I got some pretty exciting news on Saturday night, we got accepted to take part in the first ever London Renegade Craft Fair! Finest Imaginary will be sharing stall space with the wonderful Miso Funky, both heading south for the weekend :)
It’ll be the first time Finest Imaginary has been a vendor at a London based fair, so it’s super exciting. I have lots of hard work ahead of me to make sure our stall looks the best it can, it’s pretty daunting, the renegade fairs are HUGE! I’m hoping to meet lots of my fellow designer makers from the UK, and hopefully even some from the USA (I think a few people are heading over for the event?). If you get chance you should definitely come down, it’s a full 2 days of fantastic Christmas Shopping ;)
I’ll also be in London next weekend for another exciting opportunity, I’m slightly nervous about that one.
I’ve now been working for myself for a full 21 days, amazing. My system is just about getting used to making my own schedule, which is currently working-all-the-damn-time, but I’m happy with that.
I say all the damn time, but I can go out for a run when I please, pop to the shops, play a game or two of Plants vs. Zombies. Whatevs. The flexibility is amazing! And it’s entirely what I wantedneeded.
There’s one concept that I’m finding it hard to adjust to, though, and that’s allowing myself time to develop new ideas. At the moment it doesn’t feel like work when I’m sat doodling in my sketch book, even though I know this will lead to new products for my store, new illustrations for my moleskines or new ideas for web design. It just doesn’t feel like I’m working when I’m doing it, which causes a bit of guilt.
It’s kinda crazy, I know deep down that it is actually work and will lead to renumeration in the long run, but my mind flicks to thinking that there must be other, more pressing things that need my attention. I sort of feel that if what I’m doing isn’t directly linked to making money then it’s not a worthy use of my time!
I’m hoping it’ll pass, and that I’m just going through the shock of this being my full time gig now.
I’m also struggling to come up with a full on schedule. I know I’m fitting enough stuff in each day, but there’s currently no real structure. I need to pin this down!
I’d love to know if anyone else feels this way about their work!
Well, that’s it, it’s been an entire week since I started the Working For Yourself Week feature! Thanks to all the contributors who have made this week what it was, and thanks to all you readers and commenters who have popped by over the past 7 days! I’m going to be continuing with a weekly feature about working for yourself, and building up a small business, I hope you’ll stick around :)
Here’s a quick round-up of the posts that were in this feature:
I can’t tell you what will work best for you when it comes to planning, setting goals and organising your day, but I can tell you what works for me. Or at least, what’s working for my right now, and hopefully it might give you some ideas of how you can organise your day too!
I’m a massive HUGE list making obsessive, I’ve tried all the web apps that let you make to do lists, and I have several iPhone applications that do the same thing. However, I always end up coming back to good old pen and paper. There’s something ridiculously rewarding about scribbling out, or putting a tick next to a completed task. Much for so than on any web app that I’ve used.
In the evening I take a look at the tasks I’ve managed to complete, and start my new list for the next day, I carry over any uncompleted tasks first of all, and then start writing in the ones I want to complete on the next day.
In the morning over my coffee I’ll expand this list, adding the things that I’ve thought of over night. I also date my lists, which helps me look back and see what I was doing on a certain day. I’m not really one for colour coding list items, they’re generally all of equal importance anyway, but if there is something super urgent then I’ll underline it a few times!
I’m currently using the filofax flex pocket notebook to keep my lists, I used to use a regular filofax but did find it a little cumbersome, the new flex range is very compact & great for taking with you places. There’re also a variety of inserts that you can get, but I’m very happy just using the ruled notebook! I think I’ll start using a year diary in it next year, though.
Last week I started making a broad “these are the things that need completing in July” list. I really want to refine this, and turn it into a weekly list of goals I want to reach. I also find it handy to have events to plan towards, I have a big event in August that I’ve been prepping for (more on that later), and also a few markets in the coming weeks that I’ve been getting things ready for. Having actual goal lines give me much more focus!
Do you have any tips or tricks for organising your day? I’d love to hear them!
Hi again! I hope you’re enjoying the posts, I have an amazing one here!
I’d like to introduce you all to Emma & Elsie of Red Velvet Shop. These two sisters are ridiculously inspirational, they have so much energy & enthusiasm for their business and that really shines through with their store. I was lucky enough to ask a few questions about their experiences with self employment & how they found their way to where they are today.
First of all could you tell us a little about what you both do…
We own a local vintage and handmade boutique as well as an online shop. We carry vintage clothes from the 1950s, 60s and 70s and lots of handmade accessories and other items as well. In our local shop we also have a Sweet Shoppe counter where customers can get a cupcake or bubble tea. And online we have our e-course catalog available, which we are always adding to.
Was it always your dream to work for yourselves? Or did you have other career aspirations in the past?
We both love working for ourselves and feel like we truly are living our dream! That’s not to say we don’t have tough moments, set backs or obstacles along the way, but we really feel very lucky and blessed to do what we do.
Elsie used to be a designer for a scrapbooking company, she had her own line of products and authored two books on the subject. She still uses her design skills and talents for Red Velvet and loves painting (she’s working on a new line of prints and original paintings now!).
Emma went to college and studied philosophy before joining the Red Velvet team full time. She has loved baking for a number of years now and has her own food blog along with her catering business.
You’ve both developed successful working careers in differing, but complementary creative fields – did you grow up in a creative/entrepreneurial background?
We’ve been making and selling handmade goods for over 10 years now. We used to sell at music festivals over the summer while we would work on our items during the school months when we were in high school. And this part-time just for fun hobby turned into a career over time.
Our mom is a painter who sells her original art and teaches, while our dad helps her sell her work. So we have always had them as an example of following your dreams and working hard at your creative endeavors.
How have your friends and family supported you during your journey of working for yourselves? Have you ever had any less-than-supportive comments from them, if so, how did you deal with that?
Our family and close friends have ALWAYS been so supportive of our dreams. We truly couldn’t not be where we are today without their love and support. Our parents are both very encouraging and nuturing, they always have been. And our dad helped us get a small loan when we first started the business-nothing says “I believe in you” more than that! :)
Work life balance is a tricky one when it comes to self employment, how do you manage the mix?
We both have had our fair share of coming a little too close to burn out, or neglecting our personal lives during very busy seasons. It happens, we certainly are not perfect! But we have learned a lot along the way, about enjoying the down-time and making space in your life for your loved ones and other responsibilities. We make and effort to take time off and to help each other take the time off we need. For example, Emma worked some extra hours while Elsie went out of town for her honeymoon recently. So when Elsie got home and got settled, she let Emma take some time off. You’ve got to put in the work but know when you need a little breathing room to keep yourself sane and stay inspired.
Have you had to make sacrifices to develop your dream jobs?
Yes. We don’t like to moan about tough times we’ve been through, because we get to live our dream and that’s an amazing gift. But we have both been through some times of… um… financial difficulties. Sometimes when you’re starting your business, you’re pretty broke for a while, spending every extra dime you have on the business. We’ve been there, for sure.
What’s the best thing about working for yourselves?
The flexibility and how our job is very personally rewarding to us. We are very proud of our business.
And the worst…?
Long hours and uncertainty. Every business venture is a risk, and if a certain project doesn’t do so well we have to absorb that. It’s our pay check that on the line.
What advice would you give someone just starting out, or wanting to start out?
Go part-time first if at all possible. Make sure you really want to do it before committing to any major debt, move or leaving your current job. Owning your own business is beautiful and rewarding but it is not for everyone. So if you can, try it out, go for a test drive and see if you really want it (the good and the bad parts). :)
What motivates you to keep working so hard at what you do?
We love what we do, so we are constantly thinking of new ventures or projects we want to try. It’s easy to expand your business when you truly love what you do. Also, if we stop working we stop making money. And rent’s due at the beginning of every month, no matter how we feel about it. :)
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Still at Red Velvet. We are expanding our in-house fashion line currently so we are excited to see how that grows and explore that terrain over the next few years. We have a couple major projects in the works right now that will probably effect what we are doing in the next 5 years, but I can’t give anything away yet (sorry!).
And finally, Who are your inspirations when it comes to working for yourselves?
Our parents and our grandparents (one of our grandfathers own his own cattle ranch and the other owned his own furniture store), the Olsen sisters and Martha Stewart.
Thanks so much to Emma & Elsie for answering my questions, it’s always lovely to hear how other people find the experience of working for themselves.
I’m so pleased to be able to give away a copy of their fantastic Dream Job E-Course, courtesy of Red Velvet Shop. Here’s a little info about the course:
“Dream Job is the first E-Course written by Elsie and Emma! We are excited to share all the practical and personal lessons we have learned over the years as we have watched Red Velvet grow into a successful and thriving small business.”
How To Enter
There are 3 ways to enter, each way counts for a separate entry to the giveaway. You must comment here each time you’ve done one of the bellow:
– Comment on this post with your email address so I can contact you if you’re the winner You MUST to do this one before entering using the other methods!
– Share on Twitter Tweet this text to enter: “Win a copy of the RVS Dream Job E-course from @finestimaginary as part of Working for Yourself Week! Enter here http://bit.ly/nwGn65” please only use this text, if you sent a tweet directly to me (by starting with @finestimaginary) the entry won’t count! Leave another comment here with a link to your tweet.
– Blog this entry or share on Tumblr Leave a comment here with the link back to it!
The winner will be announced in a week :)
Good luck! x
Hey there! I’m Kim. I help creative businesses and brands discover their online potential. I offer creative services, guides & other resources to help you elevate your position online! Keep up with my blog posts for insights into running two small creative businesses. (If you want to follow my personal blog, that’s over here now!)
“I found Kim after scouring the internet for hours looking for a designer whose style I liked. I contacted Kim after reviewing her portfolio, and am so happy I did! She is highly responsive, has a great eye for style, and understands how design elements contribute to user experience. Kim handled my many requests with ease, and I ended up with a website that I love, am proud of, and truly represents me and my brand. I recommended her to a friend who also hired her and was very happy with the experience as well. Kim is the real deal!”