First thing Monday morning and I found myself sat in bed creating a spreadsheet to keep track of my income and expenses. The reason? Although I took a couple of rather large payments in my first week, I haven't really received much else since. I started to wonder how much my daily income has been on average since I went full time and the only way to do that was to throw myself into Excel. I decided to list all of my income and expenses and then work out my average daily profit and turnover over a rolling period of both 7 days (so I can see how I'm doing week to week) and 28 days. As expected, week one looked amazing. Even factoring in my costs, I still managed to make a decent daily profit. Week 2, however, was a different story. Looking at my income and expenses averaged over just 7 days, my profit dropped to -£14 (i.e. it cost me £14 to be self-employed that day!). Week 3 was even worse - at one point my profit plummeted to -£35!
It's a sobering thought. Not only were there a number of days where I received absolutely no payments but I was actually eating into any profit I had built up because of the expenses that I was already committed to paying for. Obviously this isn't something that is sustainable so its been a great exercise to keep me rooted in reality.
Delving deeper into the numbers, luckily I can say that my profit when averaged over 28 days is steadily climbing which is very VERY positive. I was lucky to have those couple of big payments in the first week as they have definitely helped the figures. I also have various smaller invoices which are due but because I give people a window of a couple of weeks to pay then on occasion I know that there may be stretches of time where I receive no payments and then they may all appear at once! The aim now is to try and find a couple of sources of steadier income so that the drip feed of the income will counter-balance any big expenses that I have to make.
After giving myself a bit of a scare with those figures, I shortly found myself back in Lacock, this time acting as tour guide as well as photographer! It was nice to have a wander and get some lovely autumnal shots (including some pumpkins) but I was eager to get into the office and put in a few hours work to at least try and claw in a bit of cash! I'm happy to say that I took the opportunity to jump back into using Toggl. For the most part I have remembered to start the timer at the beginning of each task. Luckily one great feature of Toggl is that you can fill in details of tasks after the event so it didn't matter too much if I forgot to start (or stop) the timer on a couple of tasks. How long it will last, I don't know but I definitely want to keep track of what I'm doing just so I can identify any wasted time and actually quantify how long I am currently spending on various tasks.
It was half term this week which meant that I didn't have to do the school run. Consequently I made sure that I was as productive as I could be. As much as I love picking my nieces up from school, I have to admit that it is useful to have the extra time in the office every now and again. It meant that I was able to head straight from the office over to attend the opening night of the local Rotary Hall. I took my camera along and hopefully some of the photos will appear in the local paper.
Remember the four corporate shoot enquiries that I had last week? Well, after scaring myself with the figures, I decided to bite the bullet and chase them (in a friendly way) - I'm so pleased that three out of the four of them are now booked in! I also faced my fears and did something that I very rarely do - call a potential client out of the blue to see if I could confirm a shoot with them. It wasn't a "cold call" because I had already discussed the possibility of a shoot with another person, but contacting a third person who I had never spoken to before is very much out of my comfort zone. But, I did it! I researched what they might need, called the person I needed to speak to, discussed their requirements and then confirmed the date, time and cost of the shoot! I felt a great sense of achievement after that! I know its only a small thing but I have at least proven to myself that I can do it and its not as scary as I make it out to be in my head!
Speaking of doing scary things, this week I found myself subbing for Dave Barnes at BNI. It's a networking group thats main aim is to refer business to each other. I went along completely prepared with both my 60-second pitch and Dave's too. As I expected it was much more formal than the networking I am used to at 4N but I was made to feel welcome and it has given me an insight into BNI if I decide to join in the future. At the moment I think it's too big of a commitment (you have to join for a year and then attend weekly meetings) but perhaps its something to look at again in a few months time.
On Thursday I was excited to have lined up a shoot with a musician that I recently met at a Wedding Fair. Ben is amazing! His shoot more or less consisted of him playing a whole variety of songs whilst I ran around trying to get lots of different photos for him and providing a few directions here and there for where to look, how to stand etc... It was a lot of fun and I think Rachel (from the Citadel Hall) enjoyed having us there as much as we enjoyed being there!
Ben seemed to enjoy it - he left me a lovely review as soon as he got home that evening!
Spent a really fun evening with Kate and Rachael at the Citadel Hall for my photo shoot experience. Thanks for making it so relaxed and enjoyable.
After a productive brainstorming meeting about Instagram with Wendy (from Blue Boutique Gifts) on Friday and the first of two shoots with a new business client on Saturday morning (more of that next week) I feel like this week I've had a bit of a break through. I still have masses of editing to get through but I feel a lot more "business-like" this week! I still wouldn't class myself as a business woman - more that I'm my own boss - but I am slowly moving in that direction. I still feel very lucky that I'm able to run a business doing something I love. It's Sunday night and instead of an impending feeling of dread for the week ahead I'm actually excited to get into the office early tomorrow and get on with things! Long may that feeling continue!
Time has a strange habit of slipping away! Looking at the hours I have logged on Toggl this week, they don't look overly impressive even though I spent some very long days in the office. All of those quick trips out to buy milk, making cups of coffee, brief chats with office colleagues, 15 minute checks of Facebook etc... quickly add up! Although I know I have been productive this week, I know I can be more so next week.
I HATE the fact that money (and essentially profit) has been on my mind all week. It's not why I started the business and I definitely do not want it to become the driving factor. I started this business because I love what I do - it's really coincidental that people are willing to pay me for it! But you can't run a business like that so I in reality, keeping an eye on the figures is sensible. I just need to make sure it doesn't take over completely!
Aims for next week:
Make time to make lunch - not only is popping out for a sandwich taking up my time, its also emptying my wallet!
Concentrate on editing - this last week I focussed too much on admin. I need to crack on with editing next week.