The Story of Me and My Business

The Story of Me and My Business
The Beginning

In a galaxy.... far far away .......  

Not really, lol.

 I started crafting at a young age with my grandmother, trying to show me how to knit. It didn't compute well as I expected it to grow faster. 

When I was 10 we moved house and rented an area that also had quite few things belonging to the owners.

I found a little booklet with detailed step by step pictures of crochet stitches. I tried it and bit by bit taught myself and from that moment on I was hooked.

I would make dolls blankets once I got hold of any wool, which wasn't often.

I would pick up the crochet occasionally but it finally became useful when I had children

I made many things for my home, especially after I got a knitting machine  I learned to design basic patterns to make clothes for the children,  jumpers for us and as gifts too.

Life got busier with a growing family and it was set aside.

Crochet was picked up occasionally from time to time but mostly lay untouched until grandchildren began to appear. 

Time to move Forward

But then the universe in its wisdom decided I wasn't doing what I should be doing and gave me shove.

3 illnesses all at once for just over 2 years was a really effective way of doing just that. I have to say it was very efficient otherwise it might have dragged on for a few years.

I have never been one to sit and do nothing and there is only so much meditation you can do. So out came the trusty hooks and yarn. I began to crochet blankets.

But as I improved I wanted variation and commenced making hats, scarves and fingerless mitts.

Of course the few items grew into piles and kept growing.

Once I recovered I had a brilliants idea, I could sell online. It would be simple to do. Right?  I have to say here, that I actually thought I would open an online shop and that was it, job done.

Starting that first online shop

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or had let myself in for.

Just the initial set up was a challenge. I learned that I needed decent photos, not just one, but from every angle, as well as descriptions etc.

I did it, though it took a long while. The whole thing was a very steep learning curve and the more I learnt, the more I realised that I needed to know.

BUT .... once that first sale came in, I was hooked!! 

The general consensus was that it took about 4 years to make a reasonable profit. I have to say that it was about right. Not bad though considering I knew absolutely nothing about online selling when I started. 

I had never even looked at any social media platforms, they were a mystery too. I had resisted being on them but now I had no choice. 

I loved selling online and no longer wanted it as a hobby, I wanted a business!

Turning it into a business

I wanted a business but designing and creating crocheted accessories took too long too, I needed to change to something I could make more of, instead of something that took a few days. 

I did miniature paintings and really enjoyed those, sold quite a few. Then I tried needle felting, which was very satisfying and enjoyable. I made pictures and turned them into useful items like needlecases and pincushions.
It still wasn't what I was looking for though. I wanted something I could personalise, to make it totally unique for each person with a variety of designs to choose from.
Then I found Word Art.
It was new then and the pictures were very basic but it fired my imagination. I wanted to make something similar but make the pictures come alive, to give the idea of movement. 
It was certainly a challenge

Finding the right tools

I played around with it, having fun and learning. I liked it but I wanted to create better pictures. Pictures that were more life-like.
I spent months looking for the right software, not too complicated but good enough to create what I envisioned. I finally found the one I wanted and set to work.

I kept practicing, drawing new styles and pictures.

Then I realised that I needed more software for the finishing of the pictures. They would need editing. Making the right size, leaving a margin in case they were framed. Also being able to move words about so the right ones were larger and more prominent and the less important were clearly visible but smaller. 

I found the right software and had to learn how to use it for what I wanted. It was frustrating and fun all at once. Bit by bit I was getting where I wanted to be.

Word Art was born!

And so word art came into being about 7 years ago.

My first ones were very basic and I tested the waters with those. I made a few sales but hadn't gained the skills yet to alter the words without it being obvious. The price was lower while I worked this out but I didn't do many orders. I wasn't really advertising them much, afraid to put them out there in case it was a failure.

Gradually the pictures were getting better and I was building a basic collection.

A few became a dozen and kept growing, until I had a reasonable sized basic collection. I added a few to my Not On The High Street shop, then a few more. I kept practising but still they took many hours to create, it was all so new. I wanted each one to be perfect.

Very slowly, orders began to come in. It was exciting and scary too. 

The first  Christmas I did 30 in the November and nearly the same amount in the December despite a cut off point. Considering each one took most of a day, more if alterations were needed, that was a lot. By the Christmas I was exhausted and ready to drop.

At the same time, it was exhilarating and fun.

Another shove from the Universe

I got better, the order volumes grew, my business was doing nicely. I thought about leaving my job but it seemed too much like tempting fate.
Then, I lost my job, I was made redundant. I didn't get much money despite working there for over 20 years. The new boss had gradually whittled all the hours down, most just left. However, it was convenient for me but I knew my time there was limited.

When redundancy was mentioned I jumped at it because at least I would get something.

I considered getting another job but decided I would give myself 8 months to make it earn enough to at least equal my lost wage.

It was VERY hard work

Now I was working very long hours to make this into a business that paid me. I got up early, went to bed later and later. Designed new pictures, opened another shop, this time on Etsy and created a website.

The time passed in a blur. But before my deadline, it was a business that made the amount of profit I needed. In fact over time it surpassed my expectations.

At busy times, like Christmas, sleep became optional. 3-4 hours became the norm. Every single one took hours from start to finish, not as many as at the start but I wanted each one to be perfect.

I still love it but have cut back on it over the last few years as I spend time with grandchildren more.

I treasured the time with them and would not have given up the time for anything or anybody. 

Moving On

Now I needed something else, especially as the retirement age had moved on by 6 years. I wanted something new to learn, to stretch my brain to its limits. That would in time earn me money to replace lost income from limiting the word art. But what?
A chance remark about being an influencer due to the amount of my social media followers, set me off on a new path.

Time to learn and grow

I researched influencers as at that time I hadn't heard of them. Then I kept coming across affiliate marketing. Turned out that it was much the same thing, though I am pretty sure the influencers wouldn't say so. 
Plus affiliate marketing is harder as we do research, write about products we believe in or find solutions for problems that people need solving. A plus is that I love writing blogs. Finding things to write about is never a problem as I have several websites to fill.

I love new challenges and this is a major new challenge. It fits well with my lifestyle now, keeping up with family as we spread out. My work can be done anywhere and word art posting is planned to suit around my many days away each month.

Keep learning and growing

During the Pandemic, I couldn't travel because of the Lockdowns and restricted times but I learnt a lot more and did get more done on my websites. So it is all coming along nicely.

Continuing to build

I would probably be much further along if I stuck to one website for affiliate marketing but of course I couldn't. A new idea would come along and set me off on a new tangent. But that's okay, it keeps life interesting.
There was one topic that I really wanted to talk about but it took me a while, as its kind of about the life journey, including mine and the things we learn, to grow as a person and spiritually. It's sharing all I have learnt through the years and continue to learn. It's HERE if you are interested in self help and growing into your best life.

It has taken a lot of hard work over the years, building social media and learning all I needed for each stage of my journey. However now it is a valued asset.

Now I know that learning never ends, that hopefully I will always seek new challenges and that life is more interesting when you are curious and have a thirst for knowledge.

I have also learned that change is good, you are never too old to start something new and that behaving like a kid, at times, is good for you too!!

I love my life and I am really happy, probably 98% of the time. The other 2% of possibly not, is because I am after all human and life happens.Lol.