I have been asked recently why I help so many people when I am going through so much myself personally. I thought what a great question. The reason I love to help others is that when you go through such hardship, you will be humbled by how many strangers genuinely step up to support you. I can never repay the kindness we have been shown, but I can pay it forward and spread the love to others.
Those that have the least, give the most because they know what it is like to have nothing.
Biz Birthday Celebrations
The reason for this post is to celebrate the birthday/anniversary of my small business. I officially launched Adventure Accessories on 4 May 2018, I love that my little business shares Star Wars Day and l hope the force may be with me for many years to come.
This post is a chance for you to get to know me a bit better, meet the face behind the business and more importantly I want to celebrate and thank you all for being with me on this wild ride as I would not have a small business if it wasn’t for all your amazing support.
As a thank you for making a small business very happy read on for a special birthday competition.
Meet the Maker A bit about myself and why I love blogging.
I have been journaling since I was a child. I was given a gift for my 10th birthday of a Betty Boop lockable diary and matching fountain pen. I still remember it vividly and that was the start of my diary writing, which I still do to this day, over 30 years later.
I think this foundation is what drew me eventually to blogging. I actually first dabbled with a blog in 2014 when I set up an ‘online’ diary about my son’s Autism journey for friends and family to follow along for updates. We still keep that going now as he battles his cancer journey too, but it is very much a hobby blog that is for family and friends.
You can read more about my love of stationery and journaling in the post I wrote about my signature Traveller Notebooks.
In 2016 I took voluntary redundancy from work to care full time for my son as he undergoes cancer treatment. When he went into remission in May 2017, I decided I needed something for me that wasn’t cancer-related and possibly a small working from home job. This is when I started to look into monetising a blog. What a whole new world that is. By September 2017 I had set up and launched my first website, blog and the online store and what a whirlwind it has been since. That first website was a fun learning experience that helped me to rebrand and officially became a small business owner with Adventure Accessories in May 2018.
I love connecting with people all over the world and having my very own corner of the internet. Blogging can open up so many doors you didn’t even know existed. It allows for a creative outlet, a place to showcase your talents, share your knowledge and a platform to sell products or earn an income from being a brand rep or affiliate partner.
How do I juggle running a small business with my other commitments?
The beauty of running your own small business means that you are completely mobile and can be flexible around your other commitments. My laptop is my workhorse and I know plenty of other creatives that do it all from their mobile phones.
When I first began, Ryan was in remission and only going for weekly check-ups at the oncology clinic. He wasn’t attending school and was having part-time home tuition so I had time to focus on learning about website building, SEO, blog post writing, marketing and networking.
I launched my first website on Monday 4th September 2017 and Ryan started the new term in school on Tuesday 5th. My plan was to drop him at school, drive on to the local library and work there while Ryan was in school. This worked for the first four days of the school term until Monday 11th September 2017 when Ryan relapsed, his cancer had returned and our world fell apart again.
I used my new venture as an escape from the relentless hospital appointments and was able to have my laptop with me on the ward as Ryan began his new treatment regime. I have been able to adapt my routine as we have settled into Ryan’s new schedule of appointments and treatment. Friday's are hospital day so I don’t tend to work on then, but I work on a Saturday so it all evens out to a relatively standard working week. I love that I can work when it suits me and being mobile I can work anywhere. Even without WIFI I can be typing blog posts in word, work on photography or take my crochet where ever we happen to be.
When I first started blogging I was pushing to publish a new blog post every week and promote, promote, promote. This soon became a chore and difficult to maintain while caring for Ryan and his new treatment schedule so I decided to only publish monthly and guess what. My blog survived. I felt better, and my posts were not rushed or forced meaning they were and are much better quality too.
I have now built up a library of blog posts to help others reconnect-with-nature and find inspiration for camping and days out. Covering topics including Camping, Hiking, Nature, Mountains, Travel and Water.
Why did I create Adventure Accessories?
I created Adventure Accessories in 2018 and it has grown to become a successful creative handmade business based in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Combining a passion for outdoors with a love of crafts, Adventure Accessories creates unique handcrafted, fun and functional, gifts for outdoor enthusiasts.
When I created the business I was initially was not planning on having a blog as I did not think I would have time to write while I wanted to spend my time creating handmade gifts but I decided I would try one post to introduce my new venture. Once the creative process started I quickly drafted up further posts and now have a schedule that works around the main focus of my business which is handmade crafts so the majority of my time is crafting my products.
I needed something that was flexible around my care duties for Ryan. Something mobile that can easily be done on the go as we were living 53 miles away at the hospital while he had radiotherapy, chemotherapy, sepsis, peritonitis, adrenal insufficiency and now immunotherapy treatment.
I also needed to create something positive, something to help my own mental health and assist in my healing from such a difficult time in our lives.
What is the biggest struggle you had to overcome starting a small business?
I have changed careers three times now in my 44 years. Usually, confidence and comfort zone would be what would have held me back otherwise.
My first career change came when Ryan was first diagnosed with Autism and he was excluded from school, forcing me to home-school him for almost two years. I eventually retrained as a teaching assistant and returned to work when he was given a place at a specialist unit. I enjoyed 10 years as a TA before taking voluntary redundancy when he was then diagnosed with cancer.
The help that I have received to set up my small business
We have an assigned social worker and therapists to help us cope as a family with the devastating consequences of a cancer diagnosis.
I have been well cared for and supported as I have adjusted to yet another career change.
I have also taken the time to get engaged in Facebook groups and Twitter chats to learn about being a small business owner and get help and advice from more experienced creatives. The creative community is wonderfully helpful and I wrote a post celebrating the amazing support you receive.
What benefits have you experienced from starting a small business?
I am my own boss. I decide how my day is going to go. A consequence of taking voluntary redundancy and dealing with caring full time for Ryan has seen me develop depression. There are some days when I cannot face opening my laptop to work, but that is ok. I have the freedom to take the time I need when I need it.
I have turned my hobby into a business, so I love what I do and do what I love. Not many people can say that.
I never dreamed I would become a self-employed business owner as a result of my son having cancer. I see this as a blessing to come from such a horrific situation.
Is being your own boss a dream role?
Dream role - no. Being self-employed is hard and unpredictable. I completed a degree in education as I had planned to become a speech therapist, but I doubt I will ever go back to teaching now as my mental health is so fragile. Ryan faces an uncertain future, more treatment and the possibility of a stem cell transplant to come. My role is to care for him and my business is a side hustle bonus at the moment, that I can build in time.
This is the part you have been waiting for. I am celebrating my Biz Birthday with a fabulous competition to thank you all for being so awesomely supportive. All you have to do to enter is join my free Wild Club. Benefits include exclusive access to a free resource library with wild camping ideas, navigation skills, leave no trace ethics, kit lists, tips, tricks, offers and 20% off the Adventure Accessories online store. You will also receive exclusive discounts, coupons, news and offers for VIPs only.
Choose your prize.
There will be one winner picked at random and you can choose your prize. You can pick one of the following:
A Campfire Lap Blanket.
A Mitts and Ear Warmer Set with Traveller Notebook.
Or £25 credit to spend online at Adventure Accessories.
To enter click on the image below and follow the instructions. Good luck.
Ts&Cs 1: The prize draw is open to entries worldwide, but postage to be paid by the winner if outside the UK.
2: Closing date for entries is 31/5/20
3: Winner will be chosen at random via the Wheel of Names - Random Name Picker and will be announced on 1 June 2020 on Adventure Accessories social media accounts.
4: Failure to comply with mandatory entries means disqualification.
5: Winner will be contacted via email or social media.
6: The winner has two weeks to claim their prize. If the winner does not reply in that time, a new winner will be selected in their place.
7: Your Information will NOT be given to anyone. The Winner's Name and address will be only be used for you to receive your prize. 8: Prize cannot be exchanged for cash.
If you like my content you can earn rewards and discounts while supporting the creators that you love for just the cost of a coffee with Ko-Fi. Click the link below for more info, your support means the world to me, thank you. ko-fi.com/sarahskilton
Pin the image below to read later and come back to this post in the future. Pinning also shares the love for others to enter.