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Getting The Job Done

Posted: 11/05/19 (15:38pm)

As usual, I am beginning my blog by making excuses for why I have not written for so long.  To be fair, my excuses are genuine and not just laziness. I have been remarkably busy in so many ways – most of which are so mundane as to make them unworthy of writing about.

Bygone Blades is doing well and keeping me on my toes trying to find new and exciting stock items. That in itself is time consuming. I spend a couple of hours every day (usually in the evenings after a full working day) going through auction catalogues, followed by more hours spent researching and learning about the history, patterns and values of swords, bayonets and knives of all descriptions. There is so much to learn!

Having identified items of interest, and before going to the auction, I research each item. I learn about the pattern and variations, establish whether or not there are fakes on the market and if so how to identify them. I learn the values of the items so that I know what I can reasonably expect to sell them for and from this; I set a price that I can afford to pay and still make a living. All this takes many hours over many days.

As well as doing research, there is the day-to-day running of the business – responding to emails and enquiries, updating and maintaining the website, search engine optimisation, administration and accounting, packaging up sales and taking them to the delivery depot, etc., etc. All the little things that take time and eat up half of each day before I begin work in my workshop, completing customer restorations and commissions or cleaning newly acquired stock.

Twice a week I set up my photographic studio and photograph new items for the website. I edit the photos and then write the listings (often requiring more research). Listing stock a couple of times each week helps maintain my search engine ranking - regularly updating the website by adding pics and text helps keep me higher up the search results.

I spend a lot of time away from home at auctions and estate sales. Often I have to take pre-prepared stock listings with me so that I can update the website while I’m on the road. I also continue doing all the daily admin etc. This happens even when I am on holiday!

In fact, only two weeks ago today, Sue and I returned from having a fortnight holiday during which I continued to do all the daily tasks including listing stock twice weekly and responding to sales and enquiries – I bet you didn’t even notice that I was away!

As it was my 50th birthday, Sue and I decided to have a special holiday so we went to Hong Kong for 3 nights then on to Bangkok, Thailand for another 3 nights followed by 8 nights on the beach. We had an amazing time. Thailand is one of the friendliest countries we have visited, the people are quick to smile and have a lovely, friendly manner. Hong Kong too was a great experience, enhanced by the friendly and helpful people.

Coming home was a “hot guns” landing, straight back into the thick of it. I had to get sales packaged up and shipped off along with receipts and emails written (I respond to each customer personally and do not use a generic template – it takes a little more time but I believe in the personal touch). I also had to find more stock.

I have just been away at auctions. I got home at 1am yesterday (Friday). I left home at 6am on Wednesday. It was a real whistle-stop trip and I covered quite a distance, almost 1000 miles from home in Scotland down to the south coast of England and back. It was well worth it. I bought some great and rare items, the first of which, a rare French Napoleonic period naval officers’ fighting dirk I added to the website yesterday evening.

I will add another great item on Monday…

Today is the weekend – for some at least. I have spent the day so far packaging sales and taking them to the post office, followed by a few emails, responding to enquiries and finalising the acquisition of more stock. Then I did some research on naval dirks and now I am writing this blog (I had to break off to email a customer to thank them for the purchase that they just made).

So this is why I do not get round to writing my blog every week. I am always on the move and I do not want to bore you with the minutiae of my daily work. When I have something to say, that I hope will interest you I will write about it. In the meantime, I will just crack on with getting things done. It is not just a job; it is a passion, a commitment, a way of life. I work hard but I love what I do.

I play hard too!