Diverging Paths

I would appear to be sitting at a crossroads for my business and I have to admit I’m feeling a little scared. I don’t like making decisions with big financial consequences. Up to this point I’ve been able to grow my business organically, everything fit neatly into my house and I was able to expand as time allowed. This is my second online business, the previous one I launched 16 years ago and ran for 5 years, only expanding into my parents garage next door.

I have however outgrown my house. There is no way for me to expand my space any further. I’ve half filled my college age son’s room with yarn, and the hall has boxes of books scattered all over it. I’ll have another large book delivery due in August and I’m hoping to do another expansion next year product-wise. It just won’t fit!

Anyone I talk with personally also knows that I spend hours every afternoon driving around, last year the boys were in 3 different schools, in very different locations and we live in the country so they all needed to be dropped and collected daily. Next year and the following year bring some changes however. My youngest has finished primary school so will have slightly longer hours and will join the third boy in secondary school. My second son has only a single year left in school and is almost driving. Moving to a location close enough for buses for my business would mean that the 2 youngest could potentially bus to my work space giving me even more hours.

So as you can see on a logical level it would make sense to get a workspace in Cork city that they can easily access and allows me to store my stock with extra space. BUT moving brings big decisions. Even getting a very modest space, in an easy access location, is costly. If I only get enough space with a little extra to allow some expansion I run the risk of outgrowing it too quickly.

Getting a space with lots of expansion potential is even more expensive, in order to fund it I would probably have to expand the business into different areas which is a scary prospect!

I’ve been trying to put my ‘dream’ space down on paper. This is what I’ve come up with:

  1.  Easy access on the edge of the city.
  2. Good, free parking.
  3. Several rooms; storage, office space for me, office space for an assistant, large (well lit) room that can be used as a classroom for groups and tours with enough space to display samples and yarn.

I’m using this space on my blog to try and clarify my thoughts and figure out the next direction. Have you been in this position before? All input will be gratefully received!


10 thoughts on “Diverging Paths

  1. Praying you will find what you are looking for. I believe you will know it when you see it. The fear will drop from you and you will sense peace …. keep looking until you feel the peace!

  2. Does your home property have space to build a garage-workroom/office? All money put into it would only increase the value of your home rather than paying some building owner’s mortgage. I have several friends who did this rather than rent space. Just a thought…

  3. Have faith in yourself and in your search for a decision. Whatever you decide will be right for you. You have such a following, expansion does seem to be the answer and if that happens I can see your business growing to greater heights. Wishing you the best.

  4. Thanks for sharing with us, Carol. I feel excited for you! – something feels good to me about this possibility : ) I agree with what Kath wrote – take the time to go and see as many different types of new places as you can, whatever is available at the time, being open to something out of the box as well if it should show up….go into each one feeling neutral but alert and if it is meant to be, then hopefully one of them will simply feel like “ah yes, this is my work-home!” You’ll just know it.
    If nothing makes you feel that way, then maybe it’s not yet time?
    In any case, I sincerely wish you the best in this new venture! And keep us posted!!
    love, Patricia

  5. Hi Carol – I am praying for you as you decide how to comfortably expand your business. As you know, I love your designs and knit almost exclusively with them – so, I’m selfishly happy that you “need” to expand! You have grown your business in a very smart, conservative way over the past few years – and I congratulate you on that. I have faith that you will just “know” when you find the right work space, and that it’ll all come together as it’s meant to. Enjoy this process – even if it’s a bit scary.

  6. Thank you! I think I may have found a way to make it work. Now just to figure out if they’ll let Lizzie come as well!

  7. Hi Carol,
    Currently I have 5 wips, 3 of them with your patterns, so when I read about your business growing , Great!,
    About coming to Cork City, two times Great!!
    Have you think about Bihopstown? (nothing to do with the fact I live in Bishopstown….) or Model Farm Road? (again, nothing to do with the fact I work in Model Farm Road…, haha)
    Anyway, I wish you the best!! you deserve it! (and the rest of the knitters will enjoy it)
    A big hug

  8. Hi Carol

    I totally changed my life and gave up a teaching job last December, downsizing from Countryside to town. Our new house is now the size of my former living room! With my children grown up and very burnt out from the endless travel hours to and from work it was a much needed decision and was exciting and terrifying in equal measure! All I could do was follow my gut especially when looking at my bank balance :O). 8 months later and I have a new work space to develop a business just five minutes walk away, and plenty of interest in the community for my work. So it seems to have worked out for me though last March I had my doubts! I even have time to knit again.
    I have only just found you some days ago from a recommendation in the Slow Knitting Book and so delighted with your lovely patterns. Nua is the Farrow and Ball of the Yarn world. Good luck with it all, doing all you do so beautifully as well as rearing a family is an inspiration.

  9. Thank you for sharing your story with me! It’s lovely to hear about how other women sort out the balance between work/home and travel time vs living in the country. I think the next year will be very exciting for both of us!

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