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March Meet the Maker 2022

 

 

March Meet The Maker ; Day 15
Time

We all have the same 24 hours in the day. But I'm convinced some folk know how to magic up 40 hours in their days hahaha

Time management is SO important. I use a diary to maximise my time, to ensure that each day runs smoothly and productively. Whilst you see the end result of my days, the actual folded pieces that generally take 4-6 hours (sometimes much more), for me to fold, as much, of not more, time is spent doing 'everything else'.

Answering emails & messages
Processing order paperwork
Packing orders & organising postage/couriers

Sourcing books
Collecting books
Taking delivery of books
Prepping books for use (includes quarantining them, then cleaning them, and putting them away, before counting their pages, sometimes reinforcing their spines, and deciding which designs they're likely to be most suited to)
Design time – most books take me three trial runs before a final design is quite ready to use

Folding time, speaks for itself
Packaging sourcing, buying, receiving and storing. Sounds like a simple task, but it really isn't. Trying to buy the same boxes twice in a row is bizarrely difficult, and usually ends up with me pouring over previous suppliers for a couple of hours, to see if anyone is re-stocking the actual supplies I prefer. And then when stuff arrives, it seems to take a stupid amount of time to store things away in my stationery cupboard, or put extras in to the loft. Again, something you'd think would take a few minutes, can easily eat up a whole day, between ordering and arranging.

Keeping the office tidy & productive. There's only ever about 13 seconds between me having the office perfect, to it looking like something's exploded in it.
Doing things like this – updating NoBooksWereHarmed.co.uk and socials is important, but demands a chunk of time. Time that often just isn't there, especially at the busiest times of year (from about Oct-April). So they either get put off for way too long, or I end up doing lots of stuff on my phone, in bed, when I've finally finished for the night – often around 1am!

 

I could go on and on and on, cos I love reading this kind of thing from other small businesses. Often a disproportionate amount of our time is spend not creating the things you actually see, but in the real gritty cogs of running a business. Of equal importance, but definitely less instagrammable hahaha

I seem to be naturally very good at using my time wisely and productively, and I think part of that is from a conversation I had during a job interview, maybe about 25 years ago. It's so important to live and learn the difference between important and urgent. Lots of tasks are of equal importance, they all NEED done, but only URGENT ones have to be done right this second.

But if anyone could let me know how to squeeze a few extra hours in to each day, lemme know!

 

March Meet The Maker : Day 14
The Numbers

Ooooh, so many possibilities for today's prompt!

Lots of numbers – most of my hand folded book sculptures are created by me making upwards of 500 creases within the pages of reclaimed hardbacks, measured to an accuracy of 0.5mm. That's a lot of numbers in itself! I'm also my own (accounts) book keeper, so a lot of time is spent on less fun, but very important record keeping numbers. Understanding your true profit is the only way any business will enjoy longevity. And the last couple of years has really highlighted that a huge number of small business owners don't really know the difference between turnover and profit. Or profit and loss, for that matter!

But back to the numbers that I most enjoy – some of your very favourite NoBooksWereHarmed.co.uk designs!

March Meet The Maker : Day 12 & 13

FREE

Looks like each Saturday & Sunday don't have any prompts for this years #MarchMeetTheMaker, and, y'know what, without a prompt, my mind is blank!  Saturday I spent catching up with webmin and today I'm cracking on with all your Mother's Day orders - I offer lots of Mum/Mam/Mom designs, but this one is by FAR your favourite this year.  I'm currently about 2 days ahead of my diary, so there IS still time to order in time for UK Mother's Day, which is two weeks today!

 

 

March Meet The Maker : Day 11
Seasonal

It's almost, kinda, spring, so here's some flowers!

 

 

March Meet The Maker : Day 10
Storage

With upwards of 4500 reclaimed books at No Books HQ (which runs from the 'spare room' of my 2 bed house!), storage is most certainly a huge aspect. Thank goodness it's a 1970's ex-council house, so has TONS of built in storage to store boxes, packaging, event kit etc, but mostly I'm lucky to have the most beautiful 'stock' in the world ♥



To see more 'shelfies' of No Books HQ, check out THIS previous No Books Blog post!

 

March Meet The Maker : Day 9

Hands at work

 

March Meet The Maker : Day 8
Best Decision

Easy. The hardest decision I've made in my entire life, was to leave my steady, safe job in the family business, and throw myself heart & soul in to No Books. On paper, it was THE single most irresponsible, nonsensical thing that I've ever done in my life (and I've done a LOT of stupid shit!). This was, hands down, the single best decision I've ever made.

 

 

March Meet The Maker : Day 7
Favourite

Like any good band, whose favourite gig is always the most recent, I fall in love with every book I fold. But, overall, my preference is for tissue thin pages (such as bibles and Encyclopedias) and my favourite designs are those that boggle the mind...
  

 

 

March Meet The Maker
Day 6 : Free

No prompt for today, so just a wee thought for the day. Nothing in this world is ever 'free', someone always pays.

 

 

March meet The Maker : Day 5
Free - No Prompt

The day NoBooksOnTour.com popped up in a shopping centre, opposite a makeup counter. I asked the lady for a true red lipstick...

March Meet The Maker : Day 4
3 Things

Very ambiguous prompt today. So let's go
1) Books
2) Tea
3) True Crime! Haha

 

 

March Meet The Maker : Day 3
Planning

I live by my diary. If it's not written down, it's not happening. I used to have an amazing memory, but since NoBooksWereHarmed.co.uk came in to being, I can barely remember 48 hours previous/coming!

I'm a pen and paper gal. Not just pen and paper. Multiple notebooks and colour coded pens! You can see more about my planning/organising HERE.

Prior to the 'rona, NoBooksOnTour showcased all around Scotland and the north of England, roughly 100 times a year. The logistics of that is immeasurable. There's only one of me, so I needed to know exactly where I would be and what I would be doing, at any given day and hours, MONTHS in advance. Many, many hours spent booking hotels and planning travel time, working out times I'd be home (not easy when I was often many hundreds of miles from HQ, and then allocating folding slots to every day in between. Maximising folding time whilst trying to allow for overruns of driving hours etc etc. Not easy.

With no NoBooksOnTour pop ups on the horizon, that chunk of logistics is gone, which, I can tell you, if amazingly liberating! But I still plan around 4 weeks in advance, so I can offer as quick turnarounds as possible, but now I'm being a bit kinder to myself, and inking in early finishes and gym time, which is something I've not done since the inception of my business baby. The baby turns 8 this year, and can allow Mama a wee bit of me-time now...as long as I plan carefully!

Yeah, definitely a planner!
~ Jo

 

 

March Meet The Maker : Day 2
Brand Values

Today's prompt was a funny one.  I read it and thought "bloody hell, I dunno", but then the answers started flowing.  I don't know what corporate Brand Values would be defined as, but I think mine are actually pretty simple, and as the absolute foundation of everything I do. 

1) Customer Connections.  
My customers are everything to me.  Never just about a sale.  Whether you've met NoBooksOnTour at events, or picked up a book from a stockist, or ordered direct on here nobookswereharmed.co.uk, I might have been a blink in the night to you, but you have become a part of me.  Not stalkerish at all :P 

2) Authenticity.
I am me.  Whilst I take my business EXTREMELY seriously, I also love to enjoy a laugh with my customers.  I type as I talk, and treat everyone the same.  I'm chatty, I'm rambly, and, you know what, I can also be sweary!  I can write scarily official emails, but I rarely do.  Doesn't matter what we do in life, we're all dealing with real people.  I hate being spoken to as if I'm a computer or robot, and doesn't even cross my mind to use that sterile approach with anyone! 

3) RRR
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The pillars of NoBooksWereHarmed.co.uk
I work with reclaimed hardbacks, and have kept many tons of books out of landfill. By handfolding their pages to transform them into unique book sculptures, I Recycle them ready for a new life.  I Reduce buying unnecessary 'stuff', in life and business, as I Reuse as much as I can.  

I think that'll do for today's March Meet The Maker prompt!  
~ Jo

 

 March Meet The Maker : Day 1
You & Your Work

It's that time again!  

The fabulous Joanne Hawker has released this year's maker's challenge, with a prompt for each day of March, to help customers get to know creators ♥  

This year, instead of getting lost on Facebook and Insta, I'm going to try and keep up (!) via NoBooksBlog posts.  Wish me luck! 

1) You & your work
I'm going to cheat.  On day 1 :P 

You can learn more about me & my work on my About Me page.
And for random info, a recent NoBooksBlog post here

I'll try and come up with more exciting content as the month goes on! haha

~ Jo


2 comments

  • Hi Hazel

    Unfortunately I’m not able to reply to you directly – if you happen to see this, please drop me a wee email on info@nobookswerreharmed.co.uk and I’ll be delighted to take the books off your hands, thank you ♥

    Jo from NoBooksWereHarmed.co.uk
  • We tried to give you some books a couple of years ago!!! Didn’t work out but we still have a load of hardbacks if you are interested. We are in Maryculter but could deliver.

    Hazel Irvine-Fortescue

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