I have this vague plan. It's a plan about making a small business out of selling prints, cards, softies and what-not to bring in some money so I can afford to spend the rest of my time making *art*. It's a very nice plan. I'm sure there would be a few people reading this who have a similar plan. I feel like the idea itself has been bubbling away in the back of my mind ever since I embarked on selling christmas cards and soft cats all those years ago, and now seems the right time to start thinking about it again in earnest. But where to begin? I dipped my toe in the great big ocean of etsy and that was pretty fun. I learnt some lessons, made a couple of mistakes, thought about packaging, sold some things to nice people and it was all quite gentle, easy and even a little bit lucrative. And while it seemed crazy-ape-bonkers to start thinking about business plans and budgets, I knew I needed to start doing some kind of planning ... but what? and how? I have been procrastinating, to say the least.
But in that wonderful, serendipitous kind of way -- In the mail last week I received a copy of Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon's new book The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business.... and when I opened the book to the introduction, the first thing I read was;
"So: You want to be the boss of you, right? We're guessing that's why you picked up this book. You've got an idea or a hobby that you absolutely love (or a skill you want to liberate from cubicle tyranny), and you're pretty darn sure that with the right plan in place you could launch your own creative, independent venture; pay the bills; or maybe even make more than you're making now."
... and the back of the book promises that The Boss of You "...will walk you through each step in the process of finally turning your jewelry-making hobby or photography skills into the business you've always dreamed about"
Huh! How about that! So I got in to bed that night with my trusty hot water bottle and cup of tea and started reading (see above photo: I was tired of taking photos of books on my desk - very dull... so instead here is where my copy of the book is, in its natural environment). After a couple of pages of reading, I had to get out of bed again pretty quickly because I realised I needed a pen and a notebook as I actually felt inspired to do the exercises set out in the book. I have to tell you, that's a pretty rare occurrence for me. Historically I would read a book like this and skip through the exercises, (and often the chapters) promising myself that I will go back to them one day and, of course, never do. But I sped through the first two chapters surprising myself with a) how exactly "me" the book seems to be and b) how my business idea wasn't actually as vague as I thought. Going through sections such as Business Goals, Define Your Business's Personality and Target Practice were incredibly useful and incredibly entertaining. Really! I was excited and inspired... I haven't had this much fun reading a book, making lists and feeling positive since doing the Artist's Way!
So now I am up to chapter three... and it's a little daunting... "Financial Scenarios". The money side of a business has never been my strong point, but I intend to push through (I have given myself until Sunday morning as a deadline) because I really feel like this book is so perfect for getting my head around the kind of business I want to create. I love that one of the earliest tasks was make a list of my own personal measures of success. I didn't even think to put "Make big bucks" as one of the bullet points (although I think the words "dream house" might have made it in there), and the nice thing about what Lauren and Emira have done with this book is embrace the idea that success is different things to different people.
So far I am loving it ... I can't tell you much more as I am refusing to turn the pages until I have completed all the exercises thus far. I'll let you know how I progress.