Tech + Admin
As a one woman show, I’ve never had a desire to turn this business into one that requires a team to function - that wasn’t ever my goal from the outset.
However, sometimes as your business grows and you find yourself needing to wear many hats, it makes sense to have a goto list of tech and admin resources that make your life easier or someone to outsource a task to that you don’t have time for…
Graphic Design That Won’t Make You Cry!
Need to create simple graphics, a PDF that looks sleek or a set of company branded documents? Meet Canva. It’s free, has a desktop and an App version and it won’t make you cry when you use it!
You can upgrade for a small annual fee that will give you unlimited storage space, branding fonts, colours and templates and lots more freebies to use within the software.
Also, try PicMonkey. In a desperate bid to avoid anything too technical, I began using this years ago to create simple collages and crop and resize images. Again… no tears when you need to create something fast.
Focused around small business, entrepreneurs, branding and design, the Elle & Co blog is a mine of useful information just waiting to be delved into. Lauren regularly shares resources and tips that she’s picked up along the way of building her own business so this one is worth a bookmark...
Want to create a beautiful blog or website to sell your services or products? Having been a Wordpress blogger for the majority of my time online, I moved to Squarespace in order to create simply START living… and I absolutely love it! Minimal, simplistic and easy to maintain… all at a reasonable annual cost. You can source and host your domain via Squarespace too.
And speaking of Squarespace - when I began work on simply START Living I was still running Online Stylist and creating content there too. Out of a need to speed things along and because you know… there’s the rest of life to take care of too, I outsourced my Squarespace build to Louise at Every September.
Working with Louise was an absolute dream - she understood perfectly my vision for simply START living and through a process of scheduled calls, working via Asana and lots of technical support, we were able to bring this new chapter to fruition in a calm and enjoyable way!
That said, I know lots of bloggers love Wordpress but if you don’t have the time to do all the technical development and maintenance stuff (I never had time for this - also, HTML made me cry on more than one occasion!), take a look at Chloe Digital. Their platform provides a tech support and digital development service to its members at varying levels. I was a happy blogger client of theirs for many years so if you’re a Wordpress style publisher looking to take your blog to the next level, check them out.
Rules & Regulations
If you’re blogging and earning any kind of income from your work, be sure to get familiar with the regulations and guidelines about influencer advertising and marketing. Start here on the ASA’s website and this from the CMA is also an important read.
If you’re looking for some legal advice for your online business, I can recommend David Walker at Grid Law. David covers all manner of legal advice for entrepreneurs and business owners including the legal aspects of launching a new brand and protecting your brand on copyright issues. David’s been able to advise me on a couple of matters over the years and his blog is useful resource on topics you might not think you need to know about. Until you do!
Don’t Ignore The Numbers...
Maybe it’s a hangover from my years spent working in Finance but right from the minute I got paid my first ever sum of money for tiny bit of blogging work, I’ve kept financial records. Maybe it’s also my inner geek and a not so secret love of a good spreadsheet but it’s been really useful to form this habit from the outset.
I set up simple incoming and outgoing sheets and later on, registered as self-employed with HMRC. I’ve dutifully filled out my online tax returns every year and in doing so, it’s helpful to see the actual profits you’re left with at the end of each period. Even if sometimes they make you wince when you compare what you’ve had to outlay in order to “grow” the business a little.
Whether you choose to be VAT registered or not is something to decide but basic bookkeeping skills are an essential and shouldn’t be filed away under “I’ll do it later”. I’m not at the stage where I need an accountant and possibly never will be. I think you have to weigh up the simple equation of: How much time does it take me to maintain financial records and file my returns Vs How much spare cash do I have to pay an accountant to do it for me, thereby freeing me up to do other stuff. The answer is different for everyone of course. For me, I’m lucky to have a husband who studied maths, maths and more maths in order to become an Actuary so he’s pretty darn handy in these matters!
But figure out how you’ll deal with your numbers and stick with the process, remembering that a little monthly maintenance goes a long way to help at year end.
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If you’re thinking of overhauling your brand or business design but don’t quite know how to begin, I recommend reading How To Style Your Brand * and Brand Brilliance * both by Fiona Humberstone. Fiona also runs branding retreats and e-courses if you have the funds to invest in the future of your creative business.
For one my rebrand of Online Stylist, I utilised Emily Wells Design who helped me to bring my then vision of Online Stylist to fruition. Emily is based in the States and was an absolute joy to work with.
One Off Assistance
What if you need a one time piece of work doing and just don’t have the skill set yourself? I know a couple of online creative friends who’ve used People Per Hour and find that it’s way more cost effective to hire someone, even for a mini-project, than it is to try and spend time working out how to do it yourself. Also… the less time spent crying over and cursing at HTML the better… or is that just me?