The Taxman

HMRC registration

Today I finally bit the bullet and registered with HMRC as a sole trader!  It had been on my list of things to do for some time now and it kept getting put off…and off…and off.  Somehow it seemed such a scary thing to do, scarier even than opening the Etsy shop.  Here was me saying ‘hello Mr Taxman or Mrs Taxman, this is my job’.  It was a statement I felt very uncertain and scared about making.  Today though I faced the fear and made that commitment to my business.  It feels good to have done so and a reminder to myself that doing the things that scare me help me to move forward and live my life.

At the moment, my incomings are so small that the personal allowannce threshold just seems a mind boggling amount so far out of reach.  Whilst Mr B’s Button Jamboree is unlikely to ever reach those dizzing heights,  I am hopeful it will prove to be successful enough that, along with a few other ventures, we can live the type of flexible and relaxed life we aim for.

Planning my social media attack…

I have written about my struggles to get to grips with my marketing on social media before.  It confused me when I was starting out in June last year, continued to confuse me in November and honestly still confuses me today.  There seems to be so much involved in using each platform effectively for marketing my business and of course all of them are different.

Plan of Attack


So I have drawn up a plan of attack.  Articles have been read, notes tidied and a schedule drawn up.  For the next 4-5 weeks I am going to focus on one platform to get it set up looking its best and most informative, work out what I want from it and the types of posts/tweets/photos etc. I want to use in order to reach my goals.  All at the same time as keeping a minimal presence going on the other platforms…oh and find time for being creative…

To help with my get to grips with social media, I have joined a couple of 30 day plans.  One which looks at the main social media platforms in general and the other one a free taster course on improving your Instagram.  I am looking forward to the challenge!

Instagram Feed

One of the first task on the Instagram course was to take a screenshot of my feed now…check back in a month’s time to see the effects of my course!


Dogwood Catch UP

Time for a catch up on my progress in the Dogwood 52 challenge.  I have been taking the photos…just not had the time to blog about it having been very busy with the Etsy Resolution programme.

Dogwood week 5: Black and White Landscape

The photo above was my selected photo for week 5 Black and White Landscape.  I love black and white photography so was really looking forward to this week.  The weather was (yet again) terrible here in Cumbria and my potential ideas for photos didn’t happen.  In the end I took this one on a stroll to my local tearooms where I take my work sometimes for a change of scenery.

Week 4 was a headshot portrait.  I really don’t like taking photos of people and as a result I am not too great at it.  This photo was a little bit of a ‘just get something done’ type of photo – still I did learn from it and I suppose that is the point of taking part in this challenge.

Dogwood week 4: Headshot Portrait

I am still waiting for inspiration to strike for week 6: Candy.  There was so many brilliant ideas and photos appearing on the Facebook group – everything I thought seemed rubbish in comparison.  So I have put that one on the back burner for now to come back to later.

The challenge for week 7 was a faceless portrait to show the story of someone or something without showing their face.  Unlike last week, I had an idea this week which I was rather pleased with.  I played around with flash lighting this week and although maybe my idea was better than the execution, I am still pleased with my photo this week.

Dogwood Week 7: Faceless Portrait

And so I am up to date with my Dogwood photos on the blog! (lets ignore week 6 for now…and the current week…)

And I’m back!

Packaging for Mr B's Button Jamboree

I haven’t been on holiday (sadly) or become bored of my little blog though.  My shop Mr B’s Button Jamboree lives on the wonderful home for crafters that is Etsy.  Starting in January, they ran a 4 week programme aimed at encouraging people to open shops or improve existing ones called Etsy Resolution 2016.  I signed myself up and put everything else on the back burner (including my blog) to focus on the programme.

It has been an interesting 4 weeks where I have learnt much about how to improve my use of Etsy and hopefully make a success of Mr B’s Button Jamboree.  I have written pages of notes (I am such a note writing fan!), found out things that I never knew before and generally discovered that having a successful shop on Etsy requires much more than making products, taking a photo or two and copying/tweaking the same listing over and over again.  I have spent hours re-tagging and rewording each individual listing as well as re-doing all my photos.

I do think it has been worth it.  My shop looks much more welcoming, cohesive and professional.  Still the odd thing to finish off and I have already seen an increase in people viewing and favouriting my shop…hopefully this will soon translate into more sales!  Please take a look and send me your thoughts 🙂