I kicked off 2017 with a dream to build a business that values community, puts people over profit and turns ideas into reality. Not quite a new years resolution but certainly a challenge to kick off the rest of my life!
After paying a substantially reduced board of $100 to live in a beautiful, modern apartment, I literally have $15/day to fund the rest of my week.
My flagship project is World Photo Day, a global photography celebration that’s connecting people and inspiring positive change in the world through visual storytelling.
During my planning in 2016, I realised how important a solid foundation was going to be and I started pursuing opportunities to make that foundation a reality, on a very limited budget.
I started looking for ways to overcome the main challenges most business startups face.
- I needed to pay for my business setup costs including my company registration. I successfully raised support for a Stir micro-grant and received $1,000 to cover those costs.
- I needed to work alongside creative and inspirational people so I pursued a co-working scholarship with Entry29, a Canberra-based community of entrepreneurs. I pitched my business and received a 3-month scholarship placement!
- I also needed to learn business skills. I enrolled in the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme program which had just relaxed their acceptance criteria, giving me access to business development resources through a Certificate IV program.
To get my head around Over the new year period, I headed down to the coast for a short break and to answer a simple question: What would I have to give up this year to realise my dream?
Heck, after thinking about it for a while, what I had to give up almost made me give up on my dream. I was about to walk into 2017 with $20, no guaranteed income and a work week of 84+ hours without pay for the first 3 months.
It was time to create a budget. How much money did I need to survive? I came to the conclusion that I needed $200/week. Easy. I de-registered my car, cancelled my car insurance and sold my Canon 5D Mark II.
I’ve sold the majority of my camera gear to fund the development of the world’s largest photography celebration. Oh, the irony.
I started riding my bicycle everywhere. But then, my bike got stolen, out of my car. Bummer. I now had to replace a $500 window and a bike. No stress. I wasn’t using my car anyway. I boarded up the window with plywood and I borrowed a bike from a friend. I kept powering on.
Part of living on a super low budget has been finding any opportunity I can to eat cheaply. There was a weekend when someone cancelled an order at a local subway and I was given whole subway platter for free. I shared that with two of my co-workers Ben Grady and Stu McMillen.
That was January. Sweet.
Feburary – Week 1
Uh Oh. January was short lived. I’ve been working from as early as 7 am to as late as 11 pm. Cycling to work, 15 km each way.
I’ve been eating a lot of Mi Goreng Noodles over the last 4 weeks. But bonus story, I was given a Hello Fresh promotional offer for a whole week of free dinner! I can’t offer you a free promotional box, but this link will save you $30 off your first Hello Fresh box.
I’ve been productive and I’ve gotten a lot done, but now, I’m looking down the barrel of February and after buying a friend a coffee this morning, I’m down to $15 in the bank. I’m about to put my DJI Phantom 4 drone up for sale to fund February.
But great things are happening. To start with, I’ve launched a new website with fresh content, check it out at worldphotoday.com.
The average wage where I live is over $1,635/week. Naturally, the cost of living in such an affluent city is relatively high and I know that living in my city on a budget of $200 a week is impossible on my own. I’m super thankful for all the incredible people that have been a part of my entrepreneurial journey, supporting me in a whole range of ways.
Coco, my sister, for claiming excess food from her cafe job. Raj from StackOne for offering a free subway platter, a cancelled order at his work. Ethan, Dave and Lewis for shouting the travel costs up Mt Kosciuszko. James from Vivid Recollection, Ben from Private I Marketing and Jason from Jmacqueen Media for pub fun times. E29 for a free desk to work from. NEIS for continued business development support and the Food Co-Op for free loaves of bread. Hello Fresh for a free 5 meal promotional box of food.
I believe in working hard to pursue a dream but I don’t believe that you should ever compromise on your values to make those dreams a reality. I value community, my family and my friendships. I always strive to make sure those values come first, even in my crazy 85 hour work week.
Interested in supporting me?
If you’re interested in supporting me in building a business that values community, puts people over profit and turns ideas into reality, you can buy some of my greeting cards or buy one of my photographs on Redbubble. Alternatively, if you’re feeling really generous and want to shout me a coffee or nice meal, you can do so through PayPal. I’ll take a photo and share it on my next blog post.