One of my main aims for this year is to attempt to make something of my craft business. The craft fairs I did in the run up to Christmas gave me more confidence in the things I make and persuaded me to give it a go. It is likely I will never be able to hold down a full time job (look at what attempting university did to me) but neither do I want to do nothing. Crafting means I can work from home and do hours to suit my mood and mental state. It would be wonderful if I could take it far enough to not be benefit dependent any more especially as the way the Government is going, I’ll probably lose them anyway.
The trouble is that while I can create at will, the practicalities of business escape me. I have no concept of tax and how it applies to me. I don’t have a business plan, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I need to get a website up and running but again the complexity eludes me. At the moment I buy things when I want them from my personal bank account and then sell at what I think makes me a reasonable profit. However, I have no spreadsheets to back this up and no way of analysing if it’s really working. Like so much of life, I float on a plane above practical. As has often been said, I’m very bright but have no common sense whatsoever. If it wasn’t for my boyfriend, bills would never get paid and there probably wouldn’t be any real food in the house. If I can’t even manage the basics, how on earth am I supposed to run a business?
The other day, I ended up on the Princes Trust website. I can’t remember how or why I got there and I suppose it’s not really important but I found this. Basically it’s a scheme to help young unemployed people with the practicalities of business. They can provide skills training and ongoing support as well as access to free or discounted accounting software and other things. It read like it could almost have been made for me! Forcing myself to overcome the doubting voice telling me that there was no point as I’d only fail and be laughed at , I filled in the enquiry form. In it I explained that I had severe mental health problems and had been on disability benefit for several years. I roughly outlined my ideas and my desire to make something of myself. Crucially, I also stated that I have a phobia of phones and would very much appreciate if initial conversations could be carried out by email.
My fear of phones is deep set and somewhat ironic for someone who spent a couple of months working in a call centre in the dim and distant past. Ask me to communicate in writing and I will be vaguely eloquent and present myself with control. Even face to face conversations I will give a good go although eye contact somehow eludes me. Put me on the phone however and I either become incredibly angry or a gibbering idiot. Either way, I use any excuse to terminate the call as soon as is possible.
Yesterday, I was excited to see an email in my inbox responding to my Princes Trust enquiry. It consisted of two sentences.
Thank you for your enquiry to The Prince’s Trust.
Please could you call me on Wednesday to discuss your idea and possibly arrange a meeting.
Fabulous. It made no reference to any of the things I had said in my message and explicitly ignored my desire to email details or at the very least, to meet face to face.
Now I’m a bit stuck. If I could receive business support, opportunities could really start to open up for me and I would love for that to happen. However, the thought of phoning someone I’ve never met, especially regarding something so important makes me feel physically sick. It seems that every time I attempt to move forward, new immovable barriers are put in my path. For a charity that is supposed to support young people with difficulties, I would really have hoped for some understanding. I will probably make the call, albeit at the last possible moment but the odds of it being productive and producing the result I so need are very low. I just wish that for once something could go my way.