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A little bit of advice from a semi-pro

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I’ve been wrestling with my conscious for most part of the day about writing this post. At first I was really excited and buoyant about the idea of sharing the little I know about working for yourself in the creative industry but then I started to feel like I wasn’t qualified enough as it’s not like I own a Fortune 500 company. Thinking about it I then realised that I do have some useful, seemingly obvious but often overlooked gems about the pros and cons of self-employment and why not share them on the off chance that someone, somewhere may find them useful. So here I am sharing with you the little insight I have gained so far.

What do people want more than winning the lottery? For all those that answered ‘to be their own boss’, ‘to work for themselves’, ‘to run their own business’ – all answers are acceptable and correct. With the scaremongers aka the media panicking the whole nation into thinking there are no jobs out there, people have been turning to self employment. I have managed to conjure up the pro’s and con’s of being answerable only to God and not an overpaid, busy body jerk manager.

Firstly the bad news.


1) Solitude

You will get quite lonely and quite looney kind of like this poor guy. Whilst your friends are out partying, you will no doubt have some work related job to do whether it be an invoice to send to a client, updating your website,designing a new piece etc, the list is pretty endless. Eventually the only thing that will interest you is the field you work in and your ‘friends’ will find you pretty dull but hey as long as it makes you happy and you are working towards something beneficial to your future drops those ‘friends’. Eventually believe it or not getting ‘SMASHED’ on the weekend will no longer interest you, your mind will be in overdrive plotting your next move. You will initially doubt yourself and force yourself to go out and dabble in a bit of the classic ‘gun fingaz’ and general ‘skanking’ moves but you will find yourself just not caring. Remember you are not in retail anymore, you do not live for the weekend, you are working for a better future for yourself. By all means socialise but do not feel it obligatory if you’re friends are out at Dave’s Rave every Friday to join them, they are NOT you and YOU are not them.

WARNING! This is me behind my computer. Look at what you will become! Tash not included.

2) ‘Friends’

Benjamin Franklin once said ‘Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none’. Those ‘Friday friends’ aka those who you used to hang about with when you had nothing better to do will soon drop off and you will then realise they were one of those ‘sociable to many’ type of people. Don’t sweat it. True friends will stay and encourage you.

Poor Fluffy Balls. You too will have to resort to an alernative reality.

3) ‘The best richness is the richness of the soul’ Muhammed PBUH

And BOOOOOY you better believe in this for at least the first year of running your business because that will be the only riches you have. Say goodbye to the frivolous days of buying those £94.99 (plus £30 shipping from Germany)limited edition Casette Playa Blazers because you will be struggling. Money will certainly come in but it won’t stay in for long as it will all go back into your business. But remember the mantra ‘SPEND MONEY TO MAKE MONEY’. From experience I can tell you that Lidl and Poundland will become your best buddies and your parents if they do not charge you rent. But always remind yourself that one day you will be paying yourself your own wage as agreed with.. well you.

A quid to anyone who can spot me.

4) Pressure

I can only speak from an artistic/creative point of view but when you design a new collection you do feel the slight pressure of having to improve on the previous release. But fear not, what I do which I think is handy is I remind myself that with each piece of designed I’ve designed initially for myself and what I like and if other people like it, it’s a bonus. And thank God so far, it seems to have worked. So develop a motto or something to remind yourself that first and foremost you started this from a love of creativity, the money is a super awesome bonus. Kerching! (Is that show still on?)

Lolz. Ignore the science and look closely. Begins with V, rhymes with minor.

5) Admin

Unless your mother, brother, sister, father work in admin and will do this for you at an illegal immigrants rate of pay or even better free, expect to do all the admin work. This is the backbone of your business and unfortunately the dullest. You will need to cosy up to Excel like she was a total babe and become inseparable. If you are unfamiliar with formulas and Excel worksheets, google tutorials. This will help you keep on top of your income, expenditure and invoices owed. Skills in Word are also handy for creating invoices or if you want to get real snazzy – Illustrator. Do not put them off, dedicate one day a week, not even the whole day but a few hours to do your books. Keep EVERY receipt, if you are in a cafe for example working and you buy a latte, cookie and a kosher hot dog, this expenditure is work related so stick it in your expenditure costs.

If you haven't watched this movie, watch it so you know what you should expect from your secretary.


1) You are DA MAN

Aka you are top dawg aka the boss. You decide your workload, you decide your schedule, you decide your fate. If you work hard and are willing to work that much harder than anyone else you know then you are closer to success than you think. Sometimes when you’re doing the boring finances, trying to figure out the whole tax return (as I currently am), sales haven’t been the best and so forth, persevere and stick to your plan. Skill, talent, brains, beauty, luck, these things do not determine or define success but hardwork and perseverance does. Many people waltz with failure on the way to success, do not let anyone or anything put you off. The ultimate goal is worth it.

2) Fantasy becoming reality

Well ideas but fantasy sounded better. Let me share a story with you all (waves at all 3 of you), I designed our biggest selling ring in bed in my chocolate stained bathrobe. It was an idea I had, I designed it and voila 6 weeks later it was a reality. NOTHING will ever beat this feeling. The feeling that whatever crazy idea the right side of the brain is putting into motion, will quite possibly be something tangible, something you can touch and something that people will appreciate is a super great feeling.

3) Appreciation

On par with your ideas becoming a reality is people appreciating your work. Having publications, blogs, media in general pick up on your work is pure elation. And when you have someone willing to part with their hard earned cash to purchase something you have designed, again is just pure elation. That is the only way to put it and I strongly suggest you try this, the feeling of receiving that order confirmation – EUPHORIC! It makes you proud, humble and determined to carry on and grow as a person, designer and business.

4) The Future

It maybe ‘Odd’, it maybe ‘Orange’, it maybe ‘Back to’ (I think the last one works). Whatever it maybe it is yours. The exciting thing is that you get to pave the path that leads you to it. You can grow in so many ways whether it be work wise by producing and exploring different ways in design/production or it could be moving into your first office and employing your first employee. Sure the future is uncertain and you could get hit by the diamond bus on the way home from Sunday Mass but the future is something so exciting and full of endless possibilities. Keep the thought of the future positive, leave any negativity out. Don’t focus on what may not happen but what could happen. Remember kids worrying about the future will waste away your present and that is all you are guaranteed in life.

I really hope someone, somewhere has a) read this, b) learnt something or at least been inspired or c) enjoyed my picture captions. God Bless and you live once, you are care free only once in your life, so go out there and demand what is yours, just don’t demand it wearing a balaclava, holding a shotgun, in your local newsagents.


Written by gripse

August 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Business

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