Welcome to another Small Business Update with Stevie Maiden from Maidens Fayre. We first met Stevie in June 2013, when she was busy running a small business Facebook group and building up her jams, chutneys and pickles business, and did an update in July 2014. At that point, this was her plan: “I’m hoping to start to supply tea rooms and restaurants who understand the value of a good, homemade product. I already have a few interested, but I won’t jinx it by saying who :] I’m hoping this will enable me to cut down on events, give me a set time to cook, and maybe give me a day to myself during the week. Sigh: I can always dream.” It’s really difficult to cut down when you’re self-employed and carve out that time for yourself, so let’s see how she’s been doing …
Hi again, Stevie! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
I’m not quite where I wanted to be a year ago. I supply a couple of tea rooms and more shops, but I’m still eventing almost every weekend.
However, I now realise that this is where I do a lot of networking, so it’s probably for the best.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
What has stayed the same? There are still not enough hours in the day! I’m working at least 6 days a week, although I try REALLY hard to take a day off. I rarely get a whole one.
My perspective has changed. I love my work and still really enjoy it. Although I have had to accept that a social life is out of the question right now.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I have learned to take costings into account. I can no longer just make something because I want to. It needs to be cost effective. It’s made me a little bit sad.
I’ve also learned that the negative attention I was attracting last year doesn’t go away. In fact, the more successful you become. the more of a magnet you are for this kind of attention. You just have to put your big girl pants on and not get involved.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Hints & tips? When booking an event always ask about advertising what the footfall is expected to be etc. I run an online community called ‘The Second City Craft Group‘. We are always happy to try to answer any questions you may have about starting out. Also, be NICE to people. You may find you’re spending most weekends with the same people.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
This time next year I hope to be making more effective use of my time. Being your own boss IS fantastic, but it’s also completely exhausting. I also hope to be talking to you again!
I’m glad we ended on a positive there! It is hard work being your own boss; I’ve written lots on here about how to refine your client base and say no, but it’s hard when you rely on getting out there and selling to shops and on stalls – I’d welcome input from other people who do this and have some hints about how to make it work WITH your life instead of INSTEAD of your life!
You can find Stevie online on the Maidens Fayre Facebook page and get in touch with her there.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.