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What I wish i’d known before starting my candle business

What I wish I’d know before starting my candle business

jo Macfarlane candle maker scotland
Jo Macfarlane Candle maker

I never intended to start a candle business

I had been flying as a long haul air hostess for 16 years and left flying to have my son. I thought that I would go back flying after my maternity leave . When Archie was born, the thought of being anywhere near an aircraft filled me with dread. I started painting and exhibiting following the natural flow of what I had done since a child. The candle idea ignited (pardon the pun) when I decided to fill some empty candle containers one Christmas as I love recycling and always keep old candle containers. After purchasing some substandard supplies from a high street shop I realised that there was more to making candles than I had thought.

  1. I’m stronger than I think – I always make sure I talk positively to myself and my body. Negative self talk has been proven to physically affect your body. It has taken years of training myself, taking courses, reading books and listening to podcasts. If I had listened to the teachers at school who recommended that I not bother taking my exams as I wasn’t going to pass I’d perhaps be in a different place. I did end up studying after I left school and that was the start of my journey of lifelong study or ‘Kaizen’ as the Japanese term suggests.
  2. I wasn’t as bad at Maths as my teachers made out. I actually love numbers and in candle making you have to work with numbers all the time whether it is working out % of fragrance oils, or scaling up. To sit with a page of numbers and work out margins or a quote for a client comes easy to me.
  3. Change is good – I have learned to embrace change and welcome challenges and feel uncomfortable. I am almost addicted to stepping out my comfort zone, I have this inner voice that is a bit daring and says “go for it” and signs me up for things and after I think – how did that happen?? When you step out your comfort zone you expand and other opportunities come along.
  4. If you don’t respect your time no one else will – It is difficult in the beginning to know when to stop answering emails and calls especially if you work from home. Your instinct is to just hop on and reply. My rule is I don’t open an email if I don’t have the time to answer it. It might take a while to work out your flow.
  5. Hire out what you don’t have time to do – You can’t do everything. Despite my love for numbers I outsource my accounts
  6. The buck stops with you – If you make a mistake, apologise profusely and rectify the error as quickly as possible, honesty is the best policy. With my name being the business I take everything personally.
  7. Don’t say yes to everything – Stay on brand and true to yourself and don’t be pulled in directions you don’t want to go. The last thing you want to do when you work for yourself is to have a business you don’t want to get out of bed for. If work comes in that I think one of my attendees on Build a Candle Business Course is more suited to I will share it out on our Private Facebook group.
  8. Work harder on yourself than you do your job – This is a Jim Rohn quote I am also a fan of ‘You won’t drift to the top of a mountain’ When I heard this one I was driving and my son was about 8 and I asked him to write it down, it had such a significant impact on me. I am always reading, listening to audiobooks, learning languages and taking courses, I’m currently reading 100 books in a year challenge.
  9. Keep a ‘Ta Dah’ list – It is easy to get to the end of the day and think gosh what did I actually do today?. Keep a list of all your achievements however small, connections you made, calls etc and reflect back on them at the end of the day or week, they really mount up.
  10. Don’t compare yourself to others – No one ever feels good by comparing themselves to others, keep your head down, it is easy to become influenced by others and pulled off track and get stressed about how much someone else is achieving. Be yourself (everyone else is taken) I do teach that you build your house from the foundation and it takes a while, you don’t put the roof on to start. “Comparison is the thief of joy”

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