Happy Monday, dear readers. I promised you a break from the incessant talking about Tracy Anderson, frozen treats, and calories. (Although, if you wanted to know, today I did half an hour of Tracy’s cardio, and I nearly died, but I still love her, and I also made some frozen yogurt, and…oh. Ok.)
No, today, I am going to talk about something a bit different. Ah yes. The small business. I never thought that a year on from working in a call centre, and 6 months after working as an ad agency drone, I’d be doing what I’m doing: designing and making my own jewellery, and building my own website to sell from online. The ideas just slowly clicked into place – my course in fashion design at Central St Martins, my love of all things techie, my obsessive love of fashion, my strong convictions about how to promote yourself as a company, my strict aesthetic tastes….Combine that with the fact that I can NEVER find the jewellery I want to wear, and you’ve got it. Bingo.
Now, I’m not kidding myself. We’re in a double dip recession, apparently (‘sounds yums’ as Giles Wemmbley Hogg says), the luxury market is holding firm but it’s the small retailers who get hit, the people who make and sell their own things, etc etc. Ebay has become a complete buyers market. Everything is disaster. Doom, gloom, sob. I’m keeping expectations low – I don’t for one moment think I’ll be able to make enough to live on, and equally, I wouldn’t want this to be the only thing I do.
But setting apart the thorny issue of money, the things I have learnt in the past couple of months have been infinitely more valuable than what I learnt in any job so far. I didn’t realise how much I’d have to learn. I sat, furrowed of brow and square eyed, working out how to install WordPress onto my domain name. I learnt technical terms I’d never come across before. With the help of Youtube, I worked hard at learning how to build a website that looked the way I wanted, as opposed to using the disastrous Website Builder that came with my domain name. I had a specific idea of what I wanted, and I wasn’t going to stop until I got there.
It’s been infinitely more hard than I expected. I’ve worked for 16 hours straight, not moving from my computer screen. My head is full of ideas and thoughts, and I’ve long since sacrificed a good night of sleep for my overactive imagination. I’ve had to be everything, designer, maker of the jewellery, stylist, photographer, website builder, PR girl, and all before the website has even launched! Despite the fact that I no longer go into an office to work, I’ve worked more than double the hours of my former, exhausting Account Exec role. I work most of the weekend, and when I come offline I still work on things on my phone. Or sketch a design. Or start planning my next collection. Or work some costs out.
And this is for THE TINIEST BUSINESS IN THE WORLD! I have so much respect for anyone who does this, because it is TOUGH. I’ve started reading all those articles on young people who’ve started up a company, on a scale much bigger than me, and it’s very inspiring. And there are loads of you out there! I know, because I follow a lot of you on Twitter!
Despite the hard work, I’ve kept powering on because ultimately, I get the final say in everything. I haven’t ever had this kind of freedom in my working life. Should that header be Century Gothic? I say yes. I’ll change it. Don’t like the copy on one page? No worries, I’ll change it. I choose the way everything looks, feels, reads. Yes, I’m a complete control freak. But it’s intoxicating. I love doing it. I want to keep doing it. I can be as creative or ‘out there’ as I like, and there’s no one standing over me to reign me in (hopefully, this is a good thing!)
Every day in the UK, I hear bad news about unemployment figures for young people. This is the time to try something different. I don’t want to get into a full time office job and be all fidgety because I didn’t do what I wanted when I had the chance. I’ve learned more new skills doing this than I know what to do with, and it’s helped me understand which sides of a business I’m better at, and which I need help with. I’ve had fantastic support from friends, not least of all my wonderful friend Mikey who waded in when I was about to break the internet, and saved the day.
So, for all of you entrepreneurs out there, I think you’re ace. Let me know what you do, and how you’ve found it.