We’re chatting with real Yolt user and filmmaker, Arran!
Thanks for chatting with us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and a bit more about your business?
Arran: Certainly! I'm 23, and I'm a Wedding Filmmaker based in London. I graduated from the University of Nottingham this time last year with a law degree and zero desire to go into a legal career! Becoming a barrister was my goal when I first started university, but over the course of a four year degree, my aspirations changed; I'd started making vlogs and things like that in my spare time, and was really enjoying the shooting and editing process. In the end, I realised that what made me happy was making films, so I decided to try to make a living from it, and here we are!
Have you got a money goal – a finspiration, so to speak?
Arran: My financial goals at the minute are, like so many other recent graduates, to get out of my student overdraft so that I can start saving up for a deposit on a house. Also somewhere in there is the desire to pay off my student loan, but I'm trying not to think about that for the time being!
Have you got a plan for reaching that goal – or any tips for other people saving for something similar?
Arran: Given that my business is still relatively young, I'm still trying to take very little from it, so that I can reinvest as much as possible into getting new gear and bettering my craft. That's where Yolt comes in handy: it helps to reign in my personal spending and make sure I'm not spending too much month-to-month. Later this year, after my first real Wedding Season, I'll hopefully have a better idea of where I stand financially, so that I can start taking more earnings and working my way out of my student debt.
How has your relationship with money changed over the years? What was it like transitioning from student to business owner?
Arran: Going from a student, with grants and loans coming in every term, to what is essentially a freelancer with no financial security, was terrifying. The first eight months or so were rife with uncertainty. Yolt was genuinely a helpful tool at that time because it allowed me to see how much I was spending every month, and in particular where I was spending it, so that I could set up a realistic budget and come up with a target for how much I needed to earn every month.
These days, I'm a lot less anxious; I've got a healthy wage coming in from my business and I've got bookings through 2019, so I feel I have some degree of financial security. That allows me to be a lot more flexible with my budget. Nevertheless, I'm still very aware that a lot of businesses fail in the first three years, so I'm still very meticulous with how I budget and track both my personal and business finances.
What do you recommend for anyone trying to launch their own business? Any money tips?
Arran: I really think the biggest advice is to just give it a try. I was speaking to someone the other day who wants to become a photographer, but is doing it alongside his regular job for a little while, because he has bills to pay etc. He himself said, "But maybe that's just me making excuses". I think a lot of people feel that way.
I was lucky in that, coming out of university, I didn't really have a lot of ties holding me back - I had a clean slate, so to speak, which allowed me to carve out the life I wanted pretty much straight away. But for people who are afraid to make that jump because of their own responsibilities, my advice is to go for it; there's nothing like the fear of not being able to afford rent to put that fire in you and make you send emails, make phone calls and find work.
When I decided to give the wedding filmmaking business a go, I gave myself six months: if, after six months, I wasn't earning enough money to live off, then I would just go and get 'a real job'. And if, during that time, I was really stuck for money, I'd get work in a bar or go through a temping agency to keep things ticking over. As it happened, whenever I was getting really worried about having no work in, that fear of having no money and the sheer desire not to get a minimum wage job was enough to make me frantically start networking and using tools like Facebook and freelancer sites like Upwork to get work - and something always came up!
"Enjoying life means being able, both financially and in terms of having the time, to do the things you want to do, with the people you want to do them with."
What’s the top thing you’ve achieved since you started using Yolt?
Arran: I'd say the top thing I've achieved from a financial point of view is saving money on transport. Before downloading Yolt, I had no idea how much money I was throwing away on the tube every month, and it was only that realisation that made me do some research and find out I could actually use my 16-25 Railcard to get a special Oyster card and get a ⅓ off tube travel.
On a bigger and more personal level, the thing I'm most proud of having achieved since I started using Yolt is just being more cognisant of my money. At university, you really just spend what you've got, when you've got it. But that way of living simply doesn't work when you've just moved to one of the most expensive cities in the world and started your own business.
Now I need to be aware of how I'm spending my money, and what my financial priorities are, and Yolt really has helped me with that!
When it comes to money, our mission is to take away the hard work so you can focus on enjoying life. What does enjoying life mean for you?
Arran: More and more, I'm realising that I'd rather spend money on experiences than possessions. It's way too easy to sit at home watching Netflix and ordering things for same-day delivery on Amazon, but it's getting harder and harder to get a group of friends together and go and have a good time. So I think that, ultimately, enjoying life means being able, both financially and in terms of having the time, to do the things you want to do, with the people you want to do them with, and if Yolt continues to help me do that by prioritising my spending, then it will continue to have a place on my home screen!
And one last question just for fun - If you won the lottery, what would you do? Arran:
Arran: Easy! I'd buy my mum a new house, straight away, because my dad loves gadgets and technology and the poor woman has to put up with the clutter from the sheer volume of things he buys. I'd probably also help my dad fund his gadget addiction. Second, I'd buy myself and my girlfriend a house, treat myself to a nice car, and take my mates on holiday somewhere really expensive to get to, like Australia or New Zealand. I would absolutely still be filming weddings, though, there's no doubt in my mind about that!
Find out more about Arran's Wedding Filmmaking on his official website and Instagram page.