Tell us about your family: Divorced and now single. I have 2 children from my marriage and a further one from another relationship. One of my children suffers from Dyspraxia (which is on the Autism spectrum) so can be very demanding. Working for myself gives me the time to spend with him.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I worked in the IT industry, in various roles in various companies since 1990, rising to Manager of the IT Dept. of a large opticians chain. Unfortunately I became too ill to work and had to quit.
When did you launch?
2006, although I have worked under the name TempleDene Consultants since 1992
How did you get started?
I volunteered to run a local church website when my eldest was baptised. To make my life easier I started to write various bits of code to manage the site, this evolved into the system I now run all my clients websites on. Once I decided to make a go of it I polished the rough edges off the administration side of it and have been continuously improving the system ever since.
I launched TempleDene Consultants back in 1992 to work on a project to deliver computerised mail order for a chain of comic shops. Since then the company has gone through many periods of dormancy but was re-launched full time to provide managed websites to businesses and organisations in 2006.
In 2013 I was offered a large quantity of ex stock beads at a price I couldn’t refuse, so I launched Beading Lovely to sell beads, pendants and other jewellery making bits ‘n’ bobs to crafters and jewellery makers. This business, Called Beading Lovely, launched in February this year and is growing slowly.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business
Being there for my family, being able to push work aside and devote time to my children. Not all clients understand, but most of them do. Of course the downside is I do sometimes find myself writing code at 3am, but the beauty of it is I can work when inspiration hits me.
Independence and being my own boss. Being able to go off on a project knowing it may never come to anything but writing the code for my own pleasure. In the same way that google give their employers 10% of their time to work on any project they want, I give myself time to experiment on a variety of things from video editing to projects like www.doitlater.biz
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business
Cold calling potential clients. I am fine once initial contact is made but that first call I find very hard. This is why I offer commission on active leads. What else? The constant cash flow worries, work comes and goes but I am starting to get to a point where a constant revenue stream is in place from annual fees.
What has worked well about your business?
Customers appreciate the simplicity, a fixed annual fee giving them any and all updates they need throughout the year, no hidden costs. I am the next best thing to them employing their own in house website designer.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
Buying cheap hosting. It caused problems when the company collapsed. They simply abandoned it. I had to deal with unhappy clients and find a new home for them very fast.
How do you fit in work with the family?Is your partner supportive of your business?
I live on my own now, so I tend to do the majority of work in the morning and early afternoon. I am almost always at the school gate to pick up the children and spend the rest of the day in their company. They fully understand that some days I cannot do this, and that some evenings I will be glued to a computer working. Weekends are sacred barring emergencies. My ex wife is very supportive and does some part time work for me. My other ex partner still does some design work for me as well.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?
I am working towards being comfortable, to be earning enough to live without money worries. I have no plans for world domination. Recently I decided to look into making TempleDene a social enterprise, with the idea of giving away profits to local community projects and charities, this is very much a work in progress and may result in me carrying on as is but donating where and when I can instead.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
Perhaps, if the offer was right, and, most importantly, if they were happy with me continuing to work flexible hours, from home at times, and be able to continue to support my current clients.
Do you have an exit strategy?
No, I’m in this for the long term.
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come
Not yet, hopefully soon.
Where do you hope to be in five years time?
Beyond my “I’ve made it” moment and hopefully employing someone either full or part time to do the bits of the job I don’t enjoy, accounts and admin.
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.
I offer commission for active leads, 5% of the first years fees. An active lead means you have to get the potential client to contact me so you do need to do a little work for your money!
Apart from that I don’t really, I employ my ex wife part time and might need additional website managers if I expand. My children love to help sorting and packing beads for beading lovely, and I think my son would very much like to run it himself when he leaves school. I hold out hopes one of them will take an interest in TempleDene.
Your website link.
Special promotion for Family Friendly Working:
For TempleDene Consultants mention Family Friendly Working and get 5% of your websites annual fee every year.
For Beading Lovely use code VCFF14 to get 5% off your first two orders (until the end of 2014) Enter this code in the comments section of the checkout and the system will automatically recognise it.
If you don’t need beads or a website remember we offer 5% commission if you get us active leads which go to contract.