One day last week I was in the bank. I chatted to the cashier and we got talking about what I did. I mentioned how I was managing to break even on and off and she seemed quite impressed. On average it takes five years for a new business to turn a profit. If, at nearly two years, I am beginning to break even, this apparently represents a major feat.
It doesn’t feel like a success at the moment though. Three more years like this could be more than I can stand. Every month I start to make a profit something comes along to screw it up. Your fledging business is like an ever hungry child. And this is why you can never have enough disposable cash in the bank for a rainy day.
If it’s not business cards, or car maintenance, it’s stock purchases or clothing labels for my brand and business insurance for my clients.
And through all this I am essentially working a zero hours contract. You’re never quite sure where the next client is going to come from or how much you will earn each month. Top up funds are essential if you have noone else to fall back on in bad months.
Finding regular stockists for the designs I make is high on my to do list but alterations work and private commissions need to be continually addressed in order to keep up a continual turn over of work. As does the ever present brand maintenance.
Even when you are designing and making, marketing, advertising and finances need to be dealt with, predictions made, and new clients found and booked in. These are the hours you do for nothing, and the ones that will probably take up most of your time. It can take you well into the evening, every evening.
Self employment might be the answer to finding work, but it’s not an easy answer and it requires far more dedication than any other job I’ve known. The rewards are far more satisfying than any 9-5 I’ve ever had but you have to work at least twice as hard to earn your success.