Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Motivation and Random Thoughts by Allison Young

GUEST POST: Motivation, and how to keep it, also some random advice thrown in ( an 'in progress title') 

Starting a business is like raising children: It keeps you up at night, drains your wallet, adds to your stress, gives you a creative outlet, but most of all it can bring you fantastic pleasure. It will cause you to pull your hair out, want to scream and stamp your feet, as well as cause moments of pure joy and 'jump out of bed at 3 am' as you just have to write that idea down. It's not an easy path and you need to be ready to take a hobby to a new level. 

You need to be prepared that something you used to do just for fun may become something that you could end up hating to do. It's a sad reality but I believe a lot of people think it's an easy progression to start a business – especially in these times of Facebook and online shopping, however they soon find that postage costs can be huge and mandatory standards are hard to follow. They seem to think that if they've been selling (or gifting) to friends and family that it will be an overnight success to sell to 'others' and before long they'll be rolling in the cash. It would be wonderful if that was the case, however in 99% of cases it's a bit more involved. 

Before you start at all you need to do some research. It's important to know things like business registration. If you're planning on calling your business anything other than your 'legal name' you need to register it and to do that you need to get an ABN and with an ABN you need to declare your business income/expenses at tax time. 

Even at the very start people can see the whole concept of running a business to be overwhelming and put a lot of things in the too hard basket. Sadly by doing that though they run the risk of getting into trouble legally. To help maintain the momentum and motivation of the start up join some Facebook business forums to realise you're not the only one and there are a lot of other people out there with the same questions and thoughts. 

There are also a lot of online forums and help pages with a lot of information. The ASIC website is also a great place to start for information. Don't let it become a big cloud hanging over you – it's a bit of an uphill slog but it's easy to navigate around. 

Once you're legally covered you get to have some fun and fun is always motivating! I had such a great time designing my logo and then subsequently my stationary, invoices, business cards etc. It gave me a real identity and feeling that I really was running a business which for my motivation levels was fantastic. 

Don't get down if you don't make sales straight away – starting a business is hard work and it takes time to build not only a reputation but a solid customer base. Don't be afraid to market yourself and tell others about yourself/business. For example; you're at the park and someone comments on your childs clothes – jump at the opportunity to say "thanks I made it myself", and casually hand over a business card. Don't be pushy but be confident and proud in what you're doing. 

The hardest part about running a business from home for me, is finding the time in amongst all the general household things that need doing, let alone being a mother (or father) at home with the kids. Keeping motivation up when you're feeling tired or behind in that area can be hard to overcome, my best advice is to set yourself a bit of a timetable and allow yourself some 'you' time to freely create and focus on your creations. 

Another area that can affect your motivation is feeling stagnated with a creation (especially if you make or concentrate on one product) or having 'creative block'. It can be hard to regain your drive when you're feeling lost, however I find the best way for me to get my 'sewjo' back is to try something new, mix it up and do something a little out of my comfort zone. Even if you don't plan to sell the product it's a great way to find yourself again...and who knows you might discover a new line or find hidden inspiration. 

Everything I've said above is true and will work if you try it out, however the thing that will 100% lead you in the right direction and keep you on track through the start up, the slow times, the down times, the creative blocks etc is to DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE, whether it be sewing, scrapbooking, candle making, jewellery – no matter what it is love doing it so that you won't hate making another dress or necklace or soy candle. 

Do it with love and motivation will never be hard to find. Good luck and keep going!

Allison Young is a busy mum of two and Owner / Creator behind AllyBeeDesigns. Allison's
passion for handmade business sees her organising and hosting regular themed showcases on Secret Dolls Business (if you aren't addicted to cloth dolls yet you will be!). As well as the manager for a handmade market supporting other crafters / WAHM's "The Makers Market at the Abbotsford Convent", she is also one of the wonderful ladies behind the scenes in Let's Talk Business a Facebook group where you can share and help each other alike. If you see her on Facebook you could be forgiven for thinking she is a super hot specimen of the male persuasion (I really like seeing her profile pic show in my news feeds). Kind, generous to all and willing to help wherever she can.

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