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Finding it hard at the moment.

(9 Posts)
Bear1984 Tue 06-Sep-11 16:58:39

I had a somewhat successful first year. I had quite a few bookings, more than I had expected to have, and I made a bit of a profit. I was really chuffed and thought, hey maybe I could make this a success!

Then... everything's gone to hell! Lol.

I rent a 2bed flat, my DD is 8, and I finished uni in June. Whilst studying I received a loan and grants to get by. So when I finished, I went to Job Centre to see if I could sign up to JSA whilst being self employed as tbh I knew I didn't have a lot of work definitely on, so I wanted to have a back up plan, and I was looking for a part time job as well so I could have a second income, and DD is too old for me to get Income Support. Job Centre said it was fine as I wasn't earning enough. Each week I would fill out how much I was earning. After 4 weeks, I received the final payment from a job that I was waiting for which was £150. I was told that I had earned too much to be able to received JSA for that week and the week after. I then received nothing for 4 weeks though still being signed on and having to go in. Very confusing!

But because I was also "getting" JSA, I was deemed as earning too much money by council, even though I didn't receive anything for pretty much a month from JSA, so my housing and council tax benefit have been suspended. I cancelled my JSA as they weren't paying me anything and everything seemed screwed up. I went to the council as they needed to have evidence of my ingoings and outgoings. Since beginning of August, I have only been receiving Child Tax Credit which is about £57 a week, Child Benefit which is £81 a month and £10 maintenance from my ex a week. I have only this to pay my bills and rent, although at the moment, I can't afford to pay my rent, and owe 1.5 months...

DD goes back to school this week so I'm going to go to CAB to ask for help, although I don't know if there's much they can do... But won't know til I try!

It's very frustrating. I have very little money so I can't pay for advertising. The only bit of advertising that I could do without having to pay, which I have been using since I began my business, has now been discovered by 6 other people who are in the same field as me, all of whom are so much more cheaper than I am, by a third! This was the only avenue I had to get work and now I haven't been able to get anything! The referrals or word of mouth I have had has got me nowhere as I raised my prices slightly, but I'm constantly being told I'm too expensive for them, though the rate I am charging is cheaper compared to most. So again it's the, do I charge less just so I have some kind of money coming in? But then I'd probably lose trust in the potential client for suddenly changing my prices just to get work!

I can't quit being self employed as I have work booked for next year. I rang the council and they said that my case hadn't been looked at yet and was just sitting in someone's tray, despite this being almost 4 weeks ago I saw them!! They're supposedly chasing it up, but calling again this week to see what the case is. I have been applying for every job I can, carefully describing my skills and experience for each point they mention in their job description, but in the past 3 months, I've only had one interview! I have spoken to the Prince's Trust though so I'm hoping they can help me through their programme.

I feel really disheartened at the moment, and can't really talk to anyone about this either in RL.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 06-Sep-11 17:11:49

Get off JSA and onto tax credits - far more beneficial - you can update your figures with HMRC quarterly

Once DD is at school, make a REAL point of going out for an hour long walk / cycle each free day and leave the computer switched off
clear your head - it will help

DH has been sending personalised drum up work emails today - he HATES it but we have to pay the bills.
I'm working on ixbrl filing now - bleck
life is HARD at the moment so staying focussed is the best thing

and feel free to rant all you like on here - forums are WONDERFUL for it

Bear1984 Tue 06-Sep-11 17:46:54

Hi TalkinPeace2, thanks. I am off JSA now, and have updated my details for tax credits.

That's a good thought. I am pretty much stuck in most days, sat at the computer, trying to research ideas or any advice that can help me. But I haven't really done anything for "me".

It feels like I'm stuck in a circle at the moment. I can't afford to get stuff I need to promote my work, so then can't go to trade shows or fairs to promote myself to get my name out there, but then I feel I need more than what I have to be able to really promote myself, but that means needing more customers, but I don't have them!

Hopefully this will all be worth it in a couple of years time! Lol.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 06-Sep-11 18:49:47

are you ALL OVER linkedin, twitter, FB and trade specific forums - use the same name EVERYWHERE

Bear1984 Tue 06-Sep-11 20:02:52

Yup. I'm on everything I could think of and constantly update them too. Also on other businesses' websites in links pages who are in the same industry as me but not the same trade, and do get some enquiries from people who have found out about me through them.

Currently renewing my blog on a different platform and also trying to redo my website as a friend helped me set it up and it's on his server, but I don't think I'm getting anywhere on Google unless you actually type my name or my business' name which not many people are going to do! So I'm trying to read up on SEO and keywords and all that stuff to try and get a better handle on it.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 06-Sep-11 21:53:25

Website SEO is desperately important
are you using adwords - even a budget of 50p per day will tell you how to target your SEO ....
Simon at UKSiteBuilder wrote DH's site (don't call him tonight though - its his birthday) and it works well for us
BUT the metatags are the work of many years tweaking

Bear1984 Wed 07-Sep-11 10:44:27

No, as all this side of things really confuses me, and I keep bugging my friend to help me out who helped me build my website, but what I'd really like is to be able to pay for someone to help me with all that so least I know it's done. The platform I'm changing my blog to has the option to add in keywords and also my Google Analytics ID if I have one, which I don't at the moment, which is something else I need to get my head around. I'm also wondering whether to try and infuse my website into this platform as well so I can better manage it and keep an eye on traffic better that way. But I haven't decided on that yet.

I'm going to the library later with DD to the library so I can see if I can get a couple of books out on this kind of thing.

I've also bookmarked UKSiteBuilder so I have that too.

Thank you!

TalkinPeace2 Wed 07-Sep-11 17:17:54

I don't use google analytics, just basic adwords
DHs site is information only so click through ratios are less important than visibility
it would be worth you getting an account set up - there are usually free month vouchers kicking around - just to give you a feel as to what people search for.

Does your web site hosting come with stats - they can be interesting / infuriating too!

Bear1984 Thu 08-Sep-11 16:42:18

Ah I see. I'll have to look into it. I'll try it out first. But I know when I check the different google ranking checks that are online, it has come up everytime saying I'm not ranking in the top 300!! I know someone had pointed this out to me and I'm waiting to speak to him properly so he can better explain why and how to fix it.

The website I have is very basic, made up on my friend's server as he has his own as he runs a couple of businesses and stuff, again none of this makes sense to me lol. But my blog does have statistics, and it does show how people come across my blog and what words they use, some being very bizarre, so I could use that, but I guess it's just trying to understand how I input these keywords actually into my website...

I did however get a book out the library yesterday called "how to get your web site noticed" so I'm hoping that will help me better understand what I'm doing wrong as well.

I do really appreciate you helping me out! I was signed up on a course through Business Link on how to use a website to its best potential, but typically it's polling day that day so I have noone to have DD and had to cancel... typical! Lol.

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