Sorry it’s been such a long time since we posted. Life happened.
At the end of May we set out in this blog our idea for a community cafe. We had some sort of plan and had started seeking professional advice on how to take it forward. However, it all kind of sizzled out when we couldn’t see any hope of ever securing a venue where we wanted it. We enlisted the help of a social enterprise expert who also deals with all the property and assets where we live. They have run into this problem time and time again with people wanting to start businesses but realising there is nowhere actually to do it.
We then thought if we could morph the idea slightly and still use elements of it without a venue. This resulted in thinking that we could be educational practitioners. The idea was to go into schools and run lessons/workshops on cookery skills and provide a high energy, fun approach to teaching where food comes from. We hoped to inspire children to love cooking, be interesting in what they were eating and give a means to explore all that world cuisine has to enjoy.
We got excited and wrote a business plan and financial forecast. We spoke to a primary and a secondary school who were actually well up for us coming in and doing something. There was excitement.
Now, there is something you should know about me and Adam. We can be a little bit faddy. We start a project with great gusto and enthusiasm but then don’t tend to see it through to completion. This has happened with many DIY ventures and IKEA trips. We have great vision but often underestimate the time and energy that things may need in order to be done well.
I knew that stating a business and failing was slightly more serious than half making some curtains. I really wanted to get an insight in to the highs and lows of self-employment. Fortunately for me the Prince’s Trust run an amazing course for anyone thinking about starting a business. It is called the Exploring Enterprise Programme and runs for four days. These are run regularly up and down the country. It was an incredible course, delivered by experts in the field and incredibly practical. And it’s totally free if you are between 18-30 and unemployed. The course I attended was in Manchester during the last week of July.
A couple of weeks before the course Adam and I had noticed our passion for ‘business night’ had began to dwindle. The practicalities of putting our sole household income into this was incredibly daunting. We also had the wee ones to think about and how an earth would we get the flexible childcare we needed. The course covered many elements of starting your own business. There was a day dedicated to tax, another to sales and marketing, one on legal structures and the final day on the qualities needed to ‘make it’.
We were praying!
I felt confused, excited and frustrated. I really felt ready to engage my my mind and skills in something again. I love being with the kids but I was up for a challenge of a different kind. We asked people to pray with us. Where we pursuing this road/venture for solely economic reasons? Was in the right time in terms of how old the kids are? Was I just pushing because I wanted something to do? Were we ready, had we thought through the competition and cost enough? And ultimately was it what God had in store for us next?
We came to the conclusion, it wasn’t. At least not for now anyway. We are still newbies to the area and very much working out life here. Relocating cities takes it out of you and making new friendships takes time and intent. Plus, we realised we moved here to be part help something else get off the ground. We couldn’t give our all to Vineyard 53 and a new business – whatever it would be.
So, this has already been a humbling experience. We got quite far in telling people and seeking help, only to step back from it. But I am glad that we used the wisdom we have in putting on the brakes momentarily to asses what it right for now and where are energy is best spent. When we do come to do thins or something like it again our aim would be to REALLY think through it. Then as we start something we would be in the best place possible and would give it the best chance of thriving.
So, now it’s Saturday 16th August, what are we up to? [Life happened again, it isn’t the 16th of August at all.]
Tomorrow I’m climbing Snowdon. [I actually did!]