Some of you reading this will be aware that for the last 15 years, I've annually published an 'impact report' on my activities as a sole trader/freelancer - and each time I do, I try and pause to reflect here on some aspect of it that's particularly struck me.
Most businesses, charities, and social enterprises who are currently talking about the impact they've created through the pandemic, successive lock-downs, and the disruption to communities and people's lives over the last year, seem to be largely focussing on what they've done over this last year. Which is fine and proper, but it doesn't help us fully understand the wider, longer-term impacts of the pandemic on how we try and achieve our respective missions - only what our immediate responses to it have been.
But I've been using a consistent framework and measures in how I monitor, report, and reflect on, my impact for over a decade. That means that this year's impact report has allowed me to better explore just how far the disruption to how we work, think, and feel, has truly had on my practices - and as such, I'm better able to consider what changes I might need to introduce as we emerge into our brave new vaccinated world (and which I can politely pass on).
Spoiler alert: it seems the pandemic has had little (or as expected) effect on the metrics I use to capture the impacts I create across different themes.
But what I do find of particular note is:
tax paid: it's been already shown by others that in being self-employed, I already pay proportionately more tax on my income than my counterparts both on payrolls, and those taking their earnings as company Directors. But this year, the amount of tax I've paid has significantly increased - and tracking this back into the data shows that it's because I was fortunate to be eligible for some of the government's coronavirus business support schemes: but that support I received to help me sustain my business (and family) was always going to be subject to being taxed - so although it may have initially seemed I could have breathed a sign of relief when HMRC said I was eligible to apply for SEISS, I always knew that there'd be at least one painful sting in the tail associated with it...
grace: in my last impact report, I'd started to capture and monetise my 'grace': the amount of lost earnings I'd suffered due to people either forgetting that we had arranged to speak/meet, or cancelling training sessions with only a days' notice (with no recourse for me to claim any late cancellation fee). Perhaps the most distressing part of this year's impact report is not that this figure hasn't changed, it's that if anything, its actually increased. Which means that the respect we're showing each other in making sure we turn up (or phone in/log on) when we've agreed to, or at the very least, sending apologies in good time if we know we can't, is on the wane...
But there's lots of other things in this years report. It now runs to 11 pages, with 12 indicators, 3 charts, 3 tables, and a slew of summary case studies and testimonials - in the first year I created it, covering the year 2006-7, it only had 3 numbers and was a footnote in my corporate CV!
And you can view it in all it's glorious technicolour and images, here.
Therefore, please do take a look through it - I'd be keen to hear what strikes you about it as being of particular interest in help me better understand it myself, and to therefore continue to create as much positive impact as I can into the future.