Janine DraysonOwning your own business is incredibly hard work, it seems like your every waking (and sometimes dreaming) hour is spent consumed by what needs doing, placing ordering, paying artists, paying suppliers, making sure your cash flow is healthy and your accounts are up to date, looking after your employees, keeping your retail space fresh and inviting, changing windows, keeping all your social media channels up to date, fulfilling a multitude of roles from accountant, bookkeeper, marketing guru, cleaner, employer, investor and general dogsbody!    

There are times when I wake up and all I want to do is throw in the can and say this is just too much and I can’t go on……I’m tired, worn out and out of love with what I do!

Well that was a cheery opening to my new blog post…….I’m sure all of us who own businesses have days (sometimes weeks) when it all feels just too much and that it would be much simpler to just go back to being employed, getting your pay cheque every month, having paid holidays and sick leave and at the end of every day just go home and be able to stop thinking about work……

If I’m in this headspace I usually have to give myself a real talking too, pause and focus again on all the amazing things that come with owing your own business and in particular a gallery.   One of the biggest rewards for me is the relationships that we’ve built over the years with artists, some of whom have become our closest friends – where would we be without them in our lives today?   We can look back with huge pride and see how many artists’ and makers’ careers we’ve helped launch and others who have gone on to be picked up by well-known publishing and greetings card companies and whose artwork now reaches thousands of people across the world – it’s an incredibly privileged position to be in, to have been part of someone else’s success and yes it does overwhelm us at times – we’re a soppy bunch at heart!

It also means that we are rooted in our community – not just by the physical presence of the bricks and mortar that make up the building but by the fact that we employ local people, helping them earn a living, supporting their families and being part of their lives.    For our customers, we are often part of the happiest and sometimes the saddest moments in their lives whether it be through the purchase of a greetings card, a birthday present or the framing of artwork, photographs, cross-stitches, certificates or memorabilia – it can be really humbling and an aspect of our work that can easily be forgotten.

Choosing new work and artists for the gallery is a HUGE buzz, knowing that we not only to get to surround ourselves on a daily basis with gorgeous things to look at but we’ll be bringing a huge amount of pleasure to the recipient of what has been purchased in our shop – and yes it still tickles us when we look on Rightmove and see artwork and items in people’s home that we KNOW they bought in the gallery!

So the next time I get overwhelmed with it all……I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself of the above.

For anyone out there who’s thinking about starting your own business, it’s damn hard work, but the rewards are simply immeasurable and beyond price!