Here at Healthy Business Finances – we love numbers, we love accounting systems, we love spreadsheets and we love financial reports.
However we know that often this is not necessarily everyone else’s priority or love.
Throughout June, we will be profiling other business owners so that we can share their financial fears, story, journey and wisdom with us! Through sharing our story, I believe we can break through the financial fears and grow stronger as business owners.
The fourth in our series across the month sharing their story is Cat & Cherie from The Digital Picnic.
I was sneakily following these ladies well before I met them in person. Their amazing use of bright colors caught the attention of my “non-creative brain” – and their genuine nature really shines through. Here is Cat & Cherie’s story.
- Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your fabulous business.
The Digital Picnic is a digital media consultancy based in inner west Melbourne. We run a series of digital and social media workshops focussed on upskilling and empowering small business owners to manage their own social media more effectively. We also have a select number of clients for whom we manage social media and email marketing campaigns.
Workshops are held regularly in Melbourne, as well as Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane. Also in development is an eCourse to allow people in more remote locations access our online learning modules.
- What do you love about your business? The clients, the work, the flexibility, the freedom ?
We adore the people we’ve been fortunate to meet via our workshops. They inspire, motivate and engerise us … and reinforce why it is we started this business every single day. We’re grateful for the opportunity to share our knowledge, and in return we get the immense satisfaction of connecting with other small business owners and helping them get more social savvy.
Flexibility is also very important to us as we both have young families. We decided early on to run workshops on weekends when many small business owners, also with families, can attend. We’ve really found our niche doing this. Our attendees get so much from our workshops and private Facebook group as so many of us are parents juggling own own businesses and family commitments. Support is everything in small business, and we’re so pleased we can help people on an ongoing basis.
- What financial systems did you use when you first started your business (and it is OK to admit perhaps you didn’t use anything – business is a journey !)
From the beginning we’ve been using Wave [www.waveapps.com] for our invoicing, Woocommerce for our online store, and Google Docs for tracking business expenses. We’ve been fortunate that our business has had few overheads in this startup phase, so we’ve been able to keep things pretty simple.
- What financial fears did you have? This can include a fear of dealing with the numbers, a fear of seeing what the numbers will say, a fear of dealing with all the invoices and paperwork, a fear of getting it wrong, a fear of failure, a fear of the Tax Office or a fear of simply being overwhelmed by the obligations of being a business owner?
Definitely a fear of getting the BAS statement wrong, especially the first time it was due! There seems to be so much information out there regarding tax, but it can be hard to get a straight answer sometimes as so much depends on your individual circumstances.
It feels like you don’t know you don’t know something until you don’t know it, so that can be a bit scary as well!
I think our next step will be to get some guidance on what we’re doing now, and could be doing much better / efficiently!! We also need to consider how our business will grow and change after our first year of operation.
- What information would you have loved to have known or understood (from a financial viewpoint) when you first started your business that you now deem invaluable?
As our business is quite straightforward, and we’re a partnership, things have been kept reasonably simple – and we had great help from you Stacey when we set up that agreement, it was so smooth and easy [THANKYOU!!]
When you’re starting out it can feel really scary to spend money [invest] in somethings, especially financial / accounting systems, so a better understanding of the options may have benefited us earlier on?
It’s quite a process to set everything up correctly, and again, a bit confusing as to what needs to come first, ABN, Bank Account, Partnership Docs etc. We found ourselves having to backtrack a couple of times to get the order right.
- What systems do you now use to streamline the financial aspects of your business – programs, apps, resources?
Estimating and invoicing clients – Wave
- for tracking business expenses – we don’t have that many so it’s not currently a huge admin burden
- shared client documents.
- What pieces of wisdom can you share with other business owners about overcoming some of those financial fears?
We joined a local Facebook group for Women in Business in our geographic area, this has been great for asking questions, finding resources and getting advice from other women who’ve ‘been there, done that’. We’ve learnt so much from this group, so we’d definitely recommend joining similar online / real life community and networking groups [www.shewillshine.com.au is another great one!] for advice and support.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most small business owners remember what it was like when they started, everyone seems to make a few ‘mistakes’ or on reflection wishes they’d done something a little differently.
- Numbers are a passion for me – but so is travel, food and family. What are you passions outside of your business.
Definitely family! Whilst travel is on the back burner for a while we both LOVE interior design and styling… we’re probably both frustrated stylists deep down 😉 I think this comes through in our brand aesthetic… perhaps we should launch an event styling arm to our business!?
Thank you so much Cat & Cherie for sharing your story. I love that you have embraced technology and numbers from the start.
Sometimes facing numbers and financial obligations as a business owner can be daunting and intimidating. Our aim at Healthy Business Finances in our Financial Coaching Sessions is to reduce the fear, reduce the stress – and heck – we even want to have a few smiles and a bit of fun along the way.
If you are in business and struggling with your social media obligations….then you simply NEED to follow and connect with Cat & Cherie via facebook, website or via instagram – and maybe I will see you there soon at a workshop !