Winter may be the time of hibernation for many animals. We may have come to a standstill in relation to continuous cruising, but definitely not in regards to ‘working’.
Making self-employment on/from a boat work
I recently read entrepreneurs leave behind 40 hour working-weeks to find more freedom and flexibility in their life.
This resonated strongly with me.
It also suggested that by doing so,
many most people inadvertently swap said 40 hours to around 80 hours – for a fraction of the income!
This is also true – for us.
Maybe not everyone. (Please let us know your secrets if that’s you, living on a narrowboat, with only your newly built businesses to bring in income, and you’re wildly successful!)
However, regardless …
… we’re determined to make our businesses run from the boat and land, successful and sustainable.
The alternative will be returning to New Zealand next year if we aren’t able to prove we can make it work here and navigate Barry’s next UK visa round.
Whilst it’s comforting to know we have that choice, it would be incredibly heartbreaking for Barry to leave his beloved canals, and for me to leave my family.
So this inevitably entails many focussed hours of marketing, and working on and in our businesses.
The Home Brew Boat
Barry ran a very successful ‘Introduction to Home Brewing on a Boat’ evening here at Mercia Marina on Monday. Around 18 people came to hear more about Barry’s passion, and be open to persuasion that it is possible for them to do.
Unfortunately, unbeknown to us when we organised it at short notice, the event clashed with two other boaters launching their new ‘Micropub’ business in Burton called the ‘Fuggle and Nugget‘ (but hurrah for craft brewers and we wish them every success).
I’m reliably informed Barry’s talk and introduction was really well received. I was away at mum’s after another Facepainting weekend – more on that to follow.
Recently noticing a plea in the Mercia marina Community Facebook group for someone to lead a local photography group, I had a brief chat with Barry and then volunteered his services!
Last night was the inaugural meeting.
Louise, the events co-ordinator at Mercia, has been trying to get something up and running for quite a while so it was great to help out and get things started.
Barry spent many hours preparing information and photographs to show to support the group, and managed to get one slide-show from his Dustan and Kinge business days to perform.
Sadly the projector bulb exploded a short while later, so people weren’t able to see the fantastic slide-show of canal-related images he put together from our 2009 and 2010 journeys. Another time I’m sure.
Around 22 people came for the introduction – who were at a variety of levels. Some had never taken their expensive camera out of the box, while others were experienced photographers looking for more inspiration.
It’s likely two groups will be set up to accommodate differing needs. Barry’s also offered his one-on-one services if anyone wants more individual attention (unfortunately this aspect can’t be voluntary, we have to monopolise any ways of making a small income, using whatever skills we possess between us).
Such fun-tastic facepainting
I had a really enjoyable weekend facepainting at a couple of events. One was in support of a previous midwifery colleague who’s heading to Uganda on missionary work in the New Year.
It was even pleasanter as we caught up with Helen and Andy, and stayed overnight at their house following a delicious curry made by Pat – another ex midwifery colleague I hadn’t seen for many years. Barry and I even managed the night out together – thanks to Andy for collecting him from the marina (and I took him back before returning to Lichfield to faceprint – phew!).
The Sunday event was Lichfield Cat’s Protection League’s second Christmas Fayre – this time at Bromley Hayes Cattery, where I painted in a deluxe family cat pen! I’m guessing that’s a fairly unique place to work.
It’s a struggle to make much income from facepainting on land, when I have to rely on public transport or travelling to mum’s to collect her car.
However, despite making only small amounts, I know each time I put myself ‘out there’, I get seen more and it increases the likelihood of future bookings.
I’ve got a birthday party this weekend – my grandson’s celebrating his sixth. How special to be his face painter. Then another booking for a girl’s fourth birthday party on 19th December, in Tamworth.
Last Life Coaching packages for a while …
As I’m taking five weeks out from 10th January, to spend time with mum in New Zealand, I’m only able to take two more clients beforehand. So I’ve been promoting a special deal of a two-month coaching package at the incredibly low price of £200.
However, this has to be enquired about by Friday 20th November.
Fantastic Support from Mercia Marina
We’re really thankful we took up the offer of a trading mooring here at Mercia Marina.
The support we’ve had from everyone in the office, and the boaters we’ve had the pleasure of meeting so far, has been incredible.
Walking back to the boat from Willington Railway Station yesterday, I was very pleasantly surprised to see this advertisement for us in the Marina Office window. I wasn’t sure if Barry had done it – but no, he hadn’t even seen it. The staff had put it together from a picture I’d recently posted as the cover on our Facebook page.
We’re VERY impressed. Thank you!
Supporting other CaRT registered traders
We frequently hear of new boating businesses emerging, and the December Waterways World contains an excellent article written by Sarah Henshaw called ‘Floating Your Business’.
She states that:
“Latest figures from the Canal and River Trust suggest that more than 270 craft on the cut are ‘roving traders’ (the commercial boat license category differentiating boats selling goods or services from hire-craft, maintenance vessels and cargo-carriers), with a further 26 operating from a fixed location.”
The Home Brew Boat is once again honoured to feature in the article – a photo of us at Droitwich appears on the first page.
In order to support fellow traders, I set up a Facebook Group for anyone who is CaRT registered to trade, called ‘Trading Opportunities on the Cut‘. If anyone reading is a registered trader and hasn’t been invited to join this (closed to the public) group, do click the link and ask to be accepted (subject to confirmation you really are a trader).
It’s definitely all go on and off NB Areandare!