We must travel in the direction of our fear - John Berryman
It was a pleasure to launch Hive Collective last week at Walthamstow’s Central Parade. We found it a real privilege to meet so many of you and hear your stories.
An incredible spread from Eat 17 as well as plenty of Prosecco set us up for a good night, as did the gorgeous flowers from London Flower Farmer. Mostly we were happy that thanks to our attendees the evening felt so warm and inclusive- which was exactly what we were aiming for. If you didn’t make it, here is a brief overview.
A Different Type of Networking
We started by asking ‘what is Hive Collective?’. Business coach Nat Harrison went on to explain that our collective came about organically when she offered some coaching tasters through Facebook which brought a number of local business women together through mutual help and skill swapping. We wondered whether we could use our skills to help others somehow- knowing that we had all faced a varied array of challenges and were in a good position to lend support and advice. Would it be possible to create a non-intimidating network to talk about these challenges as well as a fun, learning, collective environment? We realised that the idea was important.
Everyone on the evening’s panel faced their own challenges on their way to becoming self-employed. From confidence issues down to the actual practicalities of living with a certain amount of uncertainty, working for yourself can sometimes be a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Through our introductions and the following panel discussion we hope the audience were given a good idea of the sorts of difficulties some face, as well as some of the benefits that come your way once you push for a different type of lifestyle.
Here are some takeaways from the discussion:
Carmel King, Freelance Photographer:
‘My biggest challenge has been taking time out to have three children and maintaining my client base. After my last maternity leave I met with Nat and she helped me with a business plan to direct my work in the direction I wanted it to go, that’s how the Makers project came about which has sent me in a completely new direction, working on my own self initiated projects and working with brands to develop their visual identity and marketing material’.
Recommended reading: The Craftsman by Richard Sennett.
Emma Hammond, Freelance Social Media Manager:
‘Know your worth- everyone has something unique to offer- it took me ages to work that out. Meet people! Network and be yourself. If someone doesn't 'get' you then there will be other jobs. Read about your heroes and other business people. Listening to podcast interviews with people you admire is hugely inspiring. Learn from everyone you meet and be open to criticism. Always be kind to yourself and remember that mistakes are how you learn’.
Recommended reading: How to be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson
Sophie Richardson, Freelance Designer:
‘I fear being out of of work too long and running out of money. I sometimes fear being out of 'the game' of employment too. This makes me say yes to too much work and losing the work life balance which was ironically the point of freelancing! I was juggling a 9-5 job alongside my own business creating illustrated products for in evenings and weekends - for 5 years! I decided to go fully freelance at Easter to work more flexibly and choose projects I really enjoy’
Coming up roses by Cath Kidston
Build a business from your kitchen table by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker
Nat Harrison, Business Coach:
'Learning to accept that fear is a part of running your own business was a big thing for me. The way I deal with it, is by putting strategies in place to help me through those times of doubt. Support is my biggest help - I have a work buddy who is another coach and we have bi-weekly meetings to talk about our objectives for our businesses and support each other by coaching each other through tough times. I also have a supervisor who I see once a month - she is 20 years further down the line that me and is always able to offer useful tips and challenge me to step outside my comfort zone and grow.
Feel the fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers
Q&A with Emma Morley
We were lucky enough to have Emma Morley, the Founder & Creative Director of Trifle Creative along to answer our questions around the subject of fear. Trifle Creative are a bespoke design consultancy who have worked with top name brands from Moo to Coco de Mer. It was so helpful for us to hear about what difficulties Emma has faced as she created a successful business from scratch. We have included some of her tips here for you to look at.
A Note on Fear
Fear will stop you becoming the best version of yourself. Although going freelance or starting your own business must always be a calculated risk, it is important to ask yourself whether it is financial issues or a lack of self-belief that is stopping you from taking the plunge. Our brains are hardwired to resist anything that makes us uncomfortable but it is a fact that only through exposing ourselves to difficulty can we grow. Every single entrepreneur that you have read about has had to face up to themselves and make a consistent effort to improve. We are all human and have the same fears of looking stupid or failing. It is only through practice that we become better, stop feeling like an imposter and can celebrate our own uniqueness. We all have something to give to the world. What do you have to offer?
What’s next for Hive?
Our aims are as follows:
● To create a space where business owners and freelancers can meet in a relaxed, inclusive atmosphere and be authentic. We don’t want to shy away from the difficult aspects of being self-employed, but want to actively raise and discuss them and help each other to overcome them – be it work-family balance, over-committing ourselves or never relaxing.
● To provide personal development opportunities practically through monthly events and group coaching brunches. We plan to invite speakers from established businesses to events and together we will coach and learn from each other.
● To encourage other’s success through networking and skills swaps – to inspire our members to tell their story- bring their business cards and marketing materials along to events and actively seek out people who can help them or compliment their business and to suggest follow-up coffees and skill swaps.
Join our mailing list to hear about our next brunch event that is coming up on July 10th. Places will be limited as this will be a smaller event.
What People Said
'A lovely informal meeting of like minded people where thoughts that I believed were only mine to worry about were voiced by several others'
'Lovely event, intimate, relaxed and inspiring. Looking forward to the next one'
'Completely refreshing, different from every other business start-up event I've been too... friendly, welcoming, inclusive and genuinely useful'
'Wonderful, inspiring and supportive group of women who are open, creating a trusting space to explore business/freelance ideas'
'Potentially life-changing! What this space...'
We would like to say thank you to everyone who helped make the night such a huge success. Sean from Central Parade was an absolute star. Thanks also to Stow Brothers who sponsored the drinks and our goodie bags. Eat 17 provided us with the food and London Flower Farmer made the room look very pretty indeed. Thank you to Daisy, who was there on work experience and helped us to set up and took some stellar photographs.
Lastly, thank you to all those who took the first (or second!) step and came along. Every single one of you is an inspiration.