Setting up a business can be lonely. Especially if you work from home without a sales team, business partner or life partner to bounce ideas off or tap for friendly advice.
There are good networking events out there but you need to do your home work. Avoid anything that claims an annual membership fee will mysteriously grow sales. Try anything that allows you to attend on an event by event basis and has great guest speakers. It’s up to you to make the most of networking opportunities as they present themselves by showing a genuine interest in others and thinking of ways to work productively either in partnership with them or at the very least leveraging their network and contacts to mutual advantage. Expect to learn something, but don’t expect miracles. You still need to apply yourself.
This morning’s breakfast briefing run by Fat Buzz and WeDO Scotland on blogging was well worth the £19.10 attendance fee. I’ve been to these events before and they’re always well attended, great for networking (the central venue, Tiger Lilly, free coffee and bacon rolls ensures no one arrives late so there’s plenty of time to network with fellow attendees and talk to the speakers afterwards).
I blog because I enjoy it, but have also learnt that the process of blogging helps you learn about yourself, understand your audience and the industry you work in and disciplines you to keep up to date. Blogging also unlocks hidden thoughts and ideas.
I’m no fan of interior design as an industry but I love creating interiors. Where once I strived for perfection now I embrace doing things differently and going against the grain. If it doesn’t work it’s easy to fall back on standard design rules but often I come up with something unexpected, that’s better than anything I could have dreamed of.
I scour junk shops to find things I love because no ones making furniture or artwork that inspires or excites me. I love classics because they lend themselves to experimentation.
So I was very excited when my Saudi Arabian lodger suggested I look up the American comic Fluffy on Youtube for his standup tour of Saudi Arabia, courtesy of a Saudi Prince. Why? Because it inspired me to look at marketing my interior designs a little differently.
I’ve lost count of the number of times interior professionals and photographers have told me my interiors ideas would work well in London, Glasgow or anywhere but where I live in Edinburgh. “Edinburgh only does timeless classics,” is something I hear all the time. Georgian property lends itself to modern interior design, vintage classics and edgy, quirky touches so for me the timeless limitation is a missed opportunity.
I’m not sure whether a comic Youtube video on Edinburgh interior design would work. But I’m willing to give it a try. After all who needs another droll “How to make or solve an interior problem lecture”? Far funnier to joke about the difficult business climate, the mistakes you’ve made long the way, the crazy things you’ve done to survive instead of an illusory perfection others struggle to relate to.
How we laughed when my friend opened her interiors shop, powder coated 6 reclaimed radiators only to discover there was no gas coming in.
How she cried when rectifying the problem cost several thousands of pounds leaving no money for stock. The only reason she still has a business is because we literally raided our houses for items to sell until she made sufficient sales to place a decent Christmas order. Small failings are the stuff of life. Doing whatever it takes the new business reality.
Starting a business can be lonely. Initial mistakes can be hilarious. How better to gain an audience for your blog than sharing some of them? Everybody laughs at comic failures that make you who you are and somehow, in spite of everything, lead to well deserved success.
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