Kiln considerations

My head is swimming with information about voltage, amps, phases, elements, and cubic feet. For the past couple months I have been researching kilns and trying to determine the best size for an upgrade. Since 2016, I've been running my work through a 3.3 cubic feet kiln. The kiln at its widest point is just under 18". While it is limiting, it has served me well and is fairly easy to load. I am about to run my 400th firing this week. As I've gotten busier, a larger kiln seems like a worthwhile and needed investment. And an investment it is. Kilns are not cheap and I want to make sure not only do I get something large enough to help me grow my business, but not so large it takes effort to fill it for efficiency.
I'm grateful to get to the point where I need a larger kiln, but the expense does worry me a bit.
We are all feeling the sting of inflation. The rise in fuel and electricity costs also has me a bit concerned. I don't know how the holiday markets will do, whether I will have regular work for the winter, and what surprise expenses may be around the corner. The uncertainty has me feeling a bit foolish to even consider purchasing a new kiln, but without it, my growth will be limited.
I've thought about doing a fundraiser or finding some other way to raise money to support my kiln pursuits. I calculate studio expenses by the number of mugs I need to sell rather than by dollar amounts. It helps me understand how effort and productivity converts to supporting my business. When I first decided to become self-employed, it was scary and a leap of faith, but I did it, and it's been over 6 years. I need to remind myself I trusted my gut back then and need to not overthink now. There probably is no right or wrong choice in choosing a new kiln. I've got to follow my intuition and trust that it will work out. I did it once before, I can do it again.

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