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, January 04, 2013

Crappy New Year!

This was one of those weeks that make me want to say “Screw it.” Whatever was wrong with Curio City before Christmas is even wronger now. The fiscal cliff political posturing got 2013 off on the wrong foot and the looming 2% payroll tax hike isn’t going to help. I’m all for funding Social Security generously (being just 10 years shy of cashing in myself) but a 2% pay cut, however well justified, erases what little money people had for non-essentials…which are, of course, all I sell. The first week of the new year delivered the worst weekly sales since last July’s vacation. 

Or almost did. Minutes ago, a $600 Switchables (!) order saved the week. This bolt from the blue doesn’t help with day-to-day crappiness, but the week’s going to be fine anyway. You just never know.

Incidentally, I’m going to digress into the economy and politics a little more frequently this year. The past 325 posts have exhausted both the details of running Curio City and my readership, which has fallen to eight regulars. Even my best posts only draw 40-45 readers. I never meant for Curious Business to be a marketing tool, and I sure succeeded at that. I’m flattered that even a few people care to follow my weekly ups and (more often) downs.


And now, on to the kind of bookkeeping tedium that sends readers packing.

If I took this week’s paycheck as scheduled on Monday 12/31, adding a 27th payday to 2012 would plump up my salary by $756 while reducing my profit correspondingly. Excel says that 2013 started on Sunday, 12/30, and Monday’s check should have been the first one of this year, not the last one of last year. I was inclined to push it into 2013. But putting that check in different years would have set Quickbooks and Excel at odds for the rest of this year. In the end, Quickbooks won and Excel can just go sulk. 
So last week’s year-end numbers need to be rewritten. That problematic paycheck reduced 2012’s “raw” profit from $3,000-ish to $2,231. I’ll owe 20% in taxes, or $446. My traditional 75% bonus (technically, a loan repayment) from the remaining $1,785 is just $1,339. My final year-end payout (bonus plus taxes) was $1,785, compared to LY’s $2,350. The extra paycheck pushed my 2012 salary up to $13,586 and total compensation up to $15,371 -- $140 more than last week’s calculation. So how did a $756 paycheck shrink to a $140 increase? I’m honestly not sure, and I’m facing too many other boring tasks to waste time running it down. Excel says that my 2012 sales fell by 1.41% and compensation fell by 1.93%. Close enough for me.

Kraken Enterprises has now repaid $15,152 of my original $28,500 investment and generated $69,216 in salary. It will never pay me a living wage, but I don’t know of any other way I could’ve turned $28,500 into $84,368 in seven years that included the Great Recession. Well, not legally anyway.

If you thought the fiscal cliff was an embarrassing show of official ineptitude, wait til they get down and dirty on the debt ceiling two months from now. I wonder what they’ll cook up after that drama plays out.

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