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Get set, go!

It’s all go here at Shepherds Cottage. Getting ready for my first Christmas fair is vastly different to getting ready for any other fair – there’s more ribbon, bigger boxes; bars of soap and pairs of scissors and bits of paper have spread like festive cheer all over the house. At this point it’s a mess! But slowly, almost with out seeming to, it comes together and like magic, with three days to go, packing has started and boxes and bags are being sent over to the mainland, ready for my journey to Crathes Castle. And I’m excited!

Fairs are my favourite part of selling being a soap maker. I love the preparation, the display, the people, the conversation, helping people find the soap that’s right for them or that makes the perfect gift. It’s terrifying as well though. I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s all still just a fair: that I can create and craft and make things up as I go along, but I’ve read that consistency is the difference between a hobby and a business. So I worry that my products aren’t uniform, I worry about having enough stock and I worry that making it up as you go along is not the best route to success. But it feels powerful to be creative, to work within the boundaries of budgets and product lists planned months ago and put out there as fait accompli. I guess like with most things, the middle road is the one best taken.

I am thinking a lot about ways of doing things, especially starting and building a business, and at this time of year it’s almost impossible to not think back at how things have been going. I’m almost finished another ‘self-help’ book – something I never would have read before starting Miracle Mornings with The Happy Wee Health Club Home - The Happy Wee Health Club in January in five- minute increments, most mornings, I’ve read my way through:

Big Dreams, Daily Joys: Set Goals. Get things Done. Make Time by Elise Blaha Cripe - a book I would recommend again and again.

Clean My Space by Melissa Maker. If, like me, you’ve chosen Goddess over Domestic, you could do worse than having this on your bookshelf. I’ve actually taken some of the advice and used it. Not that you would notice it this week!

Love is not enough: the Smart Woman’s Guide to Money by Merryn Somerset Webb. I didn’t finish this one, the reality of giving up a regular income to take a crazy chance was just a bit too new to seriously approach information about investing in shares, but since starting it I have made some changes and started to ask more questions about saving and spending. They say that the best time to plant a tree was yesterday, the same is true for a savings account.

Solo, by Rebecca Seal. This is what I’m reading now, and why I’m thinking about expectations and experiences. I never wanted to work alone, be home all day by myself, and not talk to any one except the dogs for hours, but I’m doing it! And looking back on how these last few months have been, I don’t think I’ve been doing too badly. This book is about making the best out of working from home, specifically if you’re freelancing, and how to be productive in the hours you have (or want) to dedicate to your work. It’s about finding balance for yourself, I’m enjoying it.

Lined up for my morning read is The New Corner Office: how the most successful people work from home by Laura Vanderkam, but I think that will probably be enough about working from home, if not about being self-employed.

Do you have a favourite / life changing book about self-improvement you would recommend? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

You come and tell me yourself, I’m at a fair every weekend until the middle of December and it would be great to chat xx

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