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Setting up my own business - in what though??

(37 Posts)
bizzeliz Sun 24-Nov-13 15:40:57

I've been toying with setting up my own business for a while, I am currently working part time with two children at school age. I've confused myself so much I thought I'd see if anyone on here can offer me some good advice and support. Think I'm driving DH mad!

I like most craft activities, I am a basic sewer (cushions, purses, bags) and in the past after attending craft courses can now make pretty jewellery pieces. Most of the time I've made gifts for family but I want to branch out. I can also do upholstery and have tidied some old chairs.

I think I'm also good at event organising, I've always admired those people who have set up craft fairs or local arts festivals. I work in recruitment marketing and feel I could use my skills there.

Sorry one more area, I've helped friends/ clients with CVs and finding new jobs and wonder if I could also do that on my own.

So you see, my mind is totally confused with potential opportunities, I know I'd enjoy them all as I feel a spark for them all, I'm just unsure which to choose!

This feels like I should go to a careers adviser you used to get at school, not sure I've even posted in the right area. I really hope you all can offer me some advice or your own experiences on how to be more focused and to stop dithering!

Thanks in anticipation.

Talkinpeace Sun 24-Nov-13 16:02:24

you will only make money at something you understand
what did you do before having DCs ?

there are thousands of mums doing crafty things making no money at all

those of us who live off our businesses tend to be doing what we qualified in before small people intervened

TwoStepsBeyond Sun 24-Nov-13 16:32:49

I second that about crafty stuff. A friend made loads of lovely stuff for a craft fair the other week, sat there all day and didn't sell a thing. Trouble is, I love what she makes, understand how long they take and how much the materials cost, but I still didn't buy one as they seem expensive for what they are. I know we should all be happy to pay a premium for unique hand-crafted stuff, but even those of us who make it don't always want to pay for it.

I sell my crafty stuff on FB and ebay, but rarely make enough to make it worth my time, its more like being paid minimum wage for doing my hobby than actually making much money!

If you want it to be a serious job then I'd steer away from anything time consuming and physical as there will always be bargain alternatives from the big chains. On the other hand if you could organise the craft fair and also participate in it, you'd have two ways to make money from the same activity! You could do upholstered stuff and small things like the purses.

The CV/job thing sounds interesting but you'd have to ask how many hours work you'd have to put in to help someone find a job and how much they'd be likely to pay you (especially if they're currently out of work!)

bizzeliz Sun 24-Nov-13 17:01:28

Thanks for your advice, I appreciate you both taking time to reply.

A friend said to me that you shouldn't look at your craft hobby to make money, that is a bonus but I need to live comfortably and don't want to invest for little return. I might start with selling on Facebook and ebay but I want something that I can see having some sort of longevity (a bit optimistic I know!)

Do you think the craft fair or even some local festival idea might be more feasible? My recruitment and marketing experience with attending and past experience in organising company fairs might be a possibility then? Does anyone have any experience of being involved with these types of activities, would I have to go through local councils? Not sure how I start with this idea confused.

Again, thank you for your support and replies.

Talkinpeace Sun 24-Nov-13 17:06:05

fairs are a nightmare - landfill tents DH calls them
start on ebay and fb
but you'll not make enough to pay tax

bizzeliz Sun 24-Nov-13 17:17:10

thanks talkinpeace, I like your DH term but some are successful aren't they?

What about organising my organising local festivals idea? I live in Lancashire, there are some areas where events have been really successful and some towns which may welcome having events that are bit different to the usual (but very popular) beer festivals. Do you think it may work? Is it too ambitious?

If not I'll start small then, not give up my day job and get on ebay and Facebook. I'm really itching to do something bit more exciting, feel I'm stuck in a rut.

Thanks again, anyone else out there that can give me hope?

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Sun 24-Nov-13 17:20:20

What about crafts relating to weddings - invites, favours, centrpeices, table plans, card post boxes etc.

WhoNickedMyName Sun 24-Nov-13 17:26:42

You need to identify a gap in the market first.

Craft stuff is done to death already.

The festival thing sounds more promising.

Research who are your competitors, what will you do that's different/better, do people really want/need what you're providing, is it really viable as a business, and take it from there.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Sun 24-Nov-13 17:32:35

What is it you are looking for? Full time? Something to fit round childcare? W/L balance? Your choices are good but I can't tell if you are working to pay bills or maybe more fun stuff as say in your household some things are already covered.

Does this make sense? I mean the event organising sounds marvellous, however, that's going to be weekends and possibly late nights IMO. Is that what you want?

Tbh I'd grow one of your crafts. Is your stuff really nice or are friends kind? God that sounds bitchy, I don't mean to be! You can conduct product testing easy enough and this might earn you money faster but less of it. Less start up costs too.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Sun 24-Nov-13 17:35:20

I'd also go for one thing eg party bags and go say luxury end. Something that's done just not in that way.

Look at places like and country living craft shows (spring/Xmas) for ideas and you could do well at festival shows and stalls.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Sun 24-Nov-13 17:39:50

Ok I missed some of what you said, daft donut. Google is your friend.

I'd say two craft fairs a year, spring and Xmas. Tailored food wise and crafts of local producers would be popular. In any county. Check out your craft guilds? Country houses?

Talkinpeace Sun 24-Nov-13 17:43:05

craft fairs are NOT a good business deal
you pay up to £200 for the table and sit there all day watching people walk past not spending money

go to a few before even considering having a stall at one.
watch how much actually gets sold as a proportion of what is on offer

selling food : you need all the certs and the liability insurance
its a market filled with people who do not have to earn a living

find something else

QuintessentialShadows Sun 24-Nov-13 17:44:49

A friend of mine is a concert organizer. She usually handles around 3 concerts a year, that is all she can manage with the planning. She says that the hardest bit us booking the actual talent, as their managers will only go with big events that can guarantee a certain volume of tickets sold. She is good at what she does, and can survive on 3 concerts a year. Each take for ever to plan, with security, health and safety, the venue, getting food and drinks contractors, lighting contractors, etc. People who wants concerts organized come to her, and she organizes the rest, within budget. etc.

Organizing a festival seems quite a big thing to start with.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 24-Nov-13 17:46:26

Oh yes, I also have a friend that do craft fairs. She spends the entire year making beautiful stuff, spending all her spare cash on materials. She spends a fortune on her stalls in the run up to Christmas, and just about manage to cover the cost of the stalls! She says she is not in it for the money, but for the buzz and the experience.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sun 24-Nov-13 17:47:36

Back from a craft fair as an attendee part of doing research as I thought the same as you, and zillions of other mums.

Lovely, lovely stands, a lot of people watching, not many sales. I felt quite sad for the exhibitors. Stand cost, plus insurance, plus time cost.

Internet is the way forward I think! but the competition is very high.

Good luck.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 24-Nov-13 17:48:25

If you're not in a rush to make money and want to slowly scale up what about bulk purchasing the stuff you currently use for your own hobbies and on selling it? You'd get our own stuff cheaper, you could market by demonstrating your own completed samples on facebook/ pinterest etc. if it turns out that the markets not there you'll slowly use up the stock anyway.

headlesslambrini Sun 24-Nov-13 17:57:25

I'd do furniture restoration. I've been looking for a cheap but nice armchair recently and was looking on ebay. they are going for a good price. Even thought about getting one from a charity shop and doing it up.

bizzeliz Sun 24-Nov-13 18:00:19

Some really honest replies, this is why I love mumsnet, thank you everyone!

I'd like to do something I'm good at but also enjoy, I keep meeting people who have decided to set up their business and although they say its challenging they do say they're glad they have decided to branch out on their own. I don't think I'm cut out for setting up my own play centre, café or craft training business which I know people have set up but I would enjoy event management and festivals seemed a good start. Even though I don't know where and how to start with this!!

I will also look into high end crafts, weddings sound a good suggestion.

bizzeliz Sun 24-Nov-13 18:18:06

Sorry in the time I replied, a few more responses came through!

The event planning idea seems like it could have cost/ H&S implications, Craft stalls sound like poor investment and am uncertain about upholstery too.

The confusion is still there but it's good to get everyone's feedback, positive and negative. Thanks.

Rockinhippy Sun 24-Nov-13 18:40:35

How about combining some of those skills & working with kids too ??

Maybe you could run after school classes teaching crafts to kids, hire space cheaply in local community centres or schools, do course in blocks to fit in with term time & start them just after the local schools finish - use your event planning skills to set up the club & advertise it - maybe off a few free promotional courses to local school to get yourself known & the local kids interested - In school holidays offer week long school time Craft Holiday Clubs

sunbathe Sun 24-Nov-13 18:49:37

Could you get together with another crafter and go halves on a stall at a craft fair?

Half the cost and someone to mind your side of the stall while you have a break.

In fact, you could even set up a craft fair like that. You might attract more crafters and perhaps a greater range of crafters, if the overheads aren't as steep.

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Sun 24-Nov-13 18:52:14

How go.about setting up a softplay? our local town centre would be perfect

whomewhoyou Sun 24-Nov-13 20:31:49

Rockinhippy and sunbathe - Thanks for those suggestions, I really like the sound of both.

My notepad is filling with more ideas.I think I might have to try starting a few to see which ones start to develop.

It's been great getting advice on here but I'm realising my knowledge with regards to setting up a business and issues/pitfalls to be aware of is quite basic and poor - are there any good books, websites or courses that anyone can recommend?

I appreciate everyone's advice here, I feel like I have so many questions arising from the suggestions posted by everyone here. It's all helping mind!

Thanks again smile

MoominMammasHandbag Sun 24-Nov-13 20:37:23

How about wedding planning? Lovely, crafty, folksy style weddings are all the rage. You could combine lots of your skills.

Talkinpeace Sun 24-Nov-13 21:10:22

when it comes to the boring side of running a business, the page I've written for ebayers is as good a place to start as any

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