Business Bites: the ‘getting started’ to do list

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I think I’ve been blogging for about a month now and I thought it would be a good time to take stock of where I’ve got to on this ‘I’ll just set up my own business, that’ll be simple’ path I’ve taken myself down. So far I’ve done the following;

  • Bought a domain name
  • Set up a blog
  • Had a few people actually read the blog (eeek)
  • Read a few books on business
  • Bought some other books, not all on business
  • Outed myself as having both anxiety and a strange affection for kissing gates
  • Started to work out what it is that I actually want to do with this whole business thing (probably should have started here but never mind)

There is much more to do, and each time I learn a new thing I find a door opens to a whole new set of possibilities, and that my ideas evolve all the time as a consequence. This week I have come across 2 things that have helped me enormously. The first is this book on tax and accounting by Emily Coltman called ‘Refreshingly simple finance for small business’ which has already answered several questions I had about tax and what I would need to do about that. I do recommend this to anyone who is just starting out. I think one of the anxieties that stopped me from getting started sooner was being put off by the idea that the paper work would be really complicated, and this book was pretty re-assuring on that point.

The second is this website called Puttylike.com, which is run by Emilie Wapnick. She talks about a category of people she calls multipotentialites, who are people who have multiple interests and never quite fit into a particular niche. She strongly encourages people not to try to force themselves into a niche, but rather to find a way of bringing those interests together into what she calls a Renaissance Business. This works for me, I think I’m one of those people. In my time I have studied medicine, psychology, social sciences, animation, and film making. My parents are both artists so my childhood was like being in art school. And I like walking in the woods. And kissing my boyfriend at each and every kissing gate we encounter. So I think the next thing for me is to wok out if these things can be bought together into something co-herent. It’s really helpful to know there are other people out there doing this stuff, but at the moment I’ve only really discovered American peeps talking about it. Any UK multipotentialites out there?

In a recent mindfulness course I took my tutor spoke quite a lot about the ‘beginners mind’ which is the stat that you are in when you encounter something for the first time. What does it look like? What it it’s texture? Does it smell?  At the moment I am encountering all of these new ideas and it feels very much like I’m frequently in a beginner’s mind state, which is having some knock on effects that I hadn’t expected. It’s also motivating me to go back to some unfinished projects and take another look, which can only be a good thing I think. It feels like each new little thing I discover is one small pebble, but over time I’m going to have enough stones to build something pretty cool. Exciting times…

Getting started

Caberet yarn from Stylecraft

I’m down on the south coast with my boyfriend and his family. At the moment he’s sitting outside with his hoodie pulled up over his head, scanning the Internet on his phone and looking like something out of Mr Robot. Yesterday we went scavenging in the craft shops and I bought some wool and some crochet hooks to try a few new things out. I bought a ball of the cabaret wool from Stylecraft as I really like the texture of it and the blending of colours. Crochet is something I’ve come to quite recently and really like for the simple meditative actions of the work involved.

Over the last few months I’ve been thinking about starting my own small business around some of the craft things I like to make. I like to work with paper and glue. I make small decorative pieces from a mix of recycled and arts quality paper. I like the silouettes of cutting paper into different shapes and the textures that can be produced by creating delicate overlapping layers of those shapes. I also like using wool and copper wire, Perspex eyes for soft animals, or other bits with radically different textures to catch the eye. I’ve not really struggled to come up with ideas for ‘products’ but finding the time to finish off the prototypes has some times been an issue.
What I am struggling with is how to turn my messing about with bits of paper and glue into an actual business. I keep thinking of things I should  be doing, like keep a drawn record of all my designs (mostly they come out of my head through my hands and into a physical piece). The further I go down the road of trying to create something the more questions I have;

Do I try to find a shop that will take some pieces or just go online?

If I go online which platform is best for my stuff?

If I go online how will I package and post these things so that they arrive in one piece?

What does this all mean for my tax (I also have a day job)?

I’m going to blog about how this all works out in the next few months, more to keep a record for myself so I can look back and see how far I’ve got a year from now. I’ve just downloaded some books on tax and book keeping, and there is more research to be done, but it feels good to be creating something right now.