Recently I’ve made a big, exciting life move…I’ve started a business! Establishing my own business is something I’ve known I’ve wanted to do for many years now; I feel much more entrepreneurial, practical and creative than I do academical so creating my very own print brand ‘Word Of Pen’ felt like a natural move for me after many years of uncertainty and toying with the idea of university. I want to let you know how I got to this point, what my motivations are, the financial aspect of starting my business and where I plan to go from here, in the hopes that it will help some of you Girlboss’ in the making on your very own business journey.
How Did I Get Here?
At school I was disinterested in pretty much everything. I was intelligent and hardworking but lacking direction, passion and focus. I loved practical subjects but hated the rigid marking system that came with them, which left me in a fuzzy grey area of wanting to be creative but not having the enthusiasm to be. Fast forward to the beginning of my gap year and I was still just as confused as to what I wanted to do; I went from being unemployed, to washing dishes for a day, to being unemployed, to working in a shop over Christmas, to being unemployed, to working in another shop, to then quitting my second job and being unemployed again, to starting ‘Word Of Pen’ whilst looking for more retail work. For context, my ultimate goal is to be a full time property developer, but in order to start that I need a cool £25K, so whilst working dead end retail jobs, I racked my brains for business ideas that would get me there. These ideas included an app, a dog food brand and a furniture company; none of which are my passion nor my forte. I had to think of something that was a) financially viable b) within my skillset and c) creative, so along came the idea of a print business. It had minimal start up costs (see below for full details), I was already handy with Adobe, and it meant I got to be creative purely for myself again- it was just what I’d been looking for.
What’s My Motivation?
You might be wondering why I’m going to all the effort of starting a brand new business when a 9-5 job would give me no strings attached, guaranteed working hours, with a steady wage that would allow me to save for an investment property- and the answer is I hate working for other people. The idea of having to fill out a form and wait for someone else to give me permission to spend MY time how I want just doesn’t sit well with me at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be working in retail for at least another year whilst I properly establish my business and start making enough to support myself from it and I’m more than willing to put up with all the sacrifices that will bring, because I know that in the long run when I am working for myself I’ll appreciate the freedom all the more. Of course being self employed isn’t my only motivation; I want to be creatively fulfilled but also wealthy enough to live an abundant, exciting life; something which I’d just never have if I settled for a 9-5 and didn’t stick my fingers in any other pies.
How Much Did It Cost To Set Up?
Here’s a full breakdown of exactly what ‘Word Of Pen’ has cost me to set up:
- Adobe One Month- £30 (I decided to get a monthly paid subscription for the first month so I’m not locked in a 12 month contract if things don’t work out)
- One Font- £10
- Card-£19.99 for 100 sheets
- Ink- Approximately £4 for monthly subscription of 75 sheets with HP
- Etsy Fees- £1.70 for ten listings
Compared to the £25,000+ I need to start a property developing business, £72.19 is a very manageable risk for me and well worth it to try something new. As I currently only have an Etsy shop and not an official registered business, I haven’t factored in the cost to register as a limited company or business insurance, hence the low start up costs.
Things You Should Consider
Before starting a business, you should think about what’s realistic for you; how much time, money, skill and space do you have to bring your idea to life, and how are you going to sell it when it’s complete. In my case I had at least a whole two weeks completely free in between coming back off holiday and finding another job, I had enough money to be able to risk losing £72 in start up costs if things didn’t work out, I had the skills to produce the prints on adobe, the only space I needed was wherever I could sit with a laptop and from blogging experience I knew how to set up cohesive social media channels and create professional looking images to promote my brand. You also might want to consider where you’re going to sell your product; will it be at a physical store, your brand’s own website or on online retailers such as Etsy or Ebay like me (which would be a good option for beginners since they’ll allow you to test your product against the market before fully committing to going solo and officially registering as a business). Make sure you’ve considered all of these factors and are clear on the level of risk you’re willing to take before taking the plunge and starting your own business.
Where I Want To Go From Here
If the current print designs on my Etsy shop sell well, I’d love to make my own website and expand my product range to note books, planners, cards and enamel pins. I have tons of ideas for different collections, but I’d really like to niche down and create a cohesive brand, and eventually go self employed full time. I’d love to scale up the brand, get it stocked in high street retailers and grow my one woman team, but for now I’m taking baby steps and working from the ground up.
As I progress on this journey I plan to document it in the most honest, detailed way possible. I want to include all the ups and downs, the late nights, the failed photoshoots, the slow months and the wins. I want to show you my very first venture into business in a transparent way so you can get a true insight into what being an entrepreneur really means, and I hope you enjoy it.
If you’d like to support me on my journey, you can shop my products on Etsy and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. All help is massively appreciated, even it its just a retweet every now and again. Megan x