In this third of three blog posts taken from #marchmeetthemaker we look at days twenty-one to thirty one and see how important it is to be organised, keep creative and find your tribe when running a small business...
Day 21 · Stories
#marchmeetthemaker is our 7th year anniversary! Happy birthday us! 🎈🎂🎁💃🏼🎉Here’s Tara and I doing a jig! My stories started out well then quickly petered out! Sorry, not much of an insight into the day in the life of a small business! I’ll try harder tomorrow.
Day 22 · Sketcbhook and Lists
#marchmeetthemaker I tend to do all of my drawings on separate pieces of paper, it’s then easy to lay them out and see what direction the design is going. ✍️I’m a hug fan of lists! I don’t know what I’d do without them. For business and personal life I make lists, writing it down means I don’t have to think about it and I have a clear head allowing me to be able to focus on what’s important rather than getting bogged down with the minutia! Who else loves a list?
Day 23 · Hands at Work
#marchmeetthemaker here are my hands at work! Whilst designing and drawing is a very small part of what I do on a day to day basis, it’s the foundation of the business! Without it we’re just selling blank tea towels! 😉
Day 24 · Achievements
#marchmeetthemaker Now this isn’t the most beautiful shot ever posted but it’s the first mock up of the first ever mug, taken over 7 years ago! And the mug is still going strong today (not this actual one... paper isn’t dishwasher safe!). Our range has expanded into over 200 products which are sold in around 100 stores around the world! I still can’t quite believe it. Over the past 7 years I’ve been awarded gift of the year, made Alumni of the year from Birmingham City University, spoke at City Hall, had products featured on various TV shows and exhibited at international trade fairs. Although running a small business for 7 years is a huge achievement in itself. From that first drawing until now, I’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of this incredible journey, because without you, none of these achievements would have been possible. Thank you 😊
Day 25 · Being a Maker Means
#marchmeetthemaker For me being a maker means so many things, it’s difficult to sum up in a sentence so here’s my list; 📝doing something you love and are passionate about every day, being creative, endless possibilities, learning new things, being flexible, designing, sharing something with the world, enjoying happy customer feedback, determination, the excitement of walking into shops and seeing your creations, project managing, stock control, sales, marketing, IT, accounting, forecasting, cash flow, balancing lots of plates whilst wearing many hats 🎩🧢, challenging, taking things too personally (just because someone doesn’t like your designs doesn’t mean they don’t like you... I mean, they may not like you, but it’s unlikely your designs are the reason!🙄) learning to take a break, evolving, pushing yourself, saying goodbye to your comfort zone, patience, planning, organising, determination, freedom and feeling proud.
Day 26 · Books, blogs and podcasts
#marchmeetthemaker Whilst I enjoy listening to podcasts and love audio books, for me there’s nothing quite like getting your hands on & reading an actual book. Stepping away from technology is hugely important and I love losing myself in a book. I spend a lot of time immersed in my business so it’s great to read something unrelated. Two incredible books I’ve read recently are ‘I am Pilgrim’ by Terry Hayes (you’ll be gripped!) @yuvalnoahharari and ‘Sapiens’. Two great business books for me ‘The E-Myth’ (@michaelegerber) and The 4 hour Work week by @timferriss And the podcasts I’ve enjoyed this week; @fearnecotton ‘Happy Place’, Desert Island disks and @tonyrobbins
Day 27 · Recommend a Maker #marchmeetthemaker In an industry where you’re surrounded by incredibly talented people this was a tough one. I have decided to pick my longest standing creative friend ATTY @attydesign ! I met him in 2008 when I lived in Sydney and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I’ve watched from afar (he’s still in Sydney and I’m back in London) as his career has gone from strength to strength. He’s an ex-MET ‘Copper’ turned artist (his first passion). He creates unique, intricate animal-inspired artwork and has a gallery in The Rocks. His animals have been ‘adopted’ on every continent and these limited edition creations take an average of 150 hours to complete with his largest artwork taking 800 hours!!! Go and check him out at @attydesign
Day 28 · Organised
#marchmeetthemaker Anyone who has ever been in my office or knows me well will know I’m a huge fan of a list and getting thoughts and goals down on paper! You’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down... and boy do I like to write them down! As any small business owner will know Project Management is a huge part of running a business and keeping organised is the only way to do this successfully. We have stock & customer management systems in place that give a clear picture of what’s going on in business at a glance, these along with our written lists keep us lovely and organised! Thanks @moxonlondon for this fab @migoals diary!
Day 29 ·Community
#marchmeetthemaker Initially when starting out I was a one man band and the prospect of making friends at work was impossible... unless they were imaginary. 😉However it wasn’t long before I started meeting people at talks, workshops & trade fairs. 3 years ago a few of us decided to team up for our Christmas party, this has now evolved into any night of the week drinks. Here we are last week enjoying a great night out. I’m very lucky to call these incredible people my friends and I’d never have met them if if wasn’t for starting my own business. This is my community and I love them to bits!
Day 30 · Advice/Top Tips
#marchmeetthemaker I think this picture says it all! 😊Not only does it feel nice to be nice, but kindness promotes trust and that motivates people leading to a happy and productive working environment. Ruling with an iron fist on the other hand causes stress for everyone concerned and in my experience it’s never a case of who shouts the loudest wins. 😊In no way am I saying being a push over; you will need to make difficult decisions when running a business and things won’t always go your way which can be infuriating, but remember you’re dealing with people, we are all emotional beings and shouting is not always the best way to be heard! Sometimes the quietest voice is the loudest. Also work hard... hard work outweighs talent, so work your bloody socks off. 🧦Work hard, be nice to people, remember to stop and smell the roses and don’t give up! 😊🌹
Day 31 · Creative Friends
#marchmeetthemaker we’ve made it! What a month of epic Instagram posts that was. Massive thanks to @joannehawker for creating this challenge, it’s been loads of fun. The final day is a shout out to my creative friends, it’s also Easter bank holiday 🐣so I imagine you’ll all be enjoying the sunshine... 🤔Mmm, maybe not ☔️here’s some summer fun on a tea towel to remind you of sunnier times! Go and check out this talented bunch, you won’t be disappointed;
@helenvbridges @moxonlondon @rosehilldesigns @ohhdeer @coulsonmacleod @bubblegumstuff @eatsleepdoodle_ @yeshen.uk @kindredwild @attydesign @lucylovesthis @tooletries_hq @elizabethdotdesign @brillustrations @thabtodesign @hamjoanna @torimurphytextiles @blogandbuysale