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Working for myself.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:00 am
by SarahJane
I have been toying with the idea of selling my homemade chutneys, pickles and relishes. The idea was first mentioned by friends and family who I provide the stuff to, they have said how tasty it is and that I should sell it.
I would like to do this(to begin with) along side my regular 9 to 5 job, in the hope that at a later stage I could do it full time.
I have already been told by a friend who raves over my beetroot chutney, that there is a possibility of me providing it to a local deli, but I am also thinking of setting up a website and selling it online, giving me the freedom to move to a different area if I want in the future and not be restricted to staying in one place.
The thing is, I dont really know where to start! I have found a supplier for the jars etc and I know which chutneys and relishes would be good sellers through feedback I have had already. I wouldnt want to offer too much choice to soon and find myself struggling to cope. But I dont know the first thing about getting a website up and running and have never run my own buisness.
I was hoping that maybe one or more of you has done something similar and can advise me. i would be very grateful for any tips or advise.
Love SJ. :flower:

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:15 am
by gigglybug
I have'nt done anything like this before, but maybe you could get a stall at a local farmers market?

Good luck!!! :flower:

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:39 am
by hamster
Or approach farm shops etc who might be interested in stocking local jam etc. This might work better alongside a 9-5 job for the beginning tho you might not make as much profit.

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:26 pm
by Silver Ether
I am glad this topic has come up ... I use my jams, chutneys etc to barter with and it works well. But I wondered if there were rules about selling foods that are made at home ... I know the WI do it... so are there any health and safty rules ... and no thats not a typo cuss most of it is saft... :tongue:

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 2:02 pm
by hamster
I don't anything specific about H&S regs, but when I worked in a farm shop we used to have lots of jams, cakes, puddings that were home-made in farmhouse kitchens and the like, so I dont think there can be anything too horrendous involved. I'd imagine a basic food hygiene certificate might be useful (I think courses are quite inexpensive and not very time-consuming), and possibly some form of third party insurance, but I think it depends to some extent on the scale you're doing it on. For WI markets etc, it's such a small scale that they waive a lot of the regs - you need a food hygiene cert, but because you're doing it on a 'casual and limited' basis you don't need to register with the local authority. ... r-c17.html Ooh, they actually cover you for insurance as well if you're a shareholder (which costs 5p!!).

If you're doing it on a larger scale, you'd probably have to register your kitchen and at some point I think you're supposed to have a separate kitchen, and/or things like separate sinks for washing up and preparing veggies etc. But don't take my word for it, as I was only a lowly shop girl and not involved in producing.

Hmmmm, you've got me thinking now...

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:06 pm
by Annpan
I looked into it recently and thought it was fine as long as you declare - home made on your produce.

I bought in jars and have made up huge batches... then I found a food and hygiene website saying that you needed an inspection from environmental health, I found other advise about needing 3 sinks (one for dishes, one for food, one for hands) No animals or children in a kitchen... Looked like a minefield :( of course, I have already invested £70+ in huge quantities of jars, I haven't tried to sell any of my stuff yet, cause I was scared I'd be doing something illegal. But surely there are loads of people running catering businesses out of home kitchens??? surely?

I haven't looked at your link yet hamster, but thanks for that :mrgreen:

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:12 pm
by Silver Ether
Well I got the food hygiene cert ... it one of the things childminders have to do :flower:

but it does sound scary ... with all them rules ...

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:11 pm
by Thomzo
I would definitely get insurance. If you accidentally made someone ill and they sued it could bankrupt you.

Otherwise, don't forget you will need to register for tax if you are self employed. Sometime HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) hold workshops for the self employed. Many small local firms of accountants will give an hour's free initial consultation to prospective clients. It's worth going along just to find out what you need to do.

Someone I know wanted to start her own cake baking business and she was told she had to have a separate kitchen so it's worth investigating.

Good luck with it

p.s. Could you try putting a deposit on the jars so that you get them back and then you can re-use them. Much cheaper than buying new ones all the time.


Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:51 pm
by Milims
Contact your local environmental health office and speak to the Food Hygiene Officer. They will be able to advise on al the ins and outs. I have a feeling that the reason the WI get away with making and selling jam is that because of the high temperatures involved in production the rules are slightly less stringent. You'll probably be told to keep records of temperatures, dates of production etc so that should the worst happen you will have a "defence of due diligence". They will probably be able to offer some advice about the necessity for insurance.
Good luck!

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 8:02 am
by Andy Hamilton
Tax returns although they look massive and can be confusing are not as difficult as you first think. I would never let that put you off. I took about 2 days to fill mine in, this was including cleaning the house instead of sitting down and doing it. As long as you have receipts for EVERYTHING and you find a tax calculator you are fine. In fact they do run courses and my tax adviser keeps writing to me to see if I need any help! I would not waste and cash on an accountant.

I would go for it if I were you! Let us know if you want us to run a free ad for you for a month or so just to get you kick started :andy:

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:07 am
by Jobi1canobi
Hi SarahJane,

Hope I'm not breaking any forum rules here (with this being my employer and all) but as you've asked...

Can I point you in the direction of some government funded support? ... 140&r.s=tl

There are a number of online tools here that will help you through the maze of things you need to consider when setting up a business. Once you've had a look through this and decided that it's for you, you can also gain access to support from an adviser/mentor that will talk to you on a one to one basis (if you want it). The Business Link for the East Midlands also has a number of workshops available where you can meet other likeminded people and compare note os progress if you wish! ... 104&r.s=sc

The support is free of charge. I'm assuming your in Derbyshire/East Midlands? If so, pm me and I can assist you further if you require it.

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:13 pm
by EvieG2017
Hi Sarah,

Amazing business idea, I myself have a degree in ceramics and would love to eventually make use of this and set up my own business. I think food businesses are always a great idea and whilst it may seem daunting, the fact that you already have such positive feedback on your product must mean it's sellable!

I would recommend using Weebly or WordPress to build a site, you can buy a domain name for your business through these sites which is relatively easy to do. These type of website builder sites already have everything pre-designed and are super simple to use- Really! I think you'll be able to easily upload your products/info and buying options. I'd also suggest getting in touch with local businesses and expanding from there who may be interested in stocking your products. You can contact food retailers, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops etc. The possibilities really are endless. Once you have that all set up and have businesses stocking your products you'll be able to target larger retailers if things pick up well.

This should be relatively easy to do alongside a 9-5 job, make sure you have someone to help you out with calculating all your finances, this website is handy: for those wishing to work for themselves.

Wishing you the best of luck, hopefully I'll be setting up my own business in the new year too :icon_smile:

Re: Working for myself.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:59 pm
by Weedo
Hi Sarah
We have different rules and regs here in Oz so I won't go into these. However, I have a couple of friends who have gone down this path successfully and developed quite successful small businesses; starting with stall sales initially. They both love their businesses and take great proide in their products. One now sells exclusive lines into high end restaurants and has a sound brand following.

For the future, they tell me to watch out for commercial customers (retailers, restaurants, supermarkets etc. ) as their buying systems are designed to maximise profits while minimising costs - what they pay you. Read everything carefully, clearly set prices and payment conditions and watch when it gets to re-negotiating contracts as they will try to push you into lower prices.
Also research the costs to you as the business grows - large orders mean large outlays for bottles, ingredients, labour etc - putting product on shelves will mean other costs such as paying for barcoding, advertising (those supermarket brochures are paid for by their suppliers) and shelf space.

Go for it and enjoy