Taking A Step Back From The Dragon's Treasure
I would greatly recommend reading the full text for proper context, but the TL;DR is orders are going to be fulfilled every Monday and Tuesday from this point forward so I can work on other matters to strengthen The Dragon’s Treasure.
I’m going to be stepping away from The Dragon’s Treasure. The clickbait portion of this headline is no, I’m not quitting or selling the company. The true portion of this headline is that yes, I’m going to need to step back from many of my duties.
I’ll use this analogy to try and give people an overall view of why I am doing what I will be doing. Packaging people’s orders, making sample packs, mixing teas, replying to emails and questions. Doing these tasks can be viewed as a general stepping onto the battlefield and swinging his sword at the opposing side. While all of that is important, and I have gotten quite impressive at swinging my sword in all sorts of fancy ways, such battles are not won on the field, but rather before they even take place. So I need to start stepping away from the battlefield so I can survey the land. Analyze the new weapons being developed. Find more soldiers and captains. Allocate the war chest. And I need to make sure I have the energy to do all those things, and not be left exhausted after 8 hours on the battlefield.
I had a series of goals set out for the first 3 months of 2022. A lot of those goals were in January. At the time of writing this up and publishing it (January 28th), I have accomplished essentially none of those goals. As this month has made clear, the reasons are NOT financial. While there were some elements beyond my control, such as suppliers being over two weeks late with getting their shipments to me, most of the elements are of no one else’s fault.
What it essentially comes down to is time, energy, and focus. Several months ago, I came up with a brand new system to manage teas and other work. Instead of tackling orders every single day, I would tackle orders Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tues, Thurs, Sat, and Sun were spent doing the misc behind the scenes work, or maybe it just gave me time to go to the gym. If there was ever a big event going on, I can scrap it and complete orders every day. The short version of why this system worked is that it eliminated many extra steps that were involved in doing things daily. Setting up the work stations, cleaning up before and after they were done, making adequate amounts of a tea knowing that I had to properly allocate my ingredients, a lot of fun stuff like that.
That system worked well. Much better than I had initially anticipated. But as I’ve grown, my new size has caused some new issues to pop up. If I go into all the little details this will turn into a textbook of micro and macro management, so I’m going to skip to the end and explain why that’s a problem.
It seems to be a foreign concept these days that someone would try to run a business outside of the pure profit driven motive. Don’t get me wrong, I know just how important the cash flow is, but for me the Teaman part takes more importance, and the Businessman plays second fiddle. But with that being said the “business” part is the foundation that lets the machine run. As it stands right now I cannot properly take care of MOST of the business items that need to be taken care of. I can’t continuously manage the inventory, dive into new projects like acquiring the new tins and the system that will be in place for being able to order teas in tins, work on making new teas, improving the website, finding unexpected flaws somewhere online (people were getting too many emails asking to review teas, as I found out recently. Since I don’t order my own tea from my website I didn’t know how prevalent and annoying it was, but it’s since been fixed), and so many other elements of the business side.
It’s difficult to properly reply to everyone’s email when I have to constantly enter the spam folder to find some, and I’m given the occasional enlightening email with topics such as “So which of your teas would be good to smoke?” That question alone has been sincerely asked more times than I wish to recall.
Then there are the projects that require more time to properly accomplish. Something I have been attempting to create is my own database of ingredients, but ones I use and plan to use (remember last year when I said I wanted to start using uncommon ingredients in tea?), listing their distinct flavor profiles and health benefits, as well as tie it in to the various tropes and archetypes of anime and other stories. I don’t know if I can properly stress the difficulty of that last part, which definitely falls under the category of “I am trying to build something different with this business”. I will use that database to not only help myself build more teas, but be able to properly explain to future employees and managers WHY certain things go together or WHY I made this tea for its health benefit or WHY a name like King Explosion Murder works better with Chili Powder over, say, Lavender (ok, that’s an easy one, but you get the idea). But projects like this, due to their complex nature, require more than an hour or two a day to do it properly. I’ll need to be locked away in my study room for days at a time.
I had also intended to start doing this next part months ago, but I still haven’t gotten around to doing it. I’d like to take one of those days just for myself. As it stands now, I work 7 days a week, and I consider a 4 hour work day “time off.” As much as I love the business and wish to grow it into a Tea Empire that’ll put the East India Trading Company to shame, I am also plenty aware of the tropes of the businessman who neglects his friends and family, or who works himself to an early grave. I’d like to avoid such a fate for myself.
So what does this all mean? It’ll mean that many of the more frontline aspects of The Dragon’s Treasure are going to slow down. Starting this upcoming week, all orders will be set to ship out Monday/Tuesday. The aim is for Sunday the tea to be packaged and prepared, and Monday shipped out. There are weeks where it wouldn’t be feasible and I’ll aim to start Saturday. Sometimes I may just miss the deadline so it’ll have to be dropped off Tuesday.
Emails may be a bit slower to be replied to. The Discord will have notifications turned off on the phone, and much more frequently muted on desktop. The Chat With Us button will still be the quickest way to get a reply, but I will be having my phone on silent more often than before. I could go on, but that’s what I ultimately mean when I say I’m stepping away.
There will be, however, a return for this stepping away. The Dragon’s Treasure, an entity I’ve always envisioned as being bigger than “The Teaman,” will be strengthened. The nuts and bolts I just don’t have the time or energy to look at will be tightened. Lingering problems will be given a solution. New teas, with new ingredients, will be able to be made. The Dragon’s Apothecary will still be on the backburner until I am satisfied with where The Dragon’s Treasure is, but that is still coming and will be worked on eventually as well. New projects. I hope that by summertime the Dragon’s Wings subscriptions will be high enough so that I can confidently hire some consistent help. I’ll be able to have more effective conventions. I can have more Youtube guest appearances, and do other promotional work to help The Dragon’s Treasure grow. I can work on getting some contracts going with other business entities. I need to get back to a coffee supplier but just haven’t been able to until now.
On that note, there is another aspect to all of this I think I should tell people about. I’ve finally managed to grow to the point where two things are starting to happen; The first, folks from my past who either didn’t care about the store or outright mocked it now want to “help” me or “work with” me in some way (in other words use me to springboard themselves or to feed their own egos and say they’re part of a $100k business they had no hand in making). I’ve also grown to the point where certain people now view me as a nameless, faceless brand that can be talked down to as less than human, and people who think, since they purchased tea from me once X amount of years ago, that should mean I will take a bullet for them. I recognize this trope well and wish to squash it before it gets out of hand. In fact this entire thing happened because, during an anniversary of mine where I intended to not work at all, I was blindsided by some folks in regards to some old contracts, and it caused me to have something of a much needed meltdown, saying “either these contracts are rewritten to my specifications and ONLY my specifications, or I will burn down everything around me.” Said contracts now serve to greatly benefit The Teaman, so all is good on that front.
That’s about all for my very lengthy explanation. If you have any questions, I can answer them in the Discord as well as the Chat With Us button on the website.