After 20 years of living in London, Faye and her husband were ready for a change. They fell in love with five wonderful cottages nestled in the woods in Cornwall. After 15 months of renovation and learning curves, they are now able to rent them out as bed and breakfast cottages with plans to expand into being able to host yoga retreats, survival camps, and more! The story below shares how Faye did it…
Faye Edwardes // Tresarran Cottages Cornwall // Travel/Holidays/Nature // UK // 40s
What motivated & inspired you to start your business?
I love beautiful places. Having spent 20 wonderful years living and loving London, I suddenly had an overwhelming desire to be surrounded by nature and beauty. My husband and I whisked our two young children to live in the woods in Cornwall. Our life is now about peace, tranquillity and fun!
What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?
We just went for it. The second we saw the place, we knew it had the potential to be something amazing – and we really wanted to be the ones to do it! Once we had secured the financing, we moved quickly, and never looked back. Phase one was clear – serious renovation work on the cottages so we could get them up to a standard where they could be rented out – then they would start bringing money in which would fund phase 2. We are now coming towards the end of Phase 3 and we will stop there to take stock (and to enable us to build up more funds). Our plans have been both solid and fluid! We have been flexible when we needed to be. I never stop working – and I know that will be the case for a while, but as long as we get to live in this amazing place, I’m happy with that.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
In this industry, there are a number of established portals. In our first year, Owners Direct was absolutely amazing, and meant that we had a full summer in Year 1 – completely fantastic! We also use Airbnb, Trip Advisor rentals, and our own website which we had built by a local company. I do think that social media is relevant. I love Facebook and it works well for us for both having a business page, and for networking. I also want to connect with other business owners to develop my ideas for the future – yoga retreats, writing retreats, survival camps etc. This really is an area that I know nothing about, so have to set aside some time in the future to research this properly.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
There are challenges every day. I look at our business now and the next challenge is making sure we have guests next month. I do feel that my marketing needs help – it’s not very focused at the moment. I can spend a lot of time on social media, and it is difficult to know how much business that generates, or will ever generate. Does that mean I’m wasting my time? Also, plenty of financial struggles!
Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?
I don’t use my phone in the mornings. There is so much on my phone from email, to booking applications (x3), to Facebook, etc. that I have realised I cannot pick it up in the morning until after the school run. I have two children, a husband and a dog who need me at that time. And I need to focus on them! Action list. I have at least one a day, and another per week.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Keep going. Work, work, work. Get excited. Think crazy thoughts – and follow them through. Life is here to be lived!
When I face a big challenge, I…
work damn hard – get my head down and get on with it.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done as an entrepreneur is…
take this leap.
If I could go back in time to when I started my business I would tell myself…
that it would all work out fine in the end.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…
that we all still have so much to learn that we can benefit from.
My favourite business tool/resource/book/podcast is…
Woman’s Hour. Not necessarily business-related but I find it very grounding.
My favourite quote is…
“If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”