Its the end of the week, Im tired both mentally and physically. I just want a quiet weekend in front on the fire watching shit telly and drinking merlot.
Don’t get me wrong, I love running my business. Yeah I have the freedom to work the hours I want, take a holidays when I want and the money is good. But running a biz is bloody hard work. I am probably classed as a rebel by definition, truth is I can’t work in a normal job. I hate being shoe-horned into a 9-5. I get bored really really easily when I can’t be creative, I have an employment history on my CV which spans about 3 pages of A4 to prove it. I’ve gone against the grain and whilst other people my age are settled into cosy jobs and family life, I’m nurturing my growing business which is picking up momentum on a daily basis.
My business is my baby, I have literally given birth and now I’m watching it grow into something quite fantastic. I love networking with people who run their own businesses: I love talking business – you always have something in common with those crazy, risk taking, creative individuals who have had the courage to go it alone and not rely on someone else for a pay-check.
In your average 9-5 you take on the duties that are outlined on the job description that is given you. You down tools at your allotted time and piss off and leave the job behind you when the working day is done. You have your weekends off to enjoy socialising, spending time with family or generally doing nothing work related. My problem is I can’t switch off. Sometimes I feel guilty for doing ‘nothing’ which leads to putting more pressure on myself. I’ll then get my Macbook out to do some research or list more products on Etsy or notonthehighstreet or do some more designing or scribbling notes about new ideas and products. Always something to be getting on with.
I work on my own, from home. I don’t have anyone to make me a brew, buy the biscuits or bounce creative ideas off. I don’t have a Christmas do and theres no one to call when I want to ring in sick. I have to self motivate myself to do the shitty jobs, I can’t pass them onto the office idiot. I am responsible for the running and smooth sailing of this ship and no-one to blame when something goes tits up.
All in all, my current responsibilities are, but not limited to:
- Researcher: Staying abreast of current trends. Yes reading magazines provide me with a good grasp of what the kids are getting down with these days.
- Designer: I’m a horse rider by trade and 3 years ago wouldn’t have been able to turn on a Mac if you asked me to. Learning Illustrator and Photoshop has been like learning another language. I sometimes find it super frustrating when I can’t get the ideas out of my head and onto the screen.
- Product Developer: Making sure my products are fit for purpose and are something people will want and buy.
- Social Media Apprentice: This is a constant learning curve for me, FB are a pain in the arse and literally hide your business page unless you pay to advertise or ‘boost’ posts. I’m learning to engage people to convert them into customers, whilst learning to target the correct people in the first place.
- Order Taker: Accepting, making and packaging the products.
- Stock Taker: A particular bug-bear of mine. Now I don’t want to run out of medium sized royal blue racer-back t-shirts, but on the other hand I don’t want to be staring at a massive pile of them either when the orders for these just aren’t transpiring.
- Customer Services: An especially exhausting job role around the Christmas period when customers are demanding their orders were delivered yesterday.
- Vinyl & Screen Printer: Yes, the main part of my daily life: personalising & printing the products.
- Odd-jobs Person: Printer ink or milk run out? Who do you call? Me.
- Orderer: This takes time time time. Especially if they are the hand made products or the products I design myself. Work out what fabric you need, research better prices, order it. The same goes for zips, toggle ends, ribbon, labels. Theres then the research and ordering of envelopes, paper, dispatch notes, ink, vinyl, even sellotape.
- Material Cutter: At busy times I have been known to ask friends to give me their time in exchange for my products. Good swaps.
- Copy & Product Description Writer: I am not a word smith, this takes up a lot of my frustrated time.
- Website Designer & HTML Editor: This has found itself at the bottom of my to-do, though it should be at the top.
- Fundraiser: It took me about 12 months to get a local grant.
- Book Keeper and Accountant: HATE.
- Stylist & Prop Hunter: For decent product photography. Its the pictures that essentially sell the product. No good having a great product description and shit photos.
- Photographer: More than just point and press. Theres a lot of buttons on a Canon 7D. The light has to be correct. The props have to work. The angle had to be just so.
- Photograph Editor: Sorting out the balance, size of the file and cropping into a relevant shape for my online shops. Then posting these round all my social media channels.
- Online Marketing & PR Manager: If people don’t know my business exists, how are they going to buy my products? How do I find these people?!?!?! How do they find me?!?!
- SEO Executive: Its like a black art. I need to do more reading and research on this.
A Business Owner is a title, not a job description. Want something doing, ask a busy person. Oh, wait, ask me! I know all this work won’t last forever, just like Oprah said:
I also like to spend a few minutes every morning writing my to-do list for the day, most of which has been transferred from the day before. I then prioritise this so the most important or boring jobs get completed first. I also write another to-do list: one for ME. Items have included: having a bath with a glass of prosecco (yep, even on a Monday night), going on the sun-bed (sorry) or something simple like going for a run down to the river and back. I’ve also got into the habit of ordering myself bits and bobs online every now and then so I have some happy post to open. I normally forget I’ve ordered it so its a nice little surprise to know that I’m thinking about myself!
Right, on that note I need to get some orders done & get to the post office & then it will be an acceptable time to have a glass (read that as bottle) of wine! Happy weekend everyone, don’t work too hard!
*Newest Prod: ‘I was normal two cats ago‘ sweater
*Currently listening to: Raleigh Ritchie
*Reading: Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe. Needed to read something with comedy value that wasn’t business related this time!
*Whats fab? The #marchmeetthemaker Instagram Challenge! Absolutely LOVING seeing a glimpse into the lives of other small business owners! Check out Jacqui from Print for Love of Wood – her photos are fab as are her beautiful products!
*Current Inspo: Anyone who can hand letter, oh well practise makes perfect….. 😉