In Part 1 we discussed Stephanie’s background, and what led her to start her new company. In this final part we discuss the money and what Stephanie’s measure of success is, relating to finances.
Howard: Did you have to raise capital to run the event?
Stephanie: The company isn’t incorporated, so from a legal perspective I’m doing this event under my own name. In Switzerland that’s how it works. I’m looking into the incorporation, but I want to make sure the first event is successful before I do the administrative work to set up the company. There was no initial capital. The event should be self-financing, with attendee payments and sponsorship paying for it. That’s why I have some aggressive early bird pricing.
Howard: Are you paying yourself?
Stephanie: My objective is to pay myself, but the first ambition is that the event doesn’t lose any money. Hopefully I’ll make enough profit to pay myself.
Howard: Did you take time to budget the event?
Stephanie: Yes, I have spreadsheets but I was a bit naive about cash flow when I started. You can do a what’s coming in, what’s coming out, and hope the total of revenue is greater than expense. Or you can add a time component to the budget and you have a week-by-week vision of what’s coming in and what’s going out, to ensure that by, say, week 5, you’ll have enough money in the bank or incoming to be able to pay out at the end of week 5. This was something I hadn’t though about previously.
Howard: So you figured out from this you wouldn’t need to take a loan or any additional capital for your event? : Well done for your first event.
Stephanie: I hope it works out like I hope.
Howard: Tell me about the big event?
Stephanie: It’s an event about freelancing. Lots of people start freelancing because they know how to do something and get paid for it, but you have to fix your rates, find clients, deal with accounting and paperwork, etc. So we’re taking a day to talk about all these issues. I have a number of speakers who are going to explore these topics in depth. I’m expecting 150 people, on the 16th of May in Lausanne, Switzerland, just next to Geneva, and the web site is http://www.going-solo.net/
It’s more intended for the freelancers in the web and related industries, from Europe, but all are welcome. As it’s a one-day event, we are also looking to organize a “bar-camp-type event” on the next day so people will feel comfortable coming and then spending the weekend. (A camp is an un-conference where anyone can present or attend, done in a space like a university, with rooms, WiFi, and a big board where people write the topics being discussed attendees know what’s going on and where to go.) I hope the one day event plus the camp will bring people in.
Howard: Thank you for your time and for sharing your business start with everyone.