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#OneADay10 – Disorganisation

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Taxes are a bitch when you’re no longer on the PAYE system. This is one of the things that I did not foresee when I resigned from the NHS.

I freelance. Lots of companies don’t want the hassle of dealing with an individual, so they prefer you to bill as a limited company. I set one up.

I own a bunch of websites, mostly monetised through Google Adsense but partially through affiliate schemes. This is in the vain hope that one day, someone will click on an affiliate link and proceed all the way to purchase with my tracking cookie still enabled, or within my allotted 30 minutes, or whatever the restriction happens to be for that particular program. Unfortunately for me, I only signed up with affiliate program aggregating company SkimLinks this year. What I actually have is 7 separate accounts with 7 separate affiliate schemes, all offering slightly different things in slightly different currencies. I also do the occasional sponsored post through ebuzzing and post sponsored videos from UnrulyMedia.

My websites are hosted with 5 different hosting companies. Some of them are UK based, some are US based – this means I get charged in US dollars. I pay most of my hosting costs monthly but one of them offered a significant discount if I paid 2 years up-front, so I did that.

One of my websites covers food and nutrition advice so I decided that the websites should fall under the umbrella of my limited company, just in case some fool reads something I wrote, gets fat or has an allergic reaction and decides to sue me. I’m still figuring out how to make that transition official given that all the websites pre-date the company.

The tax people tell me that I have to convert all the non-UK payments into their UK equivalents at the time of payment. The bank people tell me that I can’t view an entire years’ worth of statements online. My accountant tells me that there’s no “official” way to transfer ownership of a website from me to my company.

For an information manager, I have managed this shockingly badly. In my defense, this particular system has grown organically around 5 years of blogging and I never thought I’d be doing this full-time.

Morals of the story:

  • Don’t quit your day job in the middle of a tax year
  • If you really must do 1., earn enough money to hire a damn accountant

I may need to sell my websites to myself. Wonder if I can charge VAT on that…

Written by Weefz

18 January, 2011 at 12:47 am

How to Make an Elevator Pitch

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Interesting presentation on Slide Share showing how to make an elevator pitch for your new startup

(Start from slide 11 to skip the boring intro bit)

Written by Weefz

31 May, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Posted in entrepreneurship

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London Startup Weekend

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I won a ticket to London Startup Weekend. Squee! :) It’s a weekend-long event where people gather to pitch ideas, then break off into groups and build them over the weekend. I’m still not a coder, and I’m still crap and graphic design, so I’ve dug out an old notebook and will be carrying it around with me for the next two weeks, writing down business ideas. I might even pitch one or two of them. Depends on the vibe in the room. Failing that, I might focus on UI design and marketing the hell out of whatever it is we build. Having been bored out of my skull on every one of the social marketing seminars I attended at Internet World, I reckon I know quite a lot about this social media stuff.

It’s the same weekend as Launch48, which is rather unfortunate for somebody. However, Startup Weekend is in Southbank, where Launch48 is in Richmond. OTOH, the Richmond office is where GameCamp was held, and I know for a fact that they have FatBoy beanbags there. Startup Weekend makes no mention of creature comforts. I shall ask them if I need to bring a pillow.

As for me, I’m getting much more comfortable with this meatspace networking malarky over the past couple of years. Not only has my day job forced me to talk to lots of people all the time, I ran a session at GameCamp 2 (London), I chatted to random strangers this year at The Stylist Network and Internet World. I can totally do this.

I hope.

There’s a competition to win your own ticket this evening and another tomorrow. Follow @startuplondon and the hashtag #swlondon

Written by Weefz

21 May, 2010 at 10:45 am

Internet World 2010

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I attended Internet World 2010 the other week. It’s sort-of inspiring to be in an environment where I can completely focus on my start-up idea. OTOH, I learned exactly nothing from any of the seminars I attended.

For a start, should I really have any respect for an internet-focused conference that doesn’t appear to support permalinks on its official website? I’m sure that in 9 months’ time that deeplink I’ve included above won’t be working any more.

Besides that, I think it’s probably more targeted towards successful businesses who don’t know anything about social media/internet behaviour. Pretty much everything was well out of the range of someone (like me) languishing in seed stage. I did manage to learn that a fully-featured content management system will likely cost about £25,000. So… I’ll be sticking with WordPress for a while.

Edit: Oh, forgot to mention the most important thing that I discovered; the one thing that made it all worthwhile. I learned about BrandBank, who distribute product photos and label information. Not much use to me at the moment, but once I develop the plain fruit and veg categories on One Serving, BrandBank will make it much easier to branch out into processed or packaged food.

Written by Weefz

16 May, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Hooking into the network

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An NHS day job means that I’m completely out of with other entrepeneurs, would-be entrepeneurs and gamers. I’m making an effort this year to meet more people through London Girl Geek Dinners, Girl Geek Coffee, I went to GameCamp two weekends ago and I have BarCamp London 4 coming up at the end of May.

I have no freaking idea what to talk about at BarCamp. The abysmal portrayal of women in games? The crushing lack of IT literacy in the NHS? How Bully: Scholarship Edition is so much more fun than GTA4? Everything seems either too wide or too narrow.

Written by Weefz

12 May, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Update: March 08

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As I said in the last post, OneServing got a bit of traffic coming through from WordPress.org. Most of those visitors did have a quick browse round the rest of the site so there’s a little bit of interest.

Looking through my visitor patterns showed that one poor soul had been searching repeatedly to find out just what one serving of fruit was. Unfortunately for them, I wasn’t completely happy with the post explaining how I chose the amounts I did, so it wasn’t available. With any luck, they had a look through a few fruit pages and realised that one serving of fruit is always 80 grams or 2.8 ounces. Still, I’ve posted the explanation for the fruit and veg and nuts and seeds categories. I’m sure future visitors will want to know the same thing. Better to have visitors leave the site happy and successful than frustrated and unfavourable.

Posted another 5-odd fruit and vegetables, bringing us up to 21 in total. I’ve also given in and plundered my savings to buy a couple of proper studio lights. My current equipment so far has been:

  • 80cm photo cube/light tent from eBay (£14.50)
  • Table lamp with 100W equivalent CF light bulb from ASDA (£12)
  • Boyfriend’s halogen bulb table lamp (free)

Yeah, not the greatest of macro lighting setups. OTOH, £26.50 is pretty good for a low-cost startup. Problem is, I spend way too much time processing the shadows out of photos and fiddling with contrast. Even devoting an entire day to the task only gets me about 6 usable pictures. The photo on One Serving of Whole Peeled Banana is pretty borderline.

The new lights cost me just under £85 so I shall expect a four-fold increase in productivity ;) They arrived yesterday and I have an exciting hour of almond, grapefruit and sunflower seed photography planned before my Pilates class tonight. Hope the lights will prove their worth!

I wonder if I can claim them as a business expense, since I’m now registered as self-employed…

Written by Weefz

4 March, 2008 at 12:38 pm

New Year, New Focus

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I have lost my way. Again.

So far there are 8 items of food published on OneServing. I have about 5 decent photos sitting on my laptop, which makes 13 when I post them. My launch target is 50, so there’s quite a way to go.

I have set myself some milestones. I can’t be bothered with full-on project planning at this stage, so they’re on Ta-Da Lists. One Serving: Getting the First 50 Items

Why I am so far behind

  1. Laziness – It’s easier to just hang out at my boyfriend’s or play games than do work.
  2. Inexperience – I’m not an experience graphics manipulator by means, so taking and processing the photos is incredibly hard work for me.
  3. Lack of info – I buy whatever fruit, vegetables or seeds I see in the supermarket that appeal to me. Then I find out that there doesn’t seem to be an official Glycaemic Index for them. Not too sure what to do about that. Will probably use substitutes (disclosed, of course) and wait for someone to correct me.

Written by Weefz

3 January, 2008 at 3:54 pm