Getting down to business

Image courtesy of jakeandlindsay

While this blog is somewhere for us to say ‘hello’, show off new designs and share inspiration on all things arty, vintage and handmade, we also intend to use it as a place to document the start and (hopeful) progression of our little handmade business.

We’re not even really a business yet, and the thought of beng one fills us with equal amounts of excitement and trepidation (ok, so maybe tipped 40/60 in favour of fear right now!), but think of this as the first step.

This is us saying “hello world, we’re here”. Cause if we saying it then there are no excuses, we have to do it, right?

We sort of hope that by documenting our journey and sharing useful bits of information on starting a small creative business as we find it, we can help and inspire other people to do the same.

The hardest thing we’ve found is making the leap from making things by hand as a hobby (purely because we love it) to doing it as a business. For example, a trip to the local fabric shop is no longer a free for all kid-in-the-sweetie-shop kind of affair. Now we have to think well how much do I need and what can I make from it? What are my margins? And other such serious stuff.

And the thing is, you don’t learn that stuff at school. Some say you’re born with ‘it’ (that entrepreneurial/business mind) and too many people have told us that creative people just don’t have it (fooey!) But we’re discovering that it can be learnt with a lot of time, a ton of patience and something known as trial and error. You just don’t know what will work until you get started.

However, if you’re thinking of starting your own creative business, you’re not alone. There are many of us out there, and there is a whole host of support available, both online and in the ‘real world’.

In need of a little guidance, we signed up for a one day start up course with the Women’s Organistaion, a group who promote entrepreneurship amongst women in the Greater Manchester and Merseyside area.

They run free courses on business planning, PR, marketing, tax and bookkeeping; invaluable skills for any novice business owner. Plus, you get a business adviser to talk your ideas throughwith and some nice freebies.

But the best thing about it was meeting other people who are also starting out; from people about to open shops and cafes to others still trying to find the right business idea for them, people at all different points in their lives and careers. And despite the diversity of our businesses, everyone could lend support, encouragement and insight to everyone else’s ideas – and that is something that can’t be bought!

If you’re looking for help in getting your idea off the ground, check with your local council’s business development team or local Business Link to see what help and events are available to you in your area. They’re often free so you have nothing to lose by checking them out.

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