anyone who has set up a business knows the answer.
You see, for the past two years I’ve worked as a freelance writer but – as the reduction in the number of these blogs proves – demand was far exceeding supply.
I only have one set hands and one mostly pretty good brain.
Now that’s a good problem to have but, like anyone else who’s been a freelancer, if I was sick, I couldn’t work, and if I couldn’t work, I didn’t get paid.
Plus, it is a pretty lonely gig. I had an open door policy to my study, but no one ever walked through it but my housemate or my lover.
So I spent many months cajoling one of my mates – who’s also an awesome journo and writer – to quit his job and set up shop with me.
I finally wore him down and a few months ago we started quietly to hatch a plan.
But something weird has happened to the hours in every day.
I’ve learned very quickly that start ups are more like: Chat to my business partner; do some work; have a meeting with the lawyer; chat to my business partner; do some work; have a meeting with the accountant; chat to my business partner; do some work; speak to the web designer; chat to my business partner; sign some tax documents; do some work; go to sleep. Do it all again tomorrow.
You see over the past two years I’d forgotten about meetings – not with clients – but the types of meetings with people like lawyers and accountants that seem to last forever and not achieve much but chew up the hours you could be working, you know, on stuff that makes you money.
Oh, of course, that’s because they charge hourly.
But back to the tampons…
You see as a peri menopausal woman, my need for tampons waxes and wanes with, well, the moon.
Some months I don’t need any. Other times, I need ones the size of sheep.
Yesterday was one of those days when I was neck-deep in some type of administrative hell when I realised that it was also one of those days when I needed one.
The thing is, I haven’t really done any shopping all week – and even if I had, tampons would probably not have been on my non-existent list.
Who needs food when you’re launching a business?
So, I looked in the bathroom cupboard to find it was bare. Then I tried my new handbag and the result was the same.
Then I tried my handbag before my new handbag – because you don’t ever really throw away the old ones do you – and also it was a tampon-free zone.
I remembered about the handbag I had before the old one so I hunted through that like a wild peri menopausal woman. Nada.
I tried my toilet bag, then my three different-sized suitcases, which only held remnants of holidays that now seemed like a very long time ago.
Now never did I once consider walking the five minutes to the shop on the corner because, of course, there was too much work to do.
Then, like some brand-new business owner gift from the universe I found one solitary tampon in a long forgotten bag under my bed.
Then I noticed that in the lounge hung washing that had been there for three days and that the salad in the fridge was actually six days old.
My phone was also alight with text messages and voicemails from various friends that I had forgotten to reply to – some for the best part of a week.
In one of our 29 phone calls to each other every day, I told my business partner about my tampon fiasco this morning – as you do.
He replied that while he’d never had to hunt for tampons for himself, he did forget to wake up his wife and children this morning because he was too busy working.
So, while we start making plans to expand our business six months earlier than we anticipated, I guess the moral of this story is that if you’re starting a business make sure you buy tampons and an alarm clock.
And maybe a six-pack or two to celebrate at the end of your first week. That’s essential.