Small Business Reality

Small Business Reality

I really need to blog more! It just seems to come bottom of my list and then 2 years pass!

I think what prompted me to blog tonight was that i rarely express any negative feelings over social media, however today I broke that rule due to sheer frustration and feeling very overwhelmed. 

Running a business is by far the hardest thing i have ever done. It comes with huge personal sacrifice and tests my limits daily. 

Often i dream of working on Lidls checkout scanning shopping and having effortless conversations with customers, this may sound crazy and i'm sure after a while i would crave the insanity i currently reside in. 

Niamhs Neverland was never destined to be a business, it was a hobby to get me through my miscarriage and my last two years at uni. Some extra income to help out and a way to express my creativity. Roll over 12 months and it showed potential so i pushed a little harder, 

I sat down with mum and discussed booking the Baby Show in 2018, we decided to try, and said if it didn't work then it's not the end of the world. That morning the show opened, ill never forget. The bell chimed to say show is open and i burst into tears, tears of sheer fear that there was so much hard work (and financial commitment) resting on those two days, i was utterly exhausted and prayed for success. My prayers were answered and we did really well, and it showed me that there is a space in the market for us. 

As the business has grown the pressure has escalated. I have an amazing mentor from my graduate programme that advises, supports and guides me through big decisions, but ultimately every single decision in the business is on my shoulders. 

What products we sell, designs we choose, how much to spend on marketing, where to source materials, policies, procedures, do we run an offer, when is market night, what do we call this design. 

Some decisions i can make instantly, some i really struggle with. Will that one wrong decision cause everything to tumble?

Covid helped us expand - Brexit has caused many problems. 

Shipping has doubled for materials, Gas and Electric has increased 300% in one month, orders have slowed, item quantities have reduced, stand fees for shows are insane. At the same time i'm trying to find new ways to generate orders and reach new customers. 

I get stressed.. ill be honest and say ive contacted the GP for some intervention. I get consumed by complaints (my products are literally a piece of me), but that is my nature and i can't change that. 

I work 18 hours a day, i'm always 'at work' . The business is like a baby, but it doesn't sleep. The messages are there when i wake up, when i go to sleep. Unfortunately i'm not the kind of person to turn off - massive downfall of mine - so the baby has to be seen to or i cant sleep. I get messages on Saturdays & Sundays asking why i haven't replied, or sorted an invoice.

This is one of the reasons we try to go out and visit places - as i have to remove myself from normal life.

I get lots of comments saying how lucky i am to choose my hours around the girls , how i should be proud of what i have achieved. 

Yes i can do school pick ups and drop offs but i'm still working -  i don't get holiday, or bank holidays  - i worked evenings while we were in Florida for 2 weeks.

I very much struggle to see the big picture and how far I have come, i don't know why. Im yet to work out why i get embarrassed when people praise me or congratulate me. 

I think all of this is because a lot of jobs in the business admin area can only be done by me - i am working to change that but it's a slow process.

Running a business isn't a get rich quick option haha! 

I earn less now than when i was working for NatWest in 2006 ( aged 16) - and believe me i wasn't rolling in it then! 

This causes major stresses as we are unable to buy a house to secure the girls future - we just have to wait and ride it out with the hope that one day the business is at a stage where it can pay me more. 

Why am i writing this?

Reason 1 is because i was adamant i was writing a blog tonight and these are my current feelings, 

Reason 2 small businesses everywhere are closing, or cutting back. Times are more tighter than ever for everyone. 

Im riding the rollercoaster, and it is literally just that. You know i LOVE my job, my business and my life -  but just like any human we cant manage everything all the time. 


K xxx



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