Freed to Create

My work year has come to an end. For me, that’s in August when curriculum and camps wrap up and my family gears up for another school year. We’re managing to grab a few days rest-and-relaxation house sitting for some friends in California.

For the first time ever, my family attended Debate Camp with the rest. You can see us lined up in the front, with Wendy on the left.

My entire family attended camp this year. You can see us lined up in the front, with Wendy on the left.

It’s not what you think. This isn’t your typical mow-the-lawn and feed-the-dog house sitting. This morning, the maid is here doing laundry and housekeeping. The kids have been swimming in the backyard pool every day. Our hosts left out a coffee bar, a drawer of ice cream treats, and a note telling us to eat all the food in the refrigerator. I don’t think there is a hotel nicer than this in all of California. Yeah, we have awesome friends!

The reason I say this is the end of my year is because of the end of the majority of my work year. February through July—half of my year—I am 100% focused on launching curriculum and camps for the upcoming year of academic speakers and debaters. As of today, I have published over 2,000 pages of curriculum, managed 50 authors, and put on four debate camps. I have produced more this year than ever, so I’m feeling very good about the year’s creations. (See for the list or resources.)

Production isn’t the only thing I’m proud of this year. I’ve managed to make several changes to my business processes that have made me more productive and efficient. Three of my biggest changes include:

  1. Upgraded Printing. I used to hire a local printer, but now I have partnered with Andrew Pudewa’s printing outfit in Oklahoma to handle all my printing. Honestly, they do a much better job, already in the business of curriculum publishing through the Institute for Excellence in Writing.
  2. Order Fulfillment. My old process for order fulfillment used to be take the order, print a label, retrieve the item, pack it, print shipping, and flag down the mail lady with a box full of other others. That’s all done from Oklahoma at our printing shop. New process: Click “processing” and it’s taken care of. Nice.
  3. Customer Service. I have an administrative assistant, Diane, who takes care of customer service. She is a former student of our 2005 debate program. Now married and expecting her first child, Diane is an awesome addition to getting things done around here. Well, not “around here.” She’s a virtual assistant who lives in Oklahoma. Totally possible in 2013.

I’m super excited about these changes for this reason: they allow me to be more creative. I’ve always enjoyed the busy work of business, but I enjoy creating the business more. Being freed up to create is important. I cannot tell you how nice it is to…

  1. Order my inventory without stocking anything in my storage bin.
  2. Send orders without stuffing a single envelope.
  3. Forward emails or phone calls to a competent, less-grumpy customer service rep than me..

This is liberating. I’m free to focus on the next steps of the business and organization. I’ve got some big announcements to make in the coming weeks that will push out the boundaries of the land I’ve been given. I can’t wait till tell you more about what’s coming up in the 2013-2014 school year.

For now, I’m very thankful for a successful 2012-2013, and I’m enjoying the vacation and rest.