Friday, April 04, 2008

Tax Time

We see the tax man tomorrow, and I'm dreading it even more than usual. It's been one year since I left nursing and started my quiltmaking business. From the start I've treated it as a full-time job and have worked at least 40 hours a week. The fun tasks were shopping for fabric and designing, cutting, piecing, layering, quilting, binding and labeling quilts. The less fun tasks were creating and maintaining the web sites, blog, and virtual store/shop --- photographing items, posting listings, advertising, and tracking site statistics. The occasional sale was a rare but exhilarating event, though it did require the additional work of packaging and shipping, tracking the package, and leaving seller feedback (not to mention that excruciating wait for buyer feedback!)

So, okay, it's work, even if it is mostly enjoyable work, and even though friends and relatives consider me "retired." The only problem is that there's no payday. Whatever money makes it's way into PayPal stays there ever so briefly before making it's way back out of PayPal and into sellers fees, fabric stores, office supplies, sewing machine repairs, etc.

I didn't expect to show a profit in this first year, but I had carefully protected myself from knowing just how much money I was losing. I filed the receipts but never totaled them until a few days ago, when I started preparing for the tax guy. I had known I'd be discouraged by the totals, and I was. I had known I'd find it hard to justify all the hours I put in, and I do. There is a certain amount of joy derived by creating something beautiful and sharing it with others. But not enough!

So, tomorrow I will find out if I can afford to continue working at this for another year, or if I'll have to get a "real" job. Truthfully, I don't feel optimistic about Quilts With Heart's chances of survival.