Food Smoking Jo & The Christmas Cruise - Guest Blog
I think it is a privilege to live in Cumbria; I am passionate about the county, the landscape, the fantastic local produce that we have; about the innovative ways people find to start and build their businesses. I know how hard it is and yet how important it is to be able to run a business that allows you to have a life and a lifestyle and yet still generates enough money to keep the wolf from the door!
My family have lived in the Eden Valley since 1980 and I returned here 13 years ago. Since then I have been involved in running my own small food businesses and also working as a volunteer business mentor helping other businesses in the county. I left a well paid job in the public sector, left my pension, dropped my salary 85% and came to run a business I knew nothing about! But I was following a dream. A dream that was based on slowing down my life, on getting off the treadmill, on turning my back on commuting 3 hours and working 12 hours in a day, on shaking off the shackles of the commercial, materialistic world and getting back to my core values and aiming for a better work-life balance.
Having your own business, employing staff, being your own boss is great fun but with that comes a responsibility - in an environment where tourism is the primary industry it is important to be mindful of preserving what we have. We all have a responsibility to do what we can in order that we can share it with others both now and for future generations, It is important when we are looking out over the fells, lakes or mountains to remember that millions of people rarely see a natural horizon; all they see are buildings, rooftops, skyscrapers, cranes and a broken skyline.
Running a small rural business has its challenges, many aspects are more difficult than urban businesses - communication, transport, poor road network, distribution costs to name but a few. However being able to put something back, to be part of a community and to offer employment, to help and support other people with shared values and other local businesses with matching principles offers a reward that in my book far outweighs any high flying job, large salary, power or status.
I am very much looking forward to joining the Nurture Lakeland member's lunch on 17th December to share my Cumbrian experience and meet like-minded businesses. T