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  • Elisabeth Fairbairn

Baby steps in a new business - Unexpected challenges

Updated: Jan 11

Branching out setting up my own healthcare business was probably one of the bravest things I’ve done. To many people it won’t seem that big a thing. Many many people do it every day. I, however, have always been a ‘play it safe’ sort of person. Over cautious, planner and list maker extraordinaire - always having solid plans and back up plans for ensuring financial and life security.


Sometimes in life though - you can’t ignore the big flashing signs of the universe that seem to tell you “hey you can do something really positive here, worthwhile and what you want”. So ‘Cotton’ was born...as an idea anyway! A healthcare business focusing on improving lives - a staffing agency to provide excellent healthcare staff who are happy and well trained and with good life balance; an education team to educate the public and healthcare professionals alike. And a wellbeing family side - to be the centre of it all, to be a hub of information and services ...with staff who are empowered to do what they are passionate about ...all coming together as one big happy community.


Now I knew there were going to be learning curves. My background is a nurse. I am not someone who can easily sell myself - this is a skill to be learned. And I’ve not dealt with business finances, HMRC, VAT, PAYE and various other acronyms and business concepts all designed to make me feel a little queasy. But as I said - I’m a planner...and with that comes a large research gene too. And with Google at my fingertips - everything could be learned ...or so I thought. But some of the best things - turns out they are pure experience only. And they will no doubt be what I remember when I’m old and grey and watching the trees sway gently in the wind.


That’s what I wanted this first blog from me to be about - not setting up a business, the finances, the challenges and so on that millions of blogs and books tackle. But the personal side. Cotton Family is about the personal - not the corporate.

One of my favourite challenges came just 3 days before our first baby massage course was due to start. The room was mostly ready and I was all set for a morning of finishing touches..assisted by my very enthusiastic 7 year old. I’d misordered something online (as I often do…..in fact when grocery shopping online first took hold I made so many errors each week it was then dubbed ‘doing a Libby’.....and whilst the 4 x 1kg bags of potatoes instead of 4 potatoes was tricky to get through, the miniature itty bitty glass ketchup bottle was exceedingly endearing!) So I had expected a lovely looking pyramid style bean bag to arrive but had instead been sent the inner and outer linings, flat in an envelope. With no time to send them back and order the correct item I decided how hard could this be?

Out Ally and I popped and bought a large bag of bean bag balls. Now here is the first thing I learned. If there is a second clip of sorts lower down on the bag - that means it has already split once and been patched up...and maybe it’s not the best choice. However, as you can guess I learned this in hindsight.


Home we went - and as we are about to snip the top into a small opening...the second clip undoes, a rip appears and the fun begins. With a large rip I felt it just wasn’t possible to try and angle the hole into the liner. So we started with jugs. I’m not a physics geek - love Big Bang Theory but couldn’t verify their musings! I can’t tell you WHY the little balls ‘stick’ to the plastic...I can just tell you they do. For every jug you dip in and tip in to the liner - hundreds remain stuck and may let go between containers and float off to the realms of your floor ...or wall...or radiator...or anywhere really. So we tried tipping. It may have been the over excited 7 year old with fidgety hands - or the over excited spatially useless Mummy - but it was very soon declared a total catastrophe but gosh wasn’t it pretty.

The Bean Explosion

I’d say at this point ‘long story short’ but think I have surpassed that option 3 paragraphs ago! Some things just won’t go as you think or as you planned. Doesn’t mean they won’t be wildly entertaining or informative. (For example - I also learned their electromagnetic static or whatever it is means when you brush them towards the dustpan and then lift the brush back to sweep again - half will float in the air and follow the brush back and slide yet further away from where they started.) But as we played snow angels before battling on to fill that liner then spending inordinate amounts of time sweeping and hoovering (and yes, like christmas tree pine needles we are still finding them eons later!) I realised what a better way to officially start the Cotton Family journey. Unexpected joy, harmless fun, lots of giggles and an idea of what to write in my first blog to say hi.


People tell me business is harsh and cold and be realistic. Cotton Family is going to show them that warmth and togetherness and family can beat all that hands down and be successful doing it. We got our bean bag sorted, had fun, made memories ...and the first class went without a hitch with a (slightly ironically over filled) bean bag just waiting in the corner for someone to need it. I hope you’ll follow us on our journey and be part of our community.



The bean bag theory

And please if you have tried filling your own bean bags - share your fun photos or hints and tips here! You never know when someone else may need to attempt it next!

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About Us

We provide health and wellbeing services to the local community, from baby massage to life coaching.

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The Cotton Family Hub trading as Cotton Nursing Solutions Ltd 

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Cotton Family Hub | 37 Barley Way, Kingsnorth, Ashford, Kent, TN23 3JA | 07872179689

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