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…

On micro-pubs and kissing gates and playing in the woods

Things in Britain have been a bit grim, of late. As a people we have been subject to deeply irresponsible campaigning and stark poverty of leadership by our politicians which had led to a horrible legacy of resentment, snobbish accusations of ignorance and overt racism over the Brexit decision. This comes on the back of several years of not very covert persecuting the poor and the disabled. This is particularly cruel as it feels like years of (as yet very unfinished) work to rid ourselves of racism and prejudice have been swept aside as  old nastiness has been re-legitimised. I imagine that from the outside Britain at the moment looks like a cold, grey country where people on different sides of the debate throw verbal, or actual rocks at each other. It’s all very depressing, and can make it very difficult to recognise what, if anything, is great about us.

This is not helped by the fact that as a nation, the British are not really known for selling themselves well. We tend to be sceptical of positivity and suspicious of enthusiasm. Frankly we don’t actually like it that much when it’s sunny, we would rather a grey day which legitimises a good moan and a bit of black humour. It’s part of the national mind set to play down anything that looks like a good thing. But there are many good things about Britain. Last weekend I went home to visit my the Cotswolds and was reminded yet again of the shock of the sheer lush beauty of the British countryside in the summer. My boyfriend and I went for a walk in the woods and were promptly surrounded by vibrant green leaves, cheerful dogs out for a walk and a series of makeshift huts and campfires. Evidence of children playing in the woods. These are all things to be joyful about.

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My boyfriend and I really like to do two things together; to walk in the countryside and to visit the micro-pubs that seem to be cropping up all over Kent. We will often plot a route that will take us through the countryside to end, conveniently, at a small town known to be the home of a micro-pub.

The micro-pub is a relatively new concept, or a very old one depending on your perspective. The idea seems to be to strip out all of the distractions you find in a larger commercial pub. Gone are the TV screens, gambling machines and loud music. In some of the pubs I have been in, like the Long Pond in Eltham, or the Penny Farthing in Crayford there is a restriction on using your mobile phone. This frees the environment completely for customers to enjoy their pint and the company of their friends (or a good book, should you prefer one). I have found every one I have been in so far to be welcoming, and the people who run them knowledgeable about their local beers and ciders. I thoroughly recommend this very British way of spending an evening.

On our way to the pub we will often walk on an official footpath which will take us away from the roads and into the woods or the fields. One of the great defining features of a British foot path is the Kissing Gate. I believed they were originally invented to prevent animals from straying onto land where they should not be, but they have the added function of preventing horses and cyclists from using some paths which means that now and again us walkers get to tread a little bit of countryside alone. They also mean that my boyfriend can playfully insist that we go no further down the path towards the pub without a little kiss. Or a long one, depending on our mood or our thirst.

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For me these kissing gates, and these micro-pubs, are symbolic of the conflict within in the British character. We don’t like to be seen as too liberal in showing off our emotions. At the same time we build these funny little things into the fabric of our everyday lives that encourage a little playful affection, and a little moment to talk with our friends in a quiet corner.

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@rose.thompson309