RSS

Search results for ‘mel carpenter’

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

It’s a big hello to Mel Carpenter again today – Mel never stands still (literally) as she is an exercise and fitness guru who is always updating and pivoting and refining her business models – and good for her, as it’s easy to become complacent and stuck in a rut. You can find her at Cardio Central and The Mummy Trainer and she also runs a printing company with her husband, Fullfit. We first met Mel in February 2013 and then updated in February 2014, March 2015 and May 2016. Last year, she wanted to be here by now: “With a Teacher Training programme that’s up and running and providing me with an income! I’m still planning on opening that studio and I would love for it to be next year as I turn 40!” I guessed things would have changed in the meantime and I was correct: read on to find out more and pick up some good hints and tips!

Hello again, Mel! I hesitate to ask this one …Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Whenever you ask me that question, the answer is always no, lol!

Well – I am now a Personal Trainer, I’m also a Fitness Tutor and I do have my own Fitness Programme and it is launching very soon (I’m very excited)!

I don’t have my studio yet but I am still 40 for another 10 months so it could still happen in that time frame!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’m still teaching classes, although my timetable is more varied now and I have instructors that teach for me regularly.

I still run the printing company with my husband and I now have my own Clothing Label called ‘Beatz’!

I don’t blog much on The Health Carpenter anymore, that’s due to The Mummy Trainer picking up speed, which I am very happy about!

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I’ve learned a lot about websites, I now do 95% of my own website updates (my husband is relieved) and I’m concentrating on learning more about analytics (totally not 2016 me!)!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Learn as much as you can! I’m always studying, whether it be a course or books that I’ve bought on a particular subject! Continuous education is key when you are self-employed!

Also, Network, Network, Network!

I’ve started going to local networking meetings and I’ve recently joined an online mastermind group called Atomic (run by a Content Marketing Duo called Andrew and Pete).

My next goal is to be a speaker at these events, here’s hoping I can confirm that next year!

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

Still studying, still working and still striving to be the best that I can be!

Those are good aims, aren’t they! The exercise industry is something that is constantly changing, unlike my world, where a new use of a word form can take years to catch on. But whatever industry we’re in, it’s always wise to keep up to date and keep learning from the people and events around us.

 

www.cardiocentral.co.uk
www.themummytrainer.co.uk

www.Fullfit.co.uk

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. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 1, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

We’re welcoming the always energetic Mel Carpenter back to the blog today – she is an exercise and fitness guru with her current businesses being Cardio Central, The Health Carpenter, The Mummy Trainer and B3 Boot Camp. We first met Mel in February 2013 and then updated in February 2014 and March 2015. At that point, her goal for the next year was, “I hope for my husband to be working for the businesses we have full time (he still has a day job at the moment and that’s tough) and to be the go to company for brands, for all things fitness!” Fitness is a trend-led business area in many ways, and Mel is constantly having to keep up and readjust her plans, so let’s see what she’s been up to in the past year!

Hello, again, Mel! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago (I bet you’re not – in a good way!)?

No! Life is constantly changing for me and I tend to go with the flow if the diversion feels right. I’m a great believer in gut instinct and its served me well so far!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’m no longer a trainer for the Clubbercise Brand but I am still quite involved with them. I still teach classes and I still run the printing company that my husband and I launched when we last spoke (it’s doing really well still)!

I’m currently working on my own fitness concept, I launched it a few weeks ago and have had resounding success! I’m now working on turning the class into a teacher-training programme.

I also write a fitness column for my local paper and have been featured in several high-profile fitness publications, both online and in print!

My blog, The Health Carpenter is doing pretty well, although I don’t blog as often as I should and I’m in the process of shaping another blog called The Mummy Trainer.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

How much studying I was going to be doing! I am finally training to be a PT (my exam is in June) but I am now a Pre/Post Natal Specialist, a Children’s Fitness Instructor and a Gym Instructor (passed my exam on Saturday)!

I’ve also learnt to have more faith in my abilities as an instructor and a creator of programs. The programme I launched a couple of weeks ago was simple in its format but took elements of different programmes/experience that I’ve gained in the Fitness Industry, it’s going really well, I couldn’t be happier!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Try, try and try again! If we were successful at everything we tried the first time, the world would be a pretty boring place with no challenges! Don’t be scared to do something that scares you!

BONUS NEW QUESTION: What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?

What motivated you/kept you going when things seemed too difficult to continue?

I think everyone should ask themselves that question as I think the answer makes you realize how hard you are willing to work to reach your goals!

I wish someone had asked me that a few years ago, it wasn’t until I had my children that I realised that everything I do, I do for them!

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

With a Teacher Training programme that’s up and running and providing me with an income! I’m still planning on opening that studio and I would love for it to be next year as I turn 40!

I love Mel’s updates, she’s always so busy looking at new ventures and helping others and her family. Her business development is a real contrast to some of the more fixed work areas – like mine – but it’s ALWAYS good to keep looking at what you and others are offering and making sure you’re staying current, or optimising your work flow (I’ve recently started working with a couple more ghostwriters, which gives me large chunks of work with longer deadlines and more control over my days). We wish Mel every success in the year she works up to turning 40 – I wonder what she’ll be doing this time next year!

All those websites …

www.cardiocentral.co.uk
www.thehealthcarpenter.co.uk
www.themummytrainer.co.uk
www.b3bootcamp.co.uk

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. 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 14, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

Welcome to another Small Business Update, this time with Mel Carpenter, who’s in the fitness business and is currently concentrating on developing her two businesses that work around the industry, Fit 4 Print and FullFit , as well as working with the www.clubbercise.com brand and running her own classes under the Cardio Central umbrella. We first met Mel in February 2013 and then updated in February 2014. At that point, her goal for the next year was, “Definitely to qualify as a Personal Trainer, but I want to specialise as a trainer in a particular field. I love to present, so I know that I will be doing more of that. My next big goal is to own my own dance studio, so we will see!” Mel’s very energetic and entrepreneurial, so I really wasn’t sure what she’d be up to be now – let’s find out what’s going on …

Hello, Mel, and welcome back! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Well, i’m not a Personal Trainer but i am a Pro Trainer for a very exciting Dance Fitness program called Clubbercise! My job is to train new instructors and present the brand at various fitness events across the country and occasionally internationally when the demand arises. Here’s a description: If you like the idea of a fitness class that feels more like a night out than a workout you’ll LOVE Clubbercise®, Fun, easy-to-follow dance fitness routines using rave glow sticks to club anthems from 90′s classics to the latest chart hits taught in a darkened room with disco lights.

I have also set up a printing business (its called called Fit 4 Print) and a fulfilment company (specialising in the Dance & Fitness Industry) called FullFit with my husband. Both companies are doing extremely well, and it’s all keeping us very busy!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I no longer run UK Bokwa Gear but i do now manage the merchandise for three major Dance & Fitness Brands: Clubbercise, The Jungle Body and Metafit under my fulfilment company (see above answer). I’m still teaching classes, (I merged my classes under the new name Cardio Central as the variety of classes we teach has grown significantly over the last year) although I’ve scaled back as the businesses need my attention, as do our children 🙂

What have you learned?

To be more organised, OMG! I am now a lover of To Do Lists and i use several life-saving apps on my phone to ensure i can keep track of what I’m doing and where i need to be! Although at times I must admit that I still feel like I’m running around like a headless chicken!

What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

How busy things were going to get! It;s a real fight to get things done and still have quality family time, it doesn’t always work out, but we know that our businesses are growing and we are providing a future for our children, so it’s a case of grinning and bearing it at times.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Don’t be afraid to Follow your Dreams and know that the path to success is not a straight one! Perseverance is key and so is Persistence! If I were not a persistent little so and so, I would not be where I am today!

And … where do you see yourself and your business(es!) in a(nother) year’s time?

I hope for my husband to be working for the businesses we have full time (he still has a day job at the moment and that’s tough) and to be the go to company for brands, for all things fitness!

Wow – I feel like I’ve done a Monday morning workout just reading about Mel’s life at the moment. The fitness industry is always changing so Mel has to change with it – I think branching out into support services with her printing and fulfilment companies will eventually offer a point of stability in this ever-shifting world. It’s really important if you work for yourself to keep doing the stuff you loved doing enough to start out in the first place, so I’m glad Mel’s keeping up with her teaching still. And it’s lovely to see the family working towards having both Mel and her husband working full-time for the business. I’d like to say that this is the slightly frantic phase before full maturity hits and you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours a  bit, but I’m not sure Mel’s the type to do that, and I’d like to bet she’ll still be running around this time next year. But in a very organised way, of course – hooray for To Do lists! Good luck, Mel!

Here’s where you can find all those different businesses of Mel’s online – contact details can be found on each website: Cardio Central – www.cardiocentral.co.uk, Clubbercise – www.clubbercise.com, Fit 4 Print – www.fit4print.co.uk , Fullfit – www.fullfit.co.uk

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. 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

mugs Today’s small business chat update features a big surprise for my interviewee, but she’s not been diverted too far from her plans, just put them back a little! Read on to find out more … 

I first interviewed Mel Carpenter from Zumba Central and UK Bokwa Gear in February 2012 and when I asked her where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied, “I hope to be qualified as a personal trainer, with a growing client base. I also hope to continue to build the merchandising brand for Bokwa in the UK“. How did she get on in the past year?

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Not exactly: my plan to become a Personal Trainer had to be put on hold, as I now have a new baby son! I did become more involved in events management for the dance fitness brand that I work with. I ran a very successful event in Birmingham last May, with over 800 people in attendance! I also had the opportunity to become more involved in presenting at these events, which has been an amazing experience.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I am currently on maternity leave (my son is only 8 days old at the time of writing this). In addition to the fitness clothing business growing, I’m now a qualified fitness instructor, as well as becoming more involved in events management, another passion of mine.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I have learned a lot about the fitness industry, It’s a fast-paced environment (not dissimilar to the dance industry), and there are a lot of opportunities for someone with my skill set. I wish I’d known i was going to become a mom again so I could have planned a bit better! But I’m certainly not complaining!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Do not be scared to just go for it and put yourself out there! Opportunities arise all of the time, you just have to fight for them a lot of the time, and have faith in yourself, no matter how big or small you think your goal is.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

Definitely to qualify as a Personal Trainer, but I want to specialise as a trainer in a particular field. I love to present, so I know that I will be doing more of that. My next big goal is to own my own dance studio, so we will see!

Well, that was a bit of a surprise for Mel, and we congratulate her on the new addition to her family! It’s pretty dedicated to be writing up your small business chat update while looking after a very new baby: just shows what a tough and persistent bunch my interviewees are. She’s right on the new opportunities front – sometimes they come to you and sometimes you have to fight for them, but it’s always worth looking at them and embracing changes that could benefit you and your business in the long run. I’m sure that Mel will achieve her goals this year, and look forward to hearing about her dance studio and new endeavours this time next year!

You can find Mel online at www.ukbokwagear.com and www.ukbokwa.com or email her. Phone on 07980 154 139.

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 book, Going It Alone At 40: How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Mel Carpenter

Welcome to Small Business Chat with Libro. I can’t believe we’ve been running these chats for over 18 months now. Do pop a comment on any that you find particularly interesting or helpful. And are you enjoying the update posts?

Today we’re meeting Mel Carpenter from Zumba Central. Now, I could say that I prefer the purity of running and the personal battle with the weights, but truth be told, I am so hopelessly uncoordinated that I would bring havoc to a Zumba class. But, I know many, many people who love dance exercise and who have got much fitter and probably happier as a result of taking Zumba classes, and I think that’s absolutely brilliant – anything that increases the amount of fitness and fun in the population is good in my books. Mel is full of energy and enthusiasm, picking up on the latest ideas and incorporating them into her business – what a good example of moving along with your business and (literally) never standing still!

What’s your business called? When did you set it up?

I run various dance fitness businesses; the branding is similar: Zumba Central is a team of Zumba Instructors who I have trained who run classes across Birmingham (I launched this in October 2009), as is Bokwa Central (launched in March 2011).

Salsa Central is an online Latin Music magazine that I run with my fiancé (we started in July 2007). We actively promote live music and Latin dance events in the UK and around the globe.

Finally, my latest venture is UK Bokwa Gear (launched November 2011); again, I run this with my fiancé, and we are the official distributors for Bokwa clothing in the UK.

And Breathe!!

What made you decide to set up your own business?

Dance was initially a hobby for me. I started dancing salsa in February 1999, and absolutely loved it! I then had the opportunity to start teaching in December 1999, and it all took off from there really! With Zumba (I qualified in October 2009), as I was already teaching Latin dance, it was a natural progression for me to move into that area as it involved teaching dance styles I already taught. With Bokwa, (another Dance Fitness style), I was interested in it as it was relatively new and I liked the high energy style of exercise.

What made you decide to go into this particular business area?

With Zumba, it was a niche market that not many people were qualified in; two salsa students mentioned it to me, so I saw an opportunity and I took it. As mentioned above, I’d already been teaching Latin dance for a decade, so it was a natural progression for me. It was the same with Bokwa, I saw it as a new Dance Fitness style that wasn’t yet in the public eye, so I thought I would get in quick!

Had you run your own business before?

I’d taught salsa before as a freelance instructor, but never anything as detailed as when I launched my own Zumba business.

How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going?

I taught salsa alongside my day job for nearly ten years (Zumba for 2.5 years) before the birth of my daughter. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her to go back to work, so I handed my notice in and took that big step into self-employment!

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

You can do this! I wish I had known someone who ran their own business back then, now I know loads of people! Maybe I would’ve taken the plunge sooner.

What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?

You can do this! I definitely would’ve encouraged myself to take more risks, not to be scared to try and fail.

What do you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I’d done it sooner, I bet you hear that a lot! [yes!]

What are you glad you did?

I’m glad I listened to my students who told me to check out Zumba! I have a lot to thank them for, they put me on the path that opened so many doors and completely changed my career path, I used to work in HR!

What’s your top business tip?

Speak to as many people as you can! I am always networking, whether I’m working at an event, or on the bus! Also, market yourself as much as you can! You have to talk yourself up, even when you don’t feel like it!

How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?

I have definitely grown, I am now qualified to teach Bokwa, I also went to college and took my PTTLS qualification (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector) so that I could learn how to write and deliver courses. I am currently training to be a Fitness Instructor so I can move into the Fitness Arena.
I’ve also diversified, I am now the Official Distributor for Bokwa merchandise in the UK, so I’ve had to learn about importing stock, it’s keeping me very busy!

Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?

I hope to be qualified as a personal trainer, with a growing client base. I also hope to continue to build the merchandising brand for Bokwa in the UK.

All exciting stuff, and I wonder what the next big thing in Dance Fitness will be – I bet Mel’s introducing it to the Midlands when we catch up with her next year! Read about Mel’s rather surprising year here.

Find out more – Zumba: www.zumba-central.com Bokwa www.bokwa-central.com
Salsa: www.salsa-central.com UK Bokwa Gear www.ukbokwagear.com

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Business, New skills, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: , ,

Small business chat – Nicky Lloyd Greame

mugs Today we’re saying hello to another new interviewee – Nicky Lloyd Greame from personal and business coaching and mentoring organisation People & Potential. She came to me via another interviewee, dance fitness entrepreneur Mel Carpenter – it’s always nice when one of my interviewees shares with others that they’ve found this a useful process both for their personal development and for their web presence! Nicky came from a position where she’d run her own businesses before and, back in the corporate environment, wanted that freedom that self-employment brings. She took positive action for herself, and now concentrates on helping other people to take positive action for themselves, too, which must be a lovely satisfying job to have! Let’s meet Nicky and see how she got where she is today and where she plans to go from here …

Welcome, Nicky! What’s your business called? When did you set it up?

My business is called People & Potential and I started it at the beginning of this year, 2014.

What made you decide to set up your own business?

I have run my own businesses previously, (salsa teaching and events companies – for eight years)  but went back to a ‘normal’ job at the end of 2010 as was feeling like I needed more of a challenge, and also experienced an element of social pressure to conform to the norm and get a regular job.  Juggling being a full-time single parent with a full-time job proved to be very difficult and stressful, so I started looking at other options.

What made you decide to go into this particular business area?

After three years back in the corporate world, I began to feel unhappy, and sadly went through a series of experiences which led to severe stress, anxiety and depression.  After collapsing in hospital, I decided I had to take positive action  – for me and my daughter – so began an intense journey of self-development.  I quickly realised that the key similarities in all of the jobs/roles I’d enjoyed was helping and coaching people. This became my key focus and I’ve never looked back!

Had you run your own business before?

Yes – I ran two businesses in the past.  My first business, an events management business in London, only lasted about a year, but my second business, ‘The Salsaholics’ lasted for 10 years (in fact, I still have a number of loyal customers who I still train privately.  I also now coach dance professionals in all aspects starting up a business  – from what language to use when teaching to the practical aspects of running a successful business).

How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?

I must admit, I took a bit of a risk – I quit my job (following a motivational conference I attended – during which I realised I HAD to commit to my dream) and put all my energy into getting it off the ground.  I also got a lot of help from the Enterprise Allowance Scheme run by the government. They provided me with free courses, a business advisor and a business start-up loan – along with a weekly allowance for 13 weeks to help me launch my business properly.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

That it really is not as scary as you think it will be… quite the opposite – its exhilarating. The fear we build up in our heads, whilst it can feel very real, is really unjustified.  You have to realise and accept that things will not go to plan, and it may feel like it’s going wrong – but that is your opportunity to pick yourself up and find another way.  And every time single time this has happened, I’ve always had a better result.

What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?

Don’t let your fears drive you – it’s truly astounding what you can achieve if you just take that first step.  And don’t give in to negative thoughts … if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself!

What do you wish you’d done differently?

I would have found a coach/mentor sooner … I now have three (for different aspects of my life) and it has transformed the way I do things/look at things – and they keep me on track, because despite anyone’s best efforts there will always be those days when panic, frustration, doubt or even fear sets in.

What are you glad you did?

Quit my job and followed my dream. I’ve never looked back – and my daughter tells me every day how much she prefers her mummy now she’s so much happier all the time. My work/life balance now is perfect, as I am in control of it.

What’s your top business tip?

Two things really:  Firstly, manage your time flexibly but effectively.  I diarise everything, including exercise, research, meditation and checking Facebook/social media (try to only do it twice a day otherwise before you know it you have wasted a few hours).  At the beginning of the week, I set myself general goals for the week – with a time allocation against each… and I review these each morning.  I find this works much better than setting daily goals and then getting frustrated when you can’t meet them.

Secondly – invest in yourself, both in terms of time and money.  Don’t underestimate the impact this can have on your work and home life. I am always learning and growing now – and I also give priority to meditating (just 15 mins a day), exercise and relaxing.  It IS NOT a waste of time – and if you are crazy busy it is actually even more important that you do it.  I get so much more done, and often better quality work done, when I have invested in myself.

How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?

My first thoughts are that I it has stayed the same – but actually it’s grown quite naturally and I am finding the opportunities and clients I really want to attract are coming my way.  My vision has always been to provide single parents with opportunities and help that is often not available to them, either due to money or time or even awareness – and this has been the bulk of my clients, despite me not specifically targeting them in my marketing. I am also a huge fan of joint ventures, and am finding that I’m meeting people weekly who have great synergies with the work I am doing and want to expand into … so I have a number of exciting joint venture projects in the pipeline.

Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?

I will have two or three books published (I am writing a series of self-help books for single parents – “Lessons from a Single Mum”) and I will be hosting regular workshops and events, in addition to growing my one-to-one client base. I also plan on being a guest speaker at key events empowering parents – particularly single parents.  My vision includes transforming the negative association people often have of single parents – eradicating stigma and celebrating their successes and achievements.

Nicky certainly has big plans for the future, but having turned her own life around, I’m sure she has fantastic theoretical and practical resources behind her to be able to build this area of business. I love the line “If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself” – how often should self-doubting or self-undermining businesspeople remind themselves of that?! Mentoring is so important, too, and I’m glad Nicky mentions that she has a mentor. I’m putting together a workbook to help readers of my books mentor themselves, as I get questions about providing mentoring services myself fairly frequently, and it’s great to see people realising that we can all work together and support one another in our business endeavours. Find out how Nicky was doing a year later here.

You can find Nicky and People & Potential onlline at www.PeopleAndPotential.com and you can email Nicky or call her on 0845 094 4093.

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. 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 19, 2014 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat – Ingrid Abraham

I’m happy to welcome Ingrid Abraham of Candid Creativity, an innovative photography company, to our chat over a cuppa this Saturday morning. Ingrid came to this series via a Facebook networking group where Mel Carpenter had been talking about her interview, and decided to submit her answers to me. I’m always happy to receive speculative interview responses, although I reserve the right to edit them or not to publish them at all if they’re not suitable, but of course Ingrid’s was eminently suitable and she has some very sensible things to say about starting a business in an economic downturn, and having fallen into the business, she shares lessons learned about marketing plans and NOT playing safe!

Read on to find out more …

What’s your business called? When did you set it up?

I established Candid Creativity in January 2010.

What made you decide to set up your own business?

Ironically, I think that setting up a business in the middle of a recession is a good move because it’s a viable alternative to employment due to job shortages.

What made you decide to go into this particular business area?

I’ve been a very keen photographer since the age of seven, and based on the quality of some of the work I’ve seen, I believe I have something different (and better) to offer.

Had you run your own business before?

N,o but my background is in accountancy so I’ve learned a lot from the business people I’ve worked with over the years

How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?

I took voluntary redundancy, not to start a business, but just because I needed to escape! My original plan was to indulge myself with a few months of travel and photography and then return to full-time employment.
However, I started getting more and more photography bookings which then convinced me that I could really make a go of it.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

Get to grips with marketing – make a list of potential marketing strategies which can be developed as the business evolves.

What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?

Don’t be afraid to turn work away!

What do you wish you’d done differently?

I wish that I’d been bolder right from the start, which is actually more in keeping with my personality. In my former careers I was far from conventional and that’s what made me successful, but I started my business by playing safe, which actually slowed my initial growth.

What are you glad you did?

I chose my business name carefully, got a professionally designed logo and established my brand.

What’s your top business tip?

Network or die!

How has it gone since you started?

I’ve only ever previously worked in full-time employment, so it’s been scary at times. Having to source my own work and not having a guaranteed income was a major shock to the system.  On reflection, I’ve experienced continuous growth, although it was slow at first, so I have a lot to be thankful for.

Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?

I have grown in terms of workload, but I’ve fine-tuned my services. I have chosen to specialise in weddings, portraits and events – less is more.

Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?

I’ve had photographs published in national newspapers and magazines, but I want to be more established closer to home, exhibiting at local wedding fairs and to being the preferred photographer for a few local event promoters. I want to see my work regularly appearing on clients’ blogs, websites and social media. I’m also a qualified teacher, so I  want to set up regular photography workshops aimed at teenagers.

It looks like Ingrid’s got some exciting plans there – I particularly like the idea of the photography workshops for teenagers. More and more photographs are taken every year, and it’s a great hobby for young people. It’s interesting to see Ingrid refining her offering as she goes along – we’re all guilty of taking on too much and too wide a portfolio at the beginning, and refinement and optimisation is the way I’ve gone, too.

You can find some of Ingrid’s amazing images on her website at www.candidcreativity.com. You can email Ingrid or phone her on 07961 217 795.

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. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my new book, Going It Alone At 40: How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment.

 
 

Tags: , ,

All the small business interviews

Fith

Here’s a list of all the freelance/small business interviews I’ve done. The idea? I interview a small business owner with a set of questions, then come back to them in a year’s time to see how they’re doing.

They’re in the order of their original interviews, but you can use Control-F if you want to look for a specific name, business name or business type, or just have a browse!

Note: I don’t know if all of these people are still in business and I am not responsible for any relationships you enter into with any of them as a result of seeing them here. Failure to submit a second interview does not imply they have gone out of business.

If you would like to take part in this interview series, here are the questions and how to submit them.

Carl Nixon – Excel Expert – excel services – First interview Second interview Third interview

Shamus Doherty – Shasar Telemarketing – telemarketing – First interview

Dave Bradburn – Opus Creative Design – graphic design – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Leila Rashid – The Writing Den – writing – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview Sixth interview

Alison Neale / Alison Thompson – The Proof Fairy – proofreading – First interview Second interview Third interview  Fourth interview Fifth interview

Aly Mead – Silicon Bullet – accounts IT support – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Matt Welvaert – Lean Marketing – marketing – First interview Second interview  Third interview Fourth interview

Matthew Marron – Matthew Marron – graphic design – First interview Second interview

Andrew Donnelly – iphonemobileapp – phone apps – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Nigel Grant – More Profit For You – management consultancy – First interview Second interview Third interview

Mike Doherty – Understanding eCommerce – ecommerce services – First interview

Zoe Austin – Zoe Austin Music & Therapy – music teaching – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Nathan Littleton – Future Visions – web design – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Andy Warner-Simpson – A.S Photography – photography – First interview Second interview Third interview

Jules White (was Jules Thomas) – The Last Hurdle – business development – First interview Second interview Third interview

Simon Forder – RingHello – telemarketing – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview Sixth interview

Sharon Hawkins – Bee Spotted – social media marketing – First interview Second interview

Maxine Johnston – Personalised Parties – parties – First interview Second interview Third interview

Helen McPherson – Helen McPherson Hypnotherapy – hypnotherapy – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Neil Chandler – Yellowbelly Online – marketing – First interview

Lucy Scott – Admin & Errands – virtual assistant – First interview Second interview

Lucky Akinola – O’tega – dressmaking – First interview

Mike Orchard – Skills Hive – business directory – First Interview Second interview

Alison Perry – Purple Dog Network – online marketing – First interview Second interview

Jill Nielson / Judy Lawson – Last Minute Cottages – holiday cottages – First interview

Mohammed Zahir – Sabka Cleaning – cleaning – First interview

Liz Dexter (was Broomfield) – Libroediting – proofreading, editing, localisation – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Liz Light – Stage2 Youth Theatre – youth theatre – First interview Second interview

Bob Fowke – YouCaxton – publishing and print-on-demand – First interview Second interview Third interview   Fourth interview

Charles Davis – Professional Photography – photography – First interview Second interview

Aled Archer (was Al Hunter) – Auto Evolution – car services – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Sarah Lambert – SRL Admin Support – virtual assistant – First interview

Chrissie Metcalfe – Chrissie Metcalfe Recruitment – recruitment – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Gillian Linnell – GGL Pet Services – pet services – First interview Second interview

Dick Margulis – Dick Margulis Creative Services – book design – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview Sixth interview

Robert Hyde – Communyx Telecom – telecoms – First interview

Mick Brady – Denbigh Army Surplus – army surplus – First interview

Stephen Tiano – Stephen Tiano Book Services – book design – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview Sixth interview

Kaitlyn Hatch – Me First Life Coaching – life coach – First interview

Paul Brook – Paul Brook Mind Reader – entertainment – First interview Second interview

Mhairi Gordon-Preston – Suit-Free Business Help – business development – First interview

Harry Bingham – Writers’ Workshop – editing – First interview Second interview

Angela Wiseman – The Shetland Bunting Company – gifts and bunting – First interview

Annabelle Beckwith – Yara Consulting – training – First interview Second interview Third interview  Fourth interview

Tone Hitchcock – Anthony Hitchcock Art & Design – art and models – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Carol Ann Markham – Barristerlink – business directory – First interview

Kathy Ennis – Kathy Ennis – brand management, business development – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Sarah Rennie – Rennie Consulting – accessibility consultancy – First interview

Tammy Ditmore – eDitmore – editing – First interview Second interview  Third interview Fourth interview

Sarah Whitelock – Green Apple Communications – PR and communications – First interview Second interview Third interview

Sian Edwards – Edwards Translation – German-English translation – First interview

Cha Haxell – Large Cup Lingerie – clothing, bras – First interview Second interview

Sally Evans-Darby – Write Sense Media – writing, editing – First interview Second interview Third update

Marvin Edinborough – Marvin Edinborough – personal training – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Sally-Jayne Braisby – SJBTeaching – teaching and tutoring – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Jane Badger – Jane Badger Books – books and editing – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Yvonne Donald – Cupkakery – cupcakes – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Ruth Badley – Ruth Badley PR – PR – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Lindsay McLoughlin – Lindsay McLoughlin – proofreader – First interview Second interview Third interview

Nicole Adams – NYA Communications – translation and communications – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Jennifer Woracker – Twinkleballs – cake toppers – First interview Second interview Third interview

Cipher J.E.W.E.L.S. – Sankofa Arts – community development – First interview

Leigh-Ann Arundel – Jingle Jewellery – jewellery – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Victoria Burt – Bags of Loveliness – bags, gifts – First interview

Shelly Terry – Evelyn Mae – stationery, gifts – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview  Fifth interview

Mel Carpenter – Zumba Central – dance teaching – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Paul Alborough – Professor Elemental – rapping, entertainment – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Anastasia Wilson (was Bird) – Jellybean Home Decor & Gifts – gifts – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview  Fifth interview

Debbie Copas – Norfolk Coastal Holidays – holiday cottages – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

James Burton – JBB Sound – sound engineering – First interview

Samantha Higgs – Samantha Higgs Photography – photography – First interview  Second interview Third interview

Diane Grogan – Kanine Kampus – pet services – First interview Second interview Third interview

Ingrid Abraham – Candid Creativity – photography – First interview Second interview

Helen Earp – Sweetheart Designs – gifts – First interview  Second interview Third interview

Pat Wilkes – Starlight Gifts by Pat  – gifts – First interview  Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Stevie Maiden – Maidens Fayre – jams and chutneys – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview Fifth interview

Julia Walton – J. Walton Restoration – furniture and restoration – First interview Second interview Third interview

Rozelle Faulkner – The Indigo Chick – handmade candles – First interview

Sarah Goode – Pookledo – jewellery and gifts –  First interview Second interview

Simon Middleton – Great British Banjo Company – banjos – First interview Second interview Third interview

Joshua Danton Boyd – copywriter – First interview

Andrew Smith – Char Wallah – tea – First interview Second interview

Ellie Levenson – Fisherton Press – children’s book publisher – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Sophie Playle – Playle Editorial Services – editing and copy writing – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Safron Mitchelson – Safrolistics – jewellery – First interview

Karen White – White Ink – EFL editing – First interview Second interview Third interview

Karem Barratt – Journeying Soul – Spiritual counselling and coaching – First interview

Kath Kilburn – Three Bags Full – wool and knitting – First interview Second interview Third interview  Fourth interview

Suzi Brown (was Zobair) – Smart Bear Creative – Web design – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Sarah Hodgkins – Charlotte Designs – Murals – First interview Second interview

Nicky Lloyd Greame – People & Potential – Business coaching and mentoring – First interview Second interview Third interview

Lyndsey Michaels – Lyndsey Michaels Bid Writer – Bids and tenders – First interview Second interview Third interview Fourth interview

Lindsey Gordon – I Want Something … – Gifts – First interview

Jenny Woodberry – Miss Fighting Fit – Women’s Fitness – First interview Second interview

Jennifer Martin – Zest Business Consulting – Business Consultancy – First interview Second interview

Deborah Price – British Boxers – Boxers and Women’s Nightwear – First interview Second interview

Amelia Wilson – Amelia Wilson Editing – Editing and Localising – First interview Second interview Third interview

Katherine Findlay – Katherine Findlay Interpretation – History Interpretation – First interview

Sherry Blythe – Sherry Blythe, Virtual AssociateVirtual Assistant – First interview

Daniel Sodkiewicz – Royal Deer Design – Web Design – First interview Second interview Third interview

Sarah Banks – Sarah Banks Business Solutions – Website and Email Newsletter Design – First interview Second interview Third interview

Julia Kossowska and Sam Lowe – Magical Maths Birmingham – Maths Education for Kids – First interview Second interview

Susannah Davda – The Shoe Consultant – Online Footwear Store – First interview Second interview

Carrie Weekes and Fran Glover – A Natural Undertaking – Funeral Directors – First interview

Hannah Jones and Duncan Jones – Marine Discovery Penzance – Wildlife Tours – First interview Second interview

Matt Rose – Prestige Quoting – Quotewerks – First interview Second interview

Suz West and Alan West – SB Pet Sitting Service – Dog walking and pet sitting – First interview

Sara – Sara’s Parlour – Face painting and art services – First interview

Laura Hecht – Lau&Home – Craft supplies – First interview

Amanda Brown – Treasure Toyz – Contact number jewellery to make and keep – First interview

Dominic Irons – Bureau Direct – Stationery, notebooks and pens – First interview

Megan Ronan – Mind over Matter – Personal training and nutrition – First interview

Note: listing and interviewing these companies does not constitute an endorsement of their services and I am not responsible for any relationship you may enter into with any of them.

 

Small business chat questions – over to you!

Small business chat questions – over to you!

For a while now, I’ve been adding a special bonus question to my small business chat update posts: what would you like to ask other business owners? There have been some great questions and some lovely answers, too. Here I pull together some of the good ones and I bet a good few of my readers have some answers to them, whether you currently run a business, have been a freelancer or hang out with the self-employed crew – why not click on the link, go to the comments and add your answer?

Managing, growing and maintaining your business

How do we make more money … without diluting the principles that drove us to start this business in the way we did in the first place?

I’d like to know how many people use contracts with their clients and why they see them as a good idea

I’m a procrastinator. What do you do to motivate yourself and achieve things that you’d otherwise happily let slip down your to do list?

What’s the hardest part about running your business?

How are you staying up to date with changes taking place in your industry?

How do you keep the momentum going? Where do you get inspiration from to keep things fresh?

What’s the one thing you’ve done that has had the biggest impact on your everyday workday – whether it’s a strategy you employ or a piece of software you use?

Time management and work-life balance

How do you manage to maintain a healthy work/life balance? Do you have any secret tips, or links to articles or videos you can recommend?

How do you find time to do your work and also keep up with social media or other marketing tasks?

When you started out in business when did you start to take time off for holidays?

What are your tips for balancing work and family time?

How do you fit small business around a young family – especially if your baby isn’t a big day sleeper!

How do you maintain focus on your business when issues in your personal life are draining all your energy?

Have you ever thought about quitting? If so, how did you get to your ultimate decision (whether you carried on or did indeed quit) and do you feel like it was the right thing to do?

What motivated you when it seemed too difficult to continue?

Social media, advertising and lead generation

Do you feel your business gets any benefit from using Twitter?

Where do you get your leads from?

What medium of advertising to you find most useful in obtaining new customers and why?

How do you go about finding work if you’re having a quiet period?

What do you think is the most cost-effective way to get mass brand exposure to consumers?

Staff and success

What inexpensive ways are there to treat your staff?

How do you grow a team effectively and not damage the personal nature of your business?

How do you successfully delegate work? What tricks have you got for growing your business, but still retaining control?

If you were to recruit your first employee, what do you see as being the most important role you would need to recruit to move your business forward? Would it be a finance person, marketer, operations, etc.?

Miscellaneous

If you could plan the perfect week at your business what would it be like?

Are you ready to publish a book?

Seen a question that tickles your fancy, that you’re just itching to answer? Click on the link for your favourite question(s), go to the Comments and add your words of wisdom. I know the interviewee(s) you choose will be thrilled to hear from you (and I’ll display your URL by your answer, for that bit of extra exposure …)

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 19, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: , ,