I’m bringing this post to you from a very wet and very grey Bedfordshire – not untypical for this time of year, but somehow I find the lack of ground frosts, snow and sleet this year a bit unnerving. There are lots of weeds in my garden that I rely on the cold weather to kill off (at ground level, at least), and it’s looking farrrrr too green out there for my liking. Feburary has been slated as the month to watch for the snow-type affairs, and my local Tesco (mehh, blehh, yuck!) is holding out by continuing to sell snow shovels and sledges in a prominent position by the store entrance. I don’t know if it’s going to happen. It’s too mild. It’s unsettling.

… And that word continues to dominate my life at the moment. Unsettling. Disconcerted. Yeah – that, kind of vibe.

I was going to put up a post earlier this month, emanating positivity and hope about the year ahead (and the fact that the world WILL see 2013 in tact), and listing my usual New Year’s Resolutions. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, because I just can’t quite decide what I’m doing or where I’m at. January has been like a limbo for me, and that feeling has resonated throughout the month and was amplified last week when I received The Call. The result of The Call was that my long-standing freelance arrangement with regular work in an office has abruptly come to an end. I wasn’t under contract as such. And I had an inkling it was coming, but my unofficial “redundancy” (because let’s be clear, it was not ME they didn’t need anymore, but my position as a copywriter) has left me reeling a bit. Aside from the friends I made, the regular social-work interaction that keeps me sane and a basic salary that I could rely on, my safety net has been taken away. I don’t blame anyone, but there’s still that underlying feeling of rejection. “It’s just business,” I think to myself. But after almost two years I can’t help but feel a little bit shit about it. Atย the moment I’m writing down things a lot on paper, trying to formulate ideas, and trying not to feel too bitter about things. I’ve bought purple hair dye because I feel as though I need to rebel a bit. Against what, I don’t know. I think I’m just feeling a bit belligerent in the face of redundancy.

But I guess all I can do is think about the opportunities. I am back to being 100% flexible with my time. I am entirely responsible for my input and output again. I suppose I am entirely self-sufficient again, and I cannot afford to rest on my laurels. I have lots of upcoming work over the next 2-3 months but beyond that is a dull haze and that’s the slightly scary part. So I have to take action NOW. I have to seriously weigh up my options and consider whether I want to continue putting in so much time at the laptop, or whether my other freelance work can sit alongside a new “career” or work path. Is there any way I can start afresh, do something with my hands, employ my slightly dodgy artistic or less-dodgy literary skills, my veggie culinary skills, my passion for animals (not a vet, not a veterinary nurse)? At least I have the veg patches to keep costs down this year, if need be.

My dream is to open up a sustainable complex – say, a converted barn or similar – that serves ethical food, that houses art projects, green projects, little shops and artisan workspaces. A place that helps to bring something exciting to the local community and offers something practical but fun for visitors. Maybe a food and herb garden for selling fresh produce or supplying the on-site eatery, too. Somewhere entirely original and inspiring.

But without any kind of start-up capital to speak of, it’s a complete pipe-dream.

It always comes down to money.

So what do I do? How do I do it?

Answers on a post card/in the comments section, please.


  1. We, too here in South Africa, are having a wobbly month. Not a good start to the beginning of the new year.

    Regarding your dream. Start small, and, if that is successful, it will lead to your complete dream becoming a reality.

    Have you considered approaching a local farmer, who may have a barn available close to a busy road (LOL), and which he/she would be willing for you to man. I’m sure if you kept the decor to a minimum (straw bales for seats, planks across trestles as tables and allow the working artisans / artwork to adorn the walls / awkward floor space) it may just work out to be affordable exercise. Plus the farmer would also then have an on-site shop to sell his/her wares, thus reducing the rent he/she would charge you. If there were local home bakers who were prepared to man a counter to sell basic foodstuffs and you only serve tea / coffee / ready made sandwiches perhaps the Health Department requirements could also be met. The only major expense you may then have is that involving a restroom / porta potty LOL.

    Have you already sourced local artisans / farmers to supply you the stock on a consignment basis? Or a potter who could offer on site pottery lesson : gardener offering gardening/composting hints and tips ; bead worker who could offer jewellery classes ; solar oven enthusiast who could give solar cooking lessons / ideas, etc.

    And – if a barn is not an option a the moment, is there a farmer who would “rent” you a small bit of land (right) next to a driveway / road and you thus started with an open air market? Just to start off the project – again, if it’s successful you could then look for a barn as a permanent home for your dream…

  2. Dani has given a couple of really good ideas.

    How about courses, lifestyle courses, henkeeping courses or something along those lines. If you do not have a suitable building to run them from or even a large kichen you could always rent the nearest village hall for a day.

    We went on lots of these when we were first starting out, people go for the knowledge of the talker, the friendship of the attendees and just to get a feel for something they are thinking of trying out. You simply work out an agenda for the day, with breaks for morning tea, lunch and afternoon coffee and cakes. If you supply all the food and drinks you can charge quite a good fee for the day. And if you can get hold of things to sell you can have a stall set up with things on it that tie up with your talk.

    Some companies will provide samples and leaflets for you to give out, so you can advertise the course as coming with a free goody bag, people like that!

    Just an idea. Good luck.
    Sue xx

  3. This was in the local paper today, and I thought it fitting to pass on, refering to your “pipe dream”:

    “It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow” – Robert Goddard. (Early American Rocket Engineer)

    Start small, invest your time wisely, and don’t be scared to try what you think is impossible. The biggest failure after all is to never try.

  4. Follow your dream! Or at least, while you have some space, spend some time thinking about what it would take to make it a reality. You may not have to come up with the money yourself – there are grants and suchlike to support the kind of thing you’re talking about, e.g.

  5. I don’t have much of use to add, just wanted to say that things always tend to work out so try not to lose any sleep over it. People are finding opportunities in the most unexpected of places these days! Janie x

  6. Blast! Sorry to hear of your wokin’ troubles Lucy.

    I work self-employed which is kind of freelance and it’s always been a knife edge of uncertainty – for the past 12 years! Like you, the plot was for growing veg and saving money/being greener etc. (and the chooks I got – your fault haha).

    If there’s one thing I learnt though, it’s that anything and I mean anything is possible. If you want to go and fulfill your dream then it’s all do-able.

    That feeling of not thinking it’s possible right now or that there’s no money to start? That’s how everyone else who starts up a business feels at first believe me. It always seems to be just out of reach. But it really isn’t. Just push it a bit and maybe you’ll suprise yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ll be one your first customers.

  7. Hi Lucy; I found your blog/site after getting some ex-battery hens in September and totally relate to what you’re saying. I have a similar dream and am in the process of attempting to get my life in order to start to make it achievable! I think you just have to focus on each little part of it and then sooner or later (I hope) it’ll all reveal itself! I do the same list writing, planning and organising and such – I think it works a treat in helping to stay motivated (and I’m a massive nerd so I get a kick out of it as well!). Anyway, got my fingers crossed for you and hope things start to develop!!!


  8. That blows Lucy. I’m really sorry.

    Your vision may only be a dream, but then all successful endeavours were somebody’s dream once!

    If you do decide to find another part-time job, what about getting a foot in the door and learning the skills you might need for your dream at an artisan complex somwhere? Run that alongside the freelance copywriting and when you’re done with that job or when it comes to an end, go on to the next opportunity that gives you the skills you’ll need to fulfil your dream. Keep talking about your dream and posting on forums about it and one day things will start to happen.

    I was in your position about 18 months ago as a freelance copywriter, but I was fighting against a full-time job. I had a part-time temporary writing gig in an office and could see it coming to an end. I ended up applying for a full-time permanent position in the same company doing something I had done many years before but given up.

    So now I take a full-time wage and only my time outside the office is mine, but it gives me as much as it takes away. The regular money had allowed me to make some plans for the future and chunk down some savings, but at the same time because I don’t like being employed full-time it’s kickstarted my brain into coming up with plans for the future to get me out of it.

    The employment is my safety net for the moment while I test lots of different ideas to produce income that could sustain me and hubby so we don’t have to have jobs. For two hours in the morning, an hour at lunch and every evening I plot and plan and test.

    I get to try them all in relative safety and when several idea have taken off and led to good income streams I have the option in the future of leaving my job to pursue itor cutting down my hours.

    Could you do something similar?

  9. Hi Lucy, sorry to hear that you are feeling somewhat in limbo at present. It seems you have so many choices just now, but are finding it hard to know where to go. You are young and don’t seem to have to many ties at present, so why not follow your heart, although don’t leave your head out of the equation entirely. What would you really love to do? How much of what you really love to do is practical and would bring you an adequate income? Can you do anything to make your dream more realistic? Can you find ways to maximise your income? If you can’t do what you really dream to do just now, can you take a step or two in the right direction. For instance I’ve heard that market stalls can be fairly inexpensive, or you may be able to sell produce at a WI market. Have you looked at local markets to see what openings there might be for a herb or vegetable stall? Are you able to make ethical food in your kitchen if you think there is a market for it? Of course you’d almost certainly have to have your kitchen checked out for health and safety purposes first.

    Whatever you decide, good luck with it, and may it bring you joy.

  10. Btw Lucy, I’ve just given you an award. I hope you qualify, I know you have quite a few followers. You can collect it here

  11. Hi Lucy,

    I am so sorry to hear your news.
    This is such a bad time for so many people, however I am a believer that things happen for a reason.

    Several years ago I faced the same thing twice in 18 months and it’s not a nice place to be.

    You are a very resourceful and powerful woman (look at what you already do!) I love the fact that you are working on your dreams.
    Go for it the more passionate you are about it, the more you dream about succeeding the more opportunities will come your way to enable you to make those dreams a reality.

    Mr Henry Ford once said “whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t either way you’re right”!

    Can I suggest the book The compound effect by Darren Hardy. It’s all about the drip effect and how we have the power to be who we want to be and do what we want to do. Theres also a CD with it. I’d try the local library to save buying it.

    You have my email if you ever fancy a chat I’ll let you have my number. Love and light and huge big hugs. Hang in there girl!
    Liz x

  12. well that stinks… but perhaps if you dye your hair purple and rebel a little, it will be the start of something new? I know how you feel though… I’m desperate start a business that will generate a regular ‘mobile’ income that will allow me to be wherever I please and yet sit well with who I am… and I’m working on it. I’ll have to drop you an email sometime – maybe we can exchange ideas ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Hi Lucy

    Sorry to hear about this. I have just been made redundant, last week, in fact. It’s really difficult not to take it personally, isn’t it! I’ve been looking in the franchise… still unsure whether I want to do it – but could be an idea?