What to do?????

(49 Posts)
Xroads Thu 31-Jan-13 11:38:42

I'll try and keep this brief.

I'm 31, my children are 7yrs and 13yrs, married to dh off 11yrs, very happy so far so good.

I've been childminding since I was 24yrs and in short I want out, I work 730am-6pm 3 days and before and after school 1 day. The business is successful and I have had all of my mindee's for over a year now. The thing is I'm not challenged by it, I want to spend more time being creative and now my dc's are older I would like to get rid of the highchairs, car seats, pushchairs, cots that are around the house. BUT We are 16mths away from being debt free for the first time in about 10yrs. We do not own a house which dh would like to do at some point. We have no savings.

I volunteer as part of our towns festival of arts which doesn't use up that much time tbh (maybe 4 evening meetings, 3 afternoons and a morning of time per year)

I'm in the process of trying to set up a business painting murals but I was also a florist pre children and come from a family of florists and they can all paint murals too. I'm considering a business where I could work from home, do special occasion flowers e.g funerals and weddings, possibly do event planning (as I'm organised and good at planning etc) but also still make time to paint the odd mural.

What would your next steps be?

WilsonFrickett Thu 31-Jan-13 13:50:18

Honestly, I would hang on for 16 months until you become debt-free. That will give you the wiggle room you need as you will have fewer outgoings and be financially more secure.

In the interim I would pull together a proper plan for your business, look into courses to up your skills and do as much as you can to get yourself into a 'launch' position. Creative/skillsy businesses are struggling - that's not to say don't do it, more make sure you can actually make the money you need to first. I'm not sure I'd think to go to a florist who worked from home, for example. How are you going to get customers?

Xroads Thu 31-Jan-13 15:05:45

Thanks for replying, I'm having the same thoughts, it's frustrating because I want to launch now but obviously I've got my head screwed on and I know it makes no sense at all!

My plan for this year is to do training with my aunt and cousin's shops, go to wedding fairs and see what others are doing. Get my business plan up to scratch.

I'm tempted by a shop but want to keep my overheads as low as I can, if I worked from home I'd have to have a kick ass website and go to wedding fairs, network with funeral directors, beauty salons, hotels etc (my aunt's business is based at home and she is doing well so I know it can be done)

Lots to think about. I will get there eventually.

I think I'd like to launch in May 2014 so I could start when the wedding season is on but it's unlikely I'll have the funds to start then.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 01-Feb-13 10:19:04

I'd agree with Wilson & what you said in your last post.

You can use the time between now and the final debt payment (well done by the way, never easy getting rid of debts) building up your plan, contacts, and maybe even a shell of a business (so website, do a bit of networking, maybe do some trading).

There are lots of women on here (esp on the £1000K thread) who start businesses whilst working doing something else. Which sounds exhausting (esp as you spend all day with children!), but can be an easier than starting from scratch/a point of no income.

Your income now sounds good. You need to seriously look at how you will replace that income from your proposed businesses (if that is the plan).

As an aside I used a florist for my wedding who wasn't shop based, she was recommended to me.

Good luck.

DolomitesDonkey Fri 01-Feb-13 13:14:53

You say you'd need a kick-arse website? Get yer skates on then, you should be able to create a veritable masterpiece on one year!

Being risk adverse and not married to a millionaire - I'm massively in favour of not giving up the day job until you know you've a reliable income.

Xroads Fri 01-Feb-13 19:27:53

I've got a website in the making don't worry, I've also booked an appointment with a business advisor for thursday and a day course on a finance and business planning in march, I've also emailed the council and asked about how much business waste costs.

Baby steps........I'm now thinking that I could actually get a shop open in September 2014 which is 19mths away so if I carry on practicing, building things up, getting contacts and our final debt payment goes out in april we can then save up a bit of money so I can quit my job after the summer holidays, I'm thinking that way I'd get the shop open for the end of sept, get ready for the run up to christmas to tide me over til valentines then not long after is mothers day and hopefully by then I'd have orders for weddings, funerals.......

Xroads Sat 02-Feb-13 10:55:31

What do people think of a florists that sells handmade ceramics (i.e wedding favours) and handmade glass (e.g. vases) and original artwork?

Would a business selling flowers and art work/ murals be a good idea? Would you buy things like that from a florists?

Any ideas how I could make the time to paint murals and run a shop? hmm Maybe I should give the mural painting up until the shop has been running for a few years and then I could take staff on to cover for me?

DolomitesDonkey Sat 02-Feb-13 11:59:35

I think opening a shop in a competitive market such as floral arrangements for weddings is a very quick way to get yourself back in to debt.

Sorry to be the harbinger of doom but I think you need to go back to the drawing board.

Xroads Sat 02-Feb-13 12:14:40

What would you suggest instead?

Xroads Sat 02-Feb-13 13:49:56

bump

AlwaysOneMissing Sat 02-Feb-13 16:38:34

I think you should stick to the idea of working from home. You sound like you have good ideas of how to get your name about (wedding fayres etc) and once you have had your first couple of customers, word of mouth should pick up and I think that will be your main marketing tool.

Constantly market yourself - carry your business cards everywhere you go, think outside the box about where you could advertise/get your name out there. Use social media, Facebook, Twitter, hold competitions for big discounts or even free flower arrangements for special events (in the hope of generating interest and excitement around your business and hopefully more word of mouth recommendations).

If you do all these things, I would imagine they would generate more work with drastically lower overheads than a bricks and mortar shop.

It would be a shame not to peruse the idea of murals too, it sounds like you are good at it and have enthusiasm for it. This is where you will need a really great website. I would market it as a separate business, and just run the two along side each other, linking between websites and recommending your other business to any customers.
Competitions giving away a free mural would be sure to generate interest, and you could offer big discounts in return for being able to use the murals in your portfolio. What sort of market is out there for murals? I don't know anyone who has one, though I would be interested in one. Will you specialise eg in children's murals?

Use the next 16 months to set up all aspects of your businesses, as others have suggested - you will be surprised at how much work is involved once you get going.

Good luck.

Xroads Sat 02-Feb-13 19:43:16

Working from home - good idea in theory however we would need to move house and be paying 300 more a month on rent plus extra bills/ council tax and it worries me because once we move there will be no coming back to rent as cheaply or securely as we do now and buying is out of the question unless DH got a higher paid job and jobs are scarce at the moment but he is going to keep trying.

I am always giving out business cards and I paint my website address on the wall next to murals I've done in schools (private), nurseries (private) and soft play places but tbh it hasn't generated as much work as I'd hoped (like none!)

m0nkeynuts Sat 02-Feb-13 20:20:13

I think working from home is perfectly do-able as a special occasion florist, assuming you have space for the flowers of course! You wouldn't need to have clients come to your home. My wedding florist came to my house for our initial meeting with lots of glossy books and magazines to browse through for ideas. She dropped by once afterwards to get fabric for colour matching and show me an idea she had for my bouquet, but everything else was done by phone and email.

You'd also be able to do plenty of networking at wedding fayres with other suppliers and make arrangements like passing each other's business cards onto clients.

We also have a 'wedding co-operative' locally, which organises events and does joint marketing efforts for its members. Anything like that in your area?

Xroads Sun 03-Feb-13 22:06:31

Theres not a wedding co-op in our area as far as I know but I will look into it, thanks and if there isn't one maybe there should be one wink

I've been on the phone to my mum tonight and she is usually really supportive but she said don't do it, it won't make you much money and it will be stressful.....hummmmmmmm hmm

A crystal ball would be great right now!

Xroads Mon 04-Feb-13 08:03:16

Today I'm thinking I'd prefer to concentrate on murals as a business idea.............

Confused!

DolomitesDonkey Mon 04-Feb-13 09:14:02

Take a step back - you say that you would need to move and it would cost you 300 a month more which you couldn't afford.

1. Why do you need to move?
2. If you can't afford the 300 a month on a home rental, how are you going to afford a business lease + rates + utilities?

Figure out your idea(s) and start marketing, but stop trying to commit yourself to expensive outlays!

DolomitesDonkey Mon 04-Feb-13 09:17:17

As far as your murals go, personally I think "mural" is a stuffy, old-fashioned word which doesn't inspire me. Are your targetted clients able to envisage what you could do to a child's bedroom? Have you spelled it out in black & white that you could make their bedroom wall look like a magical Lion King style african safari? Are you saying "give your child the gift of imagination this christmas?" type blah blah stuff? Create excitement around your product.

A mural? Blah. A herd of elephants on my children's wall? Big difference!

Xroads Mon 04-Feb-13 12:40:01

Need to move - our house just isn't big enough to run a florist type business from (semi detached, 3 bed with living room and a kitchen diner), it's also really warm (even without heating on) so all the flowers would die, I don't have a garage or a conservatory type space, the garden isn't that big and even if i could fit a work shop/ shed type thing out there it wouldn't be dry enough to keep canvas's in for my paintings and wouldn't be light enough either.

My mum has kindly offered me the use of her garage and conservatory from july 2013 to feb 2014 which will at least give me some breathing space, I'm just worried that when it's time to move out I'll have work lined up but nowhere to create the pieces of art/ arrangements.

Once debts are paid we can then afford to spend more on rent in theory but could I afford to pay more rent and quit my day job? Probably not.

I'm trying to explore all options at the moment but my head is so confused I can't see the wood for the trees.

I want to be a muralist I think this is where my talent lies but I don't think I can earn enough from it to quit my day job, currently my day job is very full on and doesn't allow me much time to concentrate on my art/ flowers but until debts are paid I have no choice but to carry on as I am.

I am creative with flowers and come from a family of florists and I do enjoy it BUT I wanted to gain a better work life balance not make my life harder I barely see DH as it is so owning a shop isn't going to give me the work life balance I would like. (getting up at 4am to go to the wholesalers and working 6/7 days a week and never having weekends or holidays doesn't exactly make for a happy marriage)

I think I need to show you my web pages so you have an idea of what I can do? Lots of people (probably just being polite) say I'm too talented to spend my time childminding (it's an important job of course but I do feel I want to spend more time being creative)

My Facebook Page

my website needs re doing this was a quick one my dh threw together a while ago

MummyBeast Mon 04-Feb-13 13:54:45

I agree with the other posters who said that you should hang on for the next 16 months, and market yourself relentlessly in the meantime.

I've just clicked onto your gallery - your stuff is lovely!

greatwork Tue 05-Feb-13 10:25:42

My suggestion would be that 1) continue in existing role of 16 months to get rid of debt; 2) work out what your financial position is (once you are debt free, how much income to you need to make to sustain your current life style; 3) do a skills / energy audit on yourself - it sounds like there are a few areas where you have skills, but where does your real passion and energy lie? 4) compare the answers from 2 with the answers from 4.

Then 5) make a business and marketing plan to achieve that.

So for example, if you currently make £300 per week from child minding, and you need that level of income to sustain your current living standards, then how could you make the same amount from whichever route you decide to pursue? How realistic is that? Could you complete 6 murals per week (from the prices on your website)? If not what else could you do in addition - run mural painting workshops, get involved in community projects and find grants to support your work, sell online 'how-to-do-it" video tutorials, create and sell stencils / templates for people to create their own murals or canvasses....

You've got some time now to get your creative thinking head on, so use that time well.

ime you need to find something you can do without incurring overheads (rental / rates / heating / lighting for a shop.

Xroads Tue 05-Feb-13 12:50:10

Thanks. I'm definitely sticking with childminding for the next 16mths to get debts paid and DH is also looking for a better paid job so we can get out of debt asap and start saving.

Once we are debt free I would hope to bring in at least £900 a month profit (but obviously depends if dh gets another job and also depends if I did decide to open a shop we would have to save enough, pull our belts in enough because I would assume there would be no income for the first year possibly two years)

Do a skills/ energy audit? How would I do that?

Potentially if I decided to go ahead with the murals I could still childmind but just focus on the older age group meaning I could earn enough from just those hours so anything gained from murals would be a bonus if I wanted to quit childminding completely I would have to find something that would compliment the mural business - which was why I thought of doing flowers but now it's looking like the work/ money involved would possibly stop me from achieving my original ambition.......I s'pose there is still the option of specialising in flowers from home e.g. only doing funeral flowers etc I'm not sure just doing wedding flowers is a good option just because of all the weekend work involved, I've done some thinking and actually I think I want a better work/ life balance not to be working 6-7 days a week for less money.

Xroads Wed 13-Feb-13 14:38:03

So it's been just over a week since I last posted about this and in that time I have been to see a business adviser, spent the weekend helping my aunt and thinking about what I want.

I've taken on a new minded child, which will help us achieve our dream of getting out of debt. I'm planning to keep pushing the murals to see if there is any chance that could work, I'm also planning to do what did last year in the run up to christmas, do wreaths, candle arrangements etc - basically anything I can make from art/ flowers in the next 18mths gets us closer to being debtfree and saving up so we have more options.

I'm researching having a shop at the moment, considering running 1 or 2 childrens craft classes where parents can drop off their child for a couple of hours, if I did this twice a week (say 3-5pm on a sat and 2-4pm on a sunday) and had a maximum of 10 children doing craft in a back room and charged £5 a session?

I'm also thinking of a coffee morning where people bring their sewing/ cross stitch/ knitting for a couple of pounds per person?

This way I could earn some money to help with the rent while I get up and running, if successful I could carry it on/ expand, possibly get people to come in to run classes e.g. jewellery making, clay class?

What do you think?

Xroads Wed 13-Feb-13 14:43:19

I was also thinking i could have opening times that would allow me to still have a work life balance e.g.

Monday - 9am-6pm
Tuesday - 9am-6pm
Wednesday - 9am-3pm
Thursday 8am-3pm (once a month I could open for a sketching evening where people could bring their own alcohol? say from 7-9.30pm?)
Friday - 11am-8pm
Saturday - 8am-6pm
Sunday - 12-5pm

Xroads Wed 13-Feb-13 19:00:00

Anyone care for an opinion? wink

TracyK Wed 13-Feb-13 19:12:21

Could you keep your eyes open for a very cheap premises to rent? Just a unit in an industrial estate would do for just a basic flower storage, making up base? Do you have an affluent area close by? Target big houses and offer weekly arrangements?

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