A WOMAN AND HER CREATIVE BUSINESS

creative business

Nobody wakes up one day and thinks “I am going to start a creative business, working 60 hours a week – including nap times & late evenings – to make little money, to stand in the freezing cold during market fairs, to work my brains off to understand how social media works whilst I try to sell my beautiful creations to people who don’t appreciate how much work I am going to put into this ..” Nobody.

But we do it. Why?

Because we love what we do. And because we have the courage to start, to work very hard and finally to make it work. Unfortunately not many people can make a living out of a creative business.

Most women I know who have their own little businesses, creative or of other nature, started because they wanted to work on something they enjoyed, to be able to make some money whilst being able to look after their children, to spend time at home and to be flexible around their home work. STOP!!! Don’t be offended if I mainly talk about women. 99.9% of the people I know who run their own businesses are women, 90% of them are mums. No discrimination here, I just write about what I know.

So I will tell you a little story. Why I started The Old School Club.

I used to work in IT – not very creative, isn’t it?. I studied Computer Science is my home University and I came to London to study English, in 1997 (yuk!). I found a job during the dot com in a very good, young and fun software company and made my way to the Corporate world, from technical support & consultant to a Senior project manager. I implemented projects for Unilever and HSBC and traveled the world, as part of the projects but also on corporate trips to the US and the Caribbean – those were the days!. I had a very good salary, I used to buy anything I wanted. I bought a flat in Spain. I used to go out 9 days a week. I LOVED my job.

And then I had my first (adorable, gorgeous & beautiful) son. I was on my 6th month of maternity leave and I started talking to my boss about going back to work – I hope he is not reading this!. The first meeting was alright. During the second meeting, things started getting a bit foggy. It was ok to go back on part time basis (I suppose), with a massive salary cut of course. And the list of projects was presented to me. Nothing like the ones I had before, but instead there were those which none of the junior consultants wanted to do. Joy. I had had a baby and a brain removal.

And things started to change. I didn’t feel like going out for drinks with my colleagues – the first time I left the house at 7.00 pm after my son was born I was shocked about how many people were still out!. I didn’t want to travel anymore – I wanted to go to the park and meet other mums, have coffees and talk about nappies & teething. I didn’t want to work silly hours on demanding, stressful and challenging projects – we will come back to this one later!!!

But I wanted a flexible, fun, easy job that I could do from home or near home that would allow me to be the mum I wanted to be too. FOR THE RECORD, moving forward and in a win-win situation, I admire, value and respect all mums who decide to stay at home looking after their children and their homes. I am your number one fan and I do what I do because of you. The purpose of this blog  is not to debate if it is good or bad, right or wrong being at home or going back to work.

Where was I? oh yes, the flexible, fun and easy job. Lucky me, I have always loved making things. I learned to sew when I was a child (my mum can sew, my auntie was a dressmaker). I used to embroider wedding dresses by hand, taking weeks & months to finish. I was an aficionado in oil & water colour painting. I had ruined a few pieces of furniture by painting them. I was a creative person.

And the light came to me. I was going to teach other mums to sew whilst a babysitter looked after the babies. What a brilliant idea!

Rapido, I bought 6 sewing machines & 6 old school desks. I emptied my husband’s office – I basically threw him & his papers out – and I spent 3 weeks reading sewing books, going through tutorials and making bags, cushions, curtains and roman blinds so I could get up to speed after so many years of looking at a computer screen.

And that was it. My baby yoga & baby swimming friends were my target market (literally targeted, one by one, in person and by email). They learned to sew and made cushions, whether they wanted or not. I wonder why I don’t see some of them anymore ..  NappyValleyNet was my launch platform. My first flyers were terrible, so I won’t talk about them.

Did I think about it twice? I can’t remember, I also had a 9-month-old baby.

Would I do it again? Maybe, in my next life, if I am not a goat.

Did I think I was going to be rich? I had some thoughts … now they seem more like dreams .. no, nightmares.

Do I recommend that you leave your job today (or your children) and you throw yourself into a creative business tomorrow? NO.

After 4 years running The Old School Club, I have learned lots, the good, the ugly and the hard way. I really hope this blog will help you decide if it is right for you. If you have already decided or are running a small business, there will be step by step guides, worksheets, documented plans and other information which I hope you find very useful too.

In my next post, I will share the first thing you need to do to find out if your idea could make a good business: who is going to buy from you, how are you going to reach them and what are you going to make and sell to them. Do not do anything else until you can describe these.

Until then, please feel free to share below your thoughts about why you want to start or are already running a creative business or just ask me any questions !.

xx

Inma.

For your amusement … my studio at home, my first cushions (I made lots!).

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2 Comments

  • RHIANNON

    Reply Reply 4th November 2016

    I can resonate with so much of this! Well done on the amazing job you have done on creating The Old School Club & your honesty above!

    • igoodhew

      Reply Reply 6th November 2016

      Thanks Rhiannon .. It has been challenging & hard work, but worth it, every minute of it!

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