Bustle UK has switched up its regular money series How I Made It Work, to better reflect the uncertain financial times caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of women who've achieved financial stability discussing the lessons they've learnt, each piece focuses on a woman who has had her financial situation transformed by the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. They'll share what their new normal looks like and how (if at all) they're making it work.
This time, HIMIW hears from Seyda Karimpour, the founder of North London co-working space The Work Club and online freelance membership platform The Self-Made Club. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, she's had to put reopening her space on pause which has meant her income has taken a significant hit.
Occupation: Founder of co-working space The Work Club and membership platform Self-Made Club
What was your working life like before the coronavirus outbreak?
I was working from our co-working space everyday and had a good work/life balance. Just before the outbreak, I was in the process of signing a lease for our new premises that we were due to move into the week the pandemic was announced.
How has the coronavirus outbreak changed your working life?
We cancelled all co-working memberships and made the difficult decision to not open the new space in line with government guidelines. I'm now working from home, like most people, and luckily had built an online version of our space that we launched in 2019 so I still have a community and a business to work on in the interim!
How has the coronavirus outbreak changed your financial situation?
I lost my main source of income with closing the space so there's been a significant drop. Running a business for a few years has taught me how to work with unpredictable cash flows, but this is definitely the lowest it has ever been. It just about covers my monthly expenses/food essentials.
Has the government made financial support available to people in your industry or situation?
There's some financial help for sole traders available from June but unfortunately there's currently no help for Limited company directors which a lot of small businesses operate as. Other than that, universal credit is available but the amount varies on savings/your partner and how much rent you pay.
Do you feel government measures have been sufficient for people in your industry or situation?
I think they've left out a huge chunk of people in our industry like limited company directors and newly registered self-employed people. I've emailed our local MP and they replied saying that they're aware and looking into it for now, so fingers crossed.
How are you managing the change in financial circumstances?
I'm keeping expenses down as much as possible — spending only on essentials and looking into whatever universal credit I'm eligible for.
What would help you feel more secure financially during the coronavirus outbreak?
Securing a retainer client would be ideal, but it's much harder than usual in this climate. Other than that, growing our community and online membership would definitely help to keep the business going during this time.
How do you feel the coronavirus outbreak will affect your working life more long term?
I hope that co-working will still be needed after months of isolation, especially a space that usually has no more than eight people in at once. There will also be so many more people working remotely as a result.
Do you think your experiences during the coronavirus outbreak will change your approach to your business or working life? If so, how?
It's definitely made PAYE a lot more appealing, but I've always been into business so I don't think that will change. It will change the way we build businesses now, making sure that they will be able to adapt when a crisis happens.
Do you think your experiences during the coronavirus outbreak will have an impact on your relationship with money, if so, how?
Yes! I'm using this time to make small changes, get better with budgeting and finally look into a pension — something I've been putting off for so long.