The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!

Fed up talking videogames? Why?
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Jenuall
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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Jenuall » Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:21 am

Knoyleo wrote:The tannoy system in our building is just playing white noise, combined with a high pitched whine, and one of the speakers is right above my desk. :dread:

Supposedly it's being dealt with, but so far apparently nobody's had the idea of turning the speakers off.

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That does sound annoying to be fair. :dread:

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Knoyleo » Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:37 am

strawberry float :lol:

I've ended up relocating to work from the canteen.

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Squinty » Fri Jan 31, 2020 5:28 pm

This afternoon was shite. The general public :dread:

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Chocolate-Milk » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:32 pm

Question, gang:

I've called in sick (at the old job) the past two days because I injured myself at work on Friday. I went to the doctor's today and told them I didn't feel ready to return, but I was anxious about how they'd react, as they have a tendency to be quite hostile. The doctor ended up giving me a fortnight's sick note for anxiety. How do I go about giving it in? Do I ring in again tomorrow, then go and hand in the note later in the day? Do I show up and hand it in on shift? Do I tell them I have a note over the phone?

I've never had to use a sick note before... :|

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Moggy » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:35 pm

Chocolate-Milk wrote:Question, gang:

I've called in sick (at the old job) the past two days because I injured myself at work on Friday. I went to the doctor's today and told them I didn't feel ready to return, but I was anxious about how they'd react, as they have a tendency to be quite hostile. The doctor ended up giving me a fortnight's sick note for anxiety. How do I go about giving it in? Do I ring in again tomorrow, then go and hand in the note later in the day? Do I show up and hand it in on shift? Do I tell them I have a note over the phone?

I've never had to use a sick note before... :|


Sometimes employers will demand to see it, sometimes they’ll wait until you’re back at work.

Call in, tell them you have a sick note and leave it up to them to say whether you have to take it in.

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Green Gecko » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:17 pm

Why can't customers just say what their budget for a virtually infinitely expensive concept is. Surely they have one? Every business, somewhere in the financial entity that represents, there is a resource or there isn't. I'm not going to overcharge or undercharge. Just tell me what you have to spend and I'll adjust accordingly. If it's too much, restrict the criteria or scope of the execution of the concept.

Jesus this simple process drags on for months sometimes, all the while I'm wasting time producing detailed simulations and briefs for which I have no clue at all whether they are actually feasible. You'd think people would consider this before soliciting help, but it's almost never the case. I have already provided a ballpark figure and material costings to come up with a baseline cost plus an estimation creating a sum of all the costs that are likely to be involved.

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Hexx » Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:23 pm

I mentioned our entire IT structure has been redone - as a result of this each building/office has new printers.

More secure! Better! etc

Before you can use you have to log in and register your card (just the first time, don't worry)

But I can't log in - because I have a £ sign in my password and the on screen keyboard only has the $ sign.

And they old printers no longer work

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Hexx » Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:24 pm

Chocolate-Milk wrote:Question, gang:

I've called in sick (at the old job) the past two days because I injured myself at work on Friday. I went to the doctor's today and told them I didn't feel ready to return, but I was anxious about how they'd react, as they have a tendency to be quite hostile. The doctor ended up giving me a fortnight's sick note for anxiety. How do I go about giving it in? Do I ring in again tomorrow, then go and hand in the note later in the day? Do I show up and hand it in on shift? Do I tell them I have a note over the phone?

I've never had to use a sick note before... :|


Depends on work place - but mine always wanted the on return to work.
Check your sickness policy/ask HR. They can't expect you to go in, what if you were bedridden for instance

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Chocolate-Milk » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:19 pm

Thanks for the advice, gang. I ended up telling them I had a note when I rang in this morning. They soon changed their tune when they realised it was related to mental health, though. Took the note in this morning after the shift finished, and they were surprisingly supportive.

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Green Gecko » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:36 pm

Ended up sending out a quote for £2,500 for 5 corporate sculptures machining in aluminium (which alone costs £200 :dread:) and solid wood (oak and beech) and just about managed not to randomly apply pay cuts to different aspects of the work (for example filing, sanding, polishing and finishing for strawberry floating hours upon hours after the piece comes off the mill, which is only part of the work).

Oh wait except I didn't do that as I costed 10 hours of consultation for the real living wage, around £9/hr for 10 hours including 5 hours already done. Should have stuck that at £50/hr as well but for some reason all the stuff you say based on a wealth of experience is free these days.

If they talk that one down (and they probably will, working metal of any kind is never easy) it might plug some holes but honestly I'm expecting a shy "we didn't realise it was so expensive". It's really not. Think how much a framed artwork/print can cost and for 5 large objects 2.5k is hardly anything. It's a starting point at least, as never really had to cost anything like that before.

And they want 5 other things that might go ahead, but there's the usual radio silence on emails you get from companies compared to individuals as nobody seems to be able to decide anything.

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Moggy » Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:48 am

Our new working from home policy is rather gooseberry fool. Basically you are not allowed to do it. :lol:

The same manager who spends most of the week working from home has said that we are a team and work better when we are in the office together. If we want to work from home then we need permission in advance which can be declined. No non-standard hours are allowed. Your work phone will be forwarded to your personal mobile phone (they haven’t given us work phones). You can be summoned back to the office at any point during the day.

Meh sounds like a strawberry floating ballache.

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Rocsteady » Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:10 am

Sounds a forward thinking workplace!

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by pjbetman » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:02 pm

Green Gecko wrote:Ended up sending out a quote for £2,500 for 5 corporate sculptures machining in aluminium (which alone costs £200 :dread:) and solid wood (oak and beech) and just about managed not to randomly apply pay cuts to different aspects of the work (for example filing, sanding, polishing and finishing for strawberry floating hours upon hours after the piece comes off the mill, which is only part of the work).

Oh wait except I didn't do that as I costed 10 hours of consultation for the real living wage, around £9/hr for 10 hours including 5 hours already done. Should have stuck that at £50/hr as well but for some reason all the stuff you say based on a wealth of experience is free these days.

If they talk that one down (and they probably will, working metal of any kind is never easy) it might plug some holes but honestly I'm expecting a shy "we didn't realise it was so expensive". It's really not. Think how much a framed artwork/print can cost and for 5 large objects 2.5k is hardly anything. It's a starting point at least, as never really had to cost anything like that before.

And they want 5 other things that might go ahead, but there's the usual radio silence on emails you get from companies compared to individuals as nobody seems to be able to decide anything.


You have to stick to your guns with your price structure. No good going in cheap at £9/hr. I've no idea of your overheads etc but I aim for £20-30 an hour, and sometimes i'm pissed off i only got that based on the amount of graft certain jobs are, but my overheads are quite a lot (probably £10k per year). As long as you're getting the right type of clients and a decent volume, you should win one or two out of 10 minimum. Rather than double the amount at half the price.

What's your advertising like? Good following? Do you get many enquiries? What's your lead to sale ratio like? How are you targeting your client base?

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Dual » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:12 pm

£9 p hour is ridiculous. How do you get out of bed for that money?

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Green Gecko » Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:09 pm

Basically I quoted for 5 hours of back pay for the dicking around to get the customer to a point where I can actually provide a quote, as all I had to go on was about two sentences and a scribble on some lined paper taken on a mobile phone pointing into the corner of an office. So at least I know they have an office, in London, which presumably means they're not wasting my time. I know there's going to be a lot more to and fro so I've double that. But rather than charging properly for the consultation elements, I've paid myself what I believe to be a bear minumum.

Except we're talking theoretical pay yet as I've had no reply since Friday despite spending five ours answering questions and doing CAD/CAM with photoreal renders to get to that point. They did thank me for the render, but come on.

Everything else is down as £50/hr with a degree of overheads incorporated.

Machinists will generally charge 50-70hr and artworkers with my experience around the same. At a minimum.

But looking at it from a consumer standpoint it's not that much money for a sculpture. Anyway, hopefully something comes out of it as I'm spending the rest of the week on personal work that I may or may not sell. Just get fed up with how the corporates always end up this way and yet they can't produce a simple 3 or 4 digit figure for how much they're willing to pay for the thing that they've gone to trouble of enquiring about.

Should charge for roadmapping or preliminary work really. I don't do free samples anymore either.

pjbetman wrote:
Green Gecko wrote:What's your advertising like? Good following? Do you get many enquiries? What's your lead to sale ratio like? How are you targeting your client base?

It was only 10 hours at £9/hr I costed just to make sure I was getting paid for the work I've already done if purchase at all.

I used to earn £8 per hour in my first permanent role as a digital designer and online marketing manager :fp: plus IT manager so unfortunately these days you wind up very confused about what a reasonable base wage is :lol:. That was 5 years ago and I'm glad I got out as things won't have improved, in fact they practically ended without my influence.

I don't have a fixed budget for advertising, I do local trade events and exhibitions and hand out cards (that's untrue then, I'd say it's about £45 per month max). Google ads have very poor ROI for me especially as I get organic enquiries anyway through Google Local listings and SEO. I have a handful of regular customers so I need to do a lot more to bring old customers back. I had a regular client who went elsewhere because I believe they are undercutting and not sustainable price-wise, and they refuse to pay me just £4.50 per print on a provided garment as my lowest possible price. I even offered to restructure my business around VAT claims so that they could save 20% on their garment costs which was ignored, I don't think anyone else would go that far to make a high street business (it was supposed to be online only but they jumped into high street way to quickly and will probably fold within 6 months) viable for them.

I don't get many enquries. I've had almost nothing through in January and I've cancelled ads on my Etsy shop because whereas before that would bring in a couple of sales the same ads were delivering nothing for the past 40 days or so. The system changed where before you could choose whether to put money towards google clicks or just Etsy clicks. Etsy can act as a lead generator for custom orders "click here for a custom order just for you" etc. Now Etsy automatically attributes most of the daily budget within hours to Google clicks where buyers are speculative and wishy washy and purchase nothing, I already knew this so I used to disable that option. Now it's controlled algorithmically for you. But it's not optimal for the seller, it's to plese Google and get % commission to the Etsy platform on each click. The ROI is really poor there. Never bother with Google Ads unless you're willing to (a) constantly manage your keywords and budgets while anlysing daily trends (b) pay someone to do that for you, increase the cost and lowering the ROI or (c) burn hundreds of thousands per month in the either to get maybe a 5-10% conversion rate that you would get anyway if you optimised your site properly for search.

My conversion rate is probably around 5-7% online and maybe 50% in person. So it's not a sure thing at all.

I am not directly targeting anyone, so I need to get my gooseberry fool together in the marketing department really.

This one came through a mystery referral from a carpenter in the area who handed my card to someone else who works in London. They must have spoken to me or taken my card on the merit of some CNC carvings I had on display in November or December last year.

So all a bit "waiting for clients" and should have them banging on my door given the quality of my work.

Overheads are around £4-5k per year given I've only got £800 left to pay off on about £3k of capital investments, so it's tough to even break even at this point in real accounting terms, and in tax terms the only good thing about it is the pittance I'll have to pay in tax if I carry losses forward into subsequent years. But in real terms I'm barely existing, but given most business are vanquished my massive debts within months of opening, I'm not doing as bad as it sounds.

My reviews and testimonials are really good. Actually I need to dig some more out my emails, ask people to submit new ones to the website (a capability I've had for months but haven't taken advantage of) and perhaps put those directly on ads in local papers or run some low cost facebook or instagram campaigns etc. As an introvert it's all very difficult this sales stuff, even though, it turns out, I'm naturally quite good at it when I overcome my natural shyness.

I'm thinking about putting "seconds" on Depop and Facebook marketplace as well and just ignoring anyone who ignores the list price and the fact I'm an artist not your mate down the road who spends too much on credit cards to keep clothes for more than 30 days.

I need to do more inbound marketing as well as I'm really good at content, it's just that painful time of sitting around making social media posts and blogs etc. not actually making anything with my hands, which is why I created this business in the first place. Not to sit at a computer for 10 hours per day punching characters into a computer screen. But I suppose I have no choice.

I could go down the video content route and start building up a YouTube or Instagram video audience, as that can bring work too as it really shows your workmanship and craft to a wide audience. The downside of that is you are spending about 30% of your time making, 30% editing and 30% on admin. Believe me, editing is a drag.

tl;dr running a business is hard and no it's not all fun and games, you have to deal with tonnes of questions hanging over your head all the bloody time.

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by pjbetman » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:25 pm

Green Gecko wrote:Basically I quoted for 5 hours of back pay for the dicking around to get the customer to a point where I can actually provide a quote, as all I had to go on was about two sentences and a scribble on some lined paper taken on a mobile phone pointing into the corner of an office. So at least I know they have an office, in London, which presumably means they're not wasting my time. I know there's going to be a lot more to and fro so I've double that. But rather than charging properly for the consultation elements, I've paid myself what I believe to be a bear minumum.

Except we're talking theoretical pay yet as I've had no reply since Friday despite spending five ours answering questions and doing CAD/CAM with photoreal renders to get to that point. They did thank me for the render, but come on.

Everything else is down as £50/hr with a degree of overheads incorporated.

Machinists will generally charge 50-70hr and artworkers with my experience around the same. At a minimum.

But looking at it from a consumer standpoint it's not that much money for a sculpture. Anyway, hopefully something comes out of it as I'm spending the rest of the week on personal work that I may or may not sell. Just get fed up with how the corporates always end up this way and yet they can't produce a simple 3 or 4 digit figure for how much they're willing to pay for the thing that they've gone to trouble of enquiring about.

Should charge for roadmapping or preliminary work really. I don't do free samples anymore either.

pjbetman wrote:
Green Gecko wrote:What's your advertising like? Good following? Do you get many enquiries? What's your lead to sale ratio like? How are you targeting your client base?

It was only 10 hours at £9/hr I costed just to make sure I was getting paid for the work I've already done if purchase at all.

I used to earn £8 per hour in my first permanent role as a digital designer and online marketing manager :fp: plus IT manager so unfortunately these days you wind up very confused about what a reasonable base wage is :lol:. That was 5 years ago and I'm glad I got out as things won't have improved, in fact they practically ended without my influence.

I don't have a fixed budget for advertising, I do local trade events and exhibitions and hand out cards (that's untrue then, I'd say it's about £45 per month max). Google ads have very poor ROI for me especially as I get organic enquiries anyway through Google Local listings and SEO. I have a handful of regular customers so I need to do a lot more to bring old customers back. I had a regular client who went elsewhere because I believe they are undercutting and not sustainable price-wise, and they refuse to pay me just £4.50 per print on a provided garment as my lowest possible price. I even offered to restructure my business around VAT claims so that they could save 20% on their garment costs which was ignored, I don't think anyone else would go that far to make a high street business (it was supposed to be online only but they jumped into high street way to quickly and will probably fold within 6 months) viable for them.

I don't get many enquries. I've had almost nothing through in January and I've cancelled ads on my Etsy shop because whereas before that would bring in a couple of sales the same ads were delivering nothing for the past 40 days or so. The system changed where before you could choose whether to put money towards google clicks or just Etsy clicks. Etsy can act as a lead generator for custom orders "click here for a custom order just for you" etc. Now Etsy automatically attributes most of the daily budget within hours to Google clicks where buyers are speculative and wishy washy and purchase nothing, I already knew this so I used to disable that option. Now it's controlled algorithmically for you. But it's not optimal for the seller, it's to plese Google and get % commission to the Etsy platform on each click. The ROI is really poor there. Never bother with Google Ads unless you're willing to (a) constantly manage your keywords and budgets while anlysing daily trends (b) pay someone to do that for you, increase the cost and lowering the ROI or (c) burn hundreds of thousands per month in the either to get maybe a 5-10% conversion rate that you would get anyway if you optimised your site properly for search.

My conversion rate is probably around 5-7% online and maybe 50% in person. So it's not a sure thing at all.

I am not directly targeting anyone, so I need to get my gooseberry fool together in the marketing department really.

This one came through a mystery referral from a carpenter in the area who handed my card to someone else who works in London. They must have spoken to me or taken my card on the merit of some CNC carvings I had on display in November or December last year.

So all a bit "waiting for clients" and should have them banging on my door given the quality of my work.

Overheads are around £4-5k per year given I've only got £800 left to pay off on about £3k of capital investments, so it's tough to even break even at this point in real accounting terms, and in tax terms the only good thing about it is the pittance I'll have to pay in tax if I carry losses forward into subsequent years. But in real terms I'm barely existing, but given most business are vanquished my massive debts within months of opening, I'm not doing as bad as it sounds.

My reviews and testimonials are really good. Actually I need to dig some more out my emails, ask people to submit new ones to the website (a capability I've had for months but haven't taken advantage of) and perhaps put those directly on ads in local papers or run some low cost facebook or instagram campaigns etc. As an introvert it's all very difficult this sales stuff, even though, it turns out, I'm naturally quite good at it when I overcome my natural shyness.

I'm thinking about putting "seconds" on Depop and Facebook marketplace as well and just ignoring anyone who ignores the list price and the fact I'm an artist not your mate down the road who spends too much on credit cards to keep clothes for more than 30 days.

I need to do more inbound marketing as well as I'm really good at content, it's just that painful time of sitting around making social media posts and blogs etc. not actually making anything with my hands, which is why I created this business in the first place. Not to sit at a computer for 10 hours per day punching characters into a computer screen. But I suppose I have no choice.

I could go down the video content route and start building up a YouTube or Instagram video audience, as that can bring work too as it really shows your workmanship and craft to a wide audience. The downside of that is you are spending about 30% of your time making, 30% editing and 30% on admin. Believe me, editing is a drag.

tl;dr running a business is hard and no it's not all fun and games, you have to deal with tonnes of questions hanging over your head all the bloody time.


I suppose your 'closing' figures dont really matter as long as you're getting enough volume to sustain those so-called low figures. High end, bespoke, design/art stuff is high value goods, so even if it was 1% conversion, still manageable. The hardest part for me (and i've only been in business 9 months ish) is filtering out the timewasters, as 90% of people are completely unaware that a business costs are very high, and that's why the price is high, not because we are greedy. However, i'm just dealing with your local facebook user. You need to be targetting non-domestic customers. Have you tried Linked In? I'm seriously considering paying the £50/month to sign up for that and get access to the busines owners, managerial types etc., where money and business costs are accepted universally.

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Green Gecko » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:59 am

I sometimes get messages on Facebook. One of them I closed quite quickly and then after approving the design and myself printing it and having it collected they wanted to cancel. :lol: Didn't bode well for the future. My last conversation they asked a question and just never replied to my information which was basically "yes". :roll:

I have a few hundred contacts on LinkedIn but I can get more involved in groups etc. Thing is not many active buyers are out there - it's good for international networking and reading about some subjects in business news, but it's largely a crowd of recruitment professionals and other people looking for work - and even recruiters looking for work :lol:. Direct selling isn't really a thing there. I've considered it as a platform to blog about business and professional art in general but, again, the audience for that is limited.

Most artist's I've met don't really "get" LinkedIn. It's done in a frankly unprofessional way. Your traditional private view and getting involved with art events and exhibitions is far more likely to generate chance discussions than hammering out words on the Internet - but there are some good self-help Facebook groups for professional artists i.e. people selling their work, running workshops and offering related services.

I've paid for LinkedIn in the past, to be honest, the ability to send a message to anyone can be novel but it doesn't mean they're going to respond to you. Unless you mean advertising on the platform which is different to traditional networking.

I have a guy on there who is looking for a graphic designer at the moment for some "serious games" (AKA edutainment) but not really super into that, I need to check the messages. I scrabble around for vast amounts of time, as you say it's just frustrating never really seeming to get anywhere as there's no guarantees and indeed people waste your time. I've learnt to sniff them out pretty well though and don't follow up things that are clearly going nowhere. This idea of the "hussle" being a super fun thing and you're all in it for the risk, yeah strawberry float off with that. Try doing that for 5 years and see how much fun it is. :lol:

Actually, asking "what's your budget" right off the bat is very effective if you have that problem. It's advice I got long ago. Because honestly, if they don't answer, there is no budget and there's no point moving forward. Obviously I share lots of things like impressive photos and exciting sounding options, but I always remember to ask, what is the deal here. Some people like just thinking about possibly maybe doing some fleeting idea they had in the pub and then realise, oh no, I have to actually trust this person and give them money. Well yes, you just contacted a strawberry floating business mate.

I don't tend to have problems with people thinking I'm greedy. It's mostly people complaining that they can't afford stuff as if I have to undermine my entire business's budgets and model to appease that. I can offer payment plans and advice and things until I'm blue in the face but you can't make people part with money they don't have; yet they will still talk about it for ages and very easy to get roped into that for hours per week.

You're right in saying if I deliberately try to employ higher quality work and consultation style of working it is more about finding the good clients that are few and far between but you really have to set your net wide. I need to do more newsletters and segmentation for any inbound marketing etc. for that too. Soft selling and sharing stories and all that stuff. I don't think I'd be sad working for corporate clients who need objects made - honestly I don't really care who I'm making things for - just that their terms are reasonable .

Thought about taking a 3 month sabbatical just to paint and draw and do other stuff but the alternative is to go to the consumer side of things and just print unlimited runs of T-shirts and art prints. But there's so much competition for that. I still sometimes enjoy working on other people's projects. Truth is I need to do both of these things.

I think a lot of people don't recognise just how much selling is involved in running any business. It's like doing a job interview and preparing your strategies for that every single strawberry floating day.

Speaking of which, I'm supposed to complete one tomorrow for 1 day per week as a visual communication professional workshop/lecturer type person at a university. I might not find it as hard as I remember. I've covered so many facets of what it means to work with a wide array of people over the years I'm sure I can demonstrate that sort of experience in a short statement. Totally expecting to strawberry float up the interview though as I'm used to doing that sort of thing in writing and in 10-15 minute phone calls, not sustained blathering on about abstract questions for almost an hour.

(I did do long consultations in person with people in the past but seeing as I have two or three nearby competitors for sign work that hasn't happened.)

This time I'm going to make sure I get properly mediated and represented with an in-interview assistant person to remind me to answer the bloody question, as I'm immediately placed at a disadvantage in those anxiety-ridden pressured situations where I can come up with 100 responses to a single question, some thing most people struggle to do (apparently). A single question can set me off for hours, I'm sure you can imagine. It's just the way my brain is and I'm frankly fed up of it being treated as a weakness rather than a skill.

The job is to give professional input and critique on student's university work in visual communications, so if they need someone to say, here's some ideas for how to improve this and why, and demonstrate the software or whatever, that might be pretty easy for me. Plus I have some of the desirable criteria like similar experience in technical/workshop academic role (I did exhibition installs at a well known arts university and demonstrated sign making techniques and how to mount work, which is another thing they want occasional help with). I might get some extra hours doing some stuff and ensure my business costs are paid, but in real terms it's only an extra 2-3k per year.

/gg post

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PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by That's not a growth » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:34 am

pjbetman wrote:
Green Gecko wrote:Basically I quoted for 5 hours of back pay for the dicking around to get the customer to a point where I can actually provide a quote, as all I had to go on was about two sentences and a scribble on some lined paper taken on a mobile phone pointing into the corner of an office. So at least I know they have an office, in London, which presumably means they're not wasting my time. I know there's going to be a lot more to and fro so I've double that. But rather than charging properly for the consultation elements, I've paid myself what I believe to be a bear minumum.

Except we're talking theoretical pay yet as I've had no reply since Friday despite spending five ours answering questions and doing CAD/CAM with photoreal renders to get to that point. They did thank me for the render, but come on.

Everything else is down as £50/hr with a degree of overheads incorporated.

Machinists will generally charge 50-70hr and artworkers with my experience around the same. At a minimum.

But looking at it from a consumer standpoint it's not that much money for a sculpture. Anyway, hopefully something comes out of it as I'm spending the rest of the week on personal work that I may or may not sell. Just get fed up with how the corporates always end up this way and yet they can't produce a simple 3 or 4 digit figure for how much they're willing to pay for the thing that they've gone to trouble of enquiring about.

Should charge for roadmapping or preliminary work really. I don't do free samples anymore either.

pjbetman wrote:
Green Gecko wrote:What's your advertising like? Good following? Do you get many enquiries? What's your lead to sale ratio like? How are you targeting your client base?

It was only 10 hours at £9/hr I costed just to make sure I was getting paid for the work I've already done if purchase at all.

I used to earn £8 per hour in my first permanent role as a digital designer and online marketing manager :fp: plus IT manager so unfortunately these days you wind up very confused about what a reasonable base wage is :lol:. That was 5 years ago and I'm glad I got out as things won't have improved, in fact they practically ended without my influence.

I don't have a fixed budget for advertising, I do local trade events and exhibitions and hand out cards (that's untrue then, I'd say it's about £45 per month max). Google ads have very poor ROI for me especially as I get organic enquiries anyway through Google Local listings and SEO. I have a handful of regular customers so I need to do a lot more to bring old customers back. I had a regular client who went elsewhere because I believe they are undercutting and not sustainable price-wise, and they refuse to pay me just £4.50 per print on a provided garment as my lowest possible price. I even offered to restructure my business around VAT claims so that they could save 20% on their garment costs which was ignored, I don't think anyone else would go that far to make a high street business (it was supposed to be online only but they jumped into high street way to quickly and will probably fold within 6 months) viable for them.

I don't get many enquries. I've had almost nothing through in January and I've cancelled ads on my Etsy shop because whereas before that would bring in a couple of sales the same ads were delivering nothing for the past 40 days or so. The system changed where before you could choose whether to put money towards google clicks or just Etsy clicks. Etsy can act as a lead generator for custom orders "click here for a custom order just for you" etc. Now Etsy automatically attributes most of the daily budget within hours to Google clicks where buyers are speculative and wishy washy and purchase nothing, I already knew this so I used to disable that option. Now it's controlled algorithmically for you. But it's not optimal for the seller, it's to plese Google and get % commission to the Etsy platform on each click. The ROI is really poor there. Never bother with Google Ads unless you're willing to (a) constantly manage your keywords and budgets while anlysing daily trends (b) pay someone to do that for you, increase the cost and lowering the ROI or (c) burn hundreds of thousands per month in the either to get maybe a 5-10% conversion rate that you would get anyway if you optimised your site properly for search.

My conversion rate is probably around 5-7% online and maybe 50% in person. So it's not a sure thing at all.

I am not directly targeting anyone, so I need to get my gooseberry fool together in the marketing department really.

This one came through a mystery referral from a carpenter in the area who handed my card to someone else who works in London. They must have spoken to me or taken my card on the merit of some CNC carvings I had on display in November or December last year.

So all a bit "waiting for clients" and should have them banging on my door given the quality of my work.

Overheads are around £4-5k per year given I've only got £800 left to pay off on about £3k of capital investments, so it's tough to even break even at this point in real accounting terms, and in tax terms the only good thing about it is the pittance I'll have to pay in tax if I carry losses forward into subsequent years. But in real terms I'm barely existing, but given most business are vanquished my massive debts within months of opening, I'm not doing as bad as it sounds.

My reviews and testimonials are really good. Actually I need to dig some more out my emails, ask people to submit new ones to the website (a capability I've had for months but haven't taken advantage of) and perhaps put those directly on ads in local papers or run some low cost facebook or instagram campaigns etc. As an introvert it's all very difficult this sales stuff, even though, it turns out, I'm naturally quite good at it when I overcome my natural shyness.

I'm thinking about putting "seconds" on Depop and Facebook marketplace as well and just ignoring anyone who ignores the list price and the fact I'm an artist not your mate down the road who spends too much on credit cards to keep clothes for more than 30 days.

I need to do more inbound marketing as well as I'm really good at content, it's just that painful time of sitting around making social media posts and blogs etc. not actually making anything with my hands, which is why I created this business in the first place. Not to sit at a computer for 10 hours per day punching characters into a computer screen. But I suppose I have no choice.

I could go down the video content route and start building up a YouTube or Instagram video audience, as that can bring work too as it really shows your workmanship and craft to a wide audience. The downside of that is you are spending about 30% of your time making, 30% editing and 30% on admin. Believe me, editing is a drag.

tl;dr running a business is hard and no it's not all fun and games, you have to deal with tonnes of questions hanging over your head all the bloody time.


I suppose your 'closing' figures dont really matter as long as you're getting enough volume to sustain those so-called low figures. High end, bespoke, design/art stuff is high value goods, so even if it was 1% conversion, still manageable. The hardest part for me (and i've only been in business 9 months ish) is filtering out the timewasters, as 90% of people are completely unaware that a business costs are very high, and that's why the price is high, not because we are greedy. However, i'm just dealing with your local facebook user. You need to be targetting non-domestic customers. Have you tried Linked In? I'm seriously considering paying the £50/month to sign up for that and get access to the busines owners, managerial types etc., where money and business costs are accepted universally.


I might be taking you a bit too literally, but coming from someone who is part of a fair bit of business to business sales, just because someone is buying for a large multi national corporation doesn't mean they're not a cheap penny pinching arsehole who will question every line on a quote - especially if it's something out of the ordinary, so there's little competition to be compared to, or they're inexperienced. Also, some people / huge businesses are cheap, and always will be no matter how successful they are.

It's usually best to try and get them to explain why they think your quote is too, which normally means asking them if they've seen something similar somewhere else cheaper - it means you're comparing a tangible thing rather than just the discussion being about their general abstract idea of "value".

Basically, if they can't prove to you that they can get a superior product at a better price then just stick to your guns.

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Moggy
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AKA: Moggy

PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Moggy » Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:25 am

I've got a bit of a cold so thought rather than going into work I would try out the new "work from home" system.

The computer is working fine and I called in to tell my boss who was fine. Then I got an email from her:

, I don’t mind no notice for WFH today, however in ALL future occasions you will be asked to come in where you have not pre-approved this.

I suggest that you familiarise yourself with the process that was circulated to avoid future disappointment.


:lol:

I will be saving that email to refer to next week when she decides to work from home at the last minute, when her mate (who does the same job as me) calls in to work from home and when her boss hasn't bothered to come in for the whole week. ;)

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Cuttooth
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Joined in 2008

PostRe: The Work Thread 2 - Get back to work!
by Cuttooth » Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:29 am

Moggy have you thought about not working for such a shitty company?


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