Small Business Showcase: Penning and Planning!

My ‘Small Business Showcase’ idea originally formed because I was fascinated by people’s stories and reasons for setting up their own businesses and I wanted to learn as much as I could in order to educate myself for the benefit of my own business.
I wanted to find a way to ask the questions I wanted the answers to and I realised that if I was interested, surely others were interested in the answers too! In addition, I wanted the businesses willing to share their stories to get something in return, so I devised my ‘Small Business Showcase’ blog series to give each small business featured a promotion boost across social media. Win-win for everyone!
As a preview to the series, I’m sneaking in first! These are my answers to the questions I have asked every other business. As I am so fascinated by stories, it’s only fair I share mine too.
1) How would you summarise the service(s)/product(s) your business offers?
I provide writing, editing and proofreading services for a range of people – small businesses, big businesses, bloggers, students, authors, publishers and anyone who may need help making their writing right!
I also help local students (and adults!) gain more knowledge and confidence in preparing for SATs tests or GCSE English language and/or literature exams, or to improve their general English reading and writing skills by providing 1:1 tutoring in a venue of their choice. I am particularly interested in helping people who do not speak English as their first language.
2) How long have you been a small business owner?
I have been a small business owner for nearly 8 weeks now!
3) What inspired you to set up your business?
I was a full time teacher for a long time – I began teaching English language and literature in secondary schools before transitioning to primary teaching. However, I began supply teaching in January 2017 in order to give me the flexibility to help care for my dad when he became ill. Unfortunately, my dad died last year but, as often happens with big changes, it prompted me to think about doing something I absolutely loved and really making the most of life, so I created Penning and Planning!

4) What platforms/strategies do you use to promote your business?
So far, networking has been the most successful promotion strategy for my business, which is a revelation to me! Despite having taught hundreds of children, being in the spotlight and being around people does not come easily to me, so to not only attend networking events but to actually enjoy and get business leads AND work from them has done wonders for my confidence!
I am also very active on (addicted to?!?) Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram and have started to build a really helpful, respectful and interesting community around myself that I can learn from and hopefully help too.
5) What do you consider your greatest business achievement so far?
Although I only officially launched my business on 30th July, I have already signed my first freelance proofreading contract!
I am also really proud of creating my ‘Small Business Showcase’ series and the interest it has generated.
6) What do you consider your greatest business challenges?
My greatest business challenge is to not get frustrated when I can’t learn everything instantly! Between setting up Penning and Planning and its launch, I did so much research and reading and asking questions and blogging and attending events and writing lists galore that sometimes I felt really overwhelmed. I’m *trying* to consciously focus on doing one thing at a time now.

7) What resources/training have been most beneficial to your business so far?
Every (free!) training event I have attended through ENRG has been so beneficial. These included: Business Plan workshop, Grow Your Followers, Pitching and Presenting, Digital Seminar, Budgeting and Cash Flow workshop and Networking workshop (where I experienced speed networking for the first time!).
8) What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting their own business?
As I posted on social media after reading about The Lean Startup book by Eric Ries: Build it, get it to a stage you’re proud of, launch it as it is, measure its progress, learn what works & change what doesn’t! Just get on with it!
9) What are your future plans for your business?
I have so many ideas! Initially, I am going to focus on developing my skills and knowledge by completing training courses, building my portfolio and networking and promoting my services. I already have some interesting collaborations in the pipeline so I am very much looking forward to developing those!
Ultimately, the dream is to write my own fiction books and/or educational workbooks whilst Penning and Planning ticks along nicely – watch this space!
10) Are there any other small businesses you would like to give a shout out to who have been an inspiration/support to you?
Definitely – in fact, I wrote a blog post recently thanking everyone who has helped me get Penning and Planning to where it is today! You can read it here.
Any other comments?
Make sure you follow my ‘Small Business Showcase’ blog series which will feature a whole range of amazing businesses and will be published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting tomorrow!
Claire
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