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Small business chat update – Jane Badger

Small business chat update – Jane Badger

Hello this morning to Jane Badger from Jane Badger proofreading and editing (and she’s a writer, too!). Jane’s been with the interview series for a while now: we first chatted in November 2013 and updated for the first time in December 2014 when she’d gone full time with her editing work. After another update in January 2016 , we caught up most recently in February 2017, and at that point, this is where she wanted to be by now: “I’m hoping to have some local clients. The SfEP courses I did were really worthwhile, and my plan is to work on upgrading to advanced membership through doing more training courses, looking in particular at developing my editing skills. I will get the rights back to Heroines on Horseback, my book on pony books, later this year, so am investigating how I’m going to proceed with that. Whatever I do, it will be a steep learning curve, so I’m looking forward to that. The Society of Authors runs workshops on e-book publishing, so I’m planning on doing one of those.” Let’s see how she’s getting on …

Hello again, Jane! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

I do have some local clients, though there’s still more work to be done there.

I have done some of the training towards Professional membership of the SfEP (and passed the copy-editing exam, to my relief), but still need to do another course. I have an editing course run by the Publishing Training Centre in my sights. That is the one thing I need to do to upgrade as I have all the other requirements.

I was slightly side-tracked as I also did practical and theory exams in singing. They went well, thankfully, and I shan’t have to do any more music theory unless I find a sudden deep, burning desire to do so and can persuade my singing teacher that it will not be agony for us both. On balance, I think I’ll stick to the practical side.

I went to the Society of Authors workshop on e-book publishing, which was excellent – I can highly recommend. I also did one of their social media workshops, which was also very well worth doing, as it focused on doing things from an author’s point of view.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I have even more corporate work, which wasn’t quite the plan, but I’m going with it for the moment while I sort out the publishing side.

I’ve started up a local branch of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, which has been really good. It’s got me out of the house, for one thing, I’ve met some lovely people, and have learned a lot about both proofreading and self-publishing.

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

I’ve learned a lot on how to produce an e-book, and the differences between producing one that is fiction and one that is non-fiction (basically – pictures. The more pictures you have, the more Amazon charge you to upload, with a corresponding effect on your profit margin. I’m still experimenting with this). That and the cover are the last things I need to sort out with Heroines on Horseback, and then it’s off to beta readers with it to test out how it works on various devices.

I outsourced the design of my new pony book encyclopaedia website. I’m glad I did this, as design is not one of my strengths, but the project has not been problem-free. I’m still waiting for a major glitch to be worked out, as my plan was (and is) to launch the new website and the new version of Heroines on Horseback at the same time.

On the blogging front, I learned that a Buzzfeed-type blog post that I wrote in ten minutes managed 4,000 views in a couple of days. The carefully crafted post I did on railway women and horses, which took weeks to research, has 2,500 views. I guess I’ve learned that a balance of things is a good idea! And that all the years of research I’ve done into the horse does mean that I can pull something together very quickly. And that doing so does seem to produce something people want to read.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Don’t be afraid to try something new, having thought out the implications.

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

I hope I’ll have managed to get Heroines on Horseback back out into the world, and the new website, too! It’s frustrating to be so close but have to rely on other people to achieve what I want. But balanced against that is the fact that the end result will be much better than anything I could have done on my own.

I’m also hoping that I’ll have been able to focus on new writing. My plan for this year is to do less corporate and editing work for other people and carve out more time for me to write. It’s so very easy to do stuff for other people which pays within weeks rather than spend the time doing my own stuff, the payoff for which is months, if not years, down the line!

So, I’m hoping that I will have an income stream from my books, have a sensible plan to develop it further, and have acquired a couple more clients.

I love Jane’s sensible Top Tip – do it, but think about it first, in essence. And I can empathise with her blog post findings – one of my most popular posts is still the very first one I jotted down to remind myself how to sort something out! I did go back and add more text and screenshots, but it’s funny how something I did for myself ended up helping thousands of other people! I do hope that this time next year I can share links on where to buy the new Heroines on Horseback (it’s a great book – I have an original copy): good luck to Jane with that final push!.

Find Jane’s website at janebadger.com

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. 

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Julia Kossowska and Sam Lowe

Small business chat update – Julia Kossowska and Sam Lowe

Welcome to an update with my friends Julia Kossowska and Sam Lowe, who run Magical Maths Club Birmingham. I first interviewed them in the summer of 2015 and then updated in November 2016 – it’s my fault that I’ve got a bit out of sync with publishing these, they are very efficient and organised! When I asked Sam and Julia where they wanted to be in a year’s time, they said, “Growing steadily and also offering some options for schools to book us in directly.” It’s time to see how they’re getting on …

Hello again, Julia and Sam! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

We are – more or less.  Just to recap – we are franchisees running Magical Maths Clubs in Birmingham. These are maths after-school clubs designed to give children very positive experiences of maths. They come to the clubs and the aim is that they will really enjoy the experience but also do some learning.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

We certainly have a lot less change than some of the other people we have read about in this interview series.  Perhaps that is one of the advantages of being a franchisee.  A lot of work has gone on in the background to work out a system that works.

Michael Gerber has written a number of books about the importance of systemising your business and one that we studied quite carefully this year is The E-myth Revisited.  Although we already had good systems in place this book, which is an easy read, was useful in revisiting our thinking about the different roles that must be covered in any business, whether you are running a business on your own or have a whole team. If you haven’t read any books by Michael Gerber I do recommend this one.  Don’t be fooled by its simplicity.

As franchisees, we are allowed and indeed encouraged to spot small opportunities to make improvements, and some of the best meetings we have is when some of the franchisees get together with the franchisors and their team, and share examples of how systems, sales processes, relationships, clubs and games, have been made more effective.  Such incremental changes/marginal gains to how we work have made a huge difference to our overall effectiveness.

If you are interested in the importance of marginal gains to ultimate success you might want to take a look at this article and listen to this related interview – The 1% Factor Interview with Dave Brailsford GB Cycling Performance Director.

So what sort of improvements have we made?  Many but the ones that come to mind immediately are to do with how we communicate with our customers, e.g we know what we tell each person at which part of the customer journey, and improvements to the children’s activities so that each one feels exciting for a child of any age to take part in.  This might seem obvious but to find smaller elements that we might have otherwise missed we spent time picturing ourselves as our customers interacting with us and how it would feel for them. It was surprising how useful this exercise was and we will return to it.

What have you learned?

Obviously we learn from operating the business but because we are visiting schools regularly we have travel time that we can use as extra opportunities for learning from audio books and podcasts.  This is a great way to use what could be seen as disadvantage, as a positive.

We both enjoy reading.  Another of Julia’s favourite books this year, was Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone: “When I picked up this book I thought it was be all about trying to have coffee or lunch with influential individuals so they would send business your way.  It is very much more than that.  It encourages you to build genuine relationships over a lifetime and also give careful consideration to how you can give back to your communities.”

We have chosen to work in a field which is all about service, and we have both volunteered in many different ways over the years, so in some ways we don’t need a book to tell of the satisfaction that this brings or the importance of making deep friendships which go back many years.  But this is an inspiring book and well-worth reading.

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

There hasn’t been anything major that would have made a big difference.

Incremental learning, analysing what we are doing, making small changes and always looking for improvements seems to work well for us.

Any more hints and tips for people? 

Nothing that anyone would find surprising but as Keith Ferazzi says look for people to serve and look to work with people who like to serve.

Again, we can’t speak too highly of our staff, who often go beyond what is asked for.  When looking for new staff we have certain requirements but the most important of these is enthusiasm and a desire to serve.

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

Our Franchisor has some great plans in place for developing our business – and we look forward to being able to share this when there is more news!

I really love the way that Julia and Sam are always looking to keep learning and finding new tips and techniques to refine their business model, along with using the support gained from operating within a franchise.

You can find the main Magical Maths Club Birmingham website here: https://magicalmathsclub.com/birmingham

And you can get in touch here if you fancy working for them. They are, of course, on Facebook and Twitter.

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. 

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2018 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Tammy Ditmore

Small business chat update – Tammy Ditmore

Welcome back to Small Business Chat Saturday! I’ve had a bit of a hiatus over the Festive Period here in the UK, as my site visits go down and it doesn’t seem fair to give an interviewee less exposure just because they’ve come to the top of the list at a time when everyone else is busy! So we’re back today with Tammy Ditmore, who has an editing business with an inspired name – eDITMORE Editorial Services! We first met Tammy in June 2012, and had update chats in June 2013, August 2014, September 2015 and most recently, November 2016. Of course I take a special interest in other editors’ lives and work, and I was interested to see how things panned out this year, as Tammy’s resolution last time we spoke was this: I really hesitate to answer this question. I am once again reconsidering what kinds of clients I really want to work with and how to attract those clients. So let’s just say that I hope I will continue to be busy and continue to have opportunities to do work that I enjoy.” Read on to find out how she’s been getting on.

Hello again, Tammy, and a wave from over the ocean! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Hello! Not exactly. I have had fewer clients this year than in years past, and my calendar for the coming months is uncomfortably light at the moment [as of late November].

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’ve still got many of my long-time clients, but I have had fewer big projects this year. Part of that has been my own making; I scheduled more vacation breaks this year than I normally do because I had some opportunities to travel that I simply couldn’t turn down. But I also had to take off time unexpectedly to help my mother, who lives in another state. I had to turn away some potential clients for a while, and I wound up giving discounts to some other clients because I was not able to finish their work as quickly as I had expected. Now that I’m home and in a more stable place, I’ve had fewer projects for the past month or so than I typically do.

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

That I can’t always meet my promised turnaround times. Sometimes things come up that take precedence over work, and if I don’t leave myself some margins, I’m going to let someone down. I think I’m also learning that my “passive” marketing activities over the past few years apparently were working better than I thought. I spent less time this year updating my blog, being active in editorial discussion groups, going to conferences, teaching online courses, etc., and I’ve had fewer clients this year too. I have had few true dry spells in the past seven years, but I seem to be in one right now, and I have to believe it’s because I let those things slide too much.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Don’t forget to keep marketing your business!

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

If things stay slow in the new year, I will be making some concentrated efforts to contact past clients, and some new publishers, businesses, etc. I’m not panicking (yet) because I have some good ideas about which bushes to start shaking. In fact, I’m not too sad about having a little extra time to catch my breath during the holiday season–I just don’t want this slower work pace to last for too long!

I know myself how tricky unexpected events can be for the freelancer. I had an operation this last year, the worst of it being when it got postponed at fairly short notice after I’d told my regular clients when I wouldn’t be available. Right in the middle of all that, I gained two wonderful new prospective clients who I didn’t want to lose – I just had to be honest about things and give people longer deadlines than usual – and that was much easier for me because I did have some time to plan things out a little bit. That marketing that goes on in the background is important, and so is the community of editors – of course I offered to add Tammy to my list of recommended editors on my Links page on this site when I heard she was in a low patch, and hopefully that will send some enquiries her way. I love the way our community looks out for each other and I hope things will be more predictable for both of us over the coming year.

 

 

Tammy’s website is at www.editmore.com and you can of course contact her by email. She’s based in California.

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. 

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2018 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Liz Dexter

Small business chat update – Liz Dexter

It’s that time of the year when I review my own business. Although it looks like I did it in January this year, so it’s not a full year away – oops. But this is the quietest weekend of the year on the blog so it seems unfair to feature anyone else!  I added myself into the interview series back in December 2011, then  December 2012, December 2013, December 2014, January 2016.and January 2017.  Last year, these were my plans for the year: “I will still be running, I will have done the Birmingham Marathon and I will have supported running club mates through the training, too. I will have volunteered at parkrun or junior parkrun 100 times (you don’t get a special t-shirt for that but it’s so cool to say you’ve done it. I will have finished my self-mentoring guide to editing careers and also a transcription version. I will have continued to maintain a good work-life balance and have most weekends fully off. I will continue to work as transcriber to the ghostwriter stars and will see lots of my books on the shelves but often not be able to point them out as I’m not allowed to talk about them! I will have written up my research such that I can provide a copy to people who want it at the Iris Murdoch conference in September.” Did I achieve them all? Read on to find out …

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

I will still be running, I will have done the Birmingham Marathon and I will have supported running club mates through the training, too. – Yes, done! I did the Birmingham Marathon and wrote a report about it on my personal blog (read it here).

I will have volunteered at parkrun or junior parkrun 100 times (you don’t get a special t-shirt for that but it’s so cool to say you’ve done it). Yes – I did this on 16 September and had a bit of a celebration.

I will have finished my self-mentoring guide to editing careers and also a transcription version. No – not yet done! Carried over to next year …

I will have continued to maintain a good work-life balance and have most weekends fully off. Yes – I did a bit less work this year and fitted it into the weeks. I had more evenings and weekends free. I did earn a bit less, but not too much. I felt better for it.

I will continue to work as transcriber to the ghostwriter stars and will see lots of my books on the shelves but often not be able to point them out as I’m not allowed to talk about them! – Yes – I saw 4 books I’d worked on in Foyles the other day!

I will have written up my research such that I can provide a copy to people who want it at the Iris Murdoch conference in September. – Yes, I got it all written up and attended the conference where I sold out of copies (read my report of the conference and see photos of me with my book here).

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Not much has changed in my work life. I have a few more regular clients and a new one or two. I lost one magazine editing job when the agency I work for lost the contract, and also one big transcription job I used to enjoy doing, but gained a new academic transcription client and am just starting my 3rd project with her, worked with a dream client I would never have dreamed of working with, and gained a new magazine to work on.

In my personal life, I’ve taken a course in being a Level 1 Endurance official (which covers cross-country and road races) and am looking forward to getting my practical sessions in through the year so I can qualify. .

I’ve finished my research on Iris Murdoch after SEVEN YEARS and have filled the gap by starting a readalong of all 26 of her novels (read about it here). I am not doing any more academic work!

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

Things have stayed fairly solid. I wish I’d known at the beginning of the year exactly when a surgical procedure I was going to have was going to happen, so I could have planned better, but I did what I could and my clients were very understanding. I wish I’d known how recovery from that would have gone, too, but it’s all good!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Look after your mental and physical health as well as your work life. Cherish the people you care about and spend time with them. Be open to new friendships, whatever your age and life stage. Be honest and open with your clients and they will trust you and be flexible.

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

I will still be running, I will have done the Manchester Marathon in April and will continue to support runners. By the end of the year, I will have qualified as a Level 1 Endurance Official.

I will have finished my self-mentoring guide to editing careers and also a transcription version.

I will have continued to maintain a good work-life balance and have most weekends fully off.

You can find me here, of course, and also on my books website and my book reviews one for more personal stuff. Happy New Year!

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 books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Jennifer Martin

Small business chat update – Jennifer Martin

It’s catch-up time from over the ocean with Jennifer Martin, from Zest Business Consulting. Jennifer started chatting with us in September 2014, and has contributed updates in October 2015 and October 2016. At that point, these were her plans: “I will definitely continue to offer leadership and employee training, speak to large groups, and travel all around the world teaching people in business how to spread more love in the world through the work they do and the companies they work for/ or own, starting with their own self-love and then taking the concept out through every interaction and each person they interact with. I’ve got a couple of ideas for websites I might explore that will help people connect more with one another so everyone can feel like a part of a community or family of like-minded people. I will launch my Enlightened Entrepreneurs Retreats and My Enlightened Leaders Club and finish my book, Loving Your Business to Wealth – An Enlightened Leader’s Guide to Spreading More Love in the World. And lastly I will have a ton of fun in everything that I do and allow everyday to be filled with gratitude.” How did she get on …

Hello again, Jennifer! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes and no.

Intriguing! What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I have continued coaching business owners, and speaking to groups, I’ve also taught entrepreneurship and personal development classes, and have worked on my book, but most of my travel has been US-based rather than overseas.

One of the biggest changes in my life is that I went from being a single person to being in a committed relationship.  So, my priorities changed a bit. I never completed my book or launched my Enlightened Leadership programs, although I did launch two new businesses: Miracle Manifestation Groups (www.MiracleManifestationGroups.com) and Cruise to Business Success, which allows me to do what I love AND make money.

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

This year I had a chance to remind myself that we all have choices and it’s okay if personal desires come before business expansion.

Any more hints and tips for people? 

Well, now I’d say, follow your heart’s desire and allow yourself the freedom to continue to evolve and allow your business to follow suit.

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

Well, I have to stick with staying focused on having fun. My new motto is “Who says you can’t mix business and pleasure?” so all my work is now centered around my joy factor and making a positive impact on the world. I hope to complete my book Loving Your Business to Wealth in 2018 and continue speaking, training, mentoring, and having fun traveling to interesting places. 2018 as my year of YES! I’m saying yes to any opportunities that allow my light to shine and allow me to have fun while making a great living.

All sounds good to me. I love this: “it’s okay if personal desires come before business expansion” – I have had moments where my own business has threatened to overwhelm me and I’ve always dialled it back and said no to a few more people when that’s happened, because I cherish being able to spend time with people and do my volunteering and sport as well as work. The fact that a good balance is essential comes through in so many of these interviews, doesn’t it!

Email Jennifer

And finally, Jennifer’s free guidebook

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. 

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Karen White

Small business chat update – Karen White

Welcome to another Small Business Update, and it’s a bit different this time, as Karen White, ELT editorial project manager from White Ink Limited. has made a big decision and kindly shared her story with us. I love sharing all sorts of freelance paths and I think some of us might be a little envious of this one! Karen’s been talking to Libro about her business since March 2014, and gave us an update in June 2015 and then August 2016, when her plan by now was:  “I hope that by this time next year, the third ELT Freelancers’ Awayday will have been a huge success, and that the fourth one is in the pipeline. I hope the industry will have settled down a bit, with plenty of work for everyone who needs/wants it. I hope I’m still remembering to put my desk into the stand position!” So, what happened next?

Hello, Karen. Well, you’ve got some big news for us, haven’t you! First of all, though, are you (at the moment) where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes, in that the third ELT Freelancers’ Awayday was a great success, with participants coming from as far afield as Canada, Greece and Spain, as well all parts of the UK. The fourth Awayday will be held at the end of January 2018 and we’ll be adding on a day of practical workshops the day before as well. (Full details here.)

Work-wise, this year has been as productive as ever for White Ink, and it seems that there is plenty of work to go around the ELT freelance community, which is good news.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

In some ways, nothing has changed. Interesting work offers continue to come in, and I still enjoy running my busy White Ink Facebook page, which continues to be somewhere freelancers can come to ask questions, discuss hot topics, find work opportunities, share tips and post the occasional photo. With my ELT Teacher 2 Writer colleagues I’m continuing to help writers get training and get published.

In other ways, everything has changed! My husband and I have decided to leave work behind and do some travelling in 2018. A number of friends have been diagnosed with serious illnesses in the last year and we realise that if we wait any longer, it might be too late to do the travelling we’ve always talked about. So, on March 16th we’ll be getting on a plane to Australia where we’ll spend a few weeks shopping for a motorhome, then plan to set off on a Big Lap. Whether we complete a lap or not, it will be an adventure! (We’ll be blogging about it here: https://thewhitewayround.wordpress.com)

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

I’ve learned that it’s good to have trusted colleagues. Although the White Ink Facebook page is just a page, it’s become a lot more than that to me and the ELT freelance community, so I was reluctant to simply close it down when I finish work at the end of the year. Fortunately, I’m leaving it in the capable hands of two fellow freelancers who I’ve known for many years. They will rebrand it and give it their own personality, and I’m sure I’ll stay tuned to it, but I’m happy to leave it with them because I know they will carry it forward.

I’m also learning that planning a big trip takes a lot of work. My husband has already finished work and has applied for visas, booked accommodation and started planning our route, but there’s still a lot to do in preparation for letting the house out, etc.

Any more hints and tips for people? 

There is more to life than work. Although I realise that not everyone can up sticks and head off to the other side of the world (and not everyone wants to of course), I think it’s worth taking a step back from time to time to assess your priorities and see if you can make any work-life balance changes before getting to the point when you say ‘I wish I’d done x, y and z’ and it’s too late to do anything about it.

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

On a beach in Australia!

Isn’t she brave! What an exciting thing to do! But it’s true that there IS more to life than work. I’m training to be an endurance (cross country and road race) official at the moment, which means lots of time outside, wearing gaiters and clutching a clipboard, pen that writes in the wet and whistle, a real antidote to sitting at a desk. Good luck to Karen and her husband and let’s all follow their blog!

You can visit Karen’s new blog and her Facebook page for White Ink Limited. She has a new database for ELT freelancers and runs ELT Teacher 2 Writer with colleagues.

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. 

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Pat Wilkes

Small business chat update – Pat Wilkes

It’s Small Business Chat update time (a bit late today, sorry!) Let’s see how Pat Wilkes from gift company Starlight Keepsakes and Gifts, (formerly Starlight Gifts by Pat) who we first met back in June 2013, then in August 2014, August 2015 and September 2016, at which point this was where she wanted to be now: “I really hope I’m in a similar position as I am now good work life balance and the business holding its own, still stocking shops and doing the odd event. Of course it would be wonderful to have more sales, as most small businesses must be thinking. Look forward to speaking to you next year.” How nice – I love that my interviewees look forward to doing these updates!

Hello again, Pat! So, are you where you thought you would be a year ago?

Hard one as I had hoped to be earning a bigger revenue but due to the financial climate this has not been possible – but most small businesses are in a similar position.

What has changed?

A couple of the shops I had stocked have closed which was a shame, but that’s the ups and downs of business. So I have had to think of other ways of getting my gifts out into the world. I have opened an Etsy shop for quieter times in the year and have just secured another stockist. I am also making new ranges which so far have been selling quite well. I haven’t been able to do events this year due to health issues and hope this will improve in the near future. I am also hoping to start up my workshops again which I do enjoy, especially seeing people’s faces when they produce something handmade that they did not think they could do.

What has stayed the same?

I am still doing two days at my day job, I still work longer hours producing stock just because I love making and enjoy every minute of it. I still stock a couple of shops and still love meeting customers and hearing what they like and what they think about what I do.

What have you learned?

Not to waste time trying to please everyone, it is impossible and I have accepted that what I love to make is not everyone’s cup of tea. Let your business head rule your hear,t something I find hard to do but I am learning that I need to have a better business head on in order to make my business a success.

What do you wish you had known a year ago?

I wish I had known that health issues would have stopped me getting out to events and been able to put energy into investigating more online sales.
It would have been nice to predict that sales would have been lower this year than last, just due to the financial climate.

Hints and Tips
I think I may have said this last year but get a good work life balance, make time to rest and recharge the batteries.

Adapt and change what you make if things are not working so that you don’t become stale. Artists and makers need to keep things fresh but still staying within their own style.

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

Hopefully still working my part time day job but doing workshops and continuing to stock shops and to be trying new things and of course improving my work all the time and learning.

It sounds like Pat is doing all the right things, keeping it diverse and trying new channels to sell through, too. Hopefully sales will pick up next year.

You can visit Pat’s website at www.starlightgiftsbypat.co.uk and view her products, or visit her Instagram and Facebook page. Here’s her Etsy Shop. Click to email Pat, too!

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 books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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