MY 5 2018 GOALS.

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New Years Resolutions. EUGH, nope I am really not going there this year. I am going to start this year a little bit differently, rather than resolutions and changes that just set you up to fail for me 2018 is about setting myself goals. Lovely big glowing goals that I can reach for. ย I know we’re like half way through January but its taken a bit of time to work out what I’d like for this year.

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So some of you might have spotted from my Instagramย that I will be starting something brand new this year. Mentoring. WOAH. Its something I’ve wanted to do for quite a few months now. I have lots of amazing ladies in the wedding industry get in touch to ask how I’ve started LL and how I run LL on a day-to-day basis. Now is the time not be afraid of newness and expanding into a new area for myself and the biz. I love working with creative, likeminded women and I’m so looking forward to working with them passing on my own knowledge, mistakes and experiences. So excited to get rolling with this, keep your peepers on my IG, its where I’ll share more info soon.

FOCUSED

Louise of Bloved Hive has always been there through the growth of LL. She got me thinking about a word of the year, mine is ‘Focused.’ This is for me to be really focused on who I am working with to grow LL and also moving my focus with more full styled set ups. I want to work with couples more closely and get to enjoy the process of designing weddings with them. This is when I am happiest.

CONNECT

I really want to make sure I keep collaborating and connecting with other suppliers in the industry. Hooking up and sharing inspiration and ideas with other women that inspire and motivate me is really important for my own momentum and drive.

HONESTY

This is something I hope to be with you, more open and honest on my social media. Sharing more of the person behind the pretty and the captions, it was lovely that so many of you recently on my IG stories wanted to see more of what goes on back here, so I’m going to aim to show you more of me and my LL life.

DOING LESS

A weird goal, but I need to make sure I actually do a bit less this year. More time for me and my family is a must.

 

What are your 2018 goals? Love to hear your thoughts on how I can achieve some of these goals. Hope you’re 2018 has got off to the best start ever.

Penny x

3 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER.

When you run a business people want to give you advice. All types of people in all types of businesses. So sometimes you end up smiling politely while thinking ‘Eh?’ while being fed their pearls of wisdom or occasionally you’ll end up stashing away some really valuable nuggets of girl boss gold.

One line I’ve heard more than just a few times is ‘You’ll know if you’ve made it when you get to 3 years.‘ So here I am 3 years into Little Lending, have I made it?!
Ok, I don’t really know about ‘made it’ because I’m really not a pro at anything business; spreadsheets may as well be in japansese and the thought of not writing everything in my paper diary fills me with fear…but there are a few achievements I’m going to celebrate as a home business owner this week.

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CONFIDENCE.
I’ve found it, in my creative abilities and plucked up the courage to add ‘Styling Services’ to our offerings over 18 months ago and haven’t looked back. I feel more alive on wedding day set ups that doing any other aspect of the business. And the fact our couples put their trust in me is well, epic. I also feel I’m now kind of priced right for what I do, too many times on this journey I’ve not made what I should have but I now know I need to charge for the work I do and the creative experience I offer.

DECLINE.
I have learnt to decline offers of collaborations that are not right for me and the LL brand. I feel my brand identity is pretty solid now and have worked out exactly what I like working on and what’s just not right. I feel my couples also know my style too so it’s important to keep true to myself for them too.

RELATIONSHIPS.
I’ve built up some amazing relationships that my business now relies on; with fab talented local suppliers and gorgeous venues across the county and beyond. I feel so blessed to have a support network behind me that I value beyond measure.

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CUSTOMERS.
I’ve had some incredible Lenders the last 3 years, that still today continue to support and encourage me. And that, feels amazing. These guys are the backbone and I love my super fan Little Lenders. Word of mouth is so powerful and when new couples get in touch because they’ve heard about us or seen us first hand at another wedding I know I’m doing my job right.

NETWORKED.
I’ve put myself out there, really out there. On all the social media I can, whenever I can. There isn’t a team here it’s still just me (a couple of cats and a helpful hubby) but I knew getting my name out there in Norfolk and beyond in the wedding world would help me reach people, and I’ve reached far more people than I could ever have imagined. Hitting 5K followers on Instagram was huge!

Yes, our time management is still all over the place and it’s all pretty chaotic back here when it gets to delivery days and I know I have a lot more graft to go to get this business in line but I’m doing it, every day I am doing it. And I always deliver to my awesome couples and that’s all me and I’m totally in charge.

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I was asked where I wanted to be 5 years from now with Little Lending and I couldn’t reply at the time. You’re ‘expected’ to reply with huge goals – a big nationally known company that delivers up and down the country; fleets of drivers and staff that run a warehouse full of stock. But you know what, actually I would still like to be enjoying it, being creative, and at the heart of my business being as personal as I possibly can. I still want to create and challenge myself with newness and I really still want to be based at home.
If this sounds like I’m afraid to grow or loose control, it’s not really that, I just like being a little company that connects and works with brilliantly creative couples and other companies. I never want to loose the passion I have right now.

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Images – Darina Stoda
Venue – Godwick Great Barn
Props and Styling – That’s us
Flowers – Swaffham and Fakenham Florists

Happy 3rd birthday to us, here’s to the next and many more I say.
Penny @ The Little Lending Company X

OH BOY, I’m 30.

It’s here, I’m 30 on Friday. How?!

I’m not exactly ready to be 30; I still don’t have any kind of control over my own hair in humidity or wet weather, I frequently leave the house with my clothes inside out and I’ve never hosted a dinner party because all I would serve would be a ready-made pizza.

Little Lending Loves saved from Delectable Collectables

In life I’m really not ‘together’ in any way, and generally I ooze chaos. But then I take a look at my little company and realise I really am running my own business and it’s going OK. I mean, that’s a really big deal, totally grown up and comes with a whole heap of responsibilities and pressures. It’s been blooming brilliant and totally terrifying in equal measure but I have something I’m really proud of that I created. I get to get up every day excited about what I’m doing and building. And I guess you could say that being happy and driven every morning really is something to shout about as I roll into my third decade of life.

Sometimes I look at my girlfriends and they’re all doing so well with a ‘real career’ and wish I had some kind of structure, a pension, security… It’s easy to make comparisons, there’s so much crap out there on the internet about where and what you ‘should have’ achieved by the time you turn 30 but I’m going to just keep reminding myself that success is measured in happiness. When I take on a new wedding to style or hire to lend I’m filled with so much excitement and know that I have done that through putting myself and my work out there. There isn’t anything that compares to the feeling of creating your own livelihood.

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Little Lending Loves image via my-handwriting.com

I’ve learnt more than I ever thought I would about myself doing LL. I’ve had to grow in confidence and be brave when I didn’t feel it and just keep everything cool and calm on the outside. Walking into rooms full of wedding pro’s or a brand new venue to sell what I do still fills me with crazy fear but somehow I always come out and think ‘Girl, you did it.’ Little Lending has helped me develop personally in so many more ways than working for someone else ever could.

The images in this post are just a few things that have inspired me this week, they’re from a new ‘Little Loves’ board on Pinterst. Totally un-wedding related, just things I’m loving right now. The last quote sums it all up really.

So, this Friday, I think I’ll raise a glass to turning 30 and to all that the next chapter will bring. Until then, I’ve a list of books as long as my arm to get through that I ‘should have’ read already.

Oh, keep an eye on my IG too for a few birthday city break snaps. Over and out until next week.
Penny @ The Little Lending Co. X

SKILLS TO PAY THE BILLS.

This year I’ve really got my teeth into learning and developing my skills to be the best girl boss working from home I can possibly be. From digital photography, to styling and more modern calligraphy.
It's been a year learning from other ladies that have set up something of their own and working with them. I believe more than ever that it's about community with these amazing creative women and not about competition.

I'm a little late to the #girlboss movement, but I have ordered myself a little Christmas reading ‘Girl Boss’ by Sophia Amoruso. Girlboss is a hub of inspiration to share stories about what creating an amazing life really means. Being a Girlboss isn’t about being the boss of other people – it’s about being the boss of your own life.
If you’re a creative soul and looking for some motivation and invaluable advice I would head here. Kiki Sunshine has years of knowledge to help your little enterprise grow and her e-book is available for pre-order. Oh hello Santa…

You might have spotted on my Instagram and FB, I’ve had a pretty busy week and I know that lots of our brides will be interested to know more about the workshops I’ve been on to make their wedding day rock.

I headed back to London for another fab day with Quill London for round 2 of their modern calligraphy course, pushing on with flourishes and composition. I love writing, there’s something so relaxing about creating a beautiful design of words and for me I love getting to work on my chalkboards for all your wedding days. If you’re thinking of getting to grips with a calligraphy pen to do a little wedding stationery of your own this course is amazing. The incredible Lamplighter London have a book lout later in the year on the art of Modern calligraphy and I for one am stupidly excited about it’s release.

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Then on Monday night I was over at Swaffham Florists learning how to make a Christmas wreath. I blooming loved it! The fab floral sisters are going to be running more workshops right here in Norfolk, from learning how to make a hand tied bouquet to table centre pieces and get this, flower crown parties. I’m mean O.M.G.

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If you’re going to try your hand at some workshops in the new year to make you’re wedding even more personal I’d love to hear all about it…
Penny @ The Little Lending Co. X

COULD I RUN A WEDDING HIRE COMPANY FROM HOME?

Little Lending Office by Darena Stoda

I’ve been deliberating over wether to write this post or not. It’s definatley my most honest post yet and will mean me talking about some of the less positive sides to running LL.

So many of my Lenders tell me you’d love to do what I do, so I thought I’d let you in on what’s involved back here at LL HQ** and yes there is blood, sweat and occasionally a few tears. And I’m going to be totally honest when I say it’s really not the money that is motivating me to create my Little Lending Vision and to keep doing, most of the time, what I’ve been doing, unpaid. I’ve even been called up by total strangers the other side of the country asking me if the business is lucrative and should they quit their day job! The answer is no. I still work 2 freelance jobs too, so this is why sometimes there is a little wait on your replies because it’s a big juggling act this side of the computer screen. You’ll need to be prepared to hold down your job for a while yet while you build your enterprise. (this is of course if you’ve not got loads of disposable cash sitting under the bed!)

**Of which these office snaps are of, please note my office rarely looks like this!

Little Lending Office by Darena Stoda

Little Lending Office by Darena Stoda

Little Lending Office by Darena Stoda

If you’re completely and utterly determined to succeed you will. No guts, no glory. But I don’t want this post to frighten you off, I want to encourage my lenders to set up if it’s all you can think and dream about doing and if you’ll pour love and passion into it as much as you did the big day then you totally need to set up. I never thought getting married would mean becoming a girl boss, yes I have huge bags under my eyes but my gosh, am I having a brilliant time…

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A FEW THINGS I WISH I’D HAVE KNOWN WHEN SETTING UP.

Some of these points may sounds totally obvious, but here are a few things that would have helped me to know before setting up a hire company.

A large, dry, free (or super cheap) storage space. Not in your actual home, it will begin to drive you crazy, trust me! Even though mine spills out from under the sofas, I still have a garage and little show shed to keep most of the hire outside. I’m lucky enough to have a large kitchen to wash and re-pack items after the weekend.

Do you have a large car, or access to a van? I set out driving hire round in a mini, what was I thinking!? My van is now my car which can be a pain when I need need more than 2 seats! You need to be a fairly confident driver too, I’ve still not mastered having no back window when reversing!

90% of your time is uncreative. It’s not all shoots, styling and looking round pretty venues you know… The majority of my time is spent behind the wheel, packing orders, writing emails and invoices late into the night or blogging and updating the site on days off.

There are a few initial costs to get up and running and do register asap that you’re trading; public liability insurance, electrical PAT testing costs, get yourself an accountant too they’re totally worth every penny, domain name and branding materials…The best thing I did at the start was to get myself booked onto a local wedding fair, it gave me the deadline I needed to be ready to share LL with the world. (Keep an eye on our FB page for dates we’ll be at local wedding fairs this Autumn)

Don’t hire out anything too precious or personal, from your own wedding day, that you’d be gutted about loosing! Sadly, your stock will be lost or returned damaged, its just part and parcel.

When you first set up please don’t worry about ‘competition.’ There may be other hire companies doing something similar in your area but strive to create a brand that is all about you and your creativity. Creativity can never be imitated. Introduce yourself, you’ll most likely end up working together and sending couples to one another.

It will become everything you think about. It takes over your life, weekends and summers fly by because you’ll be delivering and collecting and tapping out lots of quotes. If you’re prepared for it to be your everything then go for it all guns blazing. My family are the backbone of this company, they’re behind me washing and ironing, helping with picks ups, hunting in charity shops to replace missing items (this becomes a weekly occurrence!) I couldn’t do it without them, it will literally change yours and their lives. Talk it through.

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Photos by DSPhotography

Have you been thinking about setting up a wedding hire company? We’d love to hear your plans and see your wares!
Penny @ The Little Lending Co. X