Aggie, the founder of the freelance ads club, shares her journey of discovering the "F*ck off fund" and explains how she incorporated it into her business. She emphasises the benefits of utilizing this fund and strongly advocates other businesses as using it as well 🧐
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Hello and welcome to the freelance ads club podcast with me your host Aggie Meroni. Whether you're a veteran freelance ads manager, or just thinking about dipping your toe into the world of self employment, this podcast is for you. Every week, I'll be speaking about my own experiences as a freelance as manager, sharing a freelancer spotlights where I'll have a chat with one of the amazing members of the Freelancers Club, where I'll be asking guests to share their knowledge and experience in ads across all platforms and business. Don't forget to follow and subscribe on your favourite podcast platform, so you never miss an episode. So today's episode of the podcast is all about something called the eff off fund. So for those of you that have never come across it before, or the phrase or the concepts, I personally first came across the phrase and concepts when I was working in my previous career, which was in investment sales. So it was a very toxic environment, like one of the many that I worked in when I was in that industry. And my boss at the time, who I absolutely adored. And I still think he's one of the best managers I've ever had. He was getting grief about something or other. And he was really at the end of his tether with everything. And he was like, Oh, don't worry. This is why I have the F or fund. You know, if they don't make me redundant, I'm out of here anyway. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, what is this? What is this fo fund, obviously, it wasn't censored. I'm just like, eff off instead of the full phrase, because I don't want to get censored on this podcast, and for my reach to go down. And he was like, basically, you have a cash buffer so that if something happens, you are able to walk away. And it was just such a light bulb moment for me. I haven't actually implemented it myself until last year. But just the fact that he, as a really seasoned professional in the industry for over 30 years had had this as a backup for most of his career was just so enlightening for me, because it suddenly gave you freedom of choice and financial freedom to buffer you. So a lot of freelancers I speak to say that they are trapped, they work with clients they hate or that don't appreciate them. And when I asked why it's like, well, I really need the money. And for me, that is the most damaging situation you can be in as a person, because a lot of people leave careers. And I mean, this is not everyone, obviously. But a lot of people leave their full time careers, because they're unhappy in working for someone else. A lot of people leave because they have horrible managers think I don't know if top of my head what the statistic is, but from what I know, it's like the highest reason or the biggest reason why people leave jobs because they have terrible managers. And you know, a lot of people stay a lot longer than they need to, or they can because they just don't have an alternative. But the traps that fuel psyche is so damaging. And I didn't have a toxic environment, which prompted me to set up my own FL fund in my own business. Mine was more poor planning and, but getting VAT registered kind of unexpectedly. You can hear about the whole fiasco in episode eight of season one of the podcast, but it I was in a very vulnerable situation in my business. And it was a bit of a wake up call for me. Because you never know what can happen. So maybe your client goes into administration, you don't get paid. I don't know maybe forgot you've got this big subscription coming out. Or you know, maybe it's been a bit of a slower over the last couple of months, and it's starting to get a bit hairy for you. Whatever the reason is, it's just such a good idea to have a buffer in your business. Now I'm sure I'm not alone. When I started my business. I wasn't say like, I didn't make bank. You know, whenever I made money, I was like paying myself that's not the case at all. I never I've never felt like I've been rich. As a freelancer. I've always like just invested so much money in like my business and education and everything. So I haven't really ever had much surplus money. But when I went VAT registered and there was a bit of a pallava with my cash flow. I was like this is actually not good. You know, and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to pay for things and I'm having to dip into my savings to cover my business expenses. It's not good. So I sat down and I was like, right, what do I need to pay myself in dividends every month? So that's, you know, to contribute to my mortgage to pay my food bills, you know, just your general living expenses. And then really roughly started working out what my subscriptions were. So, okay, full disclosure, I'm really, really bad at this kind of stuff, which is really bad if you're a business person, like you should be on top of it. But I just kind of figured ways out of that work for me. So I hate zero, I have a bookkeeper and an accountant to help me get up to keep on top of it. So for me to quickly see what subscriptions I had and stuff like that, I just couldn't figure it out. And I'm sure I'm gonna get messages about this. But what I did instead is I went through my bank statements, I went through emails I had, I kind of worked out what I was paying for. And then just in my phone, I have notes. So like every month saying, Okay, this subscriptions coming out, this is your annual subscriptions do and all that kind of thing. And I kind of worked out what I would need to cover those subscriptions for three months. So my business expenses, I added in the cost of my VA, I added in the cost of the support I get from my social media, graphics, all that kind of thing. And I was like, right, three months of expenses. And to be honest, I was a little bit terrified by the number I came up with, I was like, Oh, God, that's actually quite a lot of money. But I was like, right, I'm putting a space in my styling account, and every month, I'm gonna start adding to it. So even if it was like, you know, a Power Hour, I'd put 10 pounds from that power hour into the fund. And I was, I guess, quite lucky that my q4 was quite lucrative last year. So I managed to build up my buffer quite quickly. And that was just such peace of mind for me in my business that, you know, my clients sometimes pay me a bit late, but I still have expenses coming out. And I just transfer money from that buffer into there. And it just kind of helps me with my cash flow, and not the thing. So that's like a practical reason why I recommend having the f4 funds, just so that from a day to day business perspective, you're not stressed, like, you know that, okay, this client is just being a bit slow this month, you know, I know they're gonna pay me, but you know, I just need to chase them. And then in the meantime, your pension, things come out and all that kind of thing. So that's helps me sleep at night. And that sense. Also, it's given me the confidence to terminate a particular client that was causing me stress, because I was like, Okay, this is how much money I'm going to lose a month by not working with them anymore. But it's fine, because I can cover that from my fund. So that's okay. And it just obviously meant that I got a fire at my bomb to market myself more and to get the client. The worst feeling ever is when you feel trapped, that you have to work with someone. And it's kind of like a downward spiral, because they're causing you grief. And, you know, I can just hear people already in my mind go, Yeah, but you should have pre qualified them, and blah, blah, no matter how great your processes and no matter how great your relationship is, with the client, sometimes it just runs its course, you know, the business might change, maybe your point of contact at the business that you're working with changes. If you're doing white labelling at an agency, maybe you get switched on to a different account, you know, things happen once you're already like, deep into the relationship. And you're thinking, crikey, this isn't what I signed up for. But then you think, Oh, my God, I've not been marketing myself. I've been too busy. You know, in the business not working on the business, everyone's been in the situation that I know of as a freelancer. It just happens without even realising it's a slippery slope. You know, it's like the feast and famine cycle, or freelancing, which happens a lot. So just knowing that, okay, in order to give myself the space to find someone, which I can do, I need some mental space to do that. So I need to be out of this situation, which is knocking my confidence, which is taking up way too much of my time, because I'm posting in Facebook groups about it asking for advice. I'm posting in my whatsapp groups asking for advice and moaning about it. And you know, in yourself, you need to just cut your ties with that particular client. And everyone is telling you, you just need to ditch the client, but you hold on and hold on because you need the money. It's not good. It's not good for your mental health at all. I've been there like even with my fr funds, it's taken me months to terminate this particular client that I'm thinking of, because it's a conflict as well, isn't it? But that's a whole different issue. Like you don't want to go down the road of like having to terminate someone and how they're gonna react and oh, you can't take people out of business. Can you just like, that's something that I've definitely learned since going freelance. So I will always advocate to have a full fund. Definitely. The thing that frustrates me as well and I kind of just mentioned it is when I am in groups, and I hear people saying, Oh, my client did this So my client did that. And I can't believe they did this. And now they've not paid me and I might just leave them. And I just seem so black and white about it. But I was like, why would you work for yourself and work with terrible people. And believe me, I've worked with a lot of terrible people since being freelance. And that's what I've become a bit hardened to this. But life's too short. Like I was miserable when I was employed, because I was forced to work with people I did not like it did not get on with and did not share the values that you know, that they had. And I refuse to have that in my own business now. So it takes a lot of bravery. To be like that. I think it wasn't, it wasn't natural. For me, I feel like I've got a few battle scars from being freelance freelancer. And I know that my black and white approach on this isn't always well received by others, because I think I should give them a chance. I was like, life's too short, you know, you've got so much going on as well, like, whether you've got other caring responsibilities, whether you've got other hobbies, whether you have another, maybe you've got a part time job alongside freelancing, or whatever it is, your life is never just your job. So I always think that if you're, if you've got a client that's giving you grief, you don't clock off five, or whatever it is, that client is on your back in your brain, all the time. And, you know, that will detract from other things that you're doing in your life. So that's pretty much why I wanted to just record this quick episode. Even if you feel like things are pretty tight in your freelance business at the moment, try and put away even a tiny bit, since it really does add up quickly. You know, for every little bit of consulting you do, you know, tiny percentage of your each retainer wage or, you know, payment you get, you know, maybe you've got some kind of passive income streams going, you know, just take a little bit from everything and add it into this fund, I really can't recommend it enough. It's probably the biggest, like change that I made. That helps my mental health being a freelancer. So yeah, those are my words of wisdom for today, with just my personal experience anyway. So if you are in need of F or fund, and you don't have one yet, or maybe you've started building it, but you're thinking you know, things a little bit squeezed financially in your business, then feel free to download the free freelance as club offer matrix in there. I have added there's a pre qualifying questionnaire for leads so that you don't waste your time, you know, booking calls, Discovery calls, and everything, people that aren't ready to work with you. But then also tiers of services you can offer. So you know, ideas for how to redirect people that aren't ready, as well as low ticket offers, mid ticket offers and high level offers. And also just some boring bits like just advice on like the operational side of your business as well. So if you want to download that and have a look, maybe get inspired for some more money making things also money making schemes, but that sounds dodgy. They're not dodgy at all. They're like legitimate things that I've tried in my own business or I'm trialling at the moment, then click the link in the show notes and take a look and see if it inspires you to earn some extra pennies to buffer that fund and preserve your mental health. I hope this is helpful and I'll see you or you'll hear me in the next episode. Thank you for listening to this episode of the freelance as club podcast. If you're a freelance ads manager, don't forget to download the free Client Onboarding Trello you can find in the show notes. If you're a brand or agency looking for support from one of our community, visit our website at the freelance ads club.com to access our member directory. Tune in next time