31 May 2006

Names and sole tradership

So... I'm not going to be JuicyFly limited. At least not at the start.

It's a shame because I love the name and the designs Oli did for me. But for financial and administrative reasons I've decided to go down the route of being a sole trader, which means I have far less paperwork and far fewer costs like accountants. I could be a sole trader "trading as..." but that looks a bit fly-by-night.

So say hello to Maltpress Web Consultancy.

JuicyFly will remain, however, as will the JuicyFly Empire. It's going to be a far less formal "thing", where I'll be playing with new toys, trying some PHP stuff out and having a creative outlet. Maltpress.co.uk will become the official company website and the redesign work will commence tonight.

It's very exciting. Timelines are set, goals are set, stuff is moving along nicely... it's all I can do to stop myself jumping up and down with glee.

Plus I've decided that - if I'm having to sell my car - I need something with which to impress girls. So I'm getting a MacBook. Much drooling will occur. I'm watching the phone, waiting for them to tell me they have some in...

30 May 2006

As of tomorrow...

HM Revenues and Customs recognise me as self employed. Well, back-dated, they will.

I am now a sole trader, trading as "Maltpress Web Consultancy".

And what's happening to JuicyFly? More news tomorrow.

Filling forms

Following a restful weekend during which I watched an inordinate number of films (X-Men III is quite good - not brilliant, but quite good) I am now doing set-up with a vengeance. I've had some good advice and the point at which I say I am self employed seems very, very close.

So today it's contacting the Inland Revenue and DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) to register for VAT and to register as self employed. That way I get to pay tax, but also get to claim back the VAT on my capital outlay, like a laptop and business cards.

On the subject of laptops, the Mac option is looking really good at the moment. Especially when VAT is taken off. I'm going to get some advice, but I really do think I'll get one - after all, I'm going to be working damn hard for it, I may as well enjoy it.

Anyone got any experience of working between PC and Mac and care to talk me out of it/advise me further?

28 May 2006

My poor brain

I am incredibly hurty at the moment. Beer festival. Ow.

Today I will be mostly laying in bed watching Alien on DVD and feeling sorry for myself. This will be an enjoyable hangover. Hurrah.

22 May 2006

Gosh, what a rotten occurence

I'm trying very, very hard not to say rude words.

Bad car things:

  • Metro has failed MOT and is costing me a bomb to have fixed. Bottoms!

  • Midget needs new points and the only way they could be harder to get to would be to put them in another country. Flip!

  • Tax is due on Metro as well, which is even more money. Crivens!

Please replace the above non-expletives with real swears. Real bad, bad, swears, which would make women blush.

20 May 2006


Sparkly things, eh? They're so ace. This is what the future should be like - floaty displays and thinks you can control by waving your hands about, like the Nintendo Wii (ha ha ha).

Just thought I'd post that in a short break from writing a business plan and doing cash flow forecasts...

19 May 2006

Live like a monk month - the strategy

So, my brother and dad are signed up for this. Dad's going to take my cards from me (with strict instructions not to buy things off the internet with it) and my brother's joining in. I've been trying to work out strategies. Here are some of the ideas, in no particular order...

  • Only "done a poo" at work - hence removing the need for loo paper.

  • Stop going out for lunch. It's not something I do much - in fact this is only going to save me about £10 over the month - but that's enough.

  • Bike in to work. I've been doing that out of necessity the past few weeks, because I didn't have the Metro, but I have to remain strong and not be tempted to drive any more than I have to.

  • Do a proper planned shop - maybe even sharing lifts with my brother and getting stuff together.

  • Eat all the stuff I have in the freezer. Not all together, of course, because that would be nasty. I'm going to start tonight with the quiche I have. Mmm, cold egg pie. Love it.

  • Eat more biscuits at work. I put a pound a week into the biscuit kitty; I don't think I'm getting my money's worth at the moment. Although I doubt they'd appreciate my idea of bringing a doggy-bag.

Any other ideas? Use the comment thingy. No-one has for ages. I'm starting to think no-one reads this.

18 May 2006

June - live like a monk month.

In my quest to not owe money any more and - of course - to fight the evil of capitalism and other higher aims (actually, just to get out of debt - it's purely selfish) I am declaring June to be "live like a monk month".

At the start of the month I'm taking a wodge of cash out of my bank account and then handing my debit card and credit card over to my dad. If I need something which is outside my budget, I need to make a case for it with dad. If he's not convinced, I don't get the money. Obviously, some things I'll have to pay for - the MOT's due on the Midget and I need to get that done before I sell it, and I'll have to pay to advertise it, too.

I hope I don't alienate my friends. If they ask if I want to go out and the week's budget is nearly gone, I'll have to say no. Certainly at the start of the month I'll be saying no to everything, and I'll be more likely to treat myself at the end.

It's been inspired by lots of things, really. The Motley Fool is the main one, with lots of stories from people who've saved loads and are now financially far safer (not necessarily rich, but sorted). Alvin Hall's book Money for Life, which I got from the library, is another one. But mostly it's because I have to sell my baby and that sucks, and it's my own damn fault for spending money on things.

It's also going to mean I'll be out less, which means more time on business set-up. Which is good.

It'll be an interesting experiment and one I'll blog relentlessly.

EDIT - I've just had a look at Moneysavingexpert.com and - as well as the advice being good, the copy writing is brilliant. Design isn't great, but the use of headlines, call-out boxes and so on makes it easy to read. Plus the language used is nicely colloquial, simple and structured.

Pity it's so FireFox unfriendly though.

17 May 2006

I'm such a sucker

For shiny things. I keep trying to justify getting one. There's utterly no way - while the business is going to need a laptop of some description, being realistic a Windows box would be more convenient all round and a lot more affordable. If someone at the bank said "why a mac?" I doubt "because it's shiny and looks nice" would be a good enough reason to spend twice as much on a computer.


Leasing, finance and so on would be an option, but I want to pay for as much as possible at the outset and have a minimum of ongoing revenue costs. While I know I can get at least some work at the outset to pay for things, whether I can sustain enough work long term to keep me in shiny things is another matter. If it all goes wrong and I have to get a "proper" job again, at least if I buy outright I'll still own - or be able to sell - my assets, and I won't be saddled with longer term debts. As it is, the cost of setting up looks like it's spiralling anyway - business cards, registrations, insurance, accountants... frightening.

Oh, and discussions this weekend led me to believe making and selling t-shirts for my imaginary band (which I can't help but refer to as "we", as in "we have no members or songs") might actually be a little bit more mad than I thought. I like to think of it as a whimsical eccentricity.

15 May 2006


No, that's not how I feel - far from it, in fact - it's Adobe's new AJAX framework.

Basically a JavaScript library for building AJAX pages, it's a good preview and intro to AJAX, which is something I've not used but have seen being put to work on some excellent web apps. Flickr's a prime example of this - beautifully functional and looks incredible. The applications of AJAX are limitless, especially for people who want to empower users to add, edit and sort information.

Building a website is becoming less about structuring information the way you think your users are going to want it - it's more about putting in place technologies which allow them to structure the information for themselves. Exciting times with some interesting challenges on the way.

EDIT - I've just seen my visitor stats. Someone was referred to maltpress.co.uk from the searh term "bad haircut mistakes".

Great. That's cheered me up no end.

14 May 2006


I've sadly had to reach the realisation that the Midget has to go. I can't afford to keep it - not only am I insuring it, paying running costs, and renting a garage from the council at over £40 a month, but the money I could get from selling it would pay off my credit card and get me nicely set up for starting the business. Perhaps in a couple of years I can replace it; perhaps even with something nicer. But as it is I have a month to prepare it for the MOT and then it's going up for sale.

It's such a sad thing to have to do. I'm so utterly in love with that car. But the situation's just wrong. As it is, I have to think about moving anyway, possibly even back to live with my dad. Realism sucks.

Still, I need to look for the positives in this. It'll put me in a far better financial situation; the business can really take off; I wouldn't have time to look after it anyway; and I've had a couple of incredible years driving it and playing with greasy things. In another couple of years, as I said, I'll probably be in a position to replace it - with something nicer.

Maybe I'll start putting my mechanical energies into the Metro. Maybe it's time to mod it up. Lower it, flames over the wheel arches, tune the engine up, that kind of thing... ha ha ha.

Mod it hard!

10 May 2006

I rock.

I rock.
Originally uploaded by Maltpress.
I made this.

Cheesehelmet Nosebleed are... well, a phenomenon. I'm not sure what to do with them. It's like a one-man flash mob but without the mob and certainly without the flash part of it. Something like an art "happening" but comedy instead of art and it's not really happening.

The original plan was that they'd be the biggest band that never was, but now I'm thinking that perhaps they should be.

Regardless, it's a fashion icon already. Even though I own one of only two t-shirts made so far, and my mate Phil has the other.

Come on - be a 'bleeder:

09 May 2006

Yay! On sticks!!

Hurrah! Maltpress.co.uk is back up and running. My images are back on this blog, and it's running smoothly again.

All is good with the world.

More updates soon.

04 May 2006


Bonk seems to be my favourite word at the moment and I'm not sure why. Not in the naughtiness sense of the word, just as a word... it just makes me laugh. I'm going through something of a childish phase at the moment.

So I thought I'd tell a story of terrible physical injury today. I have to admit I actually have no recall of the events I'm about to explain - for reasons which I'm sure will be apparent - so I only have other people's word for this. And a whopping great dent in my forehead.

When I was about 4 and my brother about 6, we decided to cut down a tree. As you do. I'm not sure if it was inspired by the Monty Python lumberjack song, or a need for wanton destruction, or just boredom; as I said, memory eludes me for this escapade, so I can only guess at the motives.

We found dad's hatchet in the shed. It was a nasty little thing - sharp, curved blade on the front and spiky hooky bit a the back, something like an ice-pick but not sharp. Very solid, however.

Now, for some reason the logic of a 4 year old isn't all that. Being too small to heft the axe myself, I let my brother do it. I wasn't *that* stupid though - I did at least try to find the safest place to be. Using the popular theory of opposites, I figured the most dangerous place to be would be in front of my brother - and therefore the safest place to be would be behind him. Directly behind him.

He went for the first blow. He swung the hatchet back.


My parents came into the garden to find my lying on the grass, blood gushing from my forehead, an axe lying beside me, and a somewhat concerned brother standing by me.

I went to hospital but the queue was very long. By the time I was half way down it I'd stopped crying and the bleeding had stopped so we went home. To this day, if a queue's too long I'll just give up on something. Although that's a somewhat different story.

I had no permanent internal damage I know about; perhaps one day a brain scan will show otherwise (I'd love to see my brain). Scar-wise, I sadly don't have a big manly white line down my forehead like Harry Potter, but if you'd care to feel I do have something of a dent in my forehead. Go on, ladies, feel my head.

And what did my brother say when my parents came out to find me lying there? As he stood over my prone and bleeding body, the axe lying next to me on the grass, he looked up at my parents and uttered the immortal line "he did it to himself".

And they believed him for years until they worked out I couldn't even pick the axe up myself.

02 May 2006

Service update

Still no maltpress.co.uk or juicyfly.com sites at the moment, which is a shame because I've been working on a Cheesehelmet Nosebleed site. I'm planning to make them the biggest band that never was. It's a pointless little fun project I'm just playing with. Part of it is making t-shirts and things using Cafepress, which turns out to be easy to use, incredibly fun, and - because I'm not charging markup at the moment - cheap for people who buy my stuff. I ordered a t-shirt and badge from my own stuff and it worked out at about £15, including postage from the US. Hopefully it won't be too long before we get a UK based one as well.

I also used the Shell Livewire site the other week and got my free startup CD this weekend. It's very good, with a couple of basic ideas generation tools, plus some handy reading material (which will be helping me format my business plan properly over the coming weeks). Next week I'm seeing a financial advisor; I'm going to try to get an appointment with either my appointed Shell Livewire advisor or some other startup advisor soon as well. Then I need to find a solicitor and an accountant.

I'm getting worried about the amount of paperwork there's going to be. Sole trader or limited company? I can see the benefits of being Ltd, but there's all that accounting and stuff...