When I say ‘start my own business’ I really mean develop my side line Kplan Furniture. A decision made out of necessity after my career as a biomedical scientist in the NHS was rudely snatched away from me by a private company who prefer money over their staff. Although I still have a job, the lab will be moving to a highly inconvenient location and I didn’t sign up for an hour long commute to work when I moved mine and my girls entire life to Leigh-on-Sea for the senior biomedical scientist post 5 years ago. I’d been painting a few bits of furniture here and there when people off loaded their unwanted bits onto me for a bit of pocket money now and again but what I really have in mind is big beautiful solid pieces of antique furniture that can be restored to their original beauty with a bit (or possibly a lot) of TLC. I’ve always loved furniture and interiors-used to spend hours as a child carefully cutting out pictures of beds and chest of drawers and filing them with my numerous colour charts I’d accumulated from visits to Do-It-All.
So, I spent approximately six months feeling really scared about the future not knowing what I was going to do after the migration of cytology to Basildon –I have two little girls who I am bringing up and supporting on my own and depend solely on me – and feeling extremely sorry for myself- moaning to everyone who would listen ‘Cytology is all I know-I only know about cells, I can’t adapt to anything else, I can’t apply my skills to anything, everything is rubbish, poor me etc- and generally making everyone around me- particularly my boyfriend’s lives unpleasant. (My boyfriend said I was being negative, I called it realistic!)
After one of my episodes of intense moaning and a few tears (of which there have been loads) I decided on a visit to citizen’s advice to see if I gave up work all together whether I would be entitled to any sort of benefit at all to tide me over while I worked on developing Kplan. As I probably already knew but chose to be slightly hopeful, because I had worked and always paid my tax contributions I would be entitled to exactly NOTHING. The very helpful lady- Pam I think her name was- did point me in the direction of some websites and set me up with a telephone appointment with a business advisor from gov.co.uk.
I went home armed with the websites but I honestly thought I wouldn’t bother looking at them (I was still in self pity/destruction mode at this point). But for some strange reason I decided I’d look at the Chamber of Commerce website (www.essexchambers.co.uk). Something I’d heard of but never gave what it was any sort of thought-but it turns out it’s all about promoting and protecting local businesses. Annoyingly I just caught the tail end of some government funded free courses based on starting your own business. I guess these courses are aimed at the unemployed to get them to start a business thus reducing unemployment stats. I did book onto a course called ‘starting an online business’ though. Still feeling a bit rubbish at this point.
Then, completed unrelatedly, because my friend Charlotte had started a new diet and had lost loads of weight I decided to give that a go too because I’d been getting gradually rounder by the day- which gave me something else I could moan and whinge about. And I never imagined how AMAZING it would be! I feel soooooo much better both physically and emotionally (doubling the happy pills possibly also had a small part to play)- and I now feel mega excited about trying to develop KPLan!
So the online business start up course happened last Wednesday. The main thing I took away was how important a blog can be for both marketing, documenting my journey and maybe to be of some help to others who may be in my position. So here it is! I said to my boyfriend a couple of hours ago- I’m not great at writing and English was my worst subject at school- I was better at French and it’s not even my actual language. He did point out that I am always correcting his grammar in his texts and that my blog might be ‘content slim’ but at least it will be ‘grammatically heavy’!! I enjoy the word of the day by email as well so I may attempt to slip one or two in here- maybe you can spot them?! Tantara.
Another couple of things I learnt about and will be exploring in the very near future are Stakeholder Mapping which I believe is another term for stalking and Search Engine Optimisation. All very important since it’s all well and good having a wonderful website but not so good if no one ever visits it. I will keep you posted with my findings. Oh and #’s! Just beginning to learn about them. I’d only ever had experience of them in derogatory texts from my ex-husband before and found them quite amusing #justsaying at the end of an insult was my favourite and now most famous amongst my friends. Turns out this is not how you use them! They are more usefully used to group related topics on social media sites. I’ll hopefully have used few by the time I write my next blog- will let you know how it goes!
I am hoping to get involved in Pinterest and teach myself how to use Twitter. But most importantly of all I have an adventure planned for my 2 girls and I. I will be loading them into the back of a van next Saturday and setting sail to Belgium in search of Flea Markets. I have this idea that I’ll be able to source lots of lovely beautiful antique furniture all ready for me to lovingly restore to sell! However the idea at the moment is scaring me sh@#less- driving a transit for the first time and not only that on the other side of the road in a country I’ve never been to, not helped by my current colleagues agreeing that they were also scared for me! If I make it home, I will tell you all about it!