2004 Started off great...
Then June-July stunk. August-September were OK, nothing great. October-November were lousy. December was OK too so I ended on a somewhat positive note.
Overall, same time last year, about the same in sales. I use much cheaper materials now (new vinyl and a great banner vendor). Everything went great in 2004 until about mid June. The week of Monday-Saturday, June 21-26 was the first time in the 4 year history of my company of $0 sales for that week.
I also had a week of negative sales if you coun't the PayPal fraud of October 18-23. I had about c. $200 in cash sales and got hit for just under $300 in a fraudulent PayPal charge. I didn't discover this until about a week after the job shipped to a place 1,500 miles away.
This time last year everything was going great. Then a moment later it turned to complete trash. Overall not a good year. Neither was 2003. 2002 was probably my best year. I had a weird bid, I thought I wouldn't get. I got it. It was sweet. I should have put more of it back into my shop, but my wife said "take it as income, we need the money and we can't afford you not making money". I had three nephews and neices working for me that summer almost day and night for four weeks that summer to complete that work. It was a springboard to a fairly successful fall of 2002. I started in late 2000. My first year and a half totally stunk. Actually that was moonlighting until spring 2002.
I find it impossible to see what waits ahead. I hope for another "freak" $40,000 order in 2005. I hoped for one in 2003. That same client spent only about $5,000. Last year the same. As he said, the days of $40,000 spending sprees are over for him, for this I am truly sad.