Talk Archive: Tuesday 10th June 2014
My first online business went belly up because I didn’t know what I was doing.
It’s the best £16k I’ve ever lost.
Not to be outwitted by my own stupidity I set up www.myitchydog.co.uk a week after the first one folded with a £24.99 out of the box website. Four and a half years later I am now camped out at a permanent desk at Worthing Coworking, I’ve outsourced all my packing and dispatch, and phone answering to outside companies.
By the end of 2014 My Itchy Dog is on target to turn over £175k. That’s a lot of dog treats.
The talk will show how I built the business without spending a penny on advertising. And how you can do the same. How do you spread the retail message far and wide, and grow a customer base using all the free tools at your disposal? How do you spend what money you do have, wisely; good web design is probably the most important, and use your new ‘brand’ to make yourself look as big as you can to the browsing customer.
Once you’re established how to you scale up? Issues around cash-flow forecasting and growth can make or break a business very easily. How do you tiptoe through those tulips without damaging what you’ve already grown, and get bigger without losing sight of your core business and customer relations?
In 2012 I got a publishing deal to write a book called ‘Dog’ which is due for publication, here and in the US, in November this year. It’s nearly finished me off.
But I wouldn’t change any of it.
About the speaker
I started working for the BBC in 1997, in the small TV Licensing Unit working on research and policy (we won’t talk about that) before moving on to managing the News press office. The main highlight of that job was a phone call from a broadsheet editor asking ‘Can you confirm that the Queen is dead? We’ve heard she’s dead!’ Cue pandemonium.
I finally got my dream job as a BBC journalist and programme maker in 2000 and went on to work in documentaries and factual consumer programmes – Watchdog, Crimewatch and Rogue Traders (I was arrested for my own safety in Salt Lake City on one job) and science documentaries.
In 2006 I left the BBC, going freelance. I carried on making factual programmes for Channel 4 and Five while I ran my first online business. It went belly up. So I started again with My Itchy Dog in 2009, an online business for dogs with skin conditions. Yes, I really said that.
Thanks to everyone who came along, giving us a full house for Kate’s talk. Thanks to Will from Clik-Video who filmed and recorded the talk, Worthing Action for lending us their projector, and Paul Silver for editing the video.
Time & Venue
8pm – 10pm on Tuesday 10th June 2014
8 High Street