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Yesterday I was made redundant.

This not the first time I have experienced being out of work and, like last time, I naturally have concerns about paying the bills, but there is also a feeling of freedom.

Not being someone who likes to be ordered about, although I will do pretty much anything I am asked, in an ideal world I would not work for someone else but would instead, build a business that could support me. During my last redundancy, I started my pet sitting business, something I still run, and whilst I have been in work I have started a small soap making business. So, the question is “what to do next”?

I am quite well aware that it will be difficult to find a new job, although I have already started applying. So whilst I will continue to look, I have a little time to think about my businesses and try to come up with some ideas to try to generate some sales and find new clients.

I need to work on new product formulas which meet the requirements of the new regulations and Safety Assessments. While I am on the subject of the new regulations, they are creating huge problems for those of us who do actually stick to them.

There is a portal on which we are supposed to register all our products. Sounds simple? Yes, it sounds simple, but as the portal cannot cope with the number of people trying to register their products and keeps crashing, it is not simple at all. I have not managed to register a single product yet, so it is just as well that I have not got a fair coming up until August because at this rate, it will take me until then to manage it.

So, short of winning the lottery, I need to earn a living. I am working on an advert to promote the pet sitting, and as we are coming up to the time of year when people go on holiday, I am hoping to drum up some business.

I am looking at the options for giving the soap business a push in the right direction too. One of the things I am considering, apart from looking for stockists, is the possibility of a market stall. I did make enquiries in the winter but I don’t do cold. The cost is not too bad, so I will go and take a look to see how busy it is before making any decisions. The problem with an outdoor market is the British weather, it is so unpredictable, and soap and water – well you get the picture. Other people do it, so I know that it is not outside the realm of possibility but I can’t afford to lose stock to a tempest so I need to think carefully about whether it is the best option.

That said, customers are what keeps a business going and what makes it grow. The level of custom I have currently, is not enough to sustain any business let alone grow it, so I have to seek new customers. I also need to look for retailers who would like to take on the products, and finding them is not easy.

Some people build successful businesses using just social media, not going to fairs and not looking for retailers. I have no idea how they do it, although I think that it is probably a case of a good product getting great reviews and then things snowballing. Whether the business would pay them a salary or whether it is a self-supporting hobby I do not know, but I am not terribly good at the whole social media thing.

So, back to the original point. Am I on the scrap heap or is this the chance of new beginnings? If I work hard enough, hopefully it is new beginnings. I would love to find in 12 months, that I have the foundations of a successful business on my hands. Only time will tell.

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