Sunday, February 01, 2009

Spread your eggs about in hard times

There's little doubt that many of us are feeling the pinch at the moment. That times are hard is hardly news. But how to cope?

I've spent the last five or six years happily pottering along being a classic second-hand bookseller, keeping more than I sell, parting with volumes only when the price made it irresistible, lacking only the dusty shop premises and marmalade cat. But irresistible prices are, understandably, harder to come by at the moment.

My own response to this has been three-fold: 1. working harder to promote those places where my books are offered for sale, in an attempt to drum-up more buyers; 2. using more places, trying every available outlet that presents a professional front (and ignoring the rubbishy ones!) 3. doing a few more things other than selling books.
All of which comes fairly under the heading of "not putting your eggs in one basket".
In part this suits me very well, in that it chimes perfectly with my belief in "slow living" and harks back to older values. No hard-charging career path, but a mixed bag of bits and bobs - doing what needs doing, keeping the variety going, working at whatever job presents itself. A few decades ago I might have been looking at child-minding, taking in laundry, helping out in a local shop or doing a spot of cooking... in these less hide-bound times the range of things a woman is able to put her hand to are rather different, but it comes down to the same thing: do a bit of whatever you can!

I've found I'm spending more time doing techy stuff - more akin to the IT career I left behind those half-a-dozen years ago. And the nice thing is: I'm really enjoying it. Doing it on an ad hoc basis, and at a pretty low level, I'm getting all the fun, and none of the stress. Admittedly, the income's rather different - but then, I've got used to that! I've also been indulging my creativity a bit (always pleasing). Combining those two aspects, I've been putting together some auction templates, banners etc,and having a lot of fun doing it.

So, if you're finding things are pretty tough right now, think about what skills you have - have a trawl back through that old cupboard of experience, and see what else you could be turning your hand to. And good luck!

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