Vanessa from Manuscripts and Music responded to my request for small business owners to showcase themselves and their businesses on my blog to provide insight, advice and inspiration for others who are starting up/thinking of starting up their own small businesses – including me!
The 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 but 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 the ‘Small Business Showcase’ blog series which will give each small business featured promotion across social media. Win-win for everyone!
The same 10 questions were posed to all small businesses via questionnaire – here are Vanessa’s replies:
1) How would you summarise the service(s)/product(s) your business offers?
Manuscripts and Music offers a proofreading service for businesses and individuals. Whilst specialising in music, my clients have not been exclusively musical, ranging from large corporates, self-published authors to the local pub! Having trained initially as a musician, I still offer trumpet and piano lessons in the Beverley area, near Hull.
2) How long have you been a small business owner?
Off and on for around twenty years although it’s only in the last two years that I’ve been exclusively self-employed.
3) What inspired you to set up your business?
It was out of necessity rather than inspiration. I became disabled and unable to work and didn’t feel ready to embrace retirement.
4) What platforms/strategies do you use to promote your business?
I use Facebook and Twitter. I have a website and have just begun to use blogs as part of my marketing strategy. In the early days I sent out flyers to prospective clients but this wasn’t a strategy that had much success for me.
5) What do you consider your greatest business achievement so far?
My biggest achievement has been landing a large corporate client. I was ridiculously excited.
6) What do you consider your greatest business challenges?
I think reaching my potential clients is the biggest challenge. I came from an education background and getting to grips with marketing my services has been a real learning curve.
7) What resources/training have been most beneficial to your business so far?
The support given by the Society for Editors and Proofreaders has been invaluable. Their attention to detail is unbelievable and the resources answered all the questions I could possibly have asked. I also use Louise Harnby’s resources which are very clearly written and encouraging when you’re just starting out.
8) What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting their own business?
Make sure you know your subject. Get as much training as possible before you launch your business so you can hit the ground running and show your expertise right from the beginning.
9) What are your future plans for your business?
I’d like to continue to expand my client base. It has been a steady growth so I want to see that continue.
10) Are there any other small businesses you would like to give a shout out to who have been an inspiration/support to you?
My ‘Small Business Showcase’ blog series will be published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday – previous showcases can be read here, here, here, here, here and here and here.
If you would like to feature your small business too, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.