You’ll have noticed that most of my posts of late have been about the bones of running a business rather than the actual fashion side of life. If you want to see things being made, styled, days in the studio etc, my Instagram is the best place to find that. My work is visual and no number of words will convey the work I do. So head on over for the pretty pictures.
Here on my blog, I think it is important to catalogue the behind the scenes of running a business because this really interests me. It should interest you too. I hope it is useful for other small business owners in a similar position to me or for those contemplating the big leap from employment or education to self employment. This is a chance to get clarity and, particularly when you’re working alone, touch base with other people and get some perspective on how things are going.
Social media is a shielded view of how you are doing, it never shows the struggle to stay in business or how you fill the gap when earnings are down. This blog however, wants to tell it like it is. This is the nitty gritty of money, statistics and balancing your home and professional life. You can have all the ideas for making product, but if you can’t manage your money or plan going forward, you are in for a rough ride.
It’s the end of the tax year so I thought I would do an honest breakdown of the situation I am currently in. I don’t think I have done this before and certainly not in this much detail. I am always talking about being frugal, being careful with money, shopping around, following the make do and mend ethos both professionally and personally etc etc. These ideals aren’t just for show. This is my life. This is the damage limitation I have built up around myself to ensure I can stay in business even if it is a fine line between profit and breaking even. At the very least I am surviving and enjoying my work. This is in itself an accomplishment many people will never realise during their employed years. My profits may be small, but I am the happiest I have ever been in work and that has a knock on effect on how I manage the rest of my life too.
So here’s a simple breakdown. I have no idea how this measures up to anyone else’s situation. No idea at all. And it would be nice to get some feedback from anyone who is willing to divulge similar information here or privately. I don’t know if I’m doing this right. All I know is that I am approaching my sixth year in business and I’m still here.
I’ve broken everything up into categories:
Household bills – Rent and utility bills only: £4200.00
Bank account fees – £60.00
Mobile phone – I charge half to business (126.27) and half to personal. My package now includes 30GB of internet data a month as I don’t have internet at work. This year’s phone bill has been erratic due to increases from the provider, holidays before roaming became free etc: £252.54
Car Insurance – £336.32
Car service/MOT plan – £225.96
Petrol – £1250.44 of which £538.00 this year will be claimed as business mileage on expenses
Spending over and above what’s here. This includes food and other supermarket purchases, dental costs, eating out, holidays, personal purchases, basically anything not listed above – £3588.07
Total personal spend: £10039.60
Studio rent – £3180.00
Studio power – £233.41
Business Insurance – £320.68
Half mobile phone: 126.27
Fees (Etsy, Paypal etc) – £70.42
Office costs including stationary, postage, technology repairs etc – £190.90
Website/domain – £126.95
Travel costs over and above car – £21.40
Goods bought ie materials, haberdashery etc – £446.95
Total business spend: £4716.98
I am a little surprised how much higher my outgoing personal expenses have been compared to my business, but I’ve had some unusual expenses this last 12 months. I went on holiday twice (I hadn’t been on holiday in 10 years, it won’t happen this year), and I’ve put down a holding deposit on a private flat rental although I haven’t moved yet. I’ve also paid out for a book I am having published. This all accounts for about £1500.00.
What do you count as luxuries? What are basics to you? What things have you stopped spending since you started your business, or what do you plan to cut out this year to reduce your outgoings? What is your biggest expense that you wish you could reduce or remove altogether and do you have any plans for how to tackle that?
I’ve been living in houseshares on and off for the past 10 years. It’s been a sure way to reduce my bills. But I’m now trying to change that and getting my own place. Of course that means my bills will go up and it means I will have to make some adjustments elsewhere to counterbalance it depending on how I do in the next year. It is a risk that I am willing to take right now for personal space because the quality of my life at home is as important as the quality I get at work and at the moment there is a big mismatch between them.