As I mentioned last week, I’m starting a new series where I interview successful entrepreneurs and freelancers. Last week, I chatted to Lynn all about how she made it as a full-time blogger and today I’m chatting to Charlotte from www.charlottemusha.co.uk who not only blogs about making money and clearing debt, but also runs two other businesses (that bring in thousands of revenue per month) alongside a full-time job.
Q: Hi Charlotte, can you tell us all about your journey to creating such a successful business in such a small amount of time?
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Let me tell you my favourite Christmas story (and the product that helped to start @bebemakes) and also the subsequent stealing of our product, photos and images of Phoebe by factories in China (it has a happy ending don’t worry) . . . . . #handmadeuk #handmade #etsyuk #smallbusiness #etsy #supporthandmade #shopsmall #supportsmallbusiness #makersgonnamake #crafts #etsyshop #etsyfinds #etsyseller #etsysellersofinstagram #girlboss #smallbusiness #christmas #entrepreneur #smallbiz #smallbusinessowner #marketing #branding #socialmediamarketing #womeninbiz
Well its as much a surprise to us as it is to everyone else! BangOnBlanks is a business that was born out of necessity for my sister and I. The main stumbling block we had with our craft business, BebeMakes, was finding reputable a UK Craft Wholesaler who could provide us with the items we needed at a good price.
We decided to launch BangOnBlanks as a Craft Buy In group on FB, a ‘Buy-In’ group is something that is really popular in the US at the moment and isn’t something we have seen replicated well (there are a lot of scam groups, unfortunately!) over here.
We are lucky in the fact that we already ran a trusted business on Facebook and we’re fairly well-known to other crafters in our area from interactions online and at craft fayres so when we set up the group we already had a few people interested in joining our first buy in.
The first one went well, as did the second and we didn’t spend any of the profit from it so that we could reinvest in what we realised was a good idea and it’s just snowballed since then.
Q: How do you manage your store around your other job and/or blogging. Any productivity tips?
I work full-time as well as running a blog, an Etsy store and now Bang On Blanks. Luckily for me, I run the Etsy store and BangOnBlanks with my sister and she works it as a full-time job (around her children) and I work of an evening and weekend. We looked at it the other month and did a total up of the combined hours we put into it and its averaging 60hours per week if not a bit more. Luckily we both like to work hard and although we’re tired we can see the business growing well and it spurs us on.
Q: How successful has your store been so far? (could you give us some highlights?)
There have been a few amazing highlights! I think the first big milestone for us was when we launched our website and saw just how the numbers stacked up for orders. Prior to having a website we had done all our invoicing through PayPal and it was taking a long time, it took me a few weeks to build a very basic ‘shop’ website that serves our needs (its not overly pretty but it does what we want it to) and in our first month of it being online we took £13,000 in orders, I think that’s when we knew it really had potential.
We then went on to have our own products manufactured to our set specifications, it was a big undertaking and I was so relieved when it all arrived and was exactly as we wanted – it was a bit overwhelming having to take delivery of over 6000 items; which took up my sisters whole garden and house but when it was all done it felt like such an achievement.
And probably the most amazing thing so far is that we’ve now got warehouse/workshop premises!
In hindsight its unbelievable that we managed to work from home for so long, Natalie house was always full of boxes and not just one or two here or there, I mean like boxes stacked floor to ceiling taking up entire rooms.
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I am exhausted 😴 I think we managed to get at least half of the orders out today and now all stock has been moved into Natalie’s living room so she can continue working tomorrow and over the weekend. What you can’t really see from the vid is the depth of boxes LOL Big thanks to @georgiaroberts78 for helping today 😘 #exhausted #workfromhome #sidehustle #boss #daveramsey #debtfreecommunity #ukdebtfreecommunity #resellercommunity
We decided that if we wanted to grow the business to its full potential we were going to need more room. We started with renting a storage container to store boxes in and that lasted about a month before we outgrew that and had to move to a proper building. That was only a week or so ago and it’s already made so much difference to our workflow and it’s going to mean more amazing things are coming in 2019!
Q:What do you think the key to your success has been?
I think the main key to our success is just sheer hard work. There are nights that Natalie will be up to 2am packing orders after shes put the kids to bed or evenings when I get home from my full-time job, have a quick bit of dinner and then go back out to work at hers.
Q: It can be difficult to find information on starting a small business and also accessing things like investment. What struggles did you face when you first start out?
Our business is interesting in the fact that it didn’t really cost us anything to start up because we worked on a ‘pre-order’ system. We reinvested any profits we made for the first few months which is probably what allowed us to grow it quite rapidly.
Q:As well as your wholesale business, you’ve also grown your blog quickly-leading to be nominated for an award. What tips do you have for those who want to quickly grow a blog and start earning from it straightaway?
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It’s the 1st of the month so that means it Monthly Goals time! I’ve tried to go for less goals this month in the hopes that I actually achieve more than 1 😂 It’s a mix of #fitness #blogging and #business goals that should all be fairly easy 🤞 What are your goals for the month? #goals #organization #october #motivation #debtfreecommunity
Write about something you know and love, if you do that then writing isn’t a chore. If you can write about something that will help other people (in my case its tackling debt and saving money) then you’ll have a captive audience just waiting for your somewhere on the internet, you just have to go and find them! In terms of earning, I actually made money from my blog really quickly (Within the first 12 weeks!). This was by the way of some sponsored posts and affiliate income. One thing I will say is that making money from blogging has a direct correlation between how much work you put into it-at the moment, I’m focusing on our business so blogging has taken a back seat. But there is so much potential to make a full-time income from blogging!
Thanks so much to Charlotte for sharing her tips and experience! I hope they’ve all inspired you to be more productive and get out there and turn your ideas into a business!