I Started a 5 to 9 Business: A Case Study
Although Deborah Franks, 36, enjoys her full-time job as a logistics administrator for a haulage company, her real passion lies in a completely different place.
Deborah told us, “My job is relatively fulfilling, relatively well-paid and relatively stable. As you can tell, I know that it’s a good situation, especially since the global economic downturn has seen lots of my friends get Made Redundant, but it doesn’t really make my heart sing! My real love is making jams and chutneys and selling them at farmers' markets, but it isn’t really a big money maker.”
Deborah was not prepared to leave her job in order to follow her passion, but she thought of a new way to get the best of both worlds.
She continued, “What I really wanted to do was Hand In My Notice and concentrate on making and selling jams and chutneys full time, but I was aware that it wouldn’t anywhere near replace my earnings and, with my husband’s employer announcing that they were going to make redundancies, we couldn’t risk the total lack of security. Also, a self-employed friend of mine pointed out that jam and chutney making was a really enjoyable hobby for me and doing it full time may take some of that pleasure away, especially if we were struggling for money.”
Realistic IdeasRather than allow her passion to fall by the wayside, Deborah looked into the possibility of sharing a stall at a local farmers' market with another person selling home-made cakes and biscuits. The recession had hit the farmers' market industry quite heavily as many of the people that would spend money before the downturn were now looking for ways to save money. This meant that some of the stallholders were trying to cut their own costs and the organisers were keen to help. Consequently, Deborah and her new colleague were able to sign up to an ‘every other week’ stall, rather than committing to a more regular stall.
Deborah added, “I decided to start slowly by offering three different jams and three different chutneys every week. Of course, they take a while to mature, especially chutney, so I needed to get cooking well in advance of my first stall, which was six weeks later. So as well as my 9-5 day job at the haulage company, I started working from 5-9 on my own jam and chutney business. As soon as I got home I’d get peeling, chopping and stirring. Even though I was really exhausted, I was so happy to be doing what I’d wanted to do for so long.”
Important Family SupportWith the support of her husband and children, Deborah was able to concentrate on her fledgling business after working a full day, which enabled her to build up a stock of jams and chutneys ready for sale on the stall. As well as making the products, Deborah needed to spend time working on the right look for the jars, including label design and wrapping and work out a suitable cost.
Deborah concluded, “It’s been a really positive experience and my dream is to be able to make enough money to stop my full-time job and make jam and chutney my full-time career. But I’d recommend Starting Your Own Business alongside a more reliable paying job at first because it gives you the confidence to try things without the same level of worry. As long as you can handle the constant tiredness!”