I love making soap and turning it into a business would be amazing.
Hands up if this is you and you have a multitude of questions ☺️
Yes this was me too - after over 30 years working for others and in a stressful, demanding, forward facing role I totally feel you on this one and I still wonder occasionally how I have become the soap maker that I am and created a business from it - this certainly was not something I have always wanted to do since being a child - in fact, confession time, I never was the creative, crafty one. I didn't really draw, paint, sew, craft, make cakes or spend hours using makeup and experiment with hairstyles. I played with toy cars not dolls, spent hours in the garden looking at bugs and digging slow worms out of the compost heap and as a teenager I was permanently in welly boots and out with the pony or dog.
But things evolve and I have discovered my creative inner being, as many of us do, later in life. Being a stubborn and determined individual I made it work in my favour and being quite desperate to escape the rat race of working in the public sector was a particularly strong incentive if I am honest.
So what has it really been like behind the scenes over the past few years? The reality, as is so often the case, does differ from my initial day dreaming and this is my whistle stop behind the scenes of expectations vs reality. Do read through to the end however - the best is saved for last !!
Having a soap making business will be easier than my day job.
Running a soap making business is fun.
I can give up my day job to start a soap making business?
I won't be tied to a desk.
I can do fun , creative soapy stuff whenever I like.
I can be flexible with how I work.
I can do my own thing and forget all the red tape and policies of my day job.
Going to craft shows and getting paid for it will be fantastic.
I am going to spend my days in a lovely smelling workshop.
I can make a business from my hobby.
Having a soap making business involves working in 20 different departments all at once and being an expert in all of them.
Running a soap making business is challenging, stressful at times. Multi-faceted, not 9 to 5, sometimes reactive not proactive and evolves in directions you may not initially want to go.
Working out how to grow your soap business large enough to give up the day job is like doing one of those impossible puzzles 😂
75% of my work involves being tied to a desk. Social media, emails, blogs, stock control, compliance with red tape, research to name but a few.
I never have time to practise new recipes or create new products.
If I don't have a structured working week (up to a point) everything gets behind and I start dropping balls.
All industries have wordy legislation you need to comply with and get your head around. Not to mention all the expectations around information that has to be on websites, rules around emailing etc.
Going to craft shows makes for very long days, often is not worthwhile, smiling and talking all day is exhausting and you don't get to do your own Christmas shopping - even getting a wee break can be a challenge 😂 I gave them up!
On a soap making day the scent becomes over powering and gives me a headache.
Yes - you can make a business from your hobby but it does require you to put a lot of work in to it!
The worst bits.
The cleaning up. Oh my days - no-one tells you how everything gets so greasy. It gets everywhere, all over the microwave, your utensils, cooker top, clothes, floor - you name it. Coupled with the soap batter dishes which are not an easy clean.
Never switching off. Literally - not ever. I am trying hard to get better at this but soap is always lurking at the back of my mind - whether it be my to do list, something I forgot to add to my to do list, a fantastic idea that I MUST add to my to do list before I forget - you get my drift.
Spending a day making soap is physically quite hard work. You are on your feet all day, there is a lot of lugging butters and oils around (and a lot of cleaning!)
That's it - just 3 things on that list!
The best bits.
The lovely feedback I get from customers. It really does make my day.
The happy dance when you make a sale.
The satisfaction of doing it all myself.
Not having to do as I am told.
Doing it all MY way.
Having a lie in and working a bit later instead.
Taking my time off when I want it and not having to put in for annual leave.
Working from my bed.
Smelling of soap even when I really need a shower!
The sense of pride from making it work.
Not worrying if something goes wrong ( this might sound crazy but in my old job if I did something wrong or messed up it really could be life changing for someone else)
Choosing how my working day looks. ( Often linked to the weather - having a lazy afternoon in the garden in the summer is not a problem if I work in the evening instead 😊)
It is flipping hard work, especially in the early days but I am so glad I have done it. I love my business(es). I love all my customers, my stockists, my teaching, the lot. In fact I get bored after a few days away and am desperate to get back to the next challenge.
Inspired? And thinking of stepping your soap making up a level? No idea where to start with your business ideas, overwhelmed by the legislation here in the UK? The Soap Business Boot Camp may be exactly what you are looking for. Take a look at all the options HERE.
Love the sound of this but have no idea how to make soap? I can help you with that too. In person, live online and pre recorded classes all available to book via the website or drop me an email if you have any specific requirements or would like a course tailored to you. firstname.lastname@example.org