Running The Chatty Café Scheme has had a real positive impact on me. It has given me a creative outlet and allowed me to meet people I would never have met. I receive emails from people at various stages of life in a variety of circumstances and have spoken with both multi million pounds corporations and tiny community organisations and felt equally in awe of both.
Starting the scheme and trying to keep it going has been a hard but an extremely enjoyable journey and I have been reflecting on the positives which I wanted to share in the hope it will encourage other people with the seed of an idea to not just think about trying it, but have a go at doing it!
The two things you will need (in abundance) are motivation and perseverance. And a thick skin.
For me, a laptop has been the hands down most important bit of kit. My laptop, as battered and bruised as it is, paired with that motivation has got this thing off the ground.
I would argue you that if you have an idea, the dedication and a laptop then you can give something a really good go on very little money.
You can learn everything from the internet. On our first date, both my husband and I admitted we had both googled ‘things to talk about on a first date’ it obviously helped because four years later we are still together and happy (most of the time!).
I googled how to create a cheap website and having looked at the results decided to go with Wix which was cheap – I think about £100 for a year including the name of the website and other interweb bits you find you need when you become a self-taught web designer. From a laptop you can also create free social media sites and start telling people what you are all about.
Don’t get me wrong, you do have to put your hand in your pocket sometimes but again, try to do everything for as little as poss. You might find hidden talents you didn’t know you had.
There is a hell of a lot more to it going forward but I suppose I wanted to say that half the battle is spreading the word, building up interest and creating a buzz about what you are doing.
You will need a thick skin because there will be people along the way who won’t support you as you need them to. You will face criticism, be told to do things differently, have self doubt, days with zero motivation and times when you want nothing more than to watch teen mum episodes back to back but NO – YOU MUST TURN ON THAT LAPTOP.
But you know what, the highs outweigh the lows, the peaks override the trofs and how you measure your success is vital. If you measure your thing being a success because you are able to walk into Range Rover and order a customized car paying in cash then good luck. If you measure something a success because you have simply put an idea out there and are testing what works and what doesn’t, then you are my kind of person.
I don’t know where this journey will lead, but I can tell you that I am enjoying the ride and if you have even a tiny seedling of an idea that could do some good in this world then go forth and be bold!