From Dreamer to Doer: How I started my business
I am really pleased to be able to host Amy Morse, Authorpreneur this week. It is always fascinating and inspirational to find out how businesses start out and learn more about the journey that brings them to the place they are now. How did they get to where they are? What is their background? How do we turn our dreams into a reality? Amy has provided a really insightful blog that will be helpful to all those interested in starting a business or becoming a writer. Thank you to Amy for instigating the guest post idea. I wrote 'The motivational mindset' for Amy and in return we have this fantastic blog from her!.
I met Amy a couple of years ago in Bristol. It is not always easy to market yourself in the world of coaching and training. Mariposa Coaching uses different coaching psychology approaches and offers coaching in a variety of areas and I felt I could do with a little help with marketing my business. I had a bit of lightbulb moment when I booked a session with Amy and she showed me how to 'write the story of my business' and as a result I found more direction and focus. I also consider Amy to be a friend, we mix in the same networks in Bristol and I really enjoy the times we get together to chat over training and coaching ideas for our respective businesses. My teenage daughter, Hazel who loves to create fiction, has also spent time with Amy benefiting from her writing tips.
Amy is currently offering 1:1 content coaching 'Power Sessions 'and a new online ‘Build Your Blog’ course. If you have an area of your business or for your company you could do with some help with, check out her website for more information.
Over to Amy:
From Dreamer to Doer: How I started my Business
Two girls - one brunette, one blonde. The blonde is it taller, she has an air of a watchfulness, a protective eye always on the other – the older of the two. You can tell they’re sisters; same square jaw, same high cheekbones, same inquisitive look in their eyes.
It’s a drizzly summer Saturday - nowhere else to go in this village somewhere in the Midlands - except here, to this drab municipal building.
Trestle tables jostle shoulder to shoulder around the perimeter, an array of bric-a-brac, handicrafts and lop-sided cakes displayed on them. The two girls are behind one of the tables; their mother must be milling around the village hall somewhere because the girls seem comfortable, excitable, wooing the old folk with tales of their art projects. It's the summer fete of ‘84 and the girls are proud to be making money, for the first time, from the smiles of local people who gather to buy their handmade greeting cards, jewellery and canvases smeared with images approximating flowers.
I was the blonde girl, my sister the brunette. Coping with a new-born boy, mum needed to keep us girls out of trouble and occupied while Dad worked shifts at the airport. She organised the table at the summer fete and the deal was, we fill it with handmade stock and get to keep the profits.
That was my first experience of entrepreneurialism.
I've always been entrepreneurial and I've always been a storyteller. I've written stories for as long as I can remember, and my younger siblings were on the receiving end of the stories as we grew up.
When asked what I wanted to be when I was older I'd say I wanted to write books - but the school system soon beat such fanciful ideas out of me. I went on - like a good girl - to get a proper job. My sensible career led me on a path into HR, then to training, then skills coaching for unemployed people and later into coaching start-ups and fledgling businesses.
All the while, that creative part of me was dismissed as an inconvenience. I dabbled with a part-time art business while working full-time, but never really took it seriously. It wasn't until my husband and I relocated to Bulgaria to start a property business in 2008 that I rediscovered my love of writing. I wrote four novels while we were there, and it was the fourth one I later published.
We came back to the UK in 2010, having run out of money, and ended up in Bristol. I worked for a funded enterprise agency a coach, working with start-up businesses for the next five years. In that time, I realised working for myself wasn't such a crazy idea! I already had a part time business by this stage, selling my books, having published The Bronze Box 2013, and quickly followed it by publishing three more novels.
It was in July 2015, when the enterprise agency lost its funding and closed, that I finally took the leap. Long before I was made redundant, I’d decided I didn't want to work for anyone else again. If the hundreds of businesses I’d worked with could make a go of it, then, why couldn't I?
My world's as a business coach and a published author collided and my ‘Write Your Way to Success’ business was born.
I now work with businesses to help them improve their writing. I want others to discover the joy of writing for themselves, to find the power in their own words to grow their business.
Two years in, here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned from working for myself:
Most of your friends and family won’t ‘get it’ – but it’s OK. When you work for yourself your friendship group changes. I’ve made more genuine friends in the past two years, mostly through networking with other businesses, than I ever did when I worked for someone else.
You will be rubbish at following your own advice. You will go through a phase of saying ‘yes’ to everything and doing work you don’t want to do for not enough money. Even though all the advice tells you not to do it, and you know it yourself, you’ll still do it. You must go through these mistakes before you truly learn the lessons of them.
‘Self’ employed doesn’t mean you should do it all yourself. When you first start out you’ll do as much as you can yourself, because you have no money to pay for professionals, which is OK, but not sustainable. In the early days, skills swaps with other businesses are a great way to learn your trade, get testimonials, support other businesses and get help with things you’re struggling with. But there comes a point where you need to pay for things, and you should do - without quibbling over price – respect the value of other businesses in the same way you expect them to respect your value!
Following on from the last lesson, take your time and do your due diligence before paying for things. For example, buying an all singing all dancing website from day one could prove to be an expensive mistake. You can do all the planning and research in the world before you launch, but only when you’re actually doing it do you learn who your customers really are and what they really want.
Less is often more. It’s tempting to offer a long, confusing list of incrementally priced products and services to ‘diversify’ and ‘reach as many people as possible’ – as if these are good things. What you end up with is a wishy washy, confusing offering that people don’t understand, so they don’t value it. It’s far better to be known for being brilliant at a couple of specific things. A smaller portfolio of higher value products or services is much easier to manage, plus, you can sell it to fewer people and make more money!
Your business will change and evolve over time. It will never be ‘finished’. The moment you consider it ‘finished’, walk away or sell it, because you’re actually the one who’s finished with it (and vice versa)!
There will always be ups and downs. If you want an easy life, don’t work for yourself, if you want a fulfilling life – go for it!
Amy Morse is a Content Coach, Blogger and Author. With many years’ experience in training, coaching and business support, and as a published author, she brings a little writer’s razzle-dazzle to business communications. A specialist in blogging and books, write your way to success with her online ‘Build Your Blog’ course or talk to Amy about her 1:1 content coaching Power Sessions, to discover the power of your own words to grow your business.
Websites (with blogs):