Updated: Jan 11
Running Copper Myst has no doubt completely changed my life. What began as a little flicker of an idea whilst I was still travelling around Europe in my home converted camper van has grown into a fully fledged small business, with a following of like-minded souls, and the potential to expand so much further.
It's very common when reading small business blogs to hear 'I could never have imagined...' before phrases like 'where the business would take me', or 'how much the business would grow', or 'what the business would become'.
As much as I hate to be cliche, unfortunately, it is so true that I would NEVER have imagined that I'd be writing this from my little studio-office in Liverpool, settled in a house here in my home town, and feeling pretty positive about it all (most of the time!).
It's just so far away from the life I had imagined for myself when I was hitchhiking around Europe, or even when I began to learn Electroforming with the idea of making jewellery to sell. I really didn't realise the path that lay ahead of me would be like this, based in one place, so rooted.
Don't get me wrong, it's not always easy. I want to travel. And I want to live abroad. I have always wanted to travel and live abroad, and on bad days I find myself questioning why I bother with it all, when I could just be drifting around Europe helping at Eco projects like I used to. But I know the answer.
I always persevere, because my time here in Liverpool developing Copper Myst has been, and still is, all about building a foundation for my future.
Running this little business has taught me patience, persistence and shown me how capable I am of achieving great things if I put my mind to it.
Point being, I believe we are ALL capable of that. If you are reading this because you're thinking about setting up your own small business, my advice is to just do it!
Not sure where to begin? Think about what is it that is inspires you, forces you to dare to dream, ignites your imagination. Find that spark, and add a little bit of fuel. For me it was like this...
I knew for quite a few years that I would work in a different way to what I saw around me growing up. As you may already know, I travelled a lot, and inbetween I would work in restaurants or cafes to save a little money.
But as a long term option, trading time for money directly just didn't suit me, even if it was only sometimes. And I couldn't think of a job that the idea of which inspired me enough to give up my freedom and take up the 9-5 lifestyle.
So I tried to think of ways I could make money whilst travelling. This isn't an unusual story. But this was my spark so I'm sharing it with you. I started to make jewellery.
At first it was just simple jewellery that I made with wood, shells, a few beads, things I found on my travels. I played around with macrame bracelets and wooden beads. It wasn't really very sophisticated and it would never have gained me much money. But it was a start. It was an idea. I would set up little makeshift stalls to sell from, even at proper markets in France a couple of times.
Then I met Christina at an eco project in Italy. She had learnt the technique of Electroforming from a friend, and in the past had sold some of her jewellery to fund her travels. She showed me photos of her crystal and copper creations and I loved them. This was, in my mind, 'proper' jewellery, and I could see that having a skill like this would enable me to create in a more refined way.
So, at a moment when we were both in England, me in Liverpool on a waitressing-work travel break, and her living in London, I went to visit her and she taught me her process.
Before I set off back to Europe in my van again, I bought all the equipment I was going to need to Electroform my own pieces, and then I practised when I could get access to mains electricity at family and friend's houses on my trip.
When I had made a few sell-able pieces, I set up an Etsy store, and shared it on my Facebook page. I made an Instagram and started to follow people.
When I was back in Liverpool again, I did my first craft fair. It went quite well and I could see that this could actually work as a way to make money! My boyfriend, Nick, said that he'd like to stay in Liverpool again long term rather than continuing to live in the van, so we got jobs and looked for a house.
After moving in to the new house in Liverpool, I very quickly realised that I 100% didn't want to be waitressing, again, and wanted to try to go full time with my teeny-tiny new business Copper Myst.
So I booked more Craft fairs, shared more on social media, and kept trying to spread the word. At first I didn't make a lot of money. But I could afford my half of our rent and so I was happy to just sit in the corner of our new living room making jewellery and dreaming big.
It worked, and Copper Myst grew. Mostly through Instagram, which for a long time I used as my main selling platform.
I eventually found a studio so I could separate my home and work life (essential - do this sooner than I did!), and I got into a better working routine (I now take weekends off, and Thursdays to give Reiki treatments all day).
Slowly, what started as me creating and selling jewellery willy-nilly formed into a business with some structure, and a soul of its own.
TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH
Having lived the way I had, it wasn't such a big deal for me to give up my waitressing job. In fact, I'd only had it for a few weeks. So if you are struggling to take the giant leap of faith from your old job or career to invest more time in your new business idea, I can't claim to fully understand the courage you're going to need to muster up to do it. I was in a fairly free-living kind of mentality already.
However, what I will say is that although my leap of faith wasn't quite as scary, I still had to work hard to make Copper Myst a success.
Once I had no other time commitments, I invested all of my time in growing my tiny business. I think that's why it's worked - I was unwilling to compromise on my idea of forging out a new way of earning a living for myself.
Sometimes this has tired me out, sometimes I've crashed, sometimes I've felt like quitting and getting a bar job. But then I've dusted myself off and carried on. Through running a little business I have found a true strength that keeps me moving forwards with confidence and a determination to succeed.
If you have the same level of determination and drive, then take the leap. When you put all of your time and energy into something, it will inevitably grow.
Money is another matter, but if you find something that doesn't require big start up costs, and you put your all into developing it, you will see results.
A SENSE OF FREEDOM
Working for myself has brought me a sense of freedom for my future, and it's that that I hold onto when I have bad days or I feel stagnant.
I used to feel very free when I was travelling, but it was temporary, I didn't have a solid (financial) foundation to lean on when times got tough.
Being still sometimes feels really difficult for me, someone who used to move constantly, but I know that through putting in the time and effort here I have created a different kind of freedom for myself, one that will last forever.
My life and Copper Myst have become completely intertwined, and through running it I have found a sense of grounding, an awareness of my spiritual path, and have made some incredible connections with like-minded and inspiring people.
I feel surrounded by positive energies a lot of the time, a lot more spiritually aware, and much stronger as a person.
Copper Myst is, of course, a business rooted in spirituality and healing, and so it tends to bring to other people these same things that it has brought to me.<