It’s been yet another week of working my ass off and 3 months since I opened my Etsy store to start selling Emma Inks Designs so I thought it was about time I gave you guys a little update on what it’s really like having my own business.
First up, working for myself has been both the happiest and most stressful time of my life; I have never felt more free, but at the same time I never knew I was capable of shedding so many tears. To begin with I thought this emotional outpour was a sign that I had made a horrible decision leaving the 9-5 behind and becoming my own boss, but then I came to the realisation that I was getting so frustrated and upset because I care so deeply about what I am doing. That amount of passion can only be a good thing, right?
Let’s get straight down to the nitty gritty and talk the harsh reality of numbers. Over the Christmas period my sales boomed more than I could have ever expected and I sold out of both my Christmas collection and Party Hat Skull card.
Since then sales have been slow, my love themed cards (which I released just in time for valentine’s day) have been selling in dribs and drabs, which is expected but also a little concerning. I’m a natural worrier so the change in pace of sales left me questioning whether I was going in the right direction and if I am even good enough to sell my designs in the first place.
I am still finding it difficult to separate my feelings when I put my designs out into the world, so when they don’t sell well I can’t help but take it personally. I know this is not the case at all and that I need to put my emotions to the side in order to run a successful business and it is something I’m working on.
Slow sales also means a lack of money, which is stressful enough for everyday living but also each collection pays for the next, so if one doesn’t do well then that delays the next which is why there has been a bit of a stall in production for the moment. In saying this, 3 collections in 3 months ain’t all that bad! One of my major character flaws is impatience and I have to keep reminding myself that this is just the beginning and I’ve already sold over 100 cards – which is incredible!!!
Working from home
Buying a house and moving in the middle of starting this little business wasn’t the ideal situation, and though I love our our new home I still don’t have a fully functioning work space which is a little frustrating to say the least.
I know that a lot of people like the flexibility of being able to stay in bed and work in their pyjamas but it’s just not for me. To get my brain into work mode I need to be up, showered, makeup done, and seated somewhere with a mug of strong coffee. Right now that place is usually the sofa, which hasn’t really been working out to well for me in terms of productivity. I just can’t seem to get my brain into gear, it’s too comfortable and though I am producing content it’s not at the same pace as I would like.
Another downside I’ve found from working from home is that I am constantly distracted by mundane things like housework or the doorbell ringing. I was beginning to feel a little trapped in my surroundings so I was absolutely thrilled when I managed to bag myself a coworking space at Camden Collective.
Collective is a charity that offers workspace, courses and collaboration with the purpose of growing a creative community in Camden. They offer members free hot-desking spaces and subsidised offices within repurposed buildings. It’s such an awesome concept and I am so happy to be part of it; having a place to go into with the sole purpose of getting my head down and working is exactly what I needed.
It also means I get to see more of fellow members Natasha, Ella, and Kristabel – which is a major bonus.
Another big plus point is being back in Camden on the regular. I couldn’t get enough of this rock fuelled area of London when I first moved here and I can’t wait to get reacquainted.
The Prince’s Trust
Now I have had a few months of drawing and working out what I want to do I needed to knuckle down and find a way to progress my ideas into a way that pays the mortgage. That’s where The Prince’s Trust comes in, I am absolutely over the moon to have been accepted onto the Enterprise programme!
The Prince’s Trust is a fantastic charity with a vast amount of support and expertise and I absolutely can’t wait to get started. The first step is a four day course covering all aspects of business, including goals, marketing, the dreaded HMRC, pricing, and business planning. After that I’ll hopefully move onto the next part of the programme which involves a mentor which I am so excited about.
This is the first time I have ever worked without a team, and, man do I miss having people to bounce ideas and concerns off. My old foe, self-doubt, has shown up a lot over the past few months and I think there’s only so many times I can ask Pablo and Natasha for advice without getting annoying and distracting them from building their own empires.
I’m hoping that’s what the mentor will be able to help with because I want to do so much and expand my shop by creating, prints, pins, patches and (the ultimate dream) t-shirts but right now with no money and big dreams I’m not quite sure how to take the leap to get there.
One major lesson I have learned in the past three months is that I cannot do this alone. I feel incredibly grateful to have had the encouragement of so many people, everyone that has shared my cards on social media, made purchases, listened to my concerns, been there to answer my stupid questions without judgement, and those organisations such as Collective and The Prince’s Trust that work so hard in helping to get young people with big ideas off the ground. All of this support is hugely appreciated and is why I have managed to keep pushing forward, so thank you.
Since my life is now consumed with running my own business I plan on taking you guys on this journey with me, sharing the highs and lows of being my own boss in a series of blog posts, so if there’s anything you would like me to cover, then please let me know!