The subject of this blog post was supposed to be all about how to manage a successful work-life balance, but since I broke down in the middle of town on Friday night after a couple of cocktails crying about how exhausted I am, I hardly think I am well equipped to talk about that. So, we are going on a different tack and I’m going to tell you what I’m struggling with, with running my own business and how I’m planning to get my life back!
Starting your own business is hard work. I don’t know why I’m surprised by that, I should know already! I’ve previously run 2 successful businesses, but this one feels different. Maybe because it’s more long term. With our entertainment business, we always knew it wasn’t going to last forever, it always had an expiry date on it. Mersey Media is hopefully going to carry on for a good while. This is our new focus, our pension, our life from now on. I never thought I would find something that I’m as passionate about as I was about dancing. Turns out, I’m a bit of a geek.
Our business is basically a media provider. We provide companies with Photography, Video and Social Media Management. The business has only been running full time for a few months as it started out of me getting made redundant right before Christmas. You can read about that here
Admittedly, starting a business right before Christmas when you’re planning on spending 3 weeks of the following January in Thailand wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had 🤣 but hey ho. I needed a holiday! I’m not exactly the most patient person in the world so it’s been a struggle to see how slow it all takes to get started. In my head, I would run a couple of sponsored adverts on Facebook and BOOM clients would be sliding into our dm’s. In reality, Facebook adverts are the biggest pain the arse to work out and having a spare £50 to wack on a couple of adverts when you’re pretty strapped for cash and thinking that’s my leccy for the month isn’t great.
Although we’ve only been running our business for a couple of months we aren’t complete beginners. Far from it actually. Video and photo have been a huge passion of Adam’s and mine for years. Adam runs a successful YouTube Tech channel and has worked as an in-house and freelance videographer for a while. And me, well I’m very into Social Media and after running accounts for over 25 clients, you kinda get to grips with how it all works. Plus I’ve got a good eye for photography and I’m often found in our studio
assisting directing Adam on product photography and flat lays. We make a good team. One thing we aren’t particularly good at is sales. We have hired another member of staff for this and every Sunday I give her a list of what I don’t have time to do and she’s an actual angel sent from Heaven 😇
Couple of things that I’m struggling with are:
- How to get everything done without losing your shit.
- How to deal with clients that want everything for nothing.
- Knowing your worth.
Let’s start with knowing your worth.
I know we are good at what we do. We listen to our clients wants, needs and we see their vision. We produce good quality material that we think is cost-effective. We aren’t cheap yet we aren’t stupidly expensive.
If there is one thing I have learned in years of working in the entertainment world is to know your worth and DO NOT WORK FOR FREE. We have done 2 jobs for free in the past year with Mersey Media. One was a favour for a friend’s business and another one was because we loved the brand and thought we could do a really good job for her and her beautiful products. We choose who we work with for free. It’s not a lot as this is our job and we’ve got a roof that I’d quite like to stay over our heads. The amount of jobs I see on Facebook groups that are looking for videographers and photographers for free make my blood boil, and the people who accept the work need their heads seeing to. Do they not understand that they are devaluing the industry? If they don’t value what they do then why should a potential client? If you’re new to the industry and looking for experience then don’t mess about in the big boys’ pool. Ask to join local companies on a shoot to gain experience, then come back when you know your shit and are worthy of being paid 👍
Secondly, I am also struggling with clients that want the earth for £2. Like, seriously. No hun. Bye. Or people who ignore your quotes. If it’s too expensive, then fair enough, tell us your budget and we’ll see if we can work to it rather than just ghosting us. Where are the manners people?!
Business so far is going well, but we can’t give up our day jobs just yet because we need to get some capital behind us so right now I work as a domestic cleaner, industrial cleaner and a dance teacher! This is why I’m exhausted. My job is physical, like, full on. From ragging trolleys of cleaning materials and Henry Hoovers all over town from floor 11 of one student block to another, to diving into manky ovens and burning my nose hairs off from Oven Pride. It’s all glam over here. On a standard day I must clean around 3 ovens and 3 bathrooms. And they are student accommodations so the less said about that the better. Roll on Thursdays when I have a day of my private clients. It’s fabulous in comparison. A flick of a duster and a quick mop, heaven. Then I’m dragging my tired ass to dance class of an evening. It’s not a pretty sight in the morning when my alarm goes off 🤣 Doesn’t help that I average 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night. I need 8 hours. Always have, always will. It’s my thing. I stay up too late of an evening doing the things that I’ve missed out on during the day; emails; job searches; new client searches; monitoring hashtags; checking dm’s. Yes, I’m a control freak.
Friday is supposed to be my Bow Belle Blush day. My Blog, YouTube and Instagram is something I LOVE doing. I like proper love it. Doing video’s, writing blogs, creating content is what makes me happy but when Friday rolls around I’ve got 10 million other things to do and they take over. They are always Mersey Media based as well. Like, we’ll get a last-minute job in or a client want’s a quote from us, or a meeting has been arranged and Bow Belle Blush gets pushed aside, again.
Weekends are supposed to spent working. I try and give myself 1 day off a week, never happens. I had half a day last Friday where I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to see my Mum and Auntie and it was glorious, but I was still glued to my phone replying to dm’s and emails. I could put it down and choose to ignore it, but then I don’t want to miss a question from a client etc.
I am going to have to introduce a cut-off time I think. Put a do not disturb on my phone and throw it under lock and key so I can’t be distracted! Also, give myself one day off from everything a week and I also need to get back into my yoga to try and learn how to switch my mind off. I need to find a way to fit the gym in as well 🙈
Have a little look at what we do here.
Anyways this blog post has taken me 7 hours to write (standard) as we had a client photoshoot to complete and another booking has come in for tomorrow!
If anyone has any tips on how to survive on 5 hours’ sleep a night then throw them my way!
See you all on the next one,