Finance is not a strong subject for me, so I wisely outsource it to the experts. But there are still elements I need to take on myself, and that is being aware of how much is going out compared to what is coming in.
Budgeting is an issue in our household, with my son starting at Cambridge in under three weeks. It is an expensive time for undergraduate students at the moment, not only with the huge hike in tuition fees, but with all the extra expenses Oxbridge students are expected to fork out for: matriculation gowns, student cards, formal dinners, etc, notwithstanding the college living expenses, food, books and travel. When he was born we started a savings fund based at the fees at their previous level, but everything was scuppered when it was increased three-fold, and now we have some serious financial restructuring to do.
This means I have to make my business work properly this year. No more skipping around the sides looking for an entrance, I have to plough straight in with all guns blazing – only achievable because of the past two years studying the finer points of digital marketing and now I have a much better idea of what to do.
It wasn’t only marketing I learnt more about, but business too, and that means budgeting and finance forecasting. Brutal reality steps in here, and the cold light of day reveals some unpleasant truths. It means I have to stop being ‘nice’ and start charging for what I do; only undertaking events, sessions and other expenditure I believe will be beneficial for me; and stop wasting time by scheduling, structuring and outsourcing my business.
An unpleasant thought just washed over me that I might be changing into my old boss, but after a shudder I resolved that will never happen. These past two years of being employed weren’t just a phase of earning money, but learning how to and how not to run a business. It’s a very hard world out there for the entrepreneur, struggling to get ahead of the big boys, but having got some experience of the corporate world, I’m never going back there!
So keeping a tight hold of your purse strings is certainly advisable if you are going to survive, but knowing what to invest in for the best results is also important. Being miserly won’t get you anywhere, but neither will being spendthrifty without a proper plan of action. Some hard decisions need to be made, serious thought put in first, and suitable advice sought, but once accomplished, and with a steadfast way forward with proper objectives and measurement put in place, there should be no reason why a business should not succeed.
Alice Elliott’s alter ego is the Fairy Blog Mother, a magical educational resource for all blogging needs. Find out about her courses, tuition, design and copywriting services at http://fairyblogmother.co.uk