I started my Creative Business because of this little fella..
Well, it probably wasn’t this exact mouse, but it was a mouse that started off a crazy chain of events. I ended up leaving my well paid, secure job to start up a creative business!
It was January, 2010, and I was at work, sat in my office when the phone rang. I was employed as a Housing Officer and my tenants had my phone number to call me directly.
I answered the phone and a woman, who was one of my tenants, launched into a 5 minute rant about the fact she had seen a mouse in her kitchen. Apparently this was all my fault (I’m still not quite sure how!) Anyway, she went on, and on, and on, and on…
This may seem slightly bonkers but it was at that very point that I had a breakdown in work. I don’t actually remember what happened after the phone call. My workmates told me I just sunk to the floor in tears and wouldn’t stop crying. Luckily, my doctor’s surgery was on the same road as the office so they sent me straight there.
Time Off Work.
When I talked to the doctor about how I had been feeling over the past few months, she told me she was surprised I had lasted as long as I had before coming to see her. I was diagnosed there and then with Post Natal Depression (my son was 11 months at this point).
I have never felt so relieved as I did at that moment in time. So many things started to make sense; my feeling of not being able to cope as a mum, the forgetfulness, the lack of wanting to do anything. I had convinced myself that I just wasn’t maternal and hopefully it was something I could improve on as Alfie got older.
The doctor initially signed me off work for 6 weeks. When I told family and close friends that I had been diagnosed with PND, some said ‘we knew there was something wrong..’ Oh, thanks very much for not saying something to me! I had no idea that I had been acting like I was losing the plot!
Anyway, after about 2 days of being at home doing nothing, I started sorting through Alfie’s baby clothes. The next part I have no recollection of, but I basically threw the lot on eBay. This kept me busy for a few days packagne clothes up and going back and forth to the Post Office.
I used the money I made to buy myself a book on how to make jewellery, plus a box full of beads from China!
I cannot remember when or why I decided I wanted to teach myself how to make jewellery. Anyone who has suffered with PND will know how hazy things get. A friend of a friend with PND took her kids to see a circus and came home with a miniature donkey! She persuaded the owner to give him to her as he was minging and was just being left to rot. She felt sorry for him and they were made up to get rid of him! Her husband came home from work that night to find the donkey in the kitchen eating a bag of Wotsits!
When my goodies finally arrived, I spent hours every day making jewellery while Alfie was at nursery. Even though I had never done anything like this before, it turned out I really enjoyed it and was quite good at it!
I was signed off work for a total of 4 months. In that time I had made A LOT of jewellery. My friends and family all wanted some of it and suggested I start selling it. I laughed that off. I had enough to think about with going back to work and had no time for a creative business on the side.
It seemed that being creative was like some form of therapy. It kept my mind off things and gave me something positive to focus on.
Back to Work…
Off I went back to the day job, but it felt so different when I went back. I hated all the petty things people would phone me up about. It wasn’t long before I was still stressing about work at home in the evening. Don’t get me wrong, the job was really good. Everyone at work was lovely but my head was in a ‘there must be more to life than this’ kind of mode.
Not wanting to end up back with the stress, I asked my boss if I could go part time for a few months. Luckily, he agreed. This helped to take some of the stress away.
One day, a few weeks later, I was in the office on my own and a lady turned up. She was a housing student and had arrived to shadow a housing officer for the day. With me being the only person around, I took her with me on my visits.
We got talking and she told me about how she had been self employed up until recently. She used to buy jewellery from wholesalers and then sell it at pop up events. She had to stop as she was getting rid of her car which effectively ended her business.
For the next few weeks, My mind was more muddled than ever!
This chance conversation had me thinking non stop about starting my own creative business.
The plus point was I had a car. On the other hand, I would be losing my regular wage. I also knew nothing about running a business and didn’t know where to start looking for events. As well as this, I didn’t have any spare cash, didn’t know much about social media, online selling platforms or marketing. Oh, and I had a child to feed.
The next day I went into work and handed my notice in! I had a month left as an ’employed’ person. After that, it would be down to my creative business, which, at that point, was still mostly in my head.
So, about that creative business idea…
After a few days of being in complete denial, I decided to write a list. I was under the impression that writing a list would solve all of my problems. The only thing I knew for certain was my niche. It was ladies’ and children’s beaded jewellery.
The list was as follows:
- Type of business
- Business Name
- Business bank account
- Credit card machine
- Social Media
- Things I need for events
- WHAT AM I DOING???
This list was the very start of my creative business. OK, so it wasn’t exactly a 22 page business plan, but it was a start.