Culture Night last year is one day that particularly stands out for us. We had been working in our day jobs during the week and were spending our evenings in the shop painting, building, laughing, crying, etc. On Culture Night we were putting out the stock ready for our launch on the Monday morning, and as the day went on North Street became flooded with families, performers, floats, and bands parading down the street. The atmosphere was electric and it was wonderful to see so many people enjoying themselves. Many of the passers-by called in to wish us all the best with our new venture, and they were genuinely excited about coming back to visit us once we were open. The positive response we received that evening from total strangers gave us a real confidence boost and many of them have been back to shop with us since.
There are many misconceptions about running your own business: people will say ‘you’ve got it so good, you're making your own money, you can take days off whenever you want,’ etc. Unfortunately in reality, things couldn’t be any more different. Running our own business has meant:
· Taking over 2 months to get a bricks and mortar store due to the estate agents thinking that your business model is flawed because people can buy what they need online.
· Realising it’s 3pm and you haven’t eaten, drank or been to the toilet yet.
· Losing sleep over massive bills and wondering if opening a business was the right thing to do.
· Asking the landlord to fix your leaking roof several times to no avail.
· Getting to work in the morning and realising, in the rush of trying to get everything sorted, you’ve left your shop keys on the kitchen table 20 miles away.
· Waiting on your stock order arriving, to find that they’ve sent you 2 boxes of the wrong item.
· Huddling round a halogen heater with a Cuppa Soup, dosed full of Neurofen and Lemsips, because there is no such thing as a sick day.
· Making the most of the 12th of July because your next holiday isn’t until Christmas.
· We no longer dread getting up in the mornings and going into work everyday.
· We don’t have anyone looking over our shoulder and we can prioritise as we see fit.
· It’s about wearing whatever the hell you want to work.
· It’s about meeting all the lovely like-minded people who come to see us even if it’s only to say hello and ask how things are.
· It’s about customers sending you photos of their artwork that they’ve created using your products, and hearing how happy they are with their purchases.
· It’s about the smile on your customers' faces after sourcing a product they haven’t been able to find.
· It’s about getting awesome feedback about your business and a feeling of total elation when your customer gives you a five star rating review on social media.
· It’s about seeing your customers on a weekly basis and realising that you’re doing something right.
If you’re thinking about starting your own business, we say GO FOR IT! It’s the best thing you’ll ever do. In the beginning you will probably come across a load of naysayers and people trying to put you off the idea. Let them express all their doubts and use it to prove them wrong. Negative attitudes are great in the beginning because nothing more will motivate and spur you on like the thought of proving them wrong. Stop thinking and get doing!