YOU WANT TO START A BUSINESS, NOW WHAT?

 
© JASMINE DOWLING

© JASMINE DOWLING

 

A ramble post around the things no one told me before starting a business. 

WHAT YOU THINK ARE YOUR ESSENTIALS VS. WHAT ACTUALLY ARE

Often when starting your own personal business, you can get caught up in thinking of all the things you think you need. Things like 'I need the best packaging', 'I need a new printer/computer set up' when really those expectations when you are just starting out might be unrealistic and stop you from starting at all. 

A lot of people starting out think they need thank you cards, stickers, letterheads, expensive designed websites but you really should be thinking about the basic essentials. You should spend your time/money on your logo to start with as that will stay with you. But invest in your business rather than the extra stuff that of course is nice to look at but essentially doesn't 'make' your business. 

If you need a website, use an easy to build-yourself system like Squarespace. It has modern templates that are quite easy to customise yourself, especially if you are willing to put the time in to google it. 

Instead of designing custom packaging, think of a way that you can create the same feel with inexpensive alternatives like just ordering custom stickers and pair it back with simple white packaging and nice tissue paper. 

What actually is essential to starting a business is the foundations. Things like the financial set up, the business registration, tax, how you will make money, what are your business values.

Focus on the essentials and along the way as your business grows it will become clear what you need to invest in and what you don't. 


TAXES

I am only going to discuss this in regards to Australia because that is the extent of my experience. 

As much as you may get excited at the end of the month by seeing you have earned X amount, unfortunately that isn't all yours. It is good to start with a good relationship with tax. Don't get fooled into thinking all of that money is yours and spend it accordingly because it will haunt you, and then come knocking. 

Once you start paying yourself it is good to work out how much of that is income tax, and put it out of reach. You can find out how much income tax you should be putting away here or here.

In Australia if you earn over $75,000 a year you must register and pay GST. GST is a 10% on goods and services. Find out more.

So that X amount MINUS Income tax MINUS gst is your final income.. Less exciting now right?

Please note I am not a financial advisor or accountant so if you are having trouble, seek advice one of those professions. 


HOW TO BE FINANCIALLY STABLE WHEN YOUR INCOME ISN'T?

First thing is to know your money. Ignorance is never bliss, especially when it comes to finances. 

Once you have 3-6 months under your belt you will really start to get to know your income. If your income is unstable (like most freelancers) you can't think about it weekly. Some weeks you may make nothing, so you can't live week to week. Looking at things monthly you can get a better understanding of your income. 

I personally try work my finances a month in advance. For example at the start of a new month, I will look at the previous months paid invoices then minus expenses (receipts) then minus GST (10%) then minus income tax. After you feel deflated after all those minuses then you are left with what money is actually yours. I put all government money into a separate account ready for tax time, then the rest I divide into how many Sundays are in a month. Then I know each week on Sunday I will pay myself. Now each month is different but it gives me stability knowing that this month's bills have already been accounted for and I am not living pay check to pay check. 

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE MONEY

I am always fascinated by how people make money. As a small business I know how difficult it can be to actually make it financially viable. 

This is something you should be thinking about from day one. If you are a freelancer who predominately creates branding or logos, how many of those projects do you need a month to make X amount to start. Is that viable? Do you think you could have enough clients to be working full-time for yourself? 

Is there a way to make passive income through a product while your main focus is your service? This has been essential for me working full time for myself. My type of client usually has 30-90 day pay cycles which means I am often left months without payment for completed work. Without the support of my online store customers my income would lack stability. 

What are your costs vs. what can you charge? Is it the case that you should try sell large volumes at smaller margins or vice versa? Does that in turn suit your customer?

All things to think about. 


IT TAKES TIME

Don't expect anything to happen over night, or over months for that matter. Things take time, things don't work out the way you thought they would in your head. Remember that all you can control is the work that you put in, you can't control the quantity of fruits of your labour. 

Remember that anyone that's business you look up to has been in it a lot longer and has gone through the same shit that you are now. 


WELCOME TO BEING YOUR OWN ACCOUNTANT, MARKETING TEAM AND HR.


LEARN AS YOU GO

You really have to put the time and energy into making your business what you want it to be. No one is going to hold your hand in this (unless you have a business partner, they might hold it). If you want to figure out how to improve your website, research it. If you want to know how to improve your financial set up, google it. 

You don't need a mentor or contacts to start. You need the motivation to learn without someone telling you to. For the first few years of my business, I did all my own taxes and finances. I did not do a finance or business degree, none of my family were accountants. I just researched through terrible government websites what I needed to pay and how BAS statements work and taught myself. 


BEFORE YOU START, DO THIS

Register for an ABN (Australian Business Number)

Open a new bank account for your business expenses and invoices

Either:
Set up a spreadsheet for your Invoices and Expenses
Open a Xero Account if your finances are more complicated

 

 

 


I know this all might seem overwhelming and a lot to think about but it is so important to get certain practices like your finances right from the start. You learn as you go and you can always google something if you don't know. I started my own business without thinking a lot through and learnt as I went, always willing to ask google for help and grow as I made mistakes. I hate to sound corny but if I can do it without any contacts or financial help then you can too. 

Hope this helps and as always, I would really love to hear some of your thoughts below.

jasmine x 

MY FAVOURITES FROM CLINIQUE

It has been a year that I started working with Clinique so I thought it would be a fun idea after all of the things I have tried and tested, tell you what my 10 favourite are. The products that I have tried then gone and re-purchased. 

 

Let's start with skin..

Moisture Surge 

For those who follow not only my Instagram, but also watch my stories you won't be surprised by this first one. Moisture surge is probably my number 1 Clinique product if I had to pick favourites. If you are only going to pick one product from the range, go the Extended Thirst Relief. It gives you a hit of moisture without leaving your skin feeling tacky or greasy. I am onto my fourth jar that's how much I love it. 

Pep Start

My main lover from this range is the 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser. Once again, I think I am onto my 4th or 5th tube of this. I use it day and night and feel like it really cleanses and wakes up the skin. Also a great tip for the Eye Cream in this range is to pop it in the fringe and use it cold to decrease puffiness. 

 

Now to the make up.. 

Superbalanced Silk

I know I spoke about this in my recent 'Finding The Perfect Base' post but this truly is my favourite product to use as my base. It is not too matte but not too dewy either, it has the perfect silky finish with moderate coverage. 


Cheek Pop

If you are on the search for the perfect soft peachy/pink blush - the shade 08 Melon Pop is for you. If I am not wearing the Chubby Blush in Amp'd Up Apple then I am wearing this on my cheeks. 


Just Browsing

I am all about just enhancing your natural brows and this product helps me do that. It is like a mini mascara for your brows that adds definition to each of your brow hairs and keeps them in place. I use the colour Deep Brown 

Chubby Contour

This is the product that made me fall in love with Clinique before our partnership even began. The easiest product to quickly bronze or contour your face. I personally also love to use it on my eye lids for an easy shadow. 


Sweet Pots

I feel like these are the most underrated Clinique Product but they are absolutely one of my favourites. They come in the sweetest shades and on one side of the jar it is your lip balm and on the other side there is a sugar lip scrub. They are genius and I can not get enough. 


Lash Power Flutter to Full Mascara

To be honest, Clinique has hands down some of my favourite mascaras I have ever used. Even writing this I had to toss up between the High Impact Mascara and The Lash Power Flutter to Full, but because I have been using the Lash Power the most over the last few months, it had to win. I feel it does a great job at lengthening with volume without causing clumps in my lashes. 10 out of 10. 

 

A huge thank you to my Clinique family for making this year happen. I had so much fun trying and testing out all the new releases and you have definitely taken over my holy grails for multiple categories. 

jasmine x

This post was supported by my partnership with Clinique Australia.

HER GARDEN

 

When the most recent collaboration from Max & Co and Swarovski landed on my doorstep I was instantly inspired. Not only to wear these crystal critters with all my basics but to also have some fun & create imagery. 

There are the obvious beetles and butterfly inspired pieces but also the not-so-obvious like the crystal droplet pieces. They remind me of the condensation on a crisp morning in the garden, reflecting the light. 

 

Pictured.
Bracelet with Butterfly Charm

 

 
 
 

Instantly I was drawn to blooms for creating
these images, because when am I not needing another excuse to buy flowers?

I was also inspired by the moment when the light hits each of the Swarovski crystals in these pieces. I knew it was time to put away the diffuser and play with the light & shadows when shooting the orchids wearing each piece. 

Pictured.
Butterfly Earrings

 

 

jasmine x

 

This post was created in collaboration with Max & Co. 

INSPIRATION VS. IMITATION

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Last week I was a part of The Design Conference Brisbane, speaking about my experiences with Copyright Infringement. While preparing for my talk I realised that there was a lot that I hadn't spoken about previously so I thought it was about time I published some of it here. 

Most of the Copyright Infringement cases I fight are against corporations, manufacturers or other design teams but nearly every week one of my followers will send me an account of someone who has imitated multiple areas of my business. It isn't infringing my copyright but it definitely crosses my ethical line between Inspiration and Imitation. And that is what this is, it's a moral/ethical grey area. A grey area that as designers or creatives, we have the responsibility to keep ourselves on the right side of it. I get it, as a young designer especially you are trying to find your voice or your aesthetic. You may be experimenting with what other's have done before you but does that mean your creating imitations of other designers work rather than creating your own?

So how can we be inspired while not imitating or plagiarising someone else's creativity?


WATCH WHAT YOU ARE CONSUMING

Before we had technology in our pockets at all times, creatives would have to consciously seek out inspiration. Whether it was going to a gallery, finding a book of their favourite designers, look up encyclopaedia (?!) You would have been very aware of what material you are consuming and that is where it gets tricky today. Today we are consuming media without even paying attention. I think this can be dangerous if you are consuming a lot of someone else's art, thoughts, opinions, inspirations even because you can be doing so subconsciously then regurgitating them as your own a week later without realising they aren't originally yours. 


DON'T FOLLOW THOSE IN THE SAME FIELD AS YOU

Now I would probably lose at least 25% of my audience if people did this. When you are consuming a lot of media from those you aspire to be like, or whose work is close to your own, that can be a dangerous mix. It doesn't mean that I don't support other's work or think their work is amazing to look at, but I know it really isn't productive for me to do so. Follow people in other fields. If you are looking for inspiration in your feed you're more likely to be able to take inspiration from something in another field, rather than imitating something that was from the same field as you. 


IMITATION IS NOT FLATTERING

I don't know what the fuck Oscar Wilde was talking about. I actually feel it is one of the most disrespectful things you can do to another creative. From my point of view, when someone imitates or uses my work without permission they take a part of me. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is true. We give ourselves to our work and when someone takes that from us it is very hard to maintain that connection with what we create. When it was at its worst last year with two major legal battles and multiple small cases happening at once, I briefly lost all connection with my work. That is a place that I wouldn't wish on anyone and one that I never want to be in again.


As always, I would love to hear your opinions or thoughts on this topic below in the comments. It adds so much value to the discussion hearing from you guys, getting your input and talking about it more. 

jasmine x 

FOCUS ON CREATING, NOT THE RESULT

Why do I think so many creatives imitate rather than be inspired? Because we see the final result from someones creativity. We see it appear instantly without any knowledge of the time, edits, full trash cans and tears that went into creating it. We see it without the back and forth between you and the client and concepts that got turned down. But we see a result, that result may gain the artist likes, follows, larger clients, perceived success. Isn't that what all creatives should want? To be 'successful' off their art. So we imitate that result, hoping that we too could be successful artists to prove that our passion can also be a legitimate job. 

Imitating someone else's work is the easy route, I get that. But you can't imitate someone else's creativity, you can only imitate the result and by doing so you don't get to truly create at all. The fun part is all the stuff in between. For me it has always been natural to share my work online, it is just something I have done since day one. Take away social media though and I would still be creating because that is how I love to spend my time. 

As creatives, we need to spend more focus and give more value to the process rather than the result. 


IF YOU HAVE SEEN IT BEFORE, STOP. 

It is our responsibility as creators to keep ourselves in check throughout our design process. We should constantly be asking ourselves if we have seen it before, if we have done this before and how we can put our own voice into the work. 


GET YOUR INSPIRATION & SPEND ANOTHER 30 HOURS ON IT.

Give yourself and your work time to separate from the original piece of inspiration. Inject your own opinion, cut it up, put it back together. Make it you, not them. 


HOW TO. WAVY HAIR

Today I realised that I am scared of having a permanent video of myself on the internet. But after getting the same questions daily and filming multiple Stories/Live Streams of me doing my hair, this was my only choice. 

So please be kind, I am only facing my fears to help everyone who has & will ask.

Products Used.
Hair brush & Nume Curling Wand with the 25mm attached. I used the 25mm from my a long bob until now. As my hair gets longer I will be switching to the 30mm. 

Most days this full routine takes around 8 minutes.

If you have any questions let me know below and I can get back to you there.

jasmine x