Folksy Ltd

All time low

(BaudelaireBazaar) #1

firstly sorry , I don’t expect a reply … I just need to put this into words.

I feel so low , sad disappointed with my myself.

I left my job 9 months ago and opened my own little gift shop & sell my wares online. every month we cover the costs for the business and make a small bit of profit ( much less than minimum wage) the shop has won an award too.
I can help but feel deflated and im struggling with the wage cut , its much quieter than I thought and I like to be busy , I cant see the positives of what iv achieved and don’t think im doing well … despite everyone being impressed with the shop and that we aren’t making a loss.

im at a cross roads weather to keep the shop or get a job.

iv written out my cv - all be it its not glowing as I think iv under sold myself in respect to the shop and how I put into words what I have done to get to this point. managing a shop and various online outlets.

I have already started to get rejection emails saying im not qualified or didn’t meet their requirements as a manager in retail ( I have worked in retail for 10 years +) managed big and small teams, dealt with recruitment, hr , training sales… have glowing feedback from customers… but im still not good enough…

I just don’t know what to do

(Marg) #2

When someone asks for my advice regarding jobs, i.e. they are not sure whether the move they made was a good one I always say “Think why you left your old job to get another one”. 9 months is not even a full year, and so you haven’t had a Christmas opening yet.
Write down the pros and cons for each situation.
If you are struggling financially, look to where any savings can be made.
Hope everything goes well, and don’t give up, being your own boss is better than being employed by someone, even if the financial rewards are less. Best Wishes Marg.

(Sasha Garrett) #3

You are making a small profit from an award winning bricks and mortar shop in tough times - I’m impressed even if you’re not. As Marg said you’ve not even had a Christmas period so who knows how much you could achieve then.
Is there any particular reason why you are struggling with the wage cut? Is it financial pressures or do you equate money with success? I was made redundant from a well paying job and decided rather than hunt for another job in the same field (which I could well be made redundant from again) I switched careers and I currently earn as much in a year as I did in a month before but I am happier for it. You left your old job so you must have had good reasons - would those reasons still be present if you went back to the same career? Would you be better paid but unhappy for different reasons to now?
If you have more time on your hands than you are used to why not learn another craft that you could use to make more items for the shop - especially if it is one you could do in the shop allowing customers to see the items being made. Or work on your business plan (or world domination plan as mine is occasionally known) - where would you like the business/ brand to be in a year’s time and how are you going to achieve it?
Don’t have the answers I’m afraid but more than happy to act as a sounding board if it helps.

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(Liz Clark) #4

Sorry to read you’re feeling low @BaudelaireBazaar but perhaps you had greater expectation rather than the reality of being a small business owner? I don’t mean that in a harsh way - we all have a dream that we’ll do well when we start out but then find that it’s really hard work as you’re doing all the making, marketing, photography, book-keeping and more besides. You’ve done a fantastic job if you’re turning a profit in your first year (however profit is different to wage and it seems from what you’ve typed you’ve got the two mixed together?), and won an award too! Most small businesses make a loss in their first and even their second year. So I think you’ve done well!

I know from friends who’ve had shops they’ve found it tough to get noticed and so started holding workshops on their premises too. Is this something you could offer? You could either open up the space for other crafters to hire out, or run mini courses yourself. Even invite the local WI or if there are art groups or embroidery groups etc suggest a coffee and biscuits and chat. Being around other creatives can really help as they might have links/contacts and may help promote you too.

Whatever you decide, good luck going forward :smiley:

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(Rachel) #5

Sorry to read that your feeling down, @BaudelaireBazaar . Could you not top up your income with Working Tax Credits or similar just to help out? Like others have said Christmas is approaching and fingers crossed its a good one.

Take care and try and be proud of the amount you have achieved


(Tina Martin) #6

I can’t had anything to all the good advice already given, just to say maybe give it a year and like the other’s have said Christmas is on the way. All the best! :blush::blush:

(Roz) #7

Have to agree with what others have said - to achieve a profit, however small, in the first year of any business is pretty good going. If you need to bring in more income, offering shelf rental space to other crafters may be a way forward. If you are struggling financially make sure you are receiving all the help available to you by way of benefits/small business start up grants and loans etc. Sometimes its hard to know what you are entitled to so I would spend a while trawling the internet, calling CAB, contacting your local small business network etc to see if you can find anything you haven’t thought of - apply for anything and everything, they can only say no! Maybe you could take a part time job in the evenings to tide you over.

Unless you are really struggling I would certainly keep at it to the year point and see how you are fairing then.

(Amberlilly) #8

Apparently, its unusual to make a profit in the first few years. I guess, people rely on back up money to get them through. Stay hopeful, like said, Christmas is coming, see what happens then.

(Sams Gemstone Jewellery) #9

I would love to be in your position but I don’t sell enough to cover the mortgage( which is low) let along anything else. I’ve looked at jacking in my full time, full on, constantly stressful job and finding a part time job in a supermarket but I just wouldn’t earn enough to survive and I’m single so there is no other money coming in. Some days my job is so awful the thought of working on a checkout seems like heaven !!! I would give it a year and see how things go but if you still feel the same way next year, could you not try and get a part time job ( in somewhere like a supermarket, bar , restaurant etc ) which would be non stressful and a bit more money but would still give you plenty of time to concentrate on your online business.

(Emma Turner) #10

You’re doing well, @BaudelaireBazaar. There are times in any start-up’s early days where we lose faith, and it would be perfectly OK for you to decide that you’ve had enough already - you’ve given it a serious try. But! This would be a shame, considering you clearly have a talent for what you are doing. Have you thought of getting any business advice? I have enrolled in a year-long business development course, and although it costs me, it is money well spent. Recently on my course, we have been looking at customers - who your customers are, where they come from, how you reach them, what they like and don’t like. For example, we were doing a lot of craft markets with our yarn, and that was very hit and miss - we had good days and terrible days. We realised that those sorts of markets aren’t the places where our customers can reliably be found - we’ll be concentrating on wool festivals next year. Obviously your shop customers come to you, but there are still lots of things you could do to attract them. Workshops are a great idea, if you have the room.

By the way, if you decide to go back to the world of work, there’s a really invaluable website called Ask A Manager which gives great advice. It’s American, but there are a lot of British readers too, and it’s incredibly helpful.

Good luck, and hang on in there - you’ve got this, you can do it!

1 Like
(BaudelaireBazaar) #11

thank you everyone for your advice.

im trying to focus my energy back into the shop and into driving some online sales. I am lucky to be in the position im in, but with 2 little children and bills to pay its getting tough, having to say no a lot and going without days out and treats for the family … everything I do I do for them.

I had an interview yesterday that went ok, told the family about it who said they were disappointed in me , which is a bit of a blow…

but I guess ill just have to see what happens next

(Nobias Art) #12

Hi there,
I am sorry to hear that your plans weren’t coming true. But even if budget is low, try to think that you can stay home with your 2 children and still manage from day to day. Add more items to your shop. Spread out, make things to a wider market, promote, advertise (there is plenty free form to advertise in different platforms). I think your family been very unfair and unreasonable for telling you they were disappointed you looking for a job. They should be behind you, no matter what.Support you with everything they can. Explain your situation for them and if they don’t understand that selling online, running a shop is not easy then don’t bother with them. Try to stay open til Christmas, your stock is ready, ready to sell. Maybe get a half time job just to keep you going, but operate your shop as well on the sideline. Wish you all the best! :slight_smile:

(Roz) #13

Don’t worry about the little ones - as long as they get some quality time with their mum they will be fine. Doesn’t have to be anything more than feeding the ducks or a walk in the park - you don’t need to spend lots on them. When mine were small money was very tight and they were clothed from the charity shop and a chocolate bar was a weekly treat but they were happy and don’t habour any grudges or hold it against me :smile:

(Tilly Is My Cat) #14

Do you sell elsewhere online? Without wishing to sound rude, Folksy is not the busiest of places! I sell on Etsy and ebay too and can only just about keep up with my orders as a 1 man band! My own website is quieter but its picking up as time goes on.
I think the others are right though, you really need to give it more time, Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say, though I understand its difficult if money is tight.

(Sasha Garrett) #15

I think (and this would all need checking with an accountant) that if the shop is the business, the business could pay you a wage as a worker and then submit as making a loss to the tax man which could be counted against future profits. The shop would also need to pay your NI and so on but this might help with the finacial pressures at home.
Don’t know how old your kids are but my parents set up their own business when I was 8 ish and instead of getting pocket money and toys/treats on demand I was offered piece meal work with the business - could you do the same?. I could earn as much (or as little) as I liked and toys/treats started being eyed up as how many hours of work would be required to get them and then looked after as I’d put the hard work in. My parents got a shock when as teenagers my sister and i went on strike until our rates were renegotiated but I think the whole experience made us finacially more aware as adults and we don’t hold it against our parents (didn’t occur to us at the time that this wasn’t the norm).

(Plumporridge) #16

What about taking the middle ground and getting a part-time job. I have done different types of merchandising when we needed to supplement our income, not great pay but very flexible and they like retailers!