There is nothing like a change in your financial circumstances to give you a kick up the proverbial. When your earnings become comfortable in relation to your outgoings, and you only have yourself to answer to, it can be easy to let things slip and become complacent about where you are going. This is especially true if you enjoy your work and you aren’t doing it to compete with anyone. I lost my competative edge years ago and simply enjoy the process of being creative and that it enhances the rest of my life.
Two fairly big financial concerns this year have reminded me to always be careful and not to become too settled in my comfort zone. Stability is fairly rare in my life. It is this situation that inspired my return to Etsy with avengence, a turn about which is already yielding profits and has encouraged me to continue along this route.
You never know what’s around the corner, or how your circumstances might change. For me it was having to move from houseshare accommodation to, by comparison, more expensive private renting. The potential threat of losing my studio space here in Manchester due to the sale of the building I occupy was the unwelcome, and definitely unexpected, icing on the cake.
That second issue hasn’t gone away, although the stay of execution, if that is what it is, promises to be drawn out, to the advantage of all the vulnerable tenants who enjoy generously competative rates here. And for good reason because compared to many small businesses renting in converted mill buildings in Manchester, we are, so far, very lucky. These beautiful old buildings are regularly being clawed back by developers looking to profit, to the point where, if I was to lose my space here, I probably couldn’t afford to continue working in Manchester.
It is a real fear right across the country as property development continues in fits and starts. Unless you outright own your own space or work from home, you should never assume that you are safe. As a result of both these events, which occured in May, I have become exceptionally mindful of money. It is like being a mature student again. Bills are logged carefully on spreadsheets, limits are set and stuck to, social spending and blow outs are a thing of the past for the most part (although I always allow for occasional treats because I’m not a sadist). Holidays are officially a thing of the past, for now at least though carefully organised weekends away from Manchester stop me from getting cabin fever. This is okay, I can cope with that. I would rather be squirreling funds for a rainy day, knowing that if the worst should happen, I have a safety net, rather than spending it now for short term satisfaction.
Add to that, the problems small business face from delayed payments, and unpredictable incomes, and you have a potential recipe for disaster. It pays to be business savvy and money conscious and, in my mind, should be a priorty for anyone starting a business or reliant on generating their own income. It is an issue never far from my mind. And I haven’t been in business for 7 years by spending on impulse. I am far from out of the woods yet, and I may never be, but staying one step ahead in the self employed game is almost as much as many of us can hope for, and for the most part I wouldn’t have it any other way.