Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts and craft but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jackie Fecitt, Founder of Side of the Hill Art, located in Witham, Essex, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I create personalised cards and gifts using Mandalas and Zentangle doodle styling. My customers are those looking for something a little bit different to give as a card or gift, something that you can't get on the high street.
Tell us about yourself
I've been a Graphic Designer for years, and one day picked up a mandala colouring book with a desire to do something absolutely not digital in any way! There's something about them that I am drawn to, and they can be so detailed that you see something different every time you look.
So I decided to try and draw my own. I also discovered Zentangle doodling along the way, and when people kept asking me to create things for them, I realised there might be something in this! It's a long slow process as I'm still doing my design work most of the time, but I build on it and make more progress every year.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner would be my work/life balance. I've been freelancing as a designer since 2009, which gives me time and flexibility to be there for the kids whilst still earning money. Also, in terms of the art business, I feel it's an accomplishment that I have been patient and haven't given up even though it has taken a while to build, and I still don't have as much time to focus on this as I would like. But each year, I build momentum and can still feel like I'm moving forward.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest things are the uncertainty, the insecurity of a persistent income, and the isolation of working on your own. But I've learned to recognise when I'm feeling these things and try and make steps to work around these or recognise that it might just be a phase and it will soon pass.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top 3 tips I would give people going into a business are:
- To find your niche and be confident with it. You might not attract everybody, but the ones you attract will love you even more.
- Be patient and keep going! You might spend a lot and not make much profit initially, but in the long term, it will be worth it.
- Marketing, marketing, marketing! It's taken me a while to realise this, but you have to put yourself out there to let people know you are there. I was hugely uncomfortable with this, to begin with, but I'm getting there, and I'm finding it much more rewarding now!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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