So in my last blog “How to decide what kind of business you should run” I talked a little bit about how to think about choosing a business idea that works for you. So now I thought I would go into a bit more detail about myself and how I plan to become self-employed, what skills I have and the business I have chosen to run. As I said before it has taken me quite a lot of years to figure out what I want to do and it kind of just came to me all of a sudden and then snowballed. But I will start at the beginning.
A bit of History
So since I graduated from Staffordshire University in 2015 I have done a few different things. I studied Events Management at uni but to be totally honest the career wasn’t practical for me as a mum. With events all the jobs are evenings and weekends so I kind of knew that it wasn’t going to work for me having a 6 year old and being on my own at the time.
After I left uni I got a full time job working at World of Wedgwood in Barlaston a little village outside Stoke-On-Trent but because it was so out in the sticks it took me nearly and hour to get there on a bus that went all round the villages. I was travelling an hour each way, each day to go approximately 4 miles! So my daughter was with the childminder before and after school every day and it was just a complete nightmare. I felt so guilty for leaving her all the time so in the end I had to leave.
I then went on to doing admin at a temp agency Forrest Recruitment which was great because you could pretty much pick and choose when you worked and how long for. Do a few days in once place and then a few days off and a week in another place. The only problem was it was painfully boring and I knew I needed something else.
After temping for a few months I got a job at a brand new Luxury Care Home at a Recreation & Leisure Coordinator. I absolutely loved this job. I was basically in charge of ensuring there were a wide range of activities, trips, and entertainment available to the residents who lived there. But it was just so much fun playing games, going out for lunch, singing, taking them in the garden through the summer. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better job or enjoyed myself more doing it. I was also in charge of putting on marketing events and parties for the home so continued with my passion for events at the same time which was great.
I began to struggle when Ny’s dad moved to Germany and I had to find childcare for the weekends when I was working. Not only did the childminder charge £50 a day at the weekend she also didn’t want to work a lot of the time. I realised that as much as I loved the job the hours once again were impacting too much on my life and affecting time with Ny. So I spoke to my manager who agreed that I could work part time in a more planning/coordination role rather than running the daily activities and working evenings and weekends.
This was great but I took a huge pay cut going down from a full-time wage. Luckily around this time I passed my driving test and so my opportunities for places to work got much better. So I started to look for something else which could fit around my part-time role at the care home and family life. I then found my current role at Envisage and exhibition company in Stoke. It was my first completely marketing based role but I knew I had the skills to be successful. I have done marketing for all my events over the years and studied is at uni as part of my course. There is also so much free information about all areas of marketing available online. Just ask google. I pretty much taught myself the basics of SEO and WordPress on the job.
As much as I have enjoyed working here and it’s been great proving that I can do all the marketing for a successful business I want to be my own boss. I want the freedom to take a day off or go on holiday without asking someone else’s permission. And I really want to increase my income without spending years working my way up the ladder.
The big idea
So the last few months I have been on a one-woman mission! I had the idea whilst in my care home. Now our home is serious luxury. It’s stunning and there is always something for the residents to do. But I know that’s not the case for a lot of other homes. In fact I know a lot of other homes can’t afford to pay a full-time activity coordinator let alone 3. So, I thought, what if I offered an activity service to care homes and charged by the hour. They would have the flexibility with how much they spent and be able to offer their residents a wide range of different activities.
Now I knew this was something I could do because I had already done it. I knew it was something I would enjoy because I already enjoyed it. I knew it was something I could make a success off with my background in marketing. And I knew it was something that was in demand because I actually purchased sessions for our home.
I was so excited! The more I thought about it the more excited I got in fact. Once I worked out the costs of starting the business up I was over the moon. The start-up costs weren’t huge, some basic marketing, insurance and equipment and I could be off. My main issue so far has been finding the time to do anything. I’m currently working 2 short days at the care home and 3 normal days doing marketing. Which leaves evening and weekends to do everything. But I’m happy with my progress so far. If you are interested in learning more about my business take a look at the Website or Facebook page.
Getting it started
So over the last few weeks I’ve been working on everything I need to start off. Firstly I came up with a name “Forever Young Experiences”. For me it was important to get this right. I wanted a name that I could keep even when the business naturally evolved into other things ( I want to do an events/party service for homes in the future). I also wanted something fun. Luckily I have a friend who has her own marketing agency DP Marketing Communications she has been great in helping me to develop my brand and build create my initial marketing materials. If you want any advice she is offering a 5% discount if you quote “Morales” when you get in touch.
Next I purchased some basic equipment that I knew I would need to start off any sessions. I thing started a blog, created an email account and started doing some social media promotion on Facebook and Twitter. I also made a list of all the care homes in the area with contact numbers and emails where they were available. I then sent out some emails introducing the company.
The next stage for me is probably the most scary part and something I have avoided all my life. Sales. I now have to go out and actually sell my product. I have never been a fan of sales but I know the best way for me to sell this product will be face to face. I think that because I am so passionate about my product I will really be able to get my message across this way. Over Easter I have taken some time off and my plan is to get out there and sell my product. I’ll go to the homes nearby and ask to speak to the home manager, taking with me my flyers and see what happens. It’s scary but you never know what you can do until you try.
Hopefully by the end of April I will have some customers. I will keep you all updated!