Running a small creative business in the countryside vs a city

We've been living close to Hawick in the Scottish Borders for about 6 months now and it's a massive change both for us as a family and in terms of running the business. Most notably, our commute is now a 2 minute walk up a farm track rather than a 20 minute drive through the busy streets of north manchester's rush hour. It's amazing how dark it can be on that short walk, when I'm heading home at 5 ish to eat dinner with the twins it has been completely pitch black (learnt the hard way to always take a torch!) and I hear Owls hooting, and in the autumn morning Stags roaring, rather than the traffic and rowing neighbours we were accustomed to in the city.

Metal workshop in Hawick

The most difficult thing about living in a rural area is that we don't have an electroplater just down the road. In Manchester we had a really close working relationship with an electroplater 20 minutes away in Oldham, which meant we could get work finished in a couple of weeks when it was needed. Now we have to ship our weathervanes and farm signs on a pallet to be electroplated, and then shipped back to us which easily adds a few days onto the process, plus the cost increase of doing it this way. Also the steel supplier only delivers to this area on a Monday, and while so far this has not caused us any issues, it just means we have to be a little more organised in knowing what stock is running low as we can no longer get a next day delivery.

Workshop in Manchester

One issue that was unforseen is that our bank, Paypal, and many websites including our own now require two step authentication to verify payments. Obviously it's great that online payments are being made more secure, but this change coincided with us moving to a farm with no phone signal, so when that useful 6 digit code gets texted to my mobile, I have to run 100m or so up a steep hill where the signal is intermittent rather than none existant, wait for said text to come through, and run back down the hill before the website times out! And when we do manage to get something ordered online, we have to be very wary of which courier is used, as certain companies (mentioning no names, Evri!) do not pay their drivers enough to make it worth their while driving 10 minutes out of Hawick to us, so we can be waiting weeks for a parcel that is sat there in a depot only a few miles away.

The things we love about being here are less tangible; on a clear night the stars are incredible, the relaxing sound of the stream as soon as I open the back door.. the view from my window being trees and green fields rather than tarmac and concrete, and listening to the sheep baaing rather than my drunk next door neighbours screaming at each other (again) through the walls of our terraced house make it just a far less stressful environment, and a wonderful place for our now 2 and a half year old twins to grow up and learn to appreciate the nature around us. Our wildlife camera picked up a badger in our garden last week, and we accidently disturbed a hibernating newt at the end of last year. The peace and quiet here is only briefly disturbed by some particularly loud male pheasants - growing up in Manchester I never knew they made such a bizarre shriek!

In conclusion, it is definitely more difficult and costly to run a small creative business in the countryside than the city, but out quality of life here is so much better that it's worth the increased costs, the waits for deliveries and the need to be more organised! Much as we were fond of our little red brick victorian workshop in north manchester, and in particular the community and friends we had on our industrial estate, at this point in our lives with a young family, we are so glad to be here in Roberton.