The Prince's Trust:
My doodling business The Doodologist is developing quite nicely and I am officially allowed to say that This business was initially helped by the Prince's Trust. They obviously have to be quite strict about how their good name is used and you can't use their logo, without paying a hefty sum. This is to protect the charity from unscrupulous people.
What is the Prince's Trust?
The Prince's Trust is a charity set up by the Prince of Wales (Charles) in 1976. It does a lot of great work with young people, covering many different aspects of life. I found out that I could receive help with my business idea, when I was making some general enquiries about business start ups. They have a program called the Enterprise Program, which helps you decide if self employment is for you and if your business idea is sound.
They do a thorough job of turning an idea into reality, well they make you do the hard work and hold your hand along the way. You have to prove that the business can make money, and that it has potential for growth. The type of businesses that they support have changed over the years and they have allowed small businesses like mine to sneak in.
Once I launched the website and facebook page, and starting getting commissions, that answered the BIG question of "Will it work?", as they had never seen a doodling business in their midst before and were concerned that the business wouldn't work.
They asked lots of valid questions, like:
- What do you sell? It may seem obvious to say 'doodles', but what type, what size etc.
- What do you do if someone doesn't like it?
- How long does it take you?
- How much and why?
- Are making enough money to sustain and improve what you currently have?
and you can't just give them half hearted answers, you have to really know your stuff.
Once I had satisfied all the criteria, from the 'Will it work' section, comprehensive business plan, Insurance to opening a business bank accounts, they then submit it all to a panel. The panel then look over it all and call you in for a meeting.
It is hard not to think of it as a 'Dragon's Den', even though they assure you it is not. I am not lying at all, when I say I was very nervous! Luckily they were absolutely lovely and although they ask difficult questions, I was well prepared to answer them all. They then send you out for a short while, whilst they deliberate and then call you back in with the verdict.
In my case the verdict was..... Positive! They seem to really like the idea of the business, although with some concerns. That means that I was also awarded a business mentor for two years! and some pocket money in the form of a grant. The mentor is a professional successful business person, that volunteers their time around once a month. They match you with someone that can help you, were you need it the most, in my case we are focusing on marketing and some other general stuff. With the grant you have to spend it strictly on the business, providing receipts/invoices for stuff that you need or have already purchased. If you are entering into this process *just* for the money, then I think you are missing out on tapping into some valuable knowledge.
So although I am not a royalist, I am very happy that his royal highness decided to set up this charity and I look forward to paying some of help back by donating my time, as and when it is needed.
If you have any more questions about the process, please do ask!
I am very thankful that people took a punt and commissioned me before the business was a fully formed being, it gave me the confidence that I needed. It is also gave the business people the proof they needed, to show that this was a viable business. I will always be excited about the next doodle project, but these first few ones are special to me. Here are the latest ones for you to look at, watch the slideshows to see how they were created.
Somerset Sally: This is a snapshot of the county Somerset for Mike Camp, who is an excellent quirky doodler himself.
Grandma Rocks: This was commissioned by the lovely Lisa Ceaser, who commissioned it for her stepmom. This was my first international commission, as it flew across the pond to America.
Joey's Dream: This is the lovely Joey commissioned by p3dro , who provided some awesome photographs of Joey, for me to work from.
What am I doodly doing now?
Working on some awesome new doodle commissions, which I will blog about as and when they are finished. I am also creating some new doodles for art and craft fair type events.I decided to venture into the world of Arty farty crafty fair type things, as I way of meeting clients/potential clients face to face and to sell some original art and limited edition prints. I thought it would be cool to meet new people and have a conversation in the real world and get some first hand experience of selling (scary stuff).
Please keep your eyes on The Doodologist facebook page and blog to see where I will be in the next few months.
Any questions? Leave a comment and I shall endeavour to answer.