EVENT RECAP: TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
 

Two of the most important areas to get right when you’re starting a business are the legal and accounting side of things, but knowing where to start can be pretty tricky – so I was delighted to host a Taking Care of Business masterclass at Vice UK’s London office a few weeks ago. Something of a ‘business 101 for creatives’, we were joined by experienced accountant Kate Levy (Head of Creative Businesses at Wilson Wright LLP) and intellectual property lawyer Amanda McDowall (Trademark Attorney at Olswang LLP), who each gave presentations on how to make sure your business is set up for success from the get-go, before hosting private one-on-one advice sessions. We covered everything from the importance of protecting your brand through trademarking (and how to do that), to how to put the right structures in place to make sure your business is ‘investor-friendly’, and of course, how to keep HMRC happy.

Huge thanks to my old stomping ground Vice UK for hosting us, and to Kate and Amanda for sharing their expertise with us. A heads-up for those of you who weren’t able to join us: I cover the basics of how to protect your creative work, and managing your finances extensively in Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women, which you can pre-order here. In the meantime, I’ve summarised a few of their top tips below. Enjoy!

Boring but necessary disclaimer: these notes have been summarised to the best of my ability, and were correct as of March 21st. They are meant to give general guidance of the various legal and financial mechanisms referred to therein, and do not constitute formal legal or accounting advice either from myself, or from Kate Levy and Amanda McDowall. If in doubt – speak to a professional!

 

THE LEGAL STUFF

Choosing a trademark…

When choosing a brand name, make sure you pick something unique and interesting that one that no-one else has used before - You could even make it up! Don’t pick something that is descriptive of the goods or services to which the trademark relates. In laywoman's terms, that means if you're a sofa seller, don't expect to be able to trademark something like 'Sofas.com'

Do your research to make sure that there’s no-one else (ideally at all, but certainly within the same territory as you) using a similar trademark, that might be deemed as confusing to potential consumers. As a first step, you should conduct a search via the IPO (UK) and EUIPO (EU) trademark databases, as well as conducting a general Internet and social media search for anyone already operating under the name under an unregistered right.

 

If you’re on a budget…

It is possible to file a trademark yourself within the UK without assistance from a lawyer (the USA is a totally different kettle of fish..) and both the IPO/EUIPO offices offer a wealth of free information and guidance on their websites. The British Library Business and IP Centre also has a (very helpful!) resident IP expert who can give you pointers. If in doubt however – get a lawyer to do the application for you.

 

On commissioning work…

If you commission someone to do creative work on your behalf, there is no legal presumption that you automatically own the copyright to the work they create – even if you pay them – unless you have an ‘assignment’ (i.e. buy the rights from the person in question) and including wording to the effect of “I hereby assign…” as part of your contract. This is especially relevant if, for example, you’re getting a friend to do some work for you as a favour.

FYI – a license isn’t an assignment. It’s just a permission to use, which means you don’t own the work in question.

 

If you’re employed by someone else…

The presumption is that your employer owns the work you create ‘in the course of employment’. So if, for example, you work for a magazine and blog in your spare time – you need to make sure those two outputs are clearly delineated, and there’s no way that it could be assumed the magazine you work for owns the copyright to your blog content. Got it?

 

THE ACCOUNTING STUFF: A Q&A

Do I need a separate bank account for my business?

Yes.

 

Which bank is the best?

High street banks are all pretty similar, so go to the bank you already hold personal accounts with – they’ll already have all your details on file, which will speed up the account opening process.

 

Should I form a limited company?

A complicated question! Generally if your main reason for setting up a company is the perceived tax advantage, setting up as limited company isn’t really worth it in light recent changes to the tax system by the government. Any tax savings you do make will, in most cases, be wiped out by the accountancy fees required to fulfil your obligations as a company director. That’s the short answer.

Having said that, there are other reasons you might want to consider forming a limited company, including the benefits of separating your personal assets, interests – and liabilities – from those of your company. Not to mention that being a limited company adds an air of professionalism when working with other companies and clients.

 

How do I pay myself, and how much do I pay myself?

As long as you leave enough money in your account to pay your tax bill, you can take the rest of it. How do you do that? You transfer the money from your business account to your personal account. Easy!

 

What taxes will I be liable for?

If you decide to operate as a sole trader, you’re liable for income tax on the profits of your business. For the unaware: profits = revenue – business expenses.

If you have a company, the company pays corporation tax, which is a flat 20% on company profits. What’s left over after company tax has been paid is called ‘company reserves’ and if you send those company reserves to yourself as a shareholder/director (i.e. draw a salary), you may well have to pay income tax on that as well.

 

How do I pay other people who work for me?

If the person in question is an employee (as defined by the rules issued by HMRC), they’ll need to be paid under PAYE, and you’ll need to set up a payroll scheme with HMRC. If they’re self-employed, they simply invoice you an agreed fee, and are responsible for their own tax and NI contributions.

 

Do I need to register for VAT?

If you have sales or turnover of £83,000 or more, you have to register for VAT under the law. Even if your sales fall below that threshold, if you’re a small creative business, there may still be some financial benefits to registering under the flat rate VAT scheme – ask your accountant to find out if those apply to you.

 

What paperwork do I need to keep?

By law you need to keep records – i.e. receipts, proof of your expenses, sales etc. for 6 years.

 

Is there software I can use to make my life easier?

Yes! Xero, Sage or Quickbooks. Xero is pretty user-friendly for those unfamiliar with book-keeping.

 

Can an accountant help me raise finance?

Again, yes! Get in touch with Kate if that’s something you’re interested in.

 
NEW SEASON, WHO DIS?
Spring Flowers
 

Blossoms blooming, sun shining, and finally being able to ditch the heavy jumpers and ankle boots – there’s a reason why spring is my favourite season of them all. If the warmer weather and longer days have given you a fresh burst of energy, why not channel some of that energy into spring cleaning your life, and set yourself up for a new phase of mental clarity and productive working?

Read on for some easy ways to streamline your life inside and outside of the office.

 

Environment

Pay attention to the environments you’re in, and the spaces you create.

 

 

REFINE YOUR AESTHETIC

It’s no secret that the human brain responds well to aesthetically pleasing visuals - if your surroundings are looking tired or drab, that’s bound to have an impact on your day-to-day mood. To refocus your aesthetic in a way that's conducive to clarity, try creating a moodboard full of the sorts of visuals that reflect the vibe you want to recreate in your everyday life. If you're pressed for time (or space) then Pinterest is obviously perfect for creating virtual moodboards, but if you can, hang up a corkboard somewhere you’ll see it every day for maximum impact. Then get creative!

 

DECLUTTER YOUR WORKSPACE

I'm all about the easy wins, and I guarantee you tidying up your desk is a quick and easy task with a disproportionately powerful gains when it comes to improving your mental clarity. That giant stack of papers you haven’t picked up in months? Go through it right now, filing the important things, and chucking the rest (preferably in a recycling bin). Feel better? Thought so.

 

FLORA AND FAUNA

At this time of year everything’s in bloom, and there’s no reason why your indoor spaces shouldn’t be too. Add some greenery to your work and living spaces to give them – and you – an instant boost: snake plants, bromeliads, and rubber plants are all aesthetically pleasing choices that also thrive indoors. Or (if you’re feeling fancy) treat yourself to some fresh flowers for your desktop once a week – I’m currently obsessed with ranunculus blooms, pictured above.

 

DRESS THE PART

If you dress like a slob, you’ll feel like one too – and that way unproductivity lies, so treat yourself to one or two key pieces to refresh your look for the months ahead. Never underestimate the power of the clothes you wear on a day-to-day basis to impact your mindset, and the way you feel about your work.

 

Self

The most important piece of the puzzle.

 

 

PROGRESS CHECK

Why not check in with the New Year’s resolutions you made back in January, to remind yourself of the goals you’ve set yourself for 2017 and renew your efforts on any you’ve let slip by the wayside? Here’s a reminder of how to set yourself up for success when it comes to making (and keeping) resolutions.

 

STRETCH YOUR LEGS

With the warmer weather and longer days, now’s the perfect time to take your workout outdoors, so swap the fluorescent gym lights for fresh air and sunshine for an instant mood boost. Why not keep things interesting by taking up a sport instead of exercising solo – join a local netball or football team, and enjoy the added bonus of keeping your mind stimulated at the same time as getting fit.

 

EAT YOUR GREENS

Warmer weather also means lighter, fresher meals, so try to incorporate more fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet to keep your energy levels up. Chef and food writer Anna Jones is an excellent source of delicious veg-based recipes that steer clear of Ottolenghi-esque levels of complication.

 

Business

Get your affairs in order.

 

 

REVIEW YOUR INCOME SOURCES

If you’re self-employed, now's the time to assess your clients and projects carefully to determine which ones are the money-makers - and which ones are the money pits.Which clients, projects, or strategies are profitable, and which ones require you to spend more time on them than really makes sense? Examine and evaluate where you’ve been expending your energies thus far this year, and think about what you need to do more – and less – of to grow your income as the year progresses.

 

DECLUTTER YOUR DIGITAL LIFE

There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of ‘digital detoxing’ these days – but how do you actually do that? Start by unfollowing any social media accounts that don’t actually add any value to your life (you know the ones), and unsubscribing from all those newsletters and email alerts you don’t even remember signing up for – Unroll.Me is hands-down the quickest and easiest way out there to streamline your inbox.

 

SAVE MONEY

Review your bank statement for subscriptions or accounts you’d forgotten you’re signed up for. Chances are there’ll be at least one or two you never actually use, which means you can make some easy savings with minimal effort.

 

Happy spring cleaning!

 
29 MARCH
 
 
 
This week’s WCW: Solange Knowles, because she’s constantly innovating, inspiring, and pushing creative boundaries. Photographed by Nadya Wasylko for BUST Magazine.  

This week’s WCW: Solange Knowles, because she’s constantly innovating, inspiring, and pushing creative boundaries. Photographed by Nadya Wasylko for BUST Magazine.
 

As we round off the first quarter of 2017 and move into the next, now feels like a pretty good time to take stock of the year so far, wouldn't you say?
 
I’ve been spending the past few days doing just that: analysing what’s gone well, whathasn’t gone so well, and thinking about the ways I want to improve on that for the months ahead. For me, that’s mainly going to involve trying to be more strategic about how I structure my time, as at the moment it feels like there’s a bit of room for improvement on that front.
 
This week why not spend 15 minutes looking back over your start to the year, and thinking about what you want to start, stop or continue doing on the work front in the months ahead? And whilst you’re at it – don’t forget to take stock of the things that have gone well so far this year, and reward yourself accordingly. All work and no play... etc. etc.

Until next week,

 

INSPIRATION INFORMATION

You could do a lot worse than to take career advice from Barack Obama's former Deputy Chief of Staff, and current COO of Vice Media Alyssa Mastromonaco. Her account of how she dealt with sexism – both imagined and real – whilst working at the White House is vital reading.
 
…Or you could listen to Alison Green, the management expert behind New York Magazine’s excellent ‘Ask A Manager’ column. Her latest column about dealing with mansplainers, is full of some really useful strategies for handling a situation every woman will (sadly) find herself in at some point.
 
Writer Jia Tolentino’s New Yorker article on the glamourisation of the ‘always-on’ #hustle culture that increasingly defines our working lives is one of the most spot-on things about the freelance gig economy I’ve read yet. 

High street stalwart COS is my go-to destination for chic, not-too-expensive workwear that actually lasts, so I was pretty intrigued to find out more about the woman behind the brand. Check out creative director Karin Gustaffson’s interview with ES Magazine about her inspirations, the London arts scene, and her very Scandinavian approach to work-life balance.

The creative economy is constantly evolving, and nowhere more so than in available routes to business finance. I've recently stumbled across a book that totally gets that:The Crowdsourceress, by crowdfunding expert (and Forbes 30 under 30 alumni) Alex Daly, who’s built an entire business out of her ability to get people’s Kickstarters funded. If you’re looking for alternative ways to fund your business, creative project or charitable cause, Daly’s book breaks down how to successfully execute crowdfunding campaigns based on her experiences funding projects as diverse as TLC’s latest album (!) and a documentary about Joan Didion. 

Another book recommendation, this time fiction: Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love, which is one of the most incredible insights into the human psyche I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Recently I’ve found myself struggling somewhat with my New Year’s resolution to read more, but I devoured this thought-provoking novel in a matter of days – it is brilliantBuy it now.

Never not crushing on la familia Knowles – case in point: Solange’s sublime photo shoot for the latest issue of Bust magazine (where this week's header image is from).Head over to their website to check out the full shoot, along with a little preview of an interview that covers feminism, work, and her experience of growing up in a house full of women.
 
I’m pretty intrigued by the Saatchi Gallery’s latest exhibition From Selfie to Self-expressionwhich opens this Friday and bills itself as “the world’s first exhibition exploring the history of the selfie from the Old Masters to the present day”.
See you there? I’ll be the one blocking your view the entire time whilst I take a selfie.
 
Some more exhibitions, this time for for our Stateside contingent – check out The New York Times Style Magazine’s review of two upcoming exhibitions (one in New York and one in LA) celebrating the contributions of black women to the landscape of American art.
 
 And finally, a new discovery I’m very into: Bustle’s Grown-Ass Finances series, launched under the premise that “money is a feminist issue”. Amen to that. If you fancy having a peek at how other women handle their finances (and let’s be real – who doesn’t?) be sure to check it out.

 
22 MARCH
 
 
 
This week's WCW: Emily Weiss, CEO of beauty brand Glossier, because she’s the dictionary definition of a game-changer. Photographed by Naj Jamai for Violet Grey.

This week's WCW: Emily Weiss, CEO of beauty brand Glossier, because she’s the dictionary definition of a game-changer. Photographed by Naj Jamai for Violet Grey.

With the Spring Equinox already behind us, and the clocks going forwards (or is it backwards? I always forget) for us Brits next weekend, it’s safe to say that spring hasofficially sprung – and I for one am pretty frickin' excited about the season ahead. If you’re a regular on the Women Who blog, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in the ability of the seasons to affect your mindset and the way you work, and for me (and doubtless many others) spring is very much the time to clear out some mental cobwebs, and an opportunity to refresh and renew across the board.
 
To help you do that, I’ll be sharing plenty of ideas on how you can ring the changes inside and outside of the office in the coming weeks and months, so keep your eyes peeled for those. In the meantime: enjoy this week’s mailing.
 
Until next week,

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INSPIRATION INFORMATION

First up: dive in to The Cut’s Spring Fashion issue for their characteristically intelligent fashion coverage, as well as a few non-clichéd ideas on how to refresh your wardrobe for the (hopefully) warmer weather ahead.

I’m a sucker for cute stationery, so this roundup of the chicest desk accessories from Vogue is right up my street. I. Want. Everything.
 
Last week I took part in a panel discussion on Imposter Syndrome at General Assembly, which turned out to be an incredibly eye-opening (and surprisingly cathartic!) exercise. Also on the panel with me was confidence coach Kate Atkin, who shared psychologist Carol Dweck’s ‘fixed vs. growth mindset' research, which I’ve been thinking about ever since. If Imposter Syndrome is something you suffer from, I highly recommend you read this thought exercise on how to flip the script and adopt a more positive outlook.
 
One of the key things we talked about at our Thinking About Design event last month (recap here if you missed it) was the importance of being able to communicate your ideas well in writing. If words aren’t your forte, check out Fast Company’s selection of the best books and essays for designers want to hone their writing skills, which FYI is just as relevant to those of us who work outside of the design industry too.
 
Here at Women Who, we love a good female founder story, and Glossier’s Emily Weiss more than fits that bill. Read her conversation with beauty website Violet Grey to find out more about her mission to democratize beauty, and - more importantly - to get the 411 on her daily routine.

Who needs creative directors anyway? The New York Times asks the question.

If you’ve ever visited iconic Parisienne concept store Colette, then you’ll know how truly special it is. I was totally charmed by this feature delving into the mother-daughter duo behind one of the most famous French boutiques around, which celebrates it’s 20thanniversary this month.
  
Shout out to Buzzfeed for this very important article spotlighting the young black women breaking their way into Britain’s publishing industry – including yours truly! Don’t forget: you can pre-order your copy of the Little Black Book over on Amazon right now.
 
In other news, you can do better than using the word ‘oversaw’ on your CV.
Get creative.
 
And finally, Oliver Burkeman’s regular ‘this column will change your life’ slot in The Guardian is generally a source of interesting and thought-provoking ideas, and his latest offering on overcoming writer’s block is no different. Short, sharp, and to the point.

 
15 MARCH
 
 
 
This week's WCW: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who’s the closest thing to a feminist rockstar I’ve encountered yet. Photographed by Stephen Voss for The Guardian.

This week's WCW: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who’s the closest thing to a feminist rockstar I’ve encountered yet. Photographed by Stephen Voss for The Guardian.

I’m still floating on the wave of positivity and good vibes stirred up by all of the incredible things that happened to mark International Women’s Day last week - so in the spirit of sharing the love, I’ve included a few of the best bits in this week’s mailing (including a recap of our sold out Women’s Day Party!).

Also: details on the next Women Who event below - see you there.

Until next week,

 

INSPIRATION INFORMATION

First up – time to get your affairs in order. Next Tuesday I’m hosting a Women Who masterclass with intellectual property lawyer Amanda McDowall (Trade Mark Attorney at Olswang LLP) and accountant Kate Levy (Head of Creative Businesses at Wilson Wright LLP), who’ll be covering the need-to-know basics of getting your business up and running from a legal and accounting perspective. If you’ve got a side hustle, or are thinking of setting up your own business, this one’s for you – think of it as Business 101 for creatives. Get your tickets here.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my personal IWD highlight was the 170-strong (!) Women Who x Kelly Anna party we threw at Mother London’s gorgeous event space last Wednesday evening. Cocktails + free NikeWomen totes x a print design workshop = a f*cking brilliant night, if I may say so myself. Plus, cocktail maestro Missy Flynn has very sweetly shared the recipes for the zingy cocktails she whipped up with us, so you can make every day International Women’s Day (as it should be!). Click through forphotos, recipes, and aftercare instructions for your WW x KA t-shirts.

Another recap, this time for those of you who missed out on our Thinking About Design event with Camille Walala, Sarah Boris, and Jenny Brewer at the Ace Hotel a few weeks ago. I’ve summarised their top tips for building a successful creative career over on the Women Who blog, alongside a few snaps from the evening (because a view that gorgeous deserves a few photos, right?).

One of the most interesting things I’ve read recently is this article analysing the convergence of creativity and entrepreneurship, and what that means for the average working person. Read on for “business advice for the creative class, and creative advice for the business class”.
 
Singer Kelela’s smooth RnB grooves are very often the soundtrack to my working days, and I love this New York Times profile of her by the equally impressive writer Jenna Wortham. 

Spending hours hunched over your laptop everyday is a sure-fire route to back problems, so try a few of these Coveteur-approved yoga moves before bedtime to save yourself a trip to the osteopath.

Maybe you’ve missed a critical deadline, or you’ve (somehow) accidentally included someone on an email they really shouldn’t be on – everyone makes mistakes at work. This article on how to recover gracefully is spot on, so read it, memorise it, and bounce back from your f*ck-ups with style and grace.

It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, so I was thrilled to be able to witness her greatness in person as part of the WOW Festival last weekend. If you weren’t lucky enough to watch her in conversation with editor and literary critic Ella Wakatam Allfrey on Saturday night, you can still watch their conversation in fullthanks to the Guardian.
 
This year International Women’s Day also coincided with a global women’s strike, with women (and men) around the world downing tools as part of a push for greater gender equality. This photo series showcasing New Yorkers explaining their reasons for participating in the strike action is inspiring and sobering in equal measure.

And finally, a reminder: I’ll be talking about dealing with imposter syndrome as part of a panel discussion at General Assembly this evening, and tickets are FREE – all you’ve gotta do is RSVP.

 
EVENT RECAP: A WOMEN'S DAY PARTY
 

To celebrate International Women’s Day last Wednesday, Women Who teamed up with multi-talented artist and print designer Kelly Anna to host a Women’s Day Party at Mother London – and what a night it was. 170 (!) of London’s creative women descended on Redchurch St (just a stone’s throw from where we hosted our launch event) for an evening of crafts, cocktails, and bonding over our mutual inability to colour within the lines (or was that just me?). It was the perfect way to spend International Women’s Day, and a reminder of the magic that happens when you get a bunch of women – and a couple of drinks – in a room together.

Huge thanks to all of the wonderful people who made it possible, including cocktail maestro Missy Flynn and the crew from Rita’s Dining, who whipped up those delicious Tanqueray-based cocktails using Jamu Kitchen’s zingy tonics; Zezi Ifore and Kim and Pia for the tunes; Winsor and Newton for all those marker pens; Blackwater Studios for the tshirts; and NikeWomen for those gorgeous (Kelly Anna-designed) tote bags!

And finally - given that the cocktails were such a hit, Missy has very kindly provided us with the recipe for both (below) - so you can recreate them in the comfort of your own home.. I'll drink to that!

The Photos

 

(Click to enlarge)

 

The Cocktails

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RECIPE 1 - PINK GIN AND TONIC

  • Pour out your gin (we used Tanqueray No.10) into a jug and quick-infuse with dried hibiscus flowers - available online, or at plenty of Caribbean grocers as 'sorrel'. The alcohol will absorb the colour and flavour within 5-7 minutes, so don't worry about doing this too far in advance.

  • Strain off the flowers, squeezing out any excess liquid - you can keep these gin-soaked flowers to use as a garnish. The gin can be used immediately, or saved in the fridge until you need it.
  • Pour your preferred measure of gin into a glass filled with ice.
  • Add a good quality tonic water (e.g. Schweppes).
  • Garnish with a slice of lemon and some edible flowers - or the hibiscus flowers you used to infuse the gin.

 

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RECIPE 2 - GIN, JAMU AND TONIC

  • Pour a 25ml measure of Tanqueray No.10 into a glass filled with ice.
  • Add 25ml of Jamu (we got ours from Jamu Kitchen, but you can make your own at home!) 
  • Top up with good quality ginger ale (e.g. Fever Tree) - nothing too sweet, and not ginger beer as that will overpower the other flavours.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint.
 

Aftercare

To keep your custom Women Who x Kelly Anna t-shirts looking fresh...

  • Hand-wash only (I know)
  • Don't iron the print directly
  • No tumble dryers

Over and out!