It's been a little while since my last blog post, mainly because April is a very busy month here for family celebrations such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and with the school Easter hols - finding time to blog is pretty unpractical.
Looking back over recent posts, I can't believe I've not yet had a chance to share with you my recent wonderful experience of being a guest speaker at a local creative women in business group. Also the fact that my little business has become a case study in a book to help small start up businesses on a budget.
Both of these events have completely thrilled me, as never in my wildest dreams when I tentatively posted my first blog post on here back in 2010, did I ever believe I would be writing about things like this happening a few short years later. To be completely honest, I wasn't entirely sure whether I'd still be lucky enough to be doing what I do now at all and was fully prepared to adopt my plan B, i.e. look for part time employment within 18 months if my little business didn't show signs of working out.
Thankfully, it never came to that and because it didn't, I have learnt so many valuable lessons along the way which have enabled me to keep going...keep swimming!
In the beginning it was a case of do some designs, allocate a small budget, get the designs printed onto a small batch of cards & prints and set up a website/ online shop - and then promote the heck out of them and see what happens. There have been ups and downs, but by showing up at my desk and doing the work, I'm still moving in the direction I want to be.
If only I had read a book like the one pictured above, before I got started, I may have avoided a few of the downs and the lessons learnt the hard way!! 'Start a Business for £99' by Emma Jones is a great book for anyone starting out, it outlines lots of helpful advice for all the things you will encounter and need to consider in the early days of your business. Even for more established businesses, it helps to remind us of things we should be thinking of in the day to day running of a business. My case study appears on page 60 and it covers my story about how I went from selling my work on Folksy to getting my designs stocked by Waterstones and National Trust, with a focus on the benefits of online selling and licensing....
Speaking of online selling and licensing...those were two of the things I spoke about at a recent gathering of West Country, Creative Women In Business hosted by Kindred Rose.
I was a little nervous about giving the talk as it had been at least nine years since I had done anything like that. Thankfully, the event was brilliantly organised by my friend Helen, who put me completely at ease, and with my previous career being in advertising, I'm no stranger to board rooms, power point and presentations...and although a little rusty on all of the above, I soon got back in the swing. This was far more enjoyable than any presentation I had ever been a part of before though, as this was sharing what I know, love and believe in with a room filled with warm and wonderful creative ladies. Before and after my talk I had the chance to chat to a few and listen to a great talk by Liz Oram of Love Local and came away feeling inspired and very encouraged. I hope that my talk helped to inspire and encourage others, like they have for me.
I firmly believe that stepping up and sharing a bit of what you have learnt along the way holds the greatest rewards of all. I got a real buzz whilst I was delivering my talk when I saw people actually making notes about what I was saying!! That to me, has made every struggle, every late night, early morning and every financial sacrifice, completely worth it because it means what I went through may prevent someone else with a similar vision or dream not having to ...and yet still end up thriving in business....and what a wonderful gift to be able to give that is!