Times are difficult for everyone right now, unfortunately where I live, it's more difficult than most. What was once a thriving area, with mining and steel industries has long since left. The valley has never been greener and the air cleaner.
Whilst the environment couldn't be better, job prospects have never recovered. We have great promises' of new employers coming to the area and then it just disappears. With the pandemic and lockdowns, it hit a struggling region even harder. Thankfully we do seem to have faired off with the actual virus so far, living out in the sticks does have its advantages at least.
Shops and business on the other hand are dropping like flies, and a town already with a high number of empty shops has just got a whole lot emptier. The shopping centre up the road from me, which has lovely park lands, had great plans issued last year. These have all but disappeared into thin area. There was well over 25 shops including 3 cafes.
At the start of the year 8 units lay empty, and now Shops are being served notice and at present only roughly 6 are open, nobody has a clue what is happening. The other downside to the area is the struggles with transport links, which got further reduced back last year. Trying to work outside of the area and rely on public transport is a nightmare. However the area has some lovely walks and views, and the cost of living its cheap, every cloud and all that.
On the flip side they do say if you can start a business in tough times and make it work, then you'll likely survive. I feel with these weird time, that now more than ever it's a good idea to have a side hustle or two (heck even three) gone are the days when a job was for life, and it seems handy to have a few sources of smaller incomes rather than one big one.
Around 18 months ago I set up a Redbubble shop, which if you're not familiar is a print on demand website, where people like myself, create the art work, and Redbubble does the rest; produce, print, pack and ship. In return I take a commission of the sale.
I had been thinking of setting one up for a while, whilst I love nothing more than to sew, I really enjoy creating art work and illustrations too. I love playing with new art supplies trying out different techniques and continuing to learn and rather than keep this work in a folder, why didn't I see if people would be interested in purchasing them, and so far I do ok by print on demand standards.
I love the idea of creating designs that aren't being mass produced and the idea that I don't need to print the products myself and hold stock, especially as its hard to know what will be popular and what won't.
By doing print on demand, only the products that sell get printed, which is a slightly more sustainable way of doing business with not having to stock pile.
However something that I thought I would set up for an extra bit of pocket money, I've now realised needs to do a bit more and I need to take it more seriously and the need to become more self reliant with regards to earning money.
What this means is that you are likely to see more posts popping back up on here, as a means of promoting myself, but don't worry it won't be overkill (I hope)!
Take care and stay safe xx