The Big New Idea: design starts this week!

BIG NEW IDEA: design starts this weekAh, this Big New Idea continues to take up a lot of my brain space! I switch quickly between thinking big and long term to thinking small and detailed. Such is my way of working.

Here’s what I’ve been working on over the past week-and-a-bit:

  • Branding. After getting in touch with various designers and running into timing conflicts and fear of the unknown, I’ve come back to working with Evan at Sixteen July (who designed this site and who is awesome). She starts design work TODAY! I have, of course, created a Pinterest board of visual references. If you love that kind of thing and want to see how it will transform into a logo and brand style, check out the board here.
  • Schedule. I’m aiming to launch the website and the business at the beginning of July. Originally, I was thinking June, but I have other commitments (read: I’m going away for a week) that just made it unrealistic. Before the launch, I’ll be running a trial photoshoot with my team here in Cambridge so that we can practice working together, and hopefully get some awesome content to share on the website.
  • Pricing. I’ve been playing with the numbers to figure out what I’ll need to charge to make this work for me and my team, as well as keeping it affordable for the customer. I want tiny one-person businesses to be able to get high quality photography and copy, as well as making it accessible to bigger businesses who want to send us their entire range. I’m a big believer in getting feedback when you offer your product, so I’m only asking for feedback from a select number of clients before launch. (Rather than asking, “How much would you pay for this?”, it’s much more effective to actually put the product out there with a price tag and see how many people buy it. When people theorise about how much they’d spend on something, it isn’t always true to their behaviour.)
  • Team. Oh, the team. So much of the success of Big New Idea will rely on the team. I have a little mini team for our trial, which I’m really excited about, but I’m also continuing to build local connections in Cambridge, especially for photographers. (If that’s you, email me.) I’ve been thinking loads about how I can scale up the team quickly, and about the leap of faith I’ll need to make to do this. Flexibility is awesome, but I’m also going to need to offer and ask for commitment if demand is high.
  • Process. I’m fairly obsessed with process, and this is very much a work in progress. A real foundation for this business will be efficiency and professionalism, so I’m working on ways to get product lists, contact details, notes and shooting schedules set up to provide my team and clients with clarity. Picture big scribbly diagrams, post its, and spreadsheets as I work on this!
  • Trial shoot. I have a lovely bunch of clients who have offered up their products for the trial shoot, and they’ll be getting emails from me this week. I’ll be planning each shot with my team so that we’re building in quality from the start.

I’ve also been thinking about the balance of my Big New Idea with my existing business. Because mentoring clients one-on-one, running retreats, creating courses, and leading workshops is really what I want to be doing. I love it. That’s why I started my business. It’s so important to me!

But right now, I can’t do more than keep with my existing clients while I set up this business. It wouldn’t be fair (or possible) to take on new mentoring clients because I wouldn’t be able to give them my full attention. That’s a hard decision, for me. But I have some exciting plans for when the Big New Idea is off the ground to create Jenny Hyde Mentoring 2.0! So patience is the key…

This decision – to pause mentoring while I set up something new and complementary – is also tricky from a financial point of view. This month and next month won’t bring in the cash flow I usually expect and aim for, PLUS I’m spending money on a website and props and other investment stuff. “Hold your nerve” is my mantra right now. It ain’t easy.

So, that’s the update from me! If you have any questions or thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

Jenny x

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Here's the thing: how to stop financial over-worrying

how to stop financial overworryingWorrying about finances – do I have enough? how do I get more? how do I spend less? – is the sort of thing that keeps us awake at 3am, tossing and turning, imagining all the wonderful new ways we’re going to make money to that we can be safe.

In the 21st century, money and having enough taps into our survival instinct as human beings. We know that this is the equivalent of have a safe and secure cave. We use money to buy food and the fundamental things we need to live. So of course, that ultimate survival part of our brain worries about it.

Here’s something I’ve noticed: yes, there’s a need to plan finances and be responsible. But there’s also a need to change the way we view money in our small businesses (so linked to putting bread on the table tomorrow).

When we believe that there fundamentally isn’t enough money for us to have everything we need, and perhaps some things we want, we stress ourselves out and, somehow, make that come true.

We get caught up in doubt about our product or service offering. Perhaps we over-invest in ideas because we need something to work, not realising that we could have just invested fully in one idea that would come through. The worry about having enough means we rush products to market before they’re ready, and then we have a lower return on investment.

Here’s the thing

I wanted to share a few pointers on being happier with your finances. These aren’t the sorts of things your accountant is going to tell you, but they make a big difference to me.

Connect with the reality of your finances regularly – every day if possible. Whether that means looking at your bank balance or your accounting software, or your own spreadsheet, take a moment each day or every other day to get a good realistic look at what you’ve got right now. Having a firm grasp on reality helps us make good decisions.

Change the story you tell yourself about money. Consciously move from ‘Oh help, that’s not enough. I’m not doing very well. I’m going to struggle to get by’ to ‘That’s less than I would like, but it’s plenty to see me through right now. I’ve got plenty of potential, and I’m determined to prioritise the things I really need and want.’ Once you start thinking differently, the worry doesn’t take over as easily.

Make sure that you’re working towards long term abundance. If you know you’re working on projects you’re proud of, are high quality, and have good commercial potential, lower bank balances become bearable. You can start to see them more as blips in the grand scheme of things. You’re investing time and energy wisely, choosing projects carefully, and not just blindly following every single idea or opportunity that comes your way. You’re chipping away at the immense amount of free marketing tools we have these days to promote existing products or services, and you’re building a business slowly (because it is a slow process). This will also help you feel like you’re investing the money you do have wisely.

Feel grateful for the money, work, stuff and opportunities you do have. I honestly believe this works to help you attract more money/work, and to help the gremlins at 3am be quiet. Practice writing down or saying out loud what you’re grateful for. If your home is secure, be grateful for it. If you get some sales, love those customers, and be grateful they’re there. If you have a wardrobe full of clothes you love, be grateful that you can keep wearing them. And be grateful for any windfalls that come your way. Any little ways you find to save money, or a fiver you find in the sofa. Be grateful for the little things when they pop up.

Okay, so it’s not a watertight plan to make you a millionaire by the end of the year. But in this world of freelance work and no steady income, it can certainly help you to find solid ground and feel better about where you are. In my own life and business, I’m incredibly grateful for what I have, and for every single person who decides my work is worth their hard-earned cash.

Happy (and abundant) Friday!



Enter The Forge

Life's too damn short to chase someone else's definition of success. I'm here to give you the courage and tools to forge your own path.