I love running a rural based business. Apart from the years I spent at university I’ve always lived in a village, so it’s what I’m used to, and it has some great advantages. For one thing it’s quiet – and for a business like mine background noise would be a real problem! For another thing I can be out in the fields in less than a minute from my front door, (which during the lockdown that was a real blessing). I’m able to walk my dog and hardly ever go on any roads.
Living in a backwater is generally cheaper than living in a city, as house prices tend to be less. When we first moved to Northern Lincolnshire it was one of the cheapest areas of the country to buy a house in, so we definitely got more for our money than we could have done elsewhere.
I think that it’s possibly easier to create good relationships with other business people in a rural area. We may be spread out, but it’s a smaller pool of people than there would be in a city, and the same people seem to turn up to all the business events so we get to know each other well. I’ve found it to be a very supportive community.
You might think that living in a village would mean that I have rubbish internet connection, but actually the opposite is true. My local council put a lot of money into broadband infrastructure in rural areas several years ago, and in fact we have faster internet than the local towns! These days I have fibre to the house thanks to local company Internetty which gives me super-fast broadband.
On the downside, it’s pretty much impossible to manage without a car, and it can take a long time to get anywhere – especially at harvest time when the roads are full of combine harvesters and tractors! For this reason the advent of online networking has been wonderful for my business. Instead of driving for ages to attend a meeting, I can be there at the touch of a button, and of course I can network around the country (or even the world), yet still be in my home office looking out onto the village church.
Being so remote from the capital does have an impact on the kind of work I get to do. The big advertising campaigns tend to be recorded in London studios. I can get to London of course, but I can’t get there very quickly, and that does put some clients off. If they needed me to pop back for a pick-up, it might be a day or two before I could get there.
One consequence of living in a rural location – and in addition, one that’s close to the sea – was brought home to me the other day. I recently won an award for my business, and as part of my prize I was given £1000 worth of online advertising. The advert would be shown to people in a certain radius from my business premises. A huge chunk of this circle would be in the sea, and rest has hardly anybody living in it!
On the whole though I would much rather be working in the countryside than in the city. I love visiting London, and experiencing the buzz of city life, but I wouldn’t swap my rural location. At the end of the working day when I close my studio door, I can be out in nature in seconds, and I know that’s something I would miss if I lived in an urban area.
Which do you prefer?