As a business owner I have people say to me ” It must be so good being your own boss”, the truth is you have your good times and your bad times.
Having my own business has allowed me to spend more time doing what I love which is horse riding, a lot of my work is via computer so therefore I dedicate so much time in front of my computer screen then the rest doing thigs I like to do or need to do for example today in the morning I went to a clients house and done her hair, came home had a meeting with a stockist, rode my horse, went to package and collect my Halloween collection of wax melts, took photographs of that said collection and then edited the photographs, walked my dog and now I’m here back on my computer writing a blog.
The best part of my job is doing the trade stands, not only do I feel like I’m on a mini vacation but I have also met so many good friends.
Trade stands might look easy work but when you see what goes into set up you soon realised it’s not just a case of sitting there looking pretty.
Firstly you need to set up your gazebo and this is in all weather conditions, secondly you have to unload all your stock that took hours the day before to pack into the van, thirdly once opened you can sit (or stand) for hours before you even make 1 sale.
So that is the set up of your stall now you may think that is the hardest part over but it’s not, the hardest part is finding marks on your items which have been handled and exported with extreme care but are then tried on and trod on, get food and beverage marks on or just get touched with mucky hands and then you have to reduce those items taking an extreme loss. This is soul destroying for so many trade stands so please, please, please if you ever go to a show where there are trade stands please treat us like you would a high end clothing store we have put so much time, effort and money into our products all we ask for is consideration and respect of our items.
So that’s the good and bad part of trade stands so now its time to discuss technology, ads, social media etc.
Where to start, well firstly I can tell you my technical skills are poop. I somehow managed to build a website all by myself but then found out the platform I used wouldn’t allow Klarna as a payment method so I then had to find a website host who would and paid to have my website migrated to this host instead. All sounds simple but it wasn’t! with me paying to migrate my website I thought most of my information would be moved over however the only thing moved was my domain name, I had to build my complete website again. I also paid for SEO because once again I have tried my best to do my own but I don’t fully understand how it works, but even after paying for a handful of services to help me, I am no further forward and still struggle to get traffic to my website without having to pay for it.
You know how before I mentioned you meet lovely people at trade stands, well during my last trade stand at Grantham I met the most amazing group of people one of them being a man who works alongside businesses doing their websites, social posts, SEO and all that jazz so I have now paid for his services to help me on the rest of my journey so hopefully onwards and upwards for Ard Reason Equestrian.
Now the hardest part of my business seems to be the fact I’m in a vicious circle with profit and VAT. Currently every penny I make is saved and then pays for my import charges and VAT then I make some more money and do the same, It’s my first year so hopefully this will change ( I hope ) I get so much good feedback about the quality of my clothing but with the VAT it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel so I will take any advice and help I can as I believe in my products I just need to break the cycle.
The last issue I have came up against running my own business is the battle between keeping my items affordable for my customers or raising prices to accommodate stockists.
My aim as a business is to make unique, affordable clothing for the children and adults out there who haven’t got the money to spend on all these high end brands but still as much as anyone else, deserve to have quality clothes upon their back. I’m not a greedy person and I would like to think I’m very fair however because I keep my item costs down, it shoots me in the foot when it comes to stockists. Because I haven’t got a high profit margin stockists wont entertain my items I have managed to get a couple of stockists who I am so grateful to as they would prefer to support a small business rather than a large one who sells the same stock to many other stockists making it almost impossible to sell their items on.
Anyone reading this post with the thought of starting their own business, please don’t let it put you off there are positives and negatives but as long as you have a dream and determination you can do it. If you need any help or someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to drop me an email and I will help you where I can.