Getting organised in the new year, who else still has to do their accounts?!
Hello again everyone, I hope you have all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year and are ready to go for 2020! If you are anything like me, you have left your accounts to the last minute (again) and are dreading the inevitable time that you are going to have to bury yourself under a pile of receipts. Fear not! You are not alone, and I’m going to talk through a couple of things that might help keep you sane in the run-up to the 31st of January.
This is only my third year doing a tax return. The first year I just gave everything to an accountant because I was too scared to do it myself and my mum (who is technically a chartered accountant) wouldn’t help me. But this will now be my second year doing it myself, and I just wanted to let those of you who are doing it for the very first time yourself know, it’s not as scary as you’ve built it up in your head! I literally spent every single day after I submitted my self-assessment last year just refreshing my emails in-case I received something that said they were going to do a random investigation, or that there was a problem. But everything was fine!
I know people do things differently. Some people do the sensible thing and pay an accountant, some people use a spreadsheet, and some use accounting software, all are perfectly good ways of doing your accounts. I personally use the software, and it saves me so much time and means that I can see exactly where I am with my finances. It has about a million reports I can look through, and then when it comes to actually submitting my return, all I need to do is copy and paste the numbers into the right box. But it does still require some organisation.
I keep all my receipts in a jar. A very big jar. A jar from Costco that once contained an industrial amount of sourdough pretzels (by the way, as a sole trader you are eligible for a Costco card.) Plus there’s also the receipts I need to download from all that online shopping. It can be really overwhelming thinking about where to start and why you EVER thought of being responsible for your own taxes was a good idea.
Break everything up into small chunks. The first thing I do is divide my receipts by year. This year I’ve also included an envelope for the current tax year. I’ve told myself that once I’ve done my self-assessment I’m going to start on this tax year. But we’ll see how it goes this time next year when I’m burying myself in receipts again. Once I’ve done the physical receipts I do the email receipts.
And then guess what? Divide them by month! And after that, by category. Don’t make yourself do it all at once, and be sure to break it up with regular tea breaks, glasses of wine, or whatever you need to get yourself through it. It’s going to be ok! I’ve just ordered my Painty Business Book and I am so excited, I can’t wait to bring you a review of that when it arrives! But I am led to believe there are a few really handy pages in there to help you keep track of your expenses and invoices etc.
Don’t forget, any employed work you have done, you don’t need to worry about including that. It automatically appears when you fill out your form, and congrats, you’ve already paid the tax for it! What you do need to make sure of, however, is that you know all of your login information. I realised a few weeks ago that all my log in information was spread out across about 3 different email addresses, but because I use it so infrequently, I hadn’t bothered until then to put it all in one handy document. Who would have thought!
I hope you have all had an incredible start to the decade, I can’t wait to see what the year ahead has in store for all of us!
Now get back to sorting those receipts and someone for the love of god magic me up a cup of tea!
What is a contract and why should you have one?
Ok, this is a question I’ve seen crop up quite a lot recently, especially with private Halloween bookings, so I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about it! I know it’s not the most exciting of topics, but it is so important to understand. I know a lot of face painters don’t have them, I don’t think I had one for quite a while. I had a booking form to make sure I had all the information about any given booking, but that was about it. After a couple of incidents however, I decided I needed a contract. I had one for hair and makeup bookings, so why not one for face painting? It’s nowhere near as in-depth, but it is just as important to have!
So what is a contract? In the UK, ‘a contract is a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law’. And yes, you did read that right, a contract in the UK can be a spoken agreement, but it’s best to have it in writing as well just in case! This does NOT have to be created by a solicitor, but you can have it looked over or even created with a solicitor if you’re not sure. If you are going to be doing a lot of sub-contracting or running your business as an agency, I would highly recommend getting your contract looked over by a solicitor at the very least.
Your terms and conditions should set out your expectations for the client, and what the client should expect from you. My terms and conditions include when payments are due, how I expect payments to be made, and what happens if either party decides to cancel the booking. My terms and conditions also include other expectations of the client, e.g if one of the guests of the event breaks any of my equipment, you as the host/contractee are expected to pay for it (it’s worded much better in my t’s and c’s though!). There is a story behind every clause in my contract, and I do tweak it every now and again, for example, in my bridal hair and makeup contract, I had to introduce a clause saying that I needed to be made aware of any surprises the partner or any other guest of the event may be planning for the bride which may affect the timings of my services. It’s a long story so I won’t bore you, but I’m more than happy to tell you about it if you really want to know!
You need to work out what specific t’s and c’s work for you and how you operate, I’m not a lawyer so I can’t give legal advice! I personally have my t’s and c’s tagged on at the end of my booking form, which contains all the information for that specific booking. They don’t need to print it off and sign it, but they do need to confirm in an email that they agree that the information provided is correct and that they agree to the t’s and c’s. This makes the contract legally binding. You can also include in your contract that payment of the deposit acts as an agreement to the contract.
Contracts protect both you AND the client. I haven’t personally ever been questioned about anything in my contract, and ok, it might take a bit of time to create initially, but once it’s done, you can copy and paste it, and amend it for each client depending on the booking. I know this isn’t potentially the most interesting blog post ever, but it’s really important to protect yourself and your business.
I hope you have all had an incredible Halloween, and are now all busy with Christmas and New Year bookings coming in!
How to build a website and why you absolutely need one!
As far as I am concerned you can’t be in any kind of business and not have a website, it is so important! Not only does it mean that all of the information about you and your business is in one place for your clients to see easily, you can also be found via google search, and it makes your business more trustworthy.
A lot of clients will want to see your website, not just a facebook or instagram page, especially if you are applying for a photoshoot, agency or corporate job etc, some people will not even reply to you if you do not provide them with a website address. I tried to refer my friend for a job I couldn’t take who had told me she was available, but when the client asked me for her website, I could only give her a facebook and instagram page, and she wouldn’t even take her phone number from me. Think about it the other way around. If you were looking for suppliers for your event, or if you were looking at shoes from an independent seller for example, would you be happy going through a social media page or would you rather look at their website? I personally will not buy something or hire a service from anyone if they do not have a website.
It’s also really important you make your website really easy to negotiate, and that all the information your client needs is easily available to them, you want to make it easy for them to get in touch with you and book! Yes, there is a cost to having a website, and it will require some work to keep it up to date with images of your best work, any promotions you might be running and even your own blog if that’s something you want to attach to your website! Like a lot of things, you can choose how much you want to spend on your website, and how many benefits you want to get from it, and Wix do actually offer a free hosting option with their own advertising banners, so if you are worried about the cost, you can do this to see how you get on before committing yourself to a contract.
In the video I’m going to show you how to build and edit your website using Wix, just because that is what I use and what I have access to, but there are various other website hosts for you to choose from if Wix isn’t for you.
Before we start
Just a quick one before we start, it is REALLY important that all your files and photos are well organised so you can easily find them to upload to your website. If you don’t have space on your laptop (because photo’s can take up a lot of space!), get yourself an external hard drive to store all your photo’s on. I only keep very up to date images I frequently use on my laptop, partly because it’s only dinky (it fits in my handbag!) and doesn’t have a lot of hard drive space, and I keep lower quality images and older portfolio bits on my external hard drive, as well as a backup folder with all my current, up to date work.
Please find here the link to the website created in the video
And Please find here my two websites if you would like to have a snoop!
P.S Sorry I say ERM a lot!
One more thing I forgot to mention!
FONTS!! The writing on your website needs to be legible! If you really can’t live without swirly writing, use it for headings, but the main text should be a more traditional font.
Hello everyone! Today I am tackling that question that I see asked nearly every single day (ok not quite, but a lot!) about INSURANCE! I sent out the following email to various companies in the hope that they might be able to help.
I was wondering if you would be able to put together an email or a chart for me detailing PLI insurance cover for face painting, Special Effects, Makeup, and hair styling, separately and together, with details of cost at each tier of coverage, and any limitations to the environment at which you will cover someone, plus information about insurance cover for tools and equipment used on the job. Can you please also let me know your policy on UV face painting and wether this is covered under Face painting insurance or wether you would need to be insured for special effects, what your policy on repotting face paints is, and what information you need from people to insure them, if you have a minimum amount of experience or if you require a specific qualification?
The only companies that replied were Hencilla Canworth and Blackfriars, so I have focussed this blog post on Hencilla Canworth, Blackfriars and Salon Gold (who I didn’t email because they have such a simple online process). If you are a member of FACE then I believe you will be with Rees Astley as per their regulations so I haven’t talked about Rees Astley here. I did email them to see if they would take insurance from non-members of FACE but they didn’t reply.
Hencilla Canworth, BECTU
Before I began this process, I was with Hencilla Canworth via BECTU. I was insured to do ‘Any activity related to the members employment within broadcasting, entertainment, cinema, theatre and live events’ for £38 a year which gave me £10m cover as long as I was a member of Bectu, which costs £11.25 a month. This was what was recommended to us when I was training, so I went with them and never thought twice. However when I sent them the above email I was HORRIFIED to discover that I had potentially not been covered for a lot of the work I have undertaken in the last 2 and a half years. This is the email I received from them
Good morning Mazz
The best option for your self it to join an organization called BECTU and take out their Public Liability (costs approx. £38) which will cover you for all of your work relating to theatre and entertainment industry and then we can provide a top up to this cover which will then cover you for any personal work you do away for these industries such as weddings etc.
Now, that’s completely my fault for not being pro-active about this beforehand, and I am VERY lucky that no-one has ever needed to make a claim against me. I actually decided to undertake the research into insurance because I don’t actually do very much film and tv work, so I wasn’t sure if being a member of BECTU was really worth it for me, but I have actually now left BECTU and therefore Hencilla Canworth in favour of another insurer.
Blackfriars were very easy to deal with. They even sent me a link to their policy on UV Face paint which I know has been a bit of an issue for people recently! I have included a link to their policy for all of you to see, as well as their reply to my email below.
Thank you for your email, we will cover all of the mentioned items under the one policy for the same cost regardless of how many of them you actually want to insure the premium will be £67.93 for £5M Public Liability and Treatment Liability for 1 person. The hairstyling will not cover any cutting, perming, dying etc purely for styling only.
The insurers do not require you to have any qualifications but would expect you to have whatever your Governing Body say you should have.
This was the first email I had back, so this definitely put things into perspective for me when I thought about how much I was paying for my insurance with BECTU! However, not being able to cut hair was an issue for me, and after a little more digging I discovered that they do not offer kit insurance at all. I also didn’t find their application form the easiest, but they were really easy to deal with over the phone and email.
I went through the Salon Gold form a few times to see if adding various services would change the policy price. The price didn’t change regardless of how many services I added (including the ability to cut hair!), it really came down to the level of cover I wanted and any add ons like kit insurance etc. For the sake of comparison for this post, I did not include any kit cover and kept the liability level to £5m (the same as Blackfriars), which came to £73.44, however if you only want £3m cover it was £60.
I didn't have to prove that I was qualified, however they do state that you are required to show your certificates in the event of a claim, and that by purchasing insurance, you are declaring that you are suitably qualified.
I found the website very helpful (I won’t even deal with a company if their website isn’t easy to use, I am going to do a blog post about websites in the near future) and if you hover your mouse over any section it tells you what is or isn’t included within that. They have a list of documents towards the end of the process detailing what services are included in the trades you have selected which is really helpful! Although not specifically listed on their makeup artist documents, they do cover SFX makeup too, (I phoned to double check), which is great, particularly for those of you who like to get involved at halloween.
Things you may need to check or think about when you are sorting your insurance
Period of insurance
Be careful on this one! A lot of insurance companies work April to April, so if you sign up in March, you will pay a full years fee, and it will expire in April when you have to pay another full years fee.
Level of Cover
With BECTU I automatically had £10m cover, however when I started looking at other companies, this really pushed the price up. The highest level of minimum cover I have ever been asked to make sure I have for public events is £5m, so that’s what I went for. It largely depends on the events you do, and obviously, the higher the level of cover you want the higher the insurance fee will be. Some companies offer cover from £1m, some start at £5m, so think about the types of events you want to do, and if you have any application forms hanging around, check how much cover they want you to have.
On the Salon Gold website when I hovered over the Public and products liability I discovered that I would be covered up to 14 days abroad except US and Canada. Before this, I didn’t even consider that working abroad could have the potential to invalidate my insurance! So if you are thinking about working abroad just double check what your insurance says about this, you may need to pay a little extra. After a quick chat with Blackfriars, when I asked this question they said it also depended on what happens with Brexit. I guess a lot of companies are going to be in the same position, so if you are planning on working abroad just get in touch with your insurer and double check where you are covered and how long for, and don’t forget to get travel insurance!
This is entirely up to you. We spend a lot of money on our kits, and if you have a craft-n-go, that’s not an insignificant amount of money to lose if something were to happen to it! Until now I didn’t have kit cover. I really wondered wether I wanted to pay the extra money when I was already paying quite a bit, but I now have a few big ticket items, not only for my face painting kit but for my hair and makeup kit too. For the sake of an extra £40 I now know I’m covered. I did actually have an incident about a year and a half ago, and I still didn’t get kit cover! I had been doing my makeup in the car on the way to London (my mum was driving don’t worry!) I use the same brushes on myself as when I’m on the job in one big brush belt, and I have a particular palette with all my essential eyeshadows etc magnetised to it. We left the car at Richmond Car Park and I left the makeup I had brought in a little tote bag apparently on view. Idiot. We got back to the car to see the hazard lights going off and the passenger window smashed in and my tote bag gone. I was absolutely devastated and in a total panic because I was supposed to be doing hair and makeup at a wedding fayre in a couple of days time. All of my brushes were in that bag, as well as some pretty key items. We had a quick look around the area in case whoever had take it had realised what was in there and dumped it, but couldn’t find anything. We reported it to the police but didn’t expect to hear back from them. About 10 minutes into our very cold journey home, we had a phone call saying they had recovered it!! I could not believe it! Apparantly they had been chasing someone on a moped earlier in the day and he threw the bag with my bits in it off onto the pavement, and do you know what? Out of the roughly 30 or so eyeshadows on that palette I only lost 2 due to breakage, and I only lost 3 makeup brushes. In case anyone was wondering, they didn’t catch the guy. He took off his helmet, and apparently they have to stop chasing when someone does this because health and safety. Also, my mum was pretty annoyed at me. I cost her a new window. But I don’t think kit insurance would cover that…
Just as a little note, Blackfriars do NOT insure kit and equipment.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on UV at the moment. Blackfriars made a very helpful document about this https://www.blackfriarsgroup.com/face-painting-uv-and-neon-paints/ and I am sure each insurer has their own policy.
So Who did I go with?
We all have different needs with our insurance. I ended up going for Salon Gold because it was the best decision for me and my business. They cover all the services I need insuring under one policy and my kit for less than my yearly BECTU membership, before the insurance on top of that!
I hope this has been useful to you and that I have answered any questions about insurance! If you still have questions, please pop a comment below or get in touch with me.
The Pixie Tribe