business, Business Design, Freelancer, Own Business, Working from home

SAYING NO TO FREELANCE WORK

Having your own business and freelancing is a tricky job to manage. Sometimes it’s stressful because you don’t know where the next job is coming from, and sometimes it’s stressful because ALL the jobs seem to come at once!

If you’re lucky then you’ll have a constant stream of work that keeps you ticking over, but sometimes it goes mental, and sometimes you have to choose between money and self-wellbeing.

I AM RUBBISH AT THIS!! Or at least I used to be.

Until the last couple of weeks, I would accept every job going. Even if I knew I had too much to do already, I’d find time to fit it in, and then I’d totally burn out. I was living on about 4 hours sleep a night for a while and I realised things had to change.

And then I learnt that it’s ok to say no.

And it really is. Whether it be because you’re too busy or maybe you have real life things taking over, it’s ok to say no. It’s about finding the balance between what satisfies your personal finances and what satisfies you as a person.

So, why might you need to say no to a job…

1. YOU’RE FAR TOO BUSY

The work is piling up and you can’t possibly envisage fitting anything else in. Say no. If you don’t, not only will you burn yourself out, but you might end up doing a mediocre, crappy job – and that’s not the way to keep clients. Politely say no and explain that you don’t have capacity at the minute, and then make sure you let them know when you’re available again.

2. THERE ISN’T ENOUGH TIME

If a client comes to you last minute and expects something immediately, they probably expect that you won’t be able to fit them in. Don’t fall into the trap of doing everything for everyone at the drop of a hat – I’ve been there, it’s stressful and exhausting. And not only that, it sets up a precedence that they will always expect you can make time.

A lot of times I’m asked for something urgently, and when I explain that I’m not available until the following week, nine times out of ten they are fine with that – urgent means different things to different people.

From the start let people know your timelines. Let them know how long it takes to make any foreseeable alterations, and give yourself some leeway – add an extra day, and if you get it done sooner, then great! If someone really wants your product/work, they will wait.

3. YOU HAVE A PERSONAL LIFE

Sometimes life takes over. Maybe you are poorly, maybe your child is off school, maybe you’re moving house. Don’t feel guilty. You are allowed to be a person like everyone else out there. You don’t get normal holiday days when there’s someone else to take on your case load, it is you and only you. But it’s ok. You deserve to live your life. Don’t feel guilty.

If you know the client well and you think they’ll understand the reasoning, let them know. If you don’t know them, then just say you’re out of the office for the next week, or that you have a full case load right now, but can fit them in at a later date.

If you know in advance that you might be away (school holidays, operations, moving house etc), then let all your regular clients know in advance. Pop them over an email saying just to make you aware, I am out of the office on ‘x dates’, and will therefore be unavailable for work. Also put a header it on your website, on your contact page and on your email signature.

4. THE PAY ISN’T RIGHT

Know your worth. A tricky one. If you’re anything like me you’ll want to help everyone, and when that client comes to you with a small budget you think “oh, it’s only one job, I’ll do it a little cheaper”. Don’t! Not only are you not valuing yourself and your knowledge, but you’ll end up feeling resentment for the time that you are spending for half the price. Sometimes you’re just not a good fit with everyone and every business, and that’s ok.

5. THE JOB SUCKS!

We’ve all been there right? When you get asked to do a job that just fills you with dread. And I don’t mean the hard work dread where you question if you can do it – of course you can! I mean the dread that the job is actually not in your realm of working at all, or, let’s be honest, just seems completely boring.

You’re a freelancer, you have the right to say no (politely).

6. THE CLIENT SEEMS LIKE A NIGHTMARE

This isn’t too common a problem (hopefully), but it does happen. Maybe you’ve worked with them in the past and they messed you around. Maybe you just get a vibe and don’t feel comfortable working with them. Weigh up the pros and cons. Can you put your feelings aside for the job – is it a fun, exciting project? Is the money good? Or do you feel that it will just cause you too much stress and agro to proceed. If so, that’s ok. Just politely decline.

Do remember though that a lot of clients probably don’t understand the ins-and-outs of your business and the skills involved. If you find you’re having trouble with someone, start off by letting them know your process, your terms and conditions. Set out all the costs involved upfront. Sometimes it’s beneficial to just help someone understand.

HOW TO SAY NO, BUT KEEP A GOOD RELATIONSHIP

First of all, stop worrying so much. It’s your business and you are in control.

  1. Say thank you and decline respectfully. Tell the client that you like the sound of the project and thank them for the opportunity.
  2. Let them know why, but don’t give them your life story. Just tell them you are at full capacity but you would love to work with them in the future.
  3. Make sure that you let them know when you are next free.

Remember, you are only human, and there are only so many hours in the day.

Business Design, logo design, mental health, new business, Own Business, Weddings, Working from home, Working Mum

BUSINESS (NOT QUITE) AS USUAL

BUSINESS AS USUAL (ISH)

These are testing times for everyone, and everyone is trying to find the best way to get through this so that they can emerge succesfully and healthy on the other side.

Mrs K Designs will remain open, but with a few slight alterations.

Continue reading “BUSINESS (NOT QUITE) AS USUAL”

Business Design, Christmas, mental health, Own Business, Uncategorized, Working from home, Working Mum

THE INVISIBILITY OF WORKING FROM HOME

A very Merry New Year to you all. I hope you enjoyed the festivities.

Right, now down to business, be warned, this is going to be a rant! If you don’t enjoy a good rant then read no further!…

Continue reading “THE INVISIBILITY OF WORKING FROM HOME”

Business Design, Uncategorized, Working from home, Working Mum

When Business is Quiet (Part 2)

Cast your mind back to August 2018 when I wrote the post ‘When Business is Quiet’.

I wrote about how when business is quiet we go into a crazy panic that business is failing and that the…

“reality is shortly it will be chaos again and I’ll be mega busy and I’ll wonder why I didn’t stop and take a break whilst I had the chance”.

Well, I wish I’d bloomin’ listened to myself. What a few months it’s been! If you have your own business, are trying to juggle kids and fit in an actual social life, you’ll completely understand where I am right now.

I had my quiet period, I did not relax. I had my panic that the business was doomed. I worried. And then boom!! It got crazy again.

It’s nearly Christmas though, so it’s time to relax. But business is getting a little quiet, what if it’s doomed…..

And the cycle carries on, ha ha! x

Business Design, logo design, new business, Social Media

Buntilicious – New Logo

New logo design for new business Buntilicious. When your client asks for “something cute”, I think this pretty much fits the bill.

I thoroughly enjoyed designing this logo. A lot of my work recently has been very bold, with lots of strong colour and geometric shapes. It was so lovely to be able to be a little more flamboyant and, dare I say, ‘girlie’.

Buntilicious is a brand new business ran by Donna; specialising in homemade bunting and cushion covers, and they are just adorable. All of the fabrics are chosen personally by Donna and she only chooses items that she loves. Buntilicious is a real labour of love and I urge you to pop on over to their Facebook Page and have a look. Remember, Christmas is just around the corner and these would make a fantastic gift!

Business Design, mental health, Uncategorized, Working from home, Working Mum

Juggling Work and School

IMG_20180907_105513So, this happened this week. First week at school (wow!). And whilst I’m over the moon for my little one, and so proud to see her wandering in on her own all confident and excited, my goodness is it a shocker to the system!!

Suddenly my life has been shaken about and everything has changed. I now have to fit my working day into 5 hours, and it’s short, so short! I get back from the school run, kettle on and then sit at my desk. Before I know it, boom, it’s time to head back to school.

I have always been a fan of routine, and now, suddenly, I have it. But after over 4 years of chaos and a (slight) lack of organisation, it’s a real shock to the system. With a five hour work day, I actually have less time to fit everything in than I used to, but now I have 5 days a week. 5 days a week when I know I’ll get to work. No more having to postpone jobs for days (or more often than not working in the evenings to get them done in time).

It’s a lifestyle change, it’s a new chapter and fingers and toes crossed it will mean more stability and less panic (plus the added bonus of topping my 10,000 steps every day with the walk there and back – bonus!).

Change can be tiring, change can be hard work, but we must embrace it and enjoy it. Without change I suppose life would be pretty boring. I need to get ready now for the homework, the school meetings, the endless parties and everything else that comes with this fantastic new adventure. A huge well done to all those working parents out there!!

Business Design, new business, Uncategorized, Wedding Stationery

When Business is Quiet

Do you have a business that goes through peaks and troughs? I do! One month you are so busy you’re not even sure how you manage to function, working until the early hours of the morning every day and weekend. And then you have a month when… nothing. There is the odd job here and there, but all of a sudden you find yourself with time to spare. This sounds like a luxury right? Time to replenish that lost sleep, sit and relax in front of a boxset. True, this is what should happen. But panic hits!!

I go through this stage every few months, and every time I go into a crazy panic that my business is failing and it’s time to pack it in.

The reality is that shortly it will be chaos again and I’ll be mega busy and I’ll wonder why I didn’t stop and take a break whilst I had the chance.

So, what to do when your business has a quiet moment?

Buff up your marketing – you are your own marketing tool. Update your website, social media accounts, blog.

Get noticed – improve your online presence. Are there any free advertising sites that you can enlist on?

Network – visit local or online groups of like-minded people. Take out your contact book and reach out to potential clients.

Work on new products – Have you had an idea for a new item but just not had the time to work on it? Do it now!

Pricing – look at your pricing structure – is it still relevant. Do you need to increase your prices?

Organise – organise your office. Get all that admin sorted that you have been putting off for months and months.

Relax – embrace this time and look after your mental health. Chances are you’re going to be super busy again soon. Take the time to relax in preparation, and remember DON’T FEEL GUILTY! You’ve earned this. Catch up with friends you may have neglected, enjoy family life, go for a massage. You may feel like you’re being lazy when all those around you are working, but chances are that when you’re busy you work twice as hard as everyone else, you deserve this!

Business Design, logo design, new business, Uncategorized, Wedding Stationery

Interview with Mrs K Designs

It’s been an exciting week here at Mrs K Designs. I had my first official interview! Eeek! You may remember earlier this year I designed a logo for the new blog The Mama Journal. Well, the lovely Rupa decided I was a good candidate to feature on her blog. So exciting and very nerve racking. I tend to hide behind my logo and get really embarrassed about putting myself out there, so this was a big deal for me; especially as the interview was so personal.

You can pop over and read the interview on The Mama Journal’s website or I’ve copied it below to make it easier for you. Enjoy!

24 hours with… Helen Killip

Helen Killip, 36, lives with husband Andy, daughter Libby, 4, and Laurie the cat, in Burbage, Leicestershire. She set up Mrs K Designs, a design company, while on maternity leave in 2014.

I wake up…

At 7am to Libby, our personal alarm clock, shouting, “it’s 7 o’clock, time to get up!”. After sleepy morning hugs, (one of my favourite things), it’s straight to the kettle for a cup of tea. This usually goes cold as I’m ushered to play with trucks or put on my best doctor’s impersonation. I’ll have a bowl of fruit for breakfast in an effort to be a little healthier.

I usually wear…

Jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes to be honest. If I do splash out, I’m a sucker for Joe Browns because their clothes are so quirky and beautiful. I do love shoes though – owning every pair of Ruby Shoos is the dream!

My working week…

is Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and I spend the rest of the week with Libby. Realistically, like many self-employed people, I work every day. Three days just isn’t enough time, so I’ve spent many evenings working until the wee hours of the morning trying to fit everything in. When Libby starts school in September (gasp!) I’ll be working five days a week, and I’m hoping this makes things a little easier and a little bit more consistent.

I am very lucky to be able to work from my office at home. My working day begins at 8.45am after the frantic pre-school run! I need tea to function, so this is my first priority, followed by checking and responding to emails (although I’ve probably checked these on my phone in bed before I even got up). Then I organise my projects and start work. Every day is different as each project is unique. One day I can be designing a logo and the next I’m creating wedding stationery. I love the variation.

Indian Order of Service_A5_Web
Helen designed this order of service for my wedding!

I’d always thought about having my own business, but it was Andy that really made it happen. He was so supportive of me and my work, if it wasn’t for his encouragement I wouldn’t be where I am today – I have a lot to thank him for. In 2014 I went on maternity leave and that was the push (no pun intended) I needed. I had a few weeks before Libby was due so decided to set up my website and contact a few local businesses looking for work. People said I was crazy, I should be resting in preparation for motherhood, but in my mind it was now or never.

The best part of my job is…

The ability to fit work around life is a big bonus. And obviously designing, I love it – there is nothing more satisfying than a client coming to you with a vague idea and then being able to produce something completely beyond their expectations. It was, and still is, hard work, but it has given me the freedom and the time that I wanted to raise my daughter. 

I honestly couldn’t get through every day without the support and love of my friends and family (a bit cliché I know). But they are amazing and somehow manage to keep me sane.

My biggest inspiration is definitely my mum. She is an amazing, strong, beautiful woman. I often hear people moaning that they are turning into their Mum – I hope I DO. If I’m half the woman she is then I’ve done myself proud. I hope that one day Libby feels the same about me!

The worst part of my job is…

Working really long days. After a jam-packed day of playing with a four year old, all you want to do is sit down and put your feet up, but deadlines are looming. I can’t let a project ‘sit’ and I pride myself on getting everything completed as soon as possible, which means I push myself to the very limit. This has definitely had a huge impact on my life and wellbeing. I recently went through a rough patch where I was working constantly and also trying to fit in family and social life. I was exhausted. It’s no good having a successful business if you can’t enjoy life. I’m now learning to manage my time a little better, put myself and my family first, and make sure I don’t burn myself out.

Lunch is…

When I remember, some toast and some fruit. I get so involved in my work that I sometimes forget. Most projects span over a couple of days, so I’ll pick up where I left off in the morning. At the end of the day, I like to cover my computer screen with post-its of jobs to do tomorrow.

In the evenings…

We all have tea together between 5 and 6pm, and then it’s bed time for Libby at 7pm. Libby loves a roast dinner so we quite often have a mid-week roast – we take it in turns to cook!  If I’m not working, I’ll sit in front of a box-set or read a book.  I usually go to bed at about 11pm, but I have been known to get in at 7.30pm with a Horlicks and a good book!

Visit Helen’s websiteher blog and Etsy for more information.

new business, Uncategorized

Etsy Fees and Pricing Palava

Etsy Banner 3360 x 840.2

Wow, what a morning I have had. Sorting out pricing is by far one of the most difficult, tedious aspects of running your own business. Throw in Etsy and it’s change in pricing system and my brain is on the verge of exploding!

I’ve spent my last week increasing my prices to adapt to the raise of fees to 5%. But then, due to my own stupidity (and probably because I’ve only just starting selling lots on Etsy and before was left unaware), realised that not only is there a transaction fee that is taken off before you receive the money in your bank, but there is also a payment processing fee. I did not know this (I know, an error on my part, but seriously, it’s not black and white and this processing fee doesn’t appear until your monthly bill shows up in your inbox – there must be others out there who did the same? No? Just me?!).

So, here, to try and help anyone else struggling, I’m going to do my best to show you how it works (please note these are based on UK fees):

Price you charge for Item you are selling + Postage and Package: £180

Original listing fee ($0.20): £0.16 (based on today’s conversion rate)

Transaction fee (5% of total sale price): £9

Payment Processing fee (4% of total sale price) + £0.20: £7.40

Total fees: £0.16 + £9 + £7.40 = £16.56

Well, at least I think that’s right. It’s near enough right, maybe a few pence here and there. Please feel free to correct me, but I am NOT changing my prices again!

Now, I don’t have a problem with businesses charging to use their services, obviously; if it wasn’t for Etsy I wouldn’t have got the orders in the first place. But it’s my customers that I feel for. This adds a lot of money on to the total price. And I’d like to be able to just suck up the cost myself, but I’m already charging the very minimum in order to gain the business in the first place. It’s a catch 22!

But, in good news, items are cheaper on my website www.mrskdesigns.co.uk, because I don’t have fees! So head on over there people!

Happy Etsying and good luck!

Visit my Etsy Site >

Business Design, logo design, new business

Logo Design for Raphael Bond Ltd

Today I’m sharing a logo from another new business set up.

Logos - Raphael Bond

Raphael Bond Ltd provides business development, property and project management for the education and care sector. The Director Mark is the husband of a very good friend of mine. I always find it more difficult doing design work for people you know – what if they hate it? What if they judge me? What if they regret coming to someone they know rather than going to a super big corporation? I have to see these people on a regular basis!… I know, I know, have more confidence in yourself Helen!

So, this was a tricky one design wise. The business is one of a kind offering a whole range of services, that and Mark is more than likely going to develop the business to reach further sectors; after discussions we decided that imagery and a tagline were’t an option here. The logo just needed to be simple, just words. I find simple hard. I like a logo to say exactly what it is the business offers. But I’m happy with the outcome, and more importantly so is the client. Hurrah. Another job done.