Turning a hobby into a living

Making a living from their hobby is the dream of many craftspeople. In a slight change of pace, I explore here how they can turn this dream into reality. I’ve focused on woodland crafts because, as an amateur green woodworker, that’s what I know about. But the lessons are the same for pretty much anyone wanting to turn pro.

As our jobs become more stressful and less secure, an increasing number of us spend our few idle moments wondering what it would be like to jack in the day job and make a living by doing something that we truly love. Whether it is managing a woodland, making chairs or carving spoons, the thought of using our skills to create an exciting and profitable business holds many of us in its thrall. But what would it be like to turn our hobby into our livelihood? And how can we make it happen? Continue reading

Universities encouraged to make financial information more visible to students

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is asking universities and colleges in England to present information about their income and expenditure in a way that is transparent and accessible to students and to the general public. This draws on research undertaken for HEFCE by Sockmonkey Consulting and the National Union of Students (NUS). Continue reading

Beware of false profits

In these times of austerity, there’s a greater focus than ever on how much things cost. I’m working with several of my public sector clients, for example, to help them to work out the cost of the services they provide and to use this information to make better decisions. The same is true across the commercial sector, where lower costs equal higher profits. Except that they don’t always. Not in the big scheme of things. Continue reading

Donations, sponsorship and the need for accountability

Donations and sponsorship add up to big money in the public sector. Most hospitals have at least one fundraising campaign. Local authorities have long sought and received corporate funding for roadside planting and summer festivals. You can even sponsor a police car. But as cash flow gets tighter and new sources of income look more appealing, it is important that we think carefully about where the money comes from. Continue reading

It’s a people thing

There is often a tendency to think that any problems within an organisation can be resolved, or any desired improvements made, with the application of a new process or the implementation of a shiny new piece of software. While understandable, this is potentially problematic. Because organisations are not about systems, processes and software – they are about people. Continue reading