After 10 years of working in multiple office environments and many different sectors I have met some wonderful people who are still my close friends, picked up a myriad of transferable skills and learnt how a business works. By the end of July 2019 however, I knew it was time. Time to work for myself and to put my skills to better use while working in an environment that I could control and enjoy. I registered as self-employed and haven’t looked back since…
I sat down at my laptop and began the grand task of organising my new life as a sole trader; spreadsheets for tracking every penny, templates for invoicing, a rough draft of what I wanted to include in my website- all very exciting. Within a week the website was built (thank you Wordpress!), LinkedIn was updated and business cards were ordered.
The reasons for leaving my last bout of direct employment (which has been removed from my LinkedIn profile and CV) will remain between me and the universe – suffice to say, it simply wasn’t going to work. However, my time there was clearly meant to be as I met my first client. I ‘clicked’ with her as soon as we met- we work so well together that I quickly became a cog in her machine.
I must send my apologies to my LinkedIn connections, friends and family as this was the week of a full-scale assault on social media. I hopped into every conversation I could, shared my website at every opportunity and badgered my loved ones into doing the same. It paid off- two potential new clients were now in touch and the conversations had begun.
I also received some one-off work from a colleague of my first client- perhaps a toe testing the water for something more regular? Fingers crossed.
Week three sees me writing this blog. I’ve also been turning my attention to filling the little gaps in my skill set; brushing up on my WordPress skills, reading about SEO to bulk out my copy-writing skills and watching endless YouTube videos around Mailchimp and the like.
On the marketing side of things I started looking at local recruitment and small business events- the calendar is filling up with networking opportunities. There’s nothing better than meeting potential clients face to face. I think the anonymity of remote-workers is a huge part of what scares people off. It’s hard enough to delegate to someone you’re sat next to all day, let alone someone in another building possibly very far away! I will always meet with new clients face to face if at all possible- even if it has to be via the wonder of Skype.
This week I experienced the thing that self-employed people dread the most- a bug! I was very poorly with tonsillitis but didn’t want to take time off and a) let my client down or b) lose funds for the month so…I powered through. Luckily, it’s a lot easier to put your big girl pants on and keep working when you don’t have to make yourself look presentable, leave the house or speak to anyone! I sat in bed in my PJs working away- it actually helped take my mind off the aches and pains.
Week four was largely spent with my 16-month-old daughter as our childminder very selfishly decided to go on holiday (how dare she?!) – what a fantastic thing to be able to work around now I’m in control of my own schedule! Stress free childcare juggling- who knew that was a possibility?
I look forward to month 2- networking events, lots of potential clients to reach and speak to and hopefully I’ll be adding a name or two to my rosta… I’ll let you know how things develop in next month’s blog.