Fucking Handle It – Getting Shit Done in Small Business

Contest announcements. Marketing consultation. Design concepts. Website updates. Order fulfillment. Brainstorming. Critical thinking. Account management. Inventory control. Social media interaction. Photography. Illustration. Copywriting. Verbal promotion. Event sponsorship.

I don’t want to add any further responsibilities, since that already overwhelms me.

Blog upkeep. That too.

When we began this foray into entrepreneurship on a wing and a prayer, we definitely heard a lot of “this isn’t going to be easy”. We openly acknowledged this, since it seemed pretty obvious, and really how difficult could it be?

How very naive we were.

I’m the only “formally trained” creative in the group, which means I often assist with final concept refinement, as well as supply and produce my own ideas for product. My background is pretty varied in terms of work, and while I’ve worked in the design and advertising realm for more than 14 years, it’s been punctuated with breaks into other work. I get a lot of shit for this, and my friends like to tease me about how many different jobs in different industries I’ve held over the years. My resume reads like the writings of a wayward soul, and maybe that’s not far from the mark.

Roofing. Sign-craft. Automotive repair. Lifeguarding. Masonry. Cabinetry. Carpentry. Marketing. Advertising. Painting. Retail management. Bicycle repair.

The list is huge, and frankly, it’s a damned good thing. I’m grateful, more now than ever, to have experienced a lot outside my post-secondary-educated field of training. One of the things I wasn’t made aware of when we began printing shirts was how many different hats we’d each need to wear. There’s not a single role that we’re individually responsible for.

I’m sure every business has obstacles and drawbacks, some minor, and others severe. I’m a firm believer in steadfast, stubborn determination, and truly believe that staying focused, in spite of distractions or challenges, will ultimately lead to growth and success. The same friends who give me hardship about my “career path” will also agree I’m incredibly stubborn. And that I normally find a way to accomplish whatever absurd goal I put before myself.

I have the privilege of working with two other immensely stubborn individuals, from entirely different walks of life, who also share varied career paths. While they probably haven’t enjoyed the thrill of being shoulder deep in the floor drains in a filthy automotive shop, they’ve also endured their own brands of challenge, and bring this to the table. All of those responsibility-hats at the top of this post? They get an equal share in them as well, and in the execution of action that continues to move us forward.

Not a day passes that I don’t have doubts. Or concerns. Or worries. Or fears. I like to believe that seeing every obstacle we face as a small speed-bump is going to get us where we hope to go with this – there’s always a way around it. We made some fun and funny stickers early in the game with the “Fucking Handle It” mantra – and decided that maybe that was a great overall approach, albeit unfit for a tee shirt.

The spring/summer collection? The new catalogue? Business cards? New product tags? SEM/SEO? Marketing? Brand awareness development? Screening?

Bring it. We’re on it. Just make sure the music doesn’t suck.

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