Unfortunate News…

I’m going to be stopping the blog for a while. I’ll continue writing posts and put them up in a few months time when we’re out of the starting phase so you can still see everything we’ve done, just not now unfortunately!

See you soon!


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Busyness, Business and Being Boring.

Gosh my blog is dull. Go see this, laugh your socks off, and then come back:  http://ikeepgettingbit.blogspot.com/

That sister of mine is an odd one and is certainly have a much different Summer to the one I’m having!

In business news: We made our first sale!!! Wahooooo! Only 99 or so more to go! Got to start somewhere I suppose. Got a very busy day tomorrow starting with a meeting at 7.30, then calling people throughout the morning, then a meeting in Port Talbot with some graphic designers, more calling and finally work in St. Thomas youth club! Early night tonight then! Looking forward to the weekend already; we’re going to David’s house in Berkshire so hopefully we can chill out a bit then!

In baking news: I found the best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe! http://annies-eats.com/2008/09/08/thick-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies/   The recipe made about 24, and luckily we gave away half of them as Dave and I pretty much inhaled the rest of them. I put chocolate buttons and chopped up milkybar in them and I would definitely do that again!

So thats pretty much my life at the moment, business and baking. See? Boring!

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Another week gone…

Its Friday once again and nearly the end of a rather busy week! The business course has been extremely useful and we’ve now got a business mentor, who we’ll be meeting with occasionally and will help us with paperwork/applications for grants/business plans and the like. He’s also going to try and help us get onto the Graduate Start Up Scheme offered by the Welsh Assembly which, if we were successful, could see us getting about £6000 each. Yes please! We’re also looking at applying to the Local Investment Fund for West Wales to see if they can help with start up costs. All very useful indeed.

The business itself has actually gone pretty well this week too. I’ve been approaching lots more people and had fairly positive feedback on the whole, and a few who are definitely interested. Its difficult trying to sell our product when we’ve never done it before. Businesses are obviously going to be wary and we’ve had to do our best to be as confident in our product as we possibly can be and hopefully we’ll convince people that it WILL work!

I’m currently trying to come up with justification for going to the beach this afternoon…what do you mean the beach isn’t an appropriate office? Fine, work now, maaaaybe beach for a bit, then more work later. The presenters on the course weren’t kidding this week when they said to say goodbye to your weekends!

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Business Courses and Clean Houses

David and I have just returned from the University as we’ve been taking part in the Business and Enterprise Week that they’ve been holding there. Its a free course funded by the Welsh Assembly and is mostly general business advice. Its been pretty useful so far! Yesterday was info on starting a business and today we’ve been looking at marketing. Tomorrow we’re doing costing and pricing and the day after, financial administration. For a free course you can’t really complain, and we’ve already made a few contacts with it. We’ve had two people who would be interesting in working with us and a whole range of advice from the mentors and fellow students. We were a bit wary about giving too much away about the business in the group (of about 20) but we’ve been able to talk about it and get some good feedback as well as lots of suggestions which we would never have thought of. We also get a one to one meeting with a mentor on Friday morning and can work with them on applying for a scheme called GSS (Graduate Start Up Scheme – I think!) where we can apply for individual funding and they provide lots of support for your business in its early stages.

Obviously the course isn’t entirely free; the time we spend in the classes could be spent selling and working on our own business. We think its worth it now, especially as we’ve gained contacts and advice – plus we get free lunch😉

Our meeting last Wednesday went very well! We’ll almost definitely be working with them and they’re giving us some of their contacts who they think will be interested too! All in all very positive! Tomorrow I’m going to call back some of the people who I just sent information to, to see what they think.

We’ve been having a look at what funding we can get as young people and graduates starting a business. People had told me that there was plenty out there, you just have to find it! Just in case you fancy starting a business here are some of the things I’ve found:

  • Go Wales – They offer a Graduate Training Scheme and will pay up to £1,500 to cover 50% of your training costs.
  • http://www.stridingout.co.uk – This is where I found the best compilation of funding on offer.
  • O2 Think Big – Haven’t looked at this properly yet but its for young people looking to fund projects that help their community.
  • Shell LiveWIRE – This is more of a competition for innovative businesses, if you get selected you have to make a video about your business.
  • http://www.minimogul.co.uk – I don’t quite get what this is all about yet but I am definitely applying. From what I can see its an apprentice/dragons den style show and they send you on a ‘business bootcamp’ before putting you on a stage to pitch your idea.
  • Other useful websites for start ups which may or may not have info on funding:
  1. http://www.startups.co.uk
  2. http://www.bigchallenge.org.uk
  3. http://www.businesslaunchpad.org

I’ve been told good things about the Princes Trust and their funding opportunities but I’m being either blind or stupid and can’t find the info on their website other than a fund for up to £500. But they still offer business support, their website is  www.princes-trust.org.uk/.

We spent Sunday evening and part of this morning cleaning and reorganising the house. Two of Daves housemates left this week so there has been much to do. We’ve gone through all of our own things and cleared and organised in preparation for when we leave in a few months. I can’t wait to move house, I’m so excited to not live in a student house! At least for the mean time we can make this house nice!

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What is this? Progress?!

Oh man. This is hard. I’m completely full of doubts and am rapidly losing confidence. I know its only the first day of trying to sell stuff and I was never going to have success straight away but I think a small part of me was really hoping that people would buy as soon as they heard what it was! I know this is silly and in reality I really haven’t done too badly. I’ve emailed lots of information packs to people and got some to send out. We’ve got a meeting organised for this evening with someone who sounded fairly keen and said they would even be able to give us some of their contacts who would be interested. In fact I’ve only had one ‘No’ and even that wasn’t an outright no, more of a ‘our budget is too small and we don’t control it’ sort of no.

So yes. Positiveness. Not a bad start. Honest. Fingers crossed this gets easier and this time next year Rodders, we’ll be millionaires!

…or not.


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A day in the life…

Ok, today I’m going to try something new. During my day I’m going to have my blog running and use it as a diary sort of thing to give an example of how my day goes now. I’m also hoping that this will make me want to be uber productive! Here we go!

9.28 – David and I are both up, showered, had breakfast and have a cup of tea in front of us. The office has been cleared of its debris (I told you it wouldn’t stay that clean…) and we’re finally sat down at our computers. First thing to do: a to do list!

9.43 – I’m already getting stressed out. My pressure headache from my sinusitis has yet to go away and I’m slowly coming to the realisation that iWork is far too simple for our needs. We’re going to have to get Quark or InDesign, both of which are rather complicated to use, but give you much more flexibility. If we were to change now it would mean way more work to change what we’ve already done, but perhaps a lot less work than it would be if we were to change our minds later on.

10.00 – Called Dad about advice on business cards, he ended up giving me a full blown pep talk and now I need to start calling people…argh!

10.20 Trying to set up email to the domain we bought a few days ago. Its not working. Oh and I downloaded a ‘Getting Started with Quark’ training pack. The pack for beginners is 96 pages long…

11.14 – Finally some progress! We finalised our selling details and polished the document that we’ve designed that holds all the information for our customers. Now just printing it off! Also David and I have had an argument over the use of the word ‘incentivise’. I think its a stupid word but apparently it exists, so now David is rubbing it in that he was right. Grrr.

11.21 – Printing problems. Not doing so well this morning.

11.32 – Major printing problems. Going to scream.

11.53 – Think it might be the black ink, the printer has got a backup black but I don’t think its using it. To the ink shop!

13.08 – Slightly longer trip than we meant to go on! Testing the ink now to see if that helps and grabbing some lunch. It was a fairly productive trip, we picked up some rental lists for trying to find a house and noted things to add into the database. Also went to find out business card info from local printers – it was pricey! Might be worth the hassle of trying to design our own and get them printed from somewhere online!

13.18 – hus!7£(F!?hs7£E***@!EShir!!!  (Yes printer, that is directed at you.)

13.19 – For some reason the printing is much clearer when I put it through as a pdf but has nice chunky white borders on compared to if I print directly from iWork, which prints to the edge of the paper but almost has a blurry quality to it. Odd.

14.22 – Given up on the printer, our customers will have to have slightly grey writing on the Information Pack for the time being until I can figure it out. I’ve had lunch too, by that I mean I’ve eaten a chocolate brownie and had a cup of tea. The brownie was from the One Shoe Cafe on King Edwards Road – they are sooooo goooood.

15.03 – Phonecalls aren’t going to happen today. I know I can’t keep putting them off, but by tomorrow I should be ready. Honest.

15.19 – Business cards are finally ordered! Phew! It was very confusing but I think we got a fairly good deal in the end. We went with Vistaprint, who looked like they had reeeeallly good prices originally but had lots of hidden costs. Bit sneaky but they still ended up with the best price. I’ve got about 2 hours before I go to work (I work as a Youth Worker in a youth club in Swansea 2 nights a week) so David and I are going to work on a sort of script for calling people to decide on whats best to say first!

15.35 – David has told me off for talking to my laptop (i.e when I shout expletives at it when it won’t do what its told) because he keeps thinking I’m shouting at him. Whoops.

16.01 – Almost definitely decided against iWork now, think I’ll go for Quark. It’s a million times more difficult but it will give us more flexibility in the end. Theres loads of tutorials on their website and although it might take months and months to learn it all, it is possible.

16.33 – I finally managed to buy the email set up to go with our domain and now it won’t let me log in. Technology is not my friend today.

22.32 – I’m sort of glad I forgot to write again before I went to work, I was NOT happy. I got sent around a bunch of call centres when trying to sort out the email, from virgin to microsoft and back again. After the day I had I was not the most impressed! I’m much more calm now, although I’m not sure how a mad night in a youth club helped! I have been out for dinner though with Dave and his housemates and that was very nice!

I think if I’m ever going to do another of these diary things it might have to be when I’m a bit more comfortable with things and I’m not freaking out for the whole day!


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How is it Friday already? So much for a having a few productive days this week! My body is still being very annoying and won’t get better and is leaving me in no state to start calling people trying to sell things. Fingers crossed I get better over the weekend, or at least the croaky voice disappears so I don’t sound so scary for a fresh start on Monday!

People are slowly starting to leave Swansea for the summer, and in many cases leaving Swansea for good now that they’ve finished uni. It feels very strange to be staying behind whilst everyone packs up and goes, this Summer is going to be rather quiet. Knowing that a lot of our friends won’t be returning is also quite sad, as much as I’m looking forward to the changes that will happen this year, I’ve had such a great 3 years in Swansea with all of these people and its odd knowing that it won’t be the same ever again.

We finally opened our business account yesterday! Things are slowly becoming official! All I need is to do that first phonecall selling and I might allow myself to believe we really are doing this. So far its been a bit like we’re playing along at starting a business, I can’t imagine what it will feel like when we actually start making money! Today I think I’m going to try and order our business cards, no idea where to get them from though, will have to do a bit of research and make one of my famous lists! I’ve already got about 6 purely in starting up plans and ideas! Its essential to write everything down though, we’ve got so many ideas that as soon as you think of something new you forget the last 3 things you thought of!

Its similar to how I approached my writing; I got a story in my head and then proceeded to write about 100 pages in my notebook purely on the facts/characters/plotline! Thats been particularly handy after 9 months off from writing it, I’ve been able to go back and remember exactly what I wanted to do and the reasons for writing particular things. I’ve been rereading everything I previously wrote and although I think that some of it is DIRE, its nice to have it down. I wrote 30,000 words originally and can’t wait to get more written. I am fully aware that I’ll probably delete the majority of what I’ve written in the end but there we go! Can’t get better without practice!

Heres hoping I manage to design the business card without completely falling asleep at my laptop!



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