Celebrating five years in business

After five years in business, I’ve finally accepted that I’m a ‘slasher’!

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it’s used to describe people who do multiple jobs – a new spin on the term jack of all trades, if you like.

Creative Calligraphy officially started trading on May 27, 2014.

Three years later, I started working as a press officer for The Customs House and then last year, I joined Colleagues on Tap as an associate host.

So that makes me a calligrapher/press officer/co-working host.

I suppose I should put wife and mother in there too!

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I used to worry that one was going to suffer at the expense of the other, but I’ve been juggling them for a while now and seem to have settled into a routine.

And settled is a great way to describe how I’m feeling five years into running my own business, but in a good way.

Comfortable, content, happy – I’ve found my groove.

I used to think I had to be doing X, Y and Z, with imposter syndrome creeping in as I compared myself to others, particularly via social media.

But I’ve since learned how to play to my strengths, find my niche and things seem to have fallen into place as a result.

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Creative Calligraphy has enjoyed five steady years of growth and each year has brought about some exciting firsts.

Bear in mind that according to the Office of National Statistics, just 40 per cent of small businesses are still trading after five years.

In my first year of trading, I was invited to contribute to a piece of public artwork that’s still on show at Bede Metro Station in Jarrow.

In my second year, I gave my business branding a bit of a makeover, joined Instagram and started running calligraphy workshops for the first time.

In my third year, I invested in some product photography and had my website redesigned, which helped attract my first big corporate client in my fourth year.

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A website redesign marked my third year in business

This last year has also seen a lot of business development work going on behind the scenes, as well as some exciting projects, like Pages of the Sea.

I’ve launched a Facebook group for workshop attendees, as well as a monthly calligraphy practice club – two things I was keen to get off the ground in 2019.

When I first started out, I thought commissions would account for most of my business, but workshops have actually taken over as the main part of my business.

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Workshops have contributed to my business growth

I have a number of regular venues and new ones coming on board all the time.

People really are investing in experiences rather than things and calligraphy is enjoying a resurgence, leading to my diary being full for 2019 and booking into 2020!

Commissions are still very much welcome though and as an ex-journalist, I love the story behind each and every one.

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Tools of the trade

So what’s next? More of the same, I hope.

It’s nice to break out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself and try new things, but it’s also a good idea to appreciate where you’re at and how far you’ve come.

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