Slow Week!

Well more like a non-week in terms of work! This week is the week after exams, and should be more aptly named ‘the week that nobody sobers up’. I was planning on taking part in some of the celebrations but was going to still keep on working through it as well. As you might of guessed, this hasn’t happened! Monday was taken up with organising the Comedy Awards and then in the evening was the Comedy Awards themselves. I felt pretty darn tired yesterday and had little voice left and so other than a bit of researching to see what grants are available for start up businesses, it was another day without work. I thought the tiredness was from Monday night, but I woke up today with a thumping headache, sore throat and swollen glands: not what you need on the day of the summer ball, especially when you want to do work before hand as well!

Anyway, I can’t be that ill as I got out of bed to make blueberry muffins! The business stuff will have to be back on track tomorrow! The good thing about having our own business is that we can work on Saturday and Sunday too to make up for the time we’ve lost out on.

We did make good progress in our first week of work last week. We drew up databases, wrote out plans, did more research and designed a document that has all our selling points on. Tomorrow I need to do business cards and we’ve got our bank appointment with the business manager.

Right, time to go fall asleep while putting on my makeup…ahem…I mean go get ready to party all afternoon obviously!

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First Official Day of Work!

Yes, thats right: today was the first official day of the business! David and I both got up and on with things, starting with tidying the office and organising it all.

Tidy! But for how long...

I have to say, having an organised work space definitely made us feel more business-like and ready to crack on with things. And look! We even bought a white board! Now we are definitely a business. I even filled in an online survey earlier (to win £1000 shopping spree in Staples – woop!) and put that I was employed full time. Impressive huh?!

We did actually have a fairly productive day in the end. Dave’s been working on databases while I’ve been ringing around and doing research. We think we’ve decided on on prices finally, but still a bit of debate going on about them. We don’t know whether to conduct a some potentially time consuming and very awkward market research, or whether to throw ourselves in and see how it goes. Obviously common sense would say to do the market research, but the only thing I can think of (ok, ok, my Dad can think of…) has some limitations that would either cause problems or give erroneous results. If we didn’t do market research we can get started very soon, and we would soon know if we’ve gone the wrong way as people wouldn’t buy if it was too expensive. At the same time, what if we’ve severely under priced them and we could be losing out on lots more profit? Bah! Its all very confusing!

There’s definitely things to debate about before we start selling but thats still a few days away. Lots to be getting on with in the mean time.

Tomorrow we’re going to open a business account. We were going to go in today, but banks are useless and after being put on hold several times they said they’d call me back and they never did. Tomorrow I’m just going to go in and stamp my feet and cause a ruckus if they won’t see us. That’ll work right?

We’ve just about come to the end of the work day now. Here’s David’s take on how well we did today:

Day one done.

x

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Slow moving…

The last few days have been the sort of days where nothing really gets done quickly. This might have something to do with David finishing his exams, the ensuing celebrations and since then the recovery! They took up Thursday and Friday and this weekend Dave headed home for a few days of cricket. Being on my own has not spurred me to do any inspired work. If anything I’m feeling more stuck for what to do! Anyway, David will be back tomorrow and then Tuesday we get down to the nitty gritty stuff. We were supposed to be actively be putting the business into action as of Tuesday but it looks like we’re going to have to postpone that for a few more days as we just aren’t ready. There’s still so much to do!

I got a few more quotes in for our main business cost, so I’ve got a good idea now of what we want and how much we’re going to have to pay. It was mad how much the prices varied, my lowest was around £1800 and the most expensive being nearly £6000! The other thing I encountered with it was the differences in the customer service with the people that I spoke to. Most were very helpful, some more than I could have asked for and these have made me seriously consider going with them even if it means paying slightly more (plus it means I won’t feel quite as bad calling them up when I don’t have a clue what I’m doing!). Unfortunately some people I spoke to were the opposite of helpful; one man I spoke to told me that if I was shopping around for prices he couldn’t help me, that if I’d been recommended by a friend that he could give me a good price, but as I wasn’t he couldn’t help me. I mean what?! He didn’t even try and sell himself to me! Another one told me that my business was unrealistic and unachievable…without even knowing what the business was!

These differing interactions with people have taught me more than the possible prices I’ll need to pay. I know it seems obvious, but being nice to people really helps. One guy I sat chatting to for several minutes as he even gave me advice on the business. He hasn’t got back to me with a quote yet but I will be more than willing to consider it properly when I get it. One guy I sent an email to sent me an extremely condescending reply and unless they give me an insanely good offer there’s no way I would want to work with them.

So yes, my lesson from this is to be nice. It doesn’t take much effort and people respond so much better to it. You would think it was common sense, but as I have seen in the past few days, it evidently isn’t. Luckily, I don’t think I’ll have too much difficulty with this goal, I can be annoyingly positive. If anything, I’ll need to make sure I don’t go over the top!

As I said earlier, things are a at a bit of a standstill until Tuesday morning. I’ve got a few things to be getting on with, creating documents for the business, like order forms and stuff like that. However, I feel this afternoon may be consumed by baking. I’m thinking either toffee apple cupcakes with maple icing or vanilla cupcakes with raspberry jam swirled through with raspberry butter icing. Decisions decisions! I had a similar problem on Friday evening, and ended up making both Marshmallow Cupcakes and Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes! They were both from the Hummingbird Bakery book, and they were both ridiculously tasty. Fortunately for my waistline (but unfortunately for my greediness) the mix only made 9, not the 12 it promised, so after being shared between me and Davids housemates there weren’t many leftover! James requested I make my apple cake again for when he and David get back tomorrow, its not my favourite and I like trying out new things so I might compromise with the toffee apple cupcakes. Win all around!

I’ve got to go and figure out how to back up my computer without having an external hard drive. I’m taking my laptop into the Apple shop in Cardiff for repair tomorrow and they recommend backing up before leaving it with them. Fun stuff!

Right, thats enough rambling for now. And remember: Be nice!

x

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Should I learn to expect this?

Week 2 in the setting up a business is coming along nicely!

Apart from the fact that people seem to have a problem with saying they’ll get back to you, and then not actually getting back to you. There are several things that I can’t do until I have certain information and no one will give it to me! Actually I lie, one person got back to me, out of about 8. However they rang me back with a quote and it was *expensive*. Its a necessary cost to the business and we’re lucky we don’t have all that many start up costs, but still, ouch! Luckily thats not something  we have to pay for another few months, so plenty of time to actually make that money first!

Talking of money, actually making some should start as of Monday, according to my plan! This might mean that I need to work some stuff out, like prices to charge, you know just casual sort of stuff…!

Oh my goodness! I just checked my university email and there was one there saying the results for one of my modules are in! Argh! I’m so scared! I worked really hard on this particular one, it was a policy report and an essay on the Welsh Assembly, and I’m fairly certain it was a great big pile of very smelly stuff. It was just a really difficult module and I chose one of the hardest topics for my report. I did it on economics for goodness sake! I don’t know what came over me! Right. Going to stop stressing and just find out how I did. Back in a bit…

Eek, not so great. Actually did better on the economics bit than I did on the general essay! Whoops! I got 55 overall, which pulls down my average a little bit, to just under a 2:1. Still got an essay and a presentation mark to come back so fingers crossed they pull me back into 2:1 territory!

Having said this, I suppose my politics degree isn’t really going to help me set up a business and thats what is more important at the moment!

I’ve had another email with a quote, this time for £1000 less! Nice! Definitely need to shop around a bit if this is the difference in prices! I need to know this cost so I can work out how much to charge. Our aims for this year are mainly to be successful. We’re aware that we might not make much money this year, especially as profits will be split between two of us, but the hope is that if it works, we’ll be able to live off it soon enough.

Right, I’m off to get more quotes and to forget about the Welsh Assembly (damn you essay! *shakes fist*).

x

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Ponderings and Potential Developments

I was full of big business plans for this weekend. Stuff was going to get DONE. And then the sun shone and that all went out the window.

I made chocolate chip cookie pie and homemade ham and pineapple pizza, sat in the sun, bought a bbq, put together a bbq, had a bbq, lathered on the sun cream, sat in the sun, drank pints of cider whilst sat in the sun, wrote a comedy sketch with fellow comedians in the sun, read some of Breaking Dawn (twilight geek alert) in the sun, made myself a (failed) phone sleeve in the sun, drank tea, ate biscuits and watched Doctor Who. All in all, exactly what a sunny weekend in Swansea should be like. I would have liked to go to the beach, but the Gower gets packed on a weekend if theres the slightest hint of sun, so I’ll be saving that for a weekday. I settled for sitting in Dave’s back garden with all the weeds, but at least we had a sea view!

The only problem was that it got to 10pm this evening and I realised that some of those big business plans for the weekend really needed to be done by Monday morning…whoops! And so I have sat, for the last hour or so, working on STUFF. This STUFF will then help to get actual, real STUFF done. Well, this is the hope. We’re still in the planning stages of this whole operation, plus Dave’s still got exams until Thursday. According to this plan, we’ll actually start working in one week – eek! This wouldn’t only be a potential development, but an actual real life, full size development! Thrilling stuff.

I am genuinely excited about getting on with it. Even though it feels like I haven’t achieved much yet, I’m in a much better state of understanding compared to this time last week (when I hadn’t started….).

In other news:

1. My fingertips are starting to soften up a bit, MUST do lots of guitar practice very soon.

2. I cannot really sew very well. However, there is potential and this means my hope for a £1.50 sleeve for my shiny iphone lives on. I have about enough material for another two attempts. Unfortunately if it does take another two attempts that will be about 10 man hours spent on it. I think that definitely qualifies as a waste of time and I might as well buy one.

3. I got a job interview for a part time job as a Student Liaison Officer at Swansea College. I need a part time job to ensure we can pay for rent and this job sounds pretty damn good. Fingers triple crossed I get it!

Amen and out.

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Oooh a blog!

Erm, how do you start writing a blog? Do you say ‘Hi!’ like you’ve already got readers and start chatting to them inanely? Do you just leap in mid story assuming people will already know whats going on? Or do you give an in depth history of your life thus far in order to explain why you’re writing it down all of a sudden?

Don’t worry, I won’t do that last one! How about a very brief history? Ok, I’ve just finished studying for my politics degree in Swansea and have just started a business. My reasons for starting a blog are to with sort of wanting to document the business side of things as well as have somewhere to talk about other random things. I’m a bit obsessed with cooking blogs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a bit of that gets on here! I’m learning the guitar, but I’m not very good yet so I’ll only moan about that one. Erm, anything else? I started writing a book back in first year and so now that I’ve got all that essay writing malarkey out of the way I might have a go at finishing that!

So yes. The Business. I’ve been so excited about starting it for ages now, but I’ve had to concentrate on the 15,000 words I had to hand in to finish off my degree before I could start! Well that is all over now, as of last Tuesday, so now I have no excuse not to get on with it!

First observations:

1. Starting a business is HARD.

Yeah I think I’m still stuck at 1. Ok no, there are others!

2. Its complicated. And hectic. And there are a million things to do.

3. BUT I am only 3 days into starting it and already I’m feeling a small sense of accomplishment. There’s also something nice about knowing that I don’t have to go out hunting for a hard to find graduate job, then having to fight hundreds of people for that one job and then it being potentially the wrong job for me. Of course there are no guarantees that the business is going to work, but heck thats not going to stop us trying! At least if it does all go to pot, theres a nice degree to fall back on. A nice *expensive* degree to fall back on…

Obviously I’ve not mentioned what the business is. As excited as I am about it, I don’t want to run around telling everyone what it is, but I thought that a blog would be good to get and give general business advice! What can I tell you? Well its a partnership between myself and my boyfriend, David. We’re both staying in Swansea to do it and we’ll be putting our expertise of being a student to good use!

Finding a starting place has been the hardest thing to do so far, theres a lot to do! Our rent in Swansea is up at the end of June, with a possibility of extending it to August. This gives us times to work towards, as if things aren’t happening by then we’ll have to pack up and go home to find a boring job. Fingers crossed we can get it done!

Right, I’ll stop going on now. Needless to say I’ll be back in a day or two going ‘Arrrrrgghhh what have I gotten myself in to?!?!?!’ but then again maybe I’ll have a generally calm and collected demeanor when it comes to business? Bwahahahahaha! Yeah right!

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