I pledge never to criticize any business's prices again.
I pledge to accept the prices as representative of what that company needs to charge in order to create fair compensation for its expertise, materials and promotion of itself for the purpose of remaining a viable business.
I will not make random calculations in my head about the amount of money it takes to produce the materials, distribute the product or how much energy/expertise/experience went into the original creation.
I also pledge never to assume that it is easy to run a business, to get customers, to produce the promotional copy for a website, to keep up a blog, to send out email notifications, to train teachers, to stay abreast of the latest developments in technology and education... as though these are after-thoughts and have no bearing the on the cost of the materials to which they pertain.
I confess that I now understand why teachers are paid so little when compared with the universities and schools for whom they work, who must take the lion's share of the tuition to run the business side of the school, and to recruit students. Hello. Who can teach without students?
This summer I live with the daily awareness that the changes I'm making to my business have the ability to either make it or break it. The stress of being in charge is something I have never felt in 7 and a half years of running Brave Writer. I feel responsible for the salaries of my teachers and their general happiness with the job they do so well for Brave Writer, the satisfaction of my customers who are both amazingly supportive and enthusiastic, the need to consider the tight budgets of most homeschooling families, the responsibility to sustain income we've come to depend on, and the need to create materials that serve the purposes for which they are designed.
Suddenly, in an attempt to stay current, I find that I'm on the edge of a breakdown. I don't think it's possible for me to do any more work than I am. I literally can't turn off my brain. I wake up with whole new sets of considerations I must take into account.
Every time I turn around, I think of another permutation that ought to be considered in the redesign of my website, of the registration process (which is effing - excuse the language - complicated), of the new learning platform (which has a learning curve of about 90 degrees straight up!). And every time I think of another change to the existing structures, it's $500-$1000 more to a developper than I planned to spend. Worse, I can't even tell if the end result will be experienced as better (it may look better, but will it accomplish the things I hoped it would alleviate as well as enhance?).
I'm exhausted, stressed, tired, worried, anxious and sick of being a business owner today.