Bubbas Blog #001
Spoonie Limits While Running A Business
Pictured New product for Halloween launch, liquid wax.
Hi Its me Bubba and welcome to my first ever blog!! I am so excited to start a blog and hopefully maybe even help someone who may read it and feel a little better about themselves. How often do we feel a type of way but also think we are alone in it and therefore broken and isolated in some way?
WHATS A SPOONIE?
So let me explain a bit more. I am a spoonie, someone with chronic illness, I literally have a faulty battery and have only so much energy each day to get things done. This even includes showering or school run or making food, then add in the harder, bigger things like working or having to socialise! Some of us use a lot of energy for these things and are left completely wiped!! My battery is run down by the end of the day, not to mention my pain levels have increased too which also drains energy! It is insane and yet family and friends wonder why we can barely speak or move by the evening?
So in this blog I want to answer one of the biggest questions I get asked and that is, 'Bubba how do you run a business with your illness'?
Well, firstly, I take each day as it comes and am openly honest that I am sick and pretty much a one woman band. I do have help from some folks, but 95% like most small business owners is done by me.
I have this Halloween launch for, as I write this, tonight! I have added a pic of a new liquid wax in a blood bag that I super excited and proud of!! This is art for me too, a way to express how I feel living with illness and disability. But I want to firstly say, it is not easy running a business with chronic illness and disability!!! But there are ways to try to make it a little easier.
So of course I started working and planning months ago. I had goals as to what products and fragrances I was bringing back from last year and then also planned out what new items and fragrances I wanted to release. There was also a brand new product called liquid wax that I desperately wanted to have ready for a Halloween release which of course is the blood bags. Not to mention bringing some new fragrances to candles.
TESTING AND RECORD KEEPING!!
Candles are an entity of their own, they require a lot of testing and trial and error. Each fragrance will react differently to each wick. So I had to start running tests months prior to launch. Luckily I have managed to find the right wicks for each scent I wanted to have included in this drop. I also need to keep notebooks with all candle tests and each ingredient including how many drops of dye etc and which wick because if I do not do that, then I forget what is used for what scent.
I have notebooks to plan the full list of products, notebooks to run tests on all products including my wax melts. I need to test for hot throw etc each time. I keep a batch sample for all too. It is a lot but it makes life easier to have all my records handy. I also have backup records on the computer but I am more of a notebook kinda gal so I use them a lot.
HAVE GREAT SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIPS AND AN AWESOME DESIGNER!!
I make a list of labels and what style I want for each and then get Tom to sort out. He pretty much knows my style now which is awesome so it is hassle free. My label printer guys are all awesome in particular Beanprint who totally worked super hard to get my labels out on time!
BE MINDFUL TO YOUR BODY!
It really is all about planning. But the other side of it is to always be mindful of my illness and that I could crash at any moment which could set me back. So for example if I feel ok on a Sunday, then I work. It means if I am bad on Tuesday, it is ok because I have been working on days I was ok, so can afford to take it off for rest.
DO WHAT SUITS YOU, NOT WHAT OTHERS THINK YOU SHOULD DO!
I take mini rests throughout the day (another reason why I still have my work base from home). It means I can rest at any time, I can work until midnight if need be If I am feeling ok, and rest all morning if I am not ok. If I had a unit which just before lockdown I almost did go and get one, I would not have that luxury and would be tired at even having to travel to work. I took all that into consideration. Plus I am super lucky to have plenty of space to be able to continue working from home for now. I know one day I will not be able to, which is very close considering I was almost getting a unit in 2019! However, I have made my business work for me.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND YOUR CUSTOMERS!
Let me elaborate more. I have been honest about my illness from day 1 to my customers. I have always said there may be times, that I cannot get the order out super fast. But I have also made it work for me in that I only sell pre made stock. So it is ready to pick and pack, which is faster for you the customer. If I am slowed down by my illness it is not as bad as having to make an order from scratch. The items are sitting waiting to go. That was a decision I made pretty early on.
I have deliberately kept stock to a manageable quantity for me too. Prior to first lockdown again I was about to start hiring, but now I have to reduce workload and maintain stock availability myself with a little help from my partner and son, due to my illness I cannot have a lot of folks around me.
These were all things I did to be able to make my business work for me. Once things ease a bit I can maybe start working toward that again. But as always I do not pressure myself. This brand will always be one that is honest and inspiring and realistic to fellow spoonies. I want to show that we are sick not dead and can achieve whatever we want to do but just maybe have to go a bit slower than if we were not sick and make some adaptations.
BE THE TURTLE NOT THE HARE!
I think what I am trying to say is, anything is possible as long as you are realistic with your limitations and listen to your body. Do not try to compare to anyone else cos they are not you, even if they have an illness, because many illnesses affect each person differently. Do not be hard on yourself. Pick something you love and move at it to a pace that suits you, not anyone else. I no longer worry about others and what they think or actually say, I simply stay in my lane, love what I do and keep moving forward, sometimes slower than others, but maybe being the turtle is better than the hare in the long run? It most definitely is for me with my illness which has no cure and will continue to get worse,
If you find yourself doing something you love and it helps your mental health and you are able to make amazing friends through it, then that is success, making money off it is the icing on the cake but not the main focus!!
I am incredibly lucky to be able to do what I do but I work hard despite my illness and will continue to until I cannot any longer then I will find another option. It really is all about trying new things, not being afraid of failure, there really is no such thing, it is just a what not to do next time lesson.
VALUE THE RIGHT THINGS!!
Our Values change when we become chronically sick, time and family mean everything to me. My friends are super important to me too of which I have been so so lucky to have made on my melty journey. I am constantly meeting more fellow spoonies and ultimately feeling a little less lonely in my illness each day. Fellow spoonies understand and will not judge if you have to cancel last minute because your business took that last wee bit of energy you thought you had to spare!!
BE PROUD OF YOURSELF NO MATTER HOW SMALL YOU THINK SOMETHING IS THAT YOU ACHIEVED!
I am the face of my own brand and could not be more proud of myself for what I have achieved so far despite everything I am up against and am super excited for the future whatever that may bring my way. I will face it like I always do, with you guys beside me, uplifting each other as we go along our spoonie ways.
You can do whatever you want to do. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes you have limitations and never ignore them. You are not an alien with super powers, you have to learn to manage your illness and what you can and cannot do. If you cannot do something, find something else. Never make yourself worse by trying to impress others by 'fighting through it'. Ultimately when we do that sort of thing, we are the ones who always end up paying for it, and those we were trying to impress by pushing through and being 'brave' always forget anyway and go back to judging us regardless!!! Impress yourself!!
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT JUST BE PATIENT AND PACE YOURSELF!
Our illnesses are real and we have to adapt all the time to make things work. Listen to your body it will guide you toward things that will work for you. Trust in yourself and your talents, some of which you may not even know you have!! Who knew I was a killer wax melt and candle maker in my 40s?
Lets keep growing and learning and gently moving forward. Never give up on yourself and inspire others cos that is a powerful feeling to help keep you fuelled when you feel down and tired or sore or all of those things at once!
Lots of Love