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SEVEN: Reasons To Look Forward To Autumn

Reasons To Look Forward To Autumn

While most people are mourning the abrupt end to Summer, I’m counting down those last sunshine-y days until my beloved Autumn arrives. It seems bizarre when Summer provides ice lollies and water parks, but Autumn makes me feel like a child! Here are my top seven reasons to look forward to Autumn:

1 // Crisp, fresh air. Some like the smell of freshly cut grass – Me? I love how that freezing cold air smell really grabs at my lungs. Plus no matter how old you get, seeing your own breath never fails to amuse!

2 // Hot chocolate. When you’re curled up in a blanket with only your lips uncovered, sipping a creamy mug of heaven and watching your breath pierce the air… it tastes like a whole different beast.

3 // Crunchy leaves. Walking through the park, hearing the leaves crunching beneath your feet and then running into a giant mass of them gathered under a tree.

4 // Autumn colours. The gorgeous golden browns of Autumn are so much easier on the eye that the cornea-burning blue skies and acid greens of Summer. Haha, is this one just me?

5 // Thick, flannel pyjamas. Hell, being able to wear any pyjamas at all. Why are winter ones always so much cuter than the ones made for Summer? I’m 27 damnit and I want to go to bed wearing skating penguins emblazoned on my body!

6 // Keeping the doors and windows closed. NO. MORE. FLIES. Enough said.

7 // Layers. In fact, this one should just be all seven reasons. I love layers because they’re cosy and snuggly, but I also love them because they provide endless opportunity for matching up outfits, creating amazing colour combinations & pattern clashes. They allow me to really think about my outfit instead of having to find the thinnest, single item to wear for the next 30 days in a row. Most importantly, they allow me to wear more of my favourite things at once.

What are your favourite things about Autumn? Loves x xx

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Indie Biz – Can I go self employed? Part II

Self Employed

Earlier this week we talked about the steps I took to decide if I could support myself full time. Today we’re going to expand on that topic so you can also decide if you can go full time self employed.

The Development Stage
After I wrote my list of income streams, such as Etsy and freelance writing, I turned them into individual headings and under each heading I wrote a plan to determine the best possible return from each income stream. This brainstorm lists all the things I can do to to improve and get my name out to more people.

Self Employed, Full Time

Estimate Your Income
I made an educated estimate of how much I thought I could make from each income stream by working full time. To achieve this I considered the following factors:
// What I earn over a typical year, taking into account crazy sales periods like Christmas.
// The obstacles that were currently in my way, such as not being able to make enough stock while working a second job and boosted my proposed income accordingly.
// Be honest with yourself on what you can make, not what you’d like to make.
The numbers I came to fell short at first. Where some streams didn’t work out as well as I hoped, others surpassed my expectations and made up the short fall.

The Big Question
Now you’re looking for your income stream total to match or surpass your outgoings total. Does it? If it does, you’re golden! You might have to cut back and really nail that monthly budget, but things should start to fall into place after a while.

If Not, Don’t Panic! You Have Options
// You could wait a few months and in the meantime implement some of things you came up with in the development stage. Monitor the growth in your business and redo this project at a set date.
// Alternatively you could inquire at your job if you would be able to go part time or job share. If this isn’t possible, you could always apply for different part time jobs to subsidise your income. It doesn’t have to be something along the same lines of your day job, if you really want to be a writer you could work in a book shop, or if you’re a crafty soul it could be weekends at a hobby or fabric shop.

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The Back Up Plan
Whether your totals match or not, it is essential to have a back up plan for if things get awry!
// Have some savings to fall back on when you don’t quite hit your targets. I had three months worth of my monthly outgoings, but I spent a huge chunk of this on new products and supplies to get me started, so bear that in mind.
// Can your partner support you for a while?
// Can you do some temping work? Even if it’s scanning your technophobe neighbour’s family albums onto Flickr!
// Can you sell some unwanted items and equipment? Clear out your closet, do a car boot sale.
// Also remember those little extras I didn’t have to cancel to begin with (Netflix etc)? You still have the option of letting those go to reduce your monthly outgoings.

Weekly Finances
Since I made the decision to be fully self employed I have also kept a weekly plan of my income. I list each income stream and then add up a total for the week. At the end of the month I add up a total for the month. This is a great way to see at a glance which areas aren’t pulling their weight and perhaps taking up too much of your time. It’s also good to be able to estimate for the rest of the month, quarter or year – especially if you’re thinking of saving up for a holiday or a huge business expense!

Self Employed

It’s scary (I’m terrified!!) and it always will be a leap of faith, there will never be a time you’ll be 100% sure you can make it, but at least with the numbers to back you up you can spend less time worrying and more time working your ass off to achieve your dream lifestyle!

Now back to work!! Loves x xx

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Indie Biz – Can I Go Self Employed? Part I

Self Employed

I’ve read a lot of articles about why and how to be self employed, articles with very generalist advice, not much of which I found very useful. So I thought I’d share the specific steps I took to decide if I could actually be self employed, full time.

My Personal Situation
There’s nothing special about my situation compared to yours; I worked on my business for just over three years before I became fully self employed and for the purpose of full disclosure: I live with my boyfriend who has a full time job. Now he doesn’t earn a lot of money by any means, but he has been able to cover one or two bills for a few months until I stopped falling over my own feet.

We rent in an expensive area, we have a dog, we have Sky, Netflix and Spotify accounts. I pay for extras like contact lenses, Creative Cloud and I have a very expensive phone bill that allows me to have the latest smart phone for work. My point here being: we spend a crapload of money every month. So far, I haven’t had to cancel a thing.

DIY Acorn Necklace

Outgoings
So to begin with, I wrote up every single outgoing I have, such as:

Rent/Mortgage
Gas & Electric
TV License
TV Subscription (eg. Sky)
Internet
Phone Line
Water Rates
Council Tax
Insurance (Contents, Pet, Car)
Credit Card Repayment
Store Card Repayments
Loan Repayments (Inc. Student)
Charity Donations
Subscriptions (eg. Netflix)
Mobile Phone
Web Hosting/Other Business Expenses

// I didn’t include food, simply because it’s hard to estimate, but if you can figure out how to include this it’s best that you do. Alternatively I have been working out the cost of individual meals we cook and shopping around for the best deal.
// As you can see, though, I don’t have a budget for clothes, records, nights out or anything I class as a luxury. This is my personal choice, if you feel you can’t live without these things for your first year then budget them in.

Add these all up to get your monthly outgoings. This is the amount of money you absolutely need to be able to earn from your profit, not your turnover.

Income Streams
Secondly I wrote a list of each of my income streams. I cannot stress the importance of having more than one way of making money. Generally Summer is a quiet time for selling products, but much busier for freelance work. Once freelance drops off towards Christmas, your product sales will absolutely leap!

How To Be Self Employed

I also wrote a list of possible income streams if the above failed to provide, such as licensing my photographs or opening a craft supplies shop. More projects will dilute your focus, but it’s always good to have an idea bank – especially if ideas can go hand in hand with established income streams.

Homework
Thinking this would be a lot of information to take in all in one lump, I took to Twitter and you folks asked for the content to be split into two blog posts. Don’t worry if you’re super eager (like me!) the second instalment will be here on my blog this Thursday. In the meantime, do your homework; Get a notebook to dedicate to your budget and start following the steps above – A pretty one! ;)

Don’t miss Part II! Make sure you’re subscribed by email, RSS or Bloglovin.

Loves x xx

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