I was in a meeting about how to start a business yesterday evening, I wasn’t there for anything other than the contacts of the people there, and to push forward with an idea we had been toying with previously.
During the meeting I had my eyes opened a little. There was a woman, Clare , who was there to facilitate that evening. She was there to answer any of our million burning questions, of which, I asked none. I did listen though. Sometimes that is more important.
Sometimes she didn’t have all the answers, and that would be the case with any expert.
One lady makes cakes in a communal kitchen for residents and meetings (similar to the one I was in). She wants to move forward and have a small business. She will be paying a small amount of tax from her pension when she starts making more money and will need a kitchen inspection. No problems. She said I was worried about that, I am on my own I don’t know if the cakes will offset it every month. It’s a bit risky.
One lady lives with long term illness, she cannot from one month to another always have the same amount coming in. It would be a risk for her to move forward with the business. But this lady is fierce and has a clear idea of what she wants and will be moving forward. Her illness won’t stop her doing as much as she can. Much respect.
The one who most struck a cord with me though, was the lady with children. We are just like that, more similar. She had taken a course for HRMC, Business Planning, Bookkeeping, Marketing and more. Again, more similar. She sits at home, making her sale-able items with all her ‘spare’ time. She technically works full time, but doesn’t have a pay to reflect that. She doesn’t claim benefits. Her partner was on job seekers allowance, during that time she went to see the DWP about the new business enterprise allowance and was told as she had not been claiming the benefit of job seekers previously she was not entitled to it, or anything else on their system.
That is strange – said Clare. Have you tried HMRC? For things like WTC?
Yes. Yes I have. I’m not entitled to WTC, I only barely get CTC. This is understand, we are the same so far.
So this lady, works full time hours, without a guaranteed income, without benefits like NBEA because she didn’t claim JSA before and without others because they aren’t entitled for whatever reason. She makes, by hand, like many of you do, lovely items and even though she is seen as a working member of the community, even though between them pay their dues, even though this country claims to be supporting people who want to start a business and even when she follows each and every guideline given she still gets nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Fuck. All.
I just find it infuriating that (majority dictates) women are at home, working, raising children, keeping the house clean and tidy – not that I assume it’s spotless or anything there – and unless you earn a decent crust from your own work, unless you have a steady income, you might be, much like many of the women in that room yesterday, in a strange limbo position. They have, for the most part, been working for a long time on their projects and just want a little help that doesn’t required them to jump through hoops of fire to get it.
Something was said later that I shant forget in a while.
They tell you in school you can be anything, they tell you to work hard, get good grades, follow the law, raise a family and support yourselves. I want one thing for myself but I’m too trapped to get it.
It might just be me, it might just be because I see myself in that, it is possible that I have seen bloggers swapping from full time work into blogging because of millions of reasons and struggling to pick up work each month, it might be because I’m emotional right now.
It might be because it feels like an injustice that as a person she feels she has no control, and is trapped by simply trying to earn a wage herself.
But at the end of the session, every woman in there left with determination and plans.
And that was inspiring.