Welcome to Curious Business

Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, July 02, 2010

Vacation On the Brain

When you’re a one-man home-based business you can never leave work. I have to shut down the store to get away for more than a weekend. Someday, when I can outsource order fulfillment, I’ll shed those shackles. But Curio City will be my ball and chain for as long as I’m my own shipping clerk – another 2-3 years, I reckon.

“Shut down the store” just means turning off my pay-per-click ads and toggling my website from “open” to “closed”. Five minutes and a dozen clicks can set me free. Curio City has indeed closed a dozen times for software upgrades in its 57-month history, but never for more than a couple of hours. There are consequences to going dark. The most obvious is a 100% loss of income; the self-employed do not get paid vacations. There’s a risk of permanently losing customers who find a mysteriously frozen website where they expected a store. There’s also a risk of losing favor with Googlebot, if it’s smart enough to recognize a broken website. I’d have to implement a temporary popup message or “Closed for Vacation” page or something to let the world know that all is well in Curio City. This year’s floods and thefts leave me no money for development.

I probably cherish my annual week off more than most people, even if it’s not what you’d call a real vacation. I’ll be in a cabin with broadband internet scarcely 100 miles from home. The store will remain open while my ads are turned off. I have to stay on top of email; I can’t assume that shoppers will see the notice on my News page, so I have to warn them of delayed shipping. I have to do at least that much work every day of my vacation. But for 10 glorious days I’m freed from packing and schlepping boxes, and I’m actually away from home!

We’re going to take the Berkshires vacation that we take every year; very little has changed since I wrote about it in 2008. Boring stuff by most people’s standards, I know, and humble even to me -- after all, we used to travel to the Caribbean and Europe when times were good. But it’s still the high point of my year.


A couple of good days kept this week from taking its expected place as one of the slowest on the calendar. Merely average business blew away last year’s anemic benchmark. My targets between now and vacation are actually pretty challenging in the context of July’s usual deadness.

Vacation…it’s all I can think about. I’ll try to dream up something more interesting for next week’s post…and then I’m outta here for two Fridays!

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