It has been a while my friends

So much has changed in our lives since I last sat down to write. Some is still too much to share, other stuff needs to be said. All in time.

So let’s get to it…..

Why did I stop?

Its almost two years since I started this little blog and we have some new members to my tribe (Hi guys, so glad you could join us) and some regulars who’ve been here a while too, thank you for sticking around. I guess it’s probably best to clear up some of the questions and let you know why I haven’t been here in so long.

I started this blog as a place for me to write about my small farm in SW Scotland and tell stories about our life here on the hill.

I also started writing with the hope of giving inspiration to those seeking a more natural lifestyle and those likeminded folk that strive to make their income from home - no matter where home may be for them.

In truth, when I started this blog, I was going through the biggest life crisis I’d known, there were so many things going on I didn’t know whether I was coming or going.  I wanted my story to help others going through tough times and in turn, my writing helped me move forward and heal.

Our life on the farm is full and varied, far from the slow and steady lifestyle most people imagine owning a smallholding to be, mainly because I have so many interests and I like to pursue them all!

But, over the past two years since I started this journey of blogging and social media things have changed for all of us.

At the beginning of this journey, I had just completed my first year as a bed and breakfast host, another diversification business I’d started, and I loved every second of it!  I had some big plans for the farm and my businesses for the following year however, covid put a stop to all of it and our future at the farm has been hanging by a thread ever since.

We muddled through 2020.  I turned my little blog in to a business that brought in much needed income for the farm after hemorrhaging so much at the start of the year when we all went into lockdown.  And although 2020 was a strange year for us all, I personally achieved so much.  I managed to diversify my business into something I could never have imagined, I set new targets in all areas of life and (with a lot of effort) I hit them all.

But behind all of that and my accomplishments, my real life was holding together by a shoestring. I was miserable in my existence and suffering from depression, which I often spoke freely about.

My battle to save the farm from being repossessed was tough but I was determined, and I kept going adding new strings to my bow as I went along.  All this enabled me to share my experiences with others, create content that was valuable and help people along the way.

By the end of summer almost 100% of my business was online and business was booming.  I felt more hope than I’ve ever felt and thought I’d come through the worst of it.  Plans to re-open my service businesses in 2021 were well under way and I was making improvements to the B&B, holiday let and developing new menu’s for the tearoom and supper club.

Then cracks started to show.

I’d only ever sold physical goods through Amazon using Amazon fulfill, which is where you send your products in to an Amazon warehouse, and they do all the rest – store your inventory, pack and ship orders and deal with customer service.  For a small fee, everything is taken care of.

However, I decided, because I now had a following and some connections with real life people (something you don’t have using Amazon FBA), I wanted to offer a more personal service and pack and ship customer orders myself from the farm. 

One of my biggest passions is serving people, if you’ve read my story, you’ll know I was brought up in and continued to work in the hospitality industry, serving people has always been a part of me and since I couldn’t physically welcome people to the farm, I wanted to try it another way.

Deep down I knew this was a mistake.  But I ignored that little voice that was warning me not to fix something that wasn’t broken, I buried the bad feeling I had about making this change to my business model and I went ahead and worked hard to serve the people that connected with me.

The whole process was wonderful. I’d stay up long into the cold winter nights developing new products, blending and packaging my beautiful handmade products and then, taking great pride and care packing and shipping them all over the world to the lovely people that bought from me.

I couldn’t have picked a worse time to make this change. Most of the parcels reached their destination but I was losing around 3% at that point.  Postage companies and couriers were swamped, completely overwhelmed with the volume of items being shipped and they were losing or damaging a lot of peoples purchases.

It wasn’t just happening to my business; this was happening across the board to everyone shipping anything! 

By Christmas the losses through refunds and sending out replacements had almost eaten up all my profits.  That was bad enough but what was worse – One or two people took to Facebook to tell the world they hadn’t received their purchase from me instead of contacting me to let me know so I could rectify the situation.

This was devastating.  Devastating to me and to my little business I’d worked so hard to build up after constantly being knocked down. I was lucky enough that one of the posts was brought to my attention and I had the opportunity to defend myself, but I am aware there are some I didn’t see.

I was in awe that people can be so vile at a time when the whole world is suffering, millions of people have lost everything through the covid debacle and those of us that are hanging on by a thread, trying our best to make the best of a very bad job just keep getting the boot.

But I am also more than aware, you can have a thousand happy customers, but it only takes that one negative experience and it’ll wipe out the thousand positive!  It’s human nature, most people focus on anything that’s negative.

There was nothing I could do, I had zero control over the shipping companies and zero control over any negative reviews and comments.  I just continued to do the best I could believing once Christmas had passed things would get better.

I decided the best thing to do was pull all physical products I was selling from my website, out of stock items weren’t replenished and I went back to focusing on Amazon FBA whilst planning the re-opening of the bed and breakfast.  I’d had lots of success over the previous few months but ultimately, after this mistake I felt like a complete failure.

Long story short all this chaos left me with PTSD which resulted in me having bouts of exhausting depression. You see I’m one of the strongest humans I know, I always bounce back. I am still also human, I too feel and hurt just like anyone else, I just don’t crumble easily, I keep it all in.  My subconscious took it to a new level though and paralysed me with fear.

Success hugs you in private.  Failure slaps you in public.  That’s life.

New year 2021 brought a whole host of new challenges.

Despite the chaos before Christmas, I entered the New year with positivity, hope and new plans.  I knew 2021 was going to be a tough year, I still had the finance on the farm to sort out among so many other things.  I was prepared for battle, but nothing could have prepared me for what was coming.

Over the past few years I’ve been through a lot and even I wonder how I’m still standing and sometimes I wonder why I’m still fighting but this year has just about beat them all… And me.

January saw a record amount of rain fall which brought huge problems on the farm.  My field drains collapsed completely resulting in mud and debris being washed down the hill on to the yard, the whole place was just one big mess!  It was beyond depressing trying to care for livestock under such circumstances, but I just kept thinking “This will pass, keep going”.

Of course, it did pass and by the beginning of March I had everything cleaned up and sorted out again ready for my anticipated opening at Easter.  Work in the house continued as I prayed we’d be able to open the B&B again, I could not afford to lose another years income from these businesses.

However, it wasn’t meant to be, and we had to remain closed.  This was absolutely devastating, this second year of closure meant I’d now completely lost well in excess of £200,000 at a time when debts were mounting, and I was clinging on to the farm by a very fine thread.

It seemed that nothing I was doing was working, I was trying everything I could think of to keep things afloat, but I was sinking.

I managed to get the finance through on the farm by May, but everything took so long, and time was running out, my creditors were chomping at the bit to make me bankrupt I felt completely powerless to do anything.

Then it happened.  I had a horrible health scare.

The wind was taken out of my sails, I was completely lost and confused, stress levels were through the roof, and the walls were closing in. I couldn’t continue with this journey. When I was writing earlier in the year before my break, it didn’t feel right, I came back and was just carrying on and not writing from the heart, it was just a series of random rants, unstructured and scatty and if you’ve been following me a while you’ll know that’s not how I roll I don’t mask anything and certainly don’t just go through the motions, nahhh it’s just not me and what’s life without a little spice?

So, apart from the odd recipe on my cook from scratch blog, I stopped writing.  I stopped posting on social media because I didn’t know what to say anymore.

The whole point of me starting this blog was to talk honestly about my journey as a one-woman farm, I can’t bear the falseness all over the internet, life isn’t perfect pictures of meadows on sunny days and I wanted this to be something different, real life the good and the bad.  

But this was different, this was a whole host of personal shit going on, everything in my life at that point was so negative, I hate negativity and no one really wants to hear about constant negativity.. we all have enough of that in our own lives!

After a while of silence, I began to question “Did I still want to do this”?  “What can I offer my readers and followers”? With any major life changes there’s a shift in personality too. Was I the same person? Was this really my passion? Is it tainted now?…. I had these to answer for myself.. and the answer to all of them is only if I take these questions or feelings to a negative place.

The truth is I’d lost my confidence.  I didn’t believe in myself anymore; I didn’t believe I had anything to offer that would help anyone.  I felt like a complete failure, I’d lost hope, had no faith and it just didn’t feel right to keep writing.

As my Yorkshire Grandma used to say..

If thas got nowt good ta se, se nowt at all!

 

What’s changed?

Well me, I’ve changed, and a lot too. I have put a lot of effort into loving myself again, this has been a massive obstacle for me. I’ve tried my best all year to be surrounded by the people and things I love.

Here I am six months later a lot of water passed under the bridge, I’m not quite ready to share all just yet but, I will in time. And even though I’m sitting here writing this with a God-awful head cold feeling like I’ve been knocked for six by events of the past six months and I have without doubt been weakened by it all, I’m not quite ready to give up and I’m pleased I held on.

Taking a step back was the best thing to do.  It’s given me chance to re-establish my physical products businesses and I’ll be sticking to the business model that I know works instead of causing myself a tonne more work but more importantly cutting out the stress and hassle.  Any physical products I have on my website from now on will be linked through to my Amazon shop, they can take care of any problems that arise!

What’s always been the same?

My incessant need to help people. Whether you believe in spiritualism or not, I have a strong vibration to help anyone suffering, lost or in need.

My blog has always been a free space to talk about the mental illness we suffer and the support network we give to one another.

I’ve learned so many lessons in life, personal growth and business over the past six months regained my confidence and got my direction back.  Now I hope with all of this new knowledge I can create and share and my blog can be what I started it for – helping others on their own journey.

Other Blog Posts You May Like

Find Out More About Me and Our Life On The Farm

Join One Of My Online Courses

Grab One Of My Planners (Undated - Start Anytime)

4 comments

  • Hope you do more blog posts I am trying to get back into the swing of mine, we try to live a self sustaining lifestyle on our little farm in Wales, I have a health issue that I am battling through at the moment, was told no farming but unfortunately the animals don’t understand that.
    Would love it if you popped over to have a look Being Self Sufficient In Wales.

    Dawn
  • I only just found you last month via Instagram so I am a newbie. I have had the pleasure of owning Scottie dogs and that is what connected me on the socials. Anyway, I find your story fascinating and inspiring. You have a strong spirit that takes the world by the tail. I am looking forward to hearing more about your life in the time to come. I would be interested in your remaining Scottie pup, but I live in the middle of the States and that would be quite a journey. Hang in there and have a joyful holiday.

    Catherine
  • Long journey worth taking and seeing daylight at the end. Honesty and transparency help so many but, from personal experience, I know there are always those few demented folks who can spoil life for others so, best you can, ignore them. You’ll never know how many people you’ve helped, nor how many tuck you in prayer for safety, discernment, wisdom, strength. Keep moving forward; God speed.

    Sandra
  • Thank you for your honesty and sharing your experiences. You may not know it but you’ve been a massive inspiration abs while you’ve drawn back on your blogs and engaging what you’ve provided has touched me on a personal level . So thank you and best wishes for 2023

    Fiona b

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published