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Improving you stamina

No, it’s not spam (I should know, I get about 30 spam emails a day).
My favorite one read “hey bro, your girlfriend won’t be mad at you
anymore”. The first 5 minutes of my day is delete, delete, delete…

Why am I in such a good mood? The first day of school. Don’t get me
wrong. I love my sons, but I could be in that Staples commercial.

Today is a good day. Dave Matthews plays loudly in the background
and I sit here, working away.

I have discovered that I can make 45 dollars in about 40 minutes.
This makes me very happy, but how many 40 minute segments can I
endure for the day? Not enough.

How to keep going? Don’t laugh. How many out there have actually
tried to do something very similar to sewing for 7 hours straight?
It’s not easy.

So, how do you do it? If i can link together 10 or 15, 45 dollar
segments in a day, one of my sons may be able to go Ivy League.

The flip side of the coin is, of course, Type A. When is enough,
enough? Hard to balance. I thought I had it good with my running
program, but the MRI is Tuesday. We’ll see.

Kim Starbard

How to keep going? Don't laugh. How many out there have actually
tried to do something very similar to sewing for 7 hours straight?
It's not easy. 

Kim, I realize this isn’t practical for many if not most here - have
a real business, is one way. I had room in a basement to set up,
when I started my current business, but I rented my current space,
for many reasons. One of those is, work is work and home is home.
Some people can do it, but trying to mix the two is something I just
can’t, and don’t want to do.

I realize this isn't practical for many if not most here - have a
real business, is one way. 

It’s real. I work at home. Many people work at home, I’m one of

Some people can do it, but trying to mix the two is something I
just can't, and don't want to do. 

I can do it. I understand why many people would not want to, but I’m
not one of them. I respect your opinion on the way I work, but it is
not a view I share.

Respectfully, the question was about having the energy to work all
out for more than 3 hours at a time, not about moving into a "real"

Kim Starbard

I realize this isn't practical for many if not most here -
have a real business, is one way. It's real. I work at home. Many
people work at home, I'm one of them. 

I too work from home in both of my careers. 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
as a legacy systems graybeard (mainframe systems programmer) for a
major telecom then 4:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. doing silversmith and
lapidary work.

I have been telecommuting (computer work at home) for about 10
years. It does take some discipline. Getting up at a regular time,
showering, and preparing like you are going to a regular job is one
thing I’ve always done. Some people can work in their pajamas. It
also takes some discipline from family members. Just because I am
home doesn’t mean I can take off any time and run kids around.

One thing I had to do was make time for social interaction or get
out of the house and talk to people. The local rock club and doing
shows are my two outlets of choice.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Respectfully, the question was about having the energy to work all
out for more than 3 hours at a time, not about moving into a
"real" business. 

Ha Ha Ha! That’s a hoot…try 30 hours or more at a stretch.

With respect, and I know Kim would probably share my view on this,
most folks coming from a 9-5 world, or home-maker, etc., have NO
CONCEPT of the hours it takes to make one’s business a success. We’re


When I was in college, my drawing teacher used to MAKE me take
breaks. She said I had a good work style that would come in handy
down the road because I could work at something for long periods.
She said that was important. I realized that when I began to set up
my studio and work. I LOVE long hours! I am not sure how to improve
your stamina at the bench other than by doing it. I have, in my
younger days, worked 24 hours straight or MORE when I was pushing
myself for an exhibit, and then after it was up, collapse with
swollen feet and a headache. The thing that pushes me forward now is
the realization that I am doing something I love and then I get lost
in it. I find it a very soothing practice to work. I don’t pull all-
nighters anymore, but if I get started on something that I am
passionate about I can still work 12 hours easily with no real
breaks. The thing that pushes me now is that I am happy making


With respect, and I know Kim would probably share my view on this,
most folks coming from a 9-5 world, or home-maker, etc., have NO
CONCEPT of the hours it takes to make one's business a success.
We're crazy. 

Yikes, I don’t think I’m in any hurry to move into that kind of
business, but yes, I do share your view and, yes, you’re crazy

Ok, I’m going to take a lot of flak for this question, but so what.
I have been trying to figure it out for a long time.

Since the time I started thinking about going back into my own
business, I have (naturally) been studying other people who have
their own businesses. There seem to be 2 camps, so to speak.

My neighbor up the road has a dental practice. He’s always home by 5
and always smiling. His hobby is collecting cars and he lives in
about a 4000 square foot house with a nice view of Long Island Sound.
My periodontist retired a couple of years ago after a long time spent
constantly complaining about the lack of money and yet, there were
always patients in and out.

The owner of a running store in the next town over just opened her
second store. Still, she has countless hours to spend jogging with
aspiring runners, attending local races, and just having a good
time. She’s in her late 40’s and looks and acts like she’s 20.

Please don’t ask me the name of the person on Orchid, but there was
a post a while ago that this person lives what he calls an
"honorable" life making a “modest” amount of income from his 20
something year old business. What is so dishonorable about making
money? Why would you do something for 20 years that afforded you only
a modest amount of income?

What is the difference between those who pull all-nighters and just
make it by and those who have plenty of free time and manage to
acquire 2 or more successful businesses? I hear a lot of excuses.
People say things like “oh, that guy inherited money” or “she’s got
friends in the right places”, but, honestly, that can’t be it.

I think I may have what it takes to succeed (if I didn’t I would
have gone back to being an accountant a long time ago). In college, I
never pulled an all-nighter. I worked 32 hours a week, went to school
full-time at night, and graduated with a 3.4 in my Major. I worked
as a Russian linguist in the Air Force (a field that has a 50%
attrition rate) and managed to maintain a 95% accuracy rating (rare).
I seemed to have figured out how to do well. I have faith (in myself)
that I will do well in my own growing business also, but I am in no
hurry to do anything that requires me to pull all-nighters or enjoy a
"modest" income.

The two things that you don’t need to tell me are that I am arrogant
and over confident. I already know these things. I’m also
hard-working, driven, and pretty smart.

I would love to hear the opinion of Mr Geller on this topic. He
probably has run into plenty of business owners from both “camps”. I
don’t mean to insult anyone. It’s an honest question. What makes some
succeed and others just get by? Also, I would love to know if there
are good seminars out there on successful entrepreneurship in the
jewelry industry…and, if I could, I would underline successful
three times.

Let the verbal flogging begin.

Kim Starbard

I have a lot of luck by getting regular exercise. Both
cardiovascular weight training. It keeps your body ready to work. I
find I’m able to work longer and better. Don’t forget the eating
right part too. I also have to agree with with some others who have
replied to this topic Take a break. Lets say you break a saw-blade,
Take a break. If you don’t and you break another saw-blade right
after the first one. The you should realize you should have taken a
break after you broke the first one.

And one other thing I learned from my grandmother who’s a writer.
When you take a break or you don’t need to stare 6 inches in front
of your face - Stretch your eyes look and focus on things at
different distances in the room or outside or wherever. It will help
keep them strong. She started writing on a computer when they came
out with that kaypro suitcase sized word processor. She is 75 now and
still has excellent vision.

“give it a rest”



Kim’s question gets to a good point. It’s not about enthusiasm, or
self-discipline, or the joy in your work… it’s a purely physical
thing! - How do you develop the stamina to physically endure 8 - 10 -
12 hours or more of jewelrymaking? As I see each semester with
beginner students, the hands get tired and crampy, the back aches,
the eyes strain, etc…

My answer for myself is to plan my day to VARY the things I’m
working on. I might do a bunch of sawing and prep all together, then
move over and do a batch of soldering jobs. While they are pickling
and/or tumbling, I’ll do something that involves standing and moving
for a bit (even design sketches), then another segment that’s close
work with a magnifier (like stone setting).

The key is that the body isn’t sitting cramped into the same
position, and the eyes aren’t staring at the same focal length for
long periods of time. It helps me to move and keep my mind engaged.
My eye dr also has told me for years (I’ve worked in IT) that one of
the most damaging things about the “computer revolution” has been
that workers now stare at a computer screen at a fixed distance of
focus for long periods of time - the eye muscles don’t get the
workout they need in terms of changing focus and depth perception.
Staring through an optivisor at tiny stones for prolonged periods
isn’t much better, although you do have the tendency to come up for
air every once in a while.

As long as I keep my tasks varied, I can still be very productive,
but not as fatigued and achy at the end of a long bench session.

Hope this helps!
Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry

my drawing teacher used to MAKE me take breaks. [snip] I LOVE long

OK, but not helpful for the original question…

I would say two things.

First, over time, you find your rhythm. Like, three hours full tilt
productive work, one hour “housekeeping” (my term for all that other
stuff we have to do besides actually making things), rinse, repeat.
Or whatever.

Second, you probably can’t work full speed all the time (the above
comment notwithstanding), and you have to set things up so you don’t
need to. You can’t say you earned $45 in 45 minutes (or whatever) if
it takes half an hour to be ready to do it again. The down time has
to be counted. So your charges need to take that into account.

If you cannot charge enough to get a good rate of pay for the work
you can comfortably do in a day, then something has to change. Find
a way to be more efficient; change the product; change where you
market; change career. Facts of economics.


Kim, I have had the same observations over the last 25 years,( I
have a good answer) the folks that work 40 hours or less and have
leisure time have created a business the other people that work 24-7
a job. For example the first group, delegates, spreads the work out
among others ie: assistants, bookkeepers, polishers, etc. The latter
for whatever reason, controls 100% of each project, sells, cleans,
does their own accounting…you get the picture. Also you have to
take into consideration the first group may have more working captial
or a wonderful banker. It is very hard to run even the smallest of
business’ without a healthy cash flow. Arrogant and over confident
can work in your favor… self promoting never hurt anyone’s
business,no matter what personality type all that matters is, can
you sell your work and make a living?

Lisa McConnell

Hi noel

Thanks so much for the insight. I had missed this concept in pricing
my work and you’re absolutely right. I’m going to take another look
at my prices and make sure they’re actually high enough. I learned a
lot of things running the marathon. One was, if you want to get
through, you slow down through the water stops. It makes perfect
sense. If you want to work all day, slow down every once in a while
to give yourself more energy to go more.

Thanks again
Kim Starbard

Hi Kim,

You’ll get no flogging from me.

I’ll let Mr. Geller speak for himself, but we are long-time friends
and probably agree on this.

Basically, I think the situations you have described might be
distilled down to whether the business is running you or you are
running the business. Unfortunately, many “entrepreneurs”, having
chosen to move a hobby into a professional endeavor, simply become
slaves to the work. They “love” it, so they do more of it. They’ve
bought themselves a job and are too busy working to make any money.
They don’t really have a written or clear plan (if it’s not written,
it’s not clear), they simply show up and try to get more work and
hope the bills get paid.

Others look ahead, and, seeing the path clearly, formulate a
business plan that will take them to their goal. On the way, they
check their performance against their goals, modifying as becomes
necessary (or perhaps changing the goal).

As the work load increases, they learn to delegate responsibility
(AND authority) so that they might concentrate on the most
profitable aspects of the endeavor (or on what THEY are good at,
leaving other tasks to those who are better at them). They hire
other experts, like a good CPA, and listen to these experts. They
attend business classes, management classes, sales and marketing
classes, and learn how it’s done…and they do it.

Inevitably, it seems that these folks work themselves out of their
craft and become people managers, which usually represents the
highest level of profitability. Some, however, especially artisans,
feel empty if they do not have the opportunity to create things with
their hands, and will return to the bench (for instance) because of
the gratification found there. Some profit MAY be lost, but, for
them, it is a good trade emotionally.

Others will never get to the top managerial stages, either by
conscious resistance or by their inability to see themselves as
anything but an artisan. They don’t like and don’t want the other
responsibilities; and most, unless they are VERY exceptional, will
be stuck with only the rewards their two hands can create in a day.
The extreme of this is the sole artisan, no help, trying to wear
many hats and never making any real money. Not being risk-takers,
they will never get out of their self-imposed prison and will
quickly begin to create justifications for what they DON’T do…but
they never stop whining about it.

I know all this because I’ve BEEN all these! Crazy can be fun, I say
you go for it. I’ve got a ten dollar bill says you’ve got what it


How do you develop the stamina to physically endure 8 - 10- 12
hours or more of jewelrymaking? 

Well, for one thing I’m going to be 55 in December (18) and I just
don’t have the stamina I once did - hard to say, but true. The other
thing is make sure to eat lunch. A collegue of mine came to me years
ago and said, “I have a proposal for you - that we eat together and
take turns going out for it.” We’re in the city…That we we both
make sure we have lunch - we were just snacking, and then fading out
at 3 o’clock.

It's an honest question. What makes some succeed and others just
get by? Also, I would love to know if there are good seminars out
there on successful entrepreneurship in the jewelry
industry....and, if I could, I would underline successful three

In my previous career, I was in the fashion industry in management. I
always had a mental and physical list of things to do and I had them
ranked in importance. Sometimes those things on the list were carried
over to the next day or several days. The list was always with me,
either in my hand, on the desk, bag or whatever. Having them written
was the best way for me to keep track. I update every night so my
morning is planned. I used to be able to delegate things but now it
is just me so the ranking of importance keep me going.

Before I opened my studio, I worked for a jewelry designer as a
bench jeweler creating art jewelry. The job was 9 to 5 with a 30 min
lunch. On Fridays we had to turn in the work by 3, have it signed,
quality checked and pack it for shipping and at 4 we cleaned the
studio. That experience was the thing that created my work ethic and

I took a workshop with Thomas Mann on Design for Survival when I was
setting up my studio. His methods were similar to the place I had
worked. His class taught me how to cost things out so I would have
all the overhead covered in the pricing strategy. I would highly
recommend his techniques as they were helpful for what I do. I think
he still teaches those or he may sell DVDs. I won two of his DVDs at
SNAG at the raffle table and they are based on the Design for
Survival courses. I have attended a Bruce Baker seminar too and have
his CDs and found them insightful as well.

I have found that I have to ascertain what works for what I do and
what doesn’t. I fabricate everything from metals and I have to create
a plan that works for that. In the end all the training you take gets
tailored around what you do as a jeweler so the path to your success
may be far different from another.

I have had a winding path to walk as a studio jeweler and I am sure
I am not alone it that. I hope this helps in the business/success


Hello Kim,

You’re not arrogant, just confident and sure of your self. Not a
problem. Being smart is not a problem either. I rather think most of
the Orchidians I’ve met are well above average on the IQ rating and
some rank as geniuses.

However, your question about what makes some succeed and other just
get by, doesn’t have a simple answer. Especially since my definition
of “success” is probably different than yours. My idea of a
"comfortable living" is also unique - my husband and I don’t agree
on that one for sure!

This will be an interesting thread for sure! Judy in Kansas, where
the rainclouds seem to be skirting my just-planted spinach… darnit.

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
B.A.E. 147 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University

Be aware that people have different constitutions. Even if you
maximize your stamina, you might not be able to pull all nighters
with impunity. I learned this lesson in my 20s, when I studied
martial arts. I would do really well for the first couple of months
and then I would get so sick that I couldn’t practice for six
months. I finally saw an acupuncturist who told me I didn’t have the
constitution for Kung Fu and who recommended Chi Gung and Tai Chi.

I can only say that, when I actually practice these disciplines, my
stamina improves across the board. So, you might consider trying this

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US


can you sell your work and make a living? 

Thanks so much for the input guys. I’m pretty confident that I can. I
have to say, though, there are some things I was skimping on. I can
always learn. I am ordering Thomas Mann’s pricing kit today (thanks
for the tip and thanks to Mr Mann for making it affordable). I have
heard a lot about Bruce Baker and he is actually not too far from me
geographically. I can swing a workshop soon. You are right, too. The
people who have businesses with a lot of free time have the ability
to delegate (something I will be learning)…my sons are 7 and 8
and I am the only person I know who doesn’t have a babysitter, that
says something about me right there. I injured my back (or leg
whenever they manage to figure it out) and so, there hasn’t been a
lot of exercise going on, but that should be fixed soon and I have
never been a good eater! All good tips and all true. Sometimes, I get
into a creative period and figure I can skimp on things (like health)
for a few weeks because I am healthy. Wrong.

I have a request. I know that it is not always acceptable (socially)
to talk highly of yourself (your work situation, your living space,
your finances that kind of thing) but ( don’t be offended) on
Orchid, there seems to be a great tendency to only speak of your work
when things are not going well. Don’t get me wrong, there is a good
benefit to “venting” and I’m not trying to tell anyone they
shouldn’t do that but, I would also like to hear from people when
things are going well. Don’t be shy. If you are busy, share it. It is
a great, great motivator to me (and I’m sure to a lot of other newer
people) to hear success stories. I’m not asking for any secret stuff,
just don’t be afraid to say good things about yourself and your

I have to admit, the comment “get a real business” threw me for a
loop. However, I guess the good thing about being involved with this
or any other discussion group is that one can develop a thicker skin
(something you absolutely need in dealing with the
public)…consider my skin a little thicker now.

Kim Starbard

I used to have a software consulting business. One fact is true of
all businesses, I think - you can only make a limited amount of money
by turning your time directly into dollars.

So, if you want to make more money, you must leverage your time.
There are two primary ways of doing that. First, you can invent
something that can be mass produced and sold. Second, you can use
your time to manage other people’s time. The first method, if
successful, turns into the second.

That’s why people who would rather be craftsmen or artists than
manage others rarely get rich. Me, I usually turned down contracts
which would have required me to hire more people. That wasn’t what I
wanted to do.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ

I think Wayne really hit the nail on the head with his reply, but I
also think there’s another component that’s critical: your emotional
attachment to the work.

The people who you see succeeding as a 9-5’er with excess income
have also succeeded in building a level of emotional “detachment” to
the business that enables them to see it AS a business… not as an
extension of themselves. For artists and artisans, this can be the
nearly impossible part, because for many of us our designs really are
emotional expressions of our own lives.

The key is to know what you want… do you, personally, want to be
the designer and maker? Do you want to be the designer and hand it
off to someone else to make? Do you want to oversee a staff of people
who are designing and making things under your imprimatur? Or???

Once you know the answer to that question, you’ll know what you need
to do. If you can develop the emotional distance to be able to hand
off the design and making, you’ll be focusing on managing and
building the business end of it. If that’s the area where you get
your fulfillment, then that’s where you need to be. But if you only
thrive when YOU are doing both the design and making, then you need
to hire yourself someone to run the business end of things (sales,
account management, acctg, etc.) and be ready to work under their

In reality, it’s seldom so cut and dried, but it can help to turn up
the resolution on the question and ask yourself… If I could only
play one role in my business, what would it be?

In an entrepreneurship course I took a bunch of years back through
our community college’s continuing education department, the teacher
said something that stuck with me. You need to know whether you’re
building a business that you expect to outlive you, or one that will
die when you do. The approach to those two types of businesses are
polar opposites, in many ways, and drive decision making and the type
of involvement you’ll have very differently.

I hope this helps!

Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry