Saturday, 14 December 2013

Why bother trying to help ...

... if offering an honest opinion when it has been asked for is considered hurtful and upsetting?

On a forum I've been frequenting for the past couple of years, new members thinking about, or in the process of,  turning their crafty hobby into a small business often post asking for advice and opinions. 

Being in the fortunate situation of having run a successful part-time specialist sewing business for the past several years, and having run a very successful part-time home baking business while living overseas some 25 years ago, I think I have some experience to share, and I try to help others when I can.

I also enjoy learning about the trials and tribulations of other crafters in other areas of the country. Sharing experiences of UK craft markets and customers in these difficult economic times is really helpful, too. Most of the writing on these subjects come from the USA, and although always interesting, is of doubtful relevance here in the UK.

However, I won't beat around the bush if someone asks for opinions on an idea. I will give my honest opinion, neither dressed up not toned down, and will not mince my words if I think an idea is ill-advised or ill-considered. 

I also refuse to call a spade an implement for  manual garden-soil disturbance, and cannot abide posters who make suggestions that one need  not 'bother' complying with business and taxation law. It seems to be a fairly common 'folk' belief that there's no need to register with HMRC or even abide by the recommendations of Trading Standards or Environmental Health, if one's business is 'small enough' - although no-one is ever able to define how small is 'small enough'...

However, it seems that this particular forum is losing its way and becoming nothing more than a cliquey bunch of histrionic people who claim 'hurt' and 'upset' if any member expresses disagreement with their own pet opinions, even when other opinions on a matter have been specifically requested!

Sadly, several experienced and successful  craft-business owners are being and recently have been treated like rude and naughty children for doing nothing more than offering their honest opinions when these are requested, and for issuing warnings against what they consider may be a dodgy business practice or an overly-risky decision.

So I'm on the lookout for another creative/small business forum with an active UK membership - somewhere with a more down-to-earth ethos, with less diddums diddums soppiness about it.

A pity, as I'll miss some of the members.

In the meantime, though, I'm going to post a series of 'advice' posts which will pull no punches and which will be full of MY unvarnished opinions and of what does and doesn't work for ME. 

Starting tomorrow, with 'Starting a crafty business - what are you trying to do?'

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