Three is the magic number

Three is the magic number

On 5 November 2012, I officially started my own business. I became self-employed, freelance, whatever you call it. And it was perhaps the most un-thought-through thing I have done. Looking back, I can see that I really didn’t know what was going to happen. Armed only with my redundancy money, a handful of contacts and a sense of overwhelming optimism, I set out quite unaware of the personal magnitude of what I was doing.

Work came slowly at first. I would go on walks round Wolverton, where I live, thinking, praying, wondering where I might go to get more contacts, more contracts, more jobs. It was easier than sitting, staring at the keyboard. Some people told me that when they started, they never struggled for work (so what was I doing wrong?), while others said that it took them four years to get going (could I wait that long?). However, slowly but surely, one client led to another, and another, and another. Regular work built up and I started to risk agreeing to more ambitious projects. I passed my first anniversary, then my second and now I have reached my third in rude health.

Now my business is well and truly a toddler. And I would like to thank the people who supported me at the start – my family and friends, my old work colleagues and my first clients. You all helped to lay the foundations for what has turned into quite a successful venture! Thanks for being actively supportive and for just being there. Thanks for those initial jobs and for passing my name onto other potential clients. Thanks for being patient and understanding.

I am officially listed as a ‘sole trader’, but I am anything but. I couldn’t do what I do without that network of supporters, clients and cheerleaders. If I could bake you all a cake, I would, but that would take a while. So I’ll just content myself with saying THANK YOU. And who knows? I might just surprise you with a Victoria sponge sometime soon.

Now I am 2

Now I am 2

No, I’m not getting married, nor do I have a newborn child. It’s my business – it’s 2 years old. 2! When I took voluntary redundancy in the autumn of 2012, I never thought I would be where I am now. In fact, if we’re being honest, I didn’t think much at all. If you’re looking for a model of how to plan a business, then steer well clear of my model of start-up.

However, despite my gung-ho and slightly clueless attitude to starting my own business, things really haven’t gone badly. I set myself a target for this financial year, which it looks like I might just exceed. I’ve done some really interesting stuff – creating stories for virtual worlds, delivering training to groups as small as five and as large as 200, writing for social history exhibitions, compiling books, creating exhibitions spaces, commissioning songs, piecing together magazine articles… And, perhaps the biggest achievement, I haven’t gone loopy working from home.

When I reflect back on the last two years, one thing I can say is that God has been with me every step of the way. If you don’t think much of Christianity, then you’re welcome to disagree, but I truly believe he has.

So, thank you so much for supporting me. No one said I was being foolish by taking voluntary redundancy (and I really thought loads of people would!) – everyone was awesome. And thanks also to those who had enough faith in me to give me work, I’ve loved every minute… well, almost, but that’s the case with any job, isn’t it?

Here’s to the next two years!

One year old

One year old

This week sees Creative Daydream’s first birthday! I can hardly believe where the time has gone, but so much has happened over the past year. I’ve learnt a lot about being self-employed, a lot about what kind of work I do and don’t want to do, and a lot about myself!

I’ve become familiar with the tax and NI system, I’ve created new routines to keep myself focused and I’ve consumed more coffee than is probably good for me. I’ve discovered that I don’t miss being in an office as much as I thought I would, but I do miss the inconsequential chat that you get when you work in close proximity to others.

I’ve really enjoyed most of the jobs I’ve taken on – a bit of editing, a bit of training and some creative work too. But there’s been much more writing than I thought, and a few months into being my own boss, I realised I was a professional writer! So that’s what I tell people when they ask what I do: ‘I’m a writer.’ And it makes me smile every time I say it.

So, here’s to the next year. But before then, a huge thank you to those who have helped me out, given me advice and encouragement, and prayed for me. And thanks to my clients – I’ve loved working with you and I hope we can do more in the future 🙂


(To celebrate, I made myself a giant iced bun. It was amazing!)

On friendship and being a part of a great group

On friendship and being a part of a great group

This weekend, I was part of a group that produced an open-air concert, called Movie Matinee. It was a lot of hard work, and we only did two performances. I know that some people wonder why I put so much effort in for such a short performance run. It seems crazy, I know, to spend so much (in terms of time and effort) for such little return (number of performances and size of audience). And I suppose, yes, it is crazy in a way.

There a couple of reasons why I put myself through it, two even three times a year. Number 1: I’m a show-off. I can’t deny it. I love performing on stage – singing, acting and dancing – basically entertaining people. Being part of a theatre group means that I get lots of chances to do that (providing the director casts me!).

The other reason is that I get to do all this with my friends. Movie Matinee was a lovely cast to be part of – I met some great new friends, got to know others better and worked side-by-side with some of my very best friends. Everyone pulled in the same direction, helping and supporting each other. They got stuck in where they could and were sorry when they couldn’t.

So I want to say thank you. The MD was the phenomenal Adrian Johnson. The sublime cast were Simone Bates, Matt Morris, Pauline Gruner, Daisy Weston, Claire Duff, Andrew Oxford, Jane Hopton, Katie Bannister, Kate Ayres, Wendy Thomson, Peter Corrigan, Niamh Hopton, Jodie Commercial, Justine Ephgrave, Sian Mander, Mel Best, Michelle Marlborough and Chris Tennant. Others helped amazingly behind the scenes, including Andrew Scholefield and Lorraine King. They were a joy to direct and work with, and I am so proud of the show that we produced together.

I’m not the most emotional of people, in fact, I have a bit of a reputation for being dead inside. However, every now and again it’s important to reflect on how much I appreciate these times with friends, both old and new, so allow me a little moment of getting misty-eyed about this. I’ll go back to being hard as nails in a minute.

But for now, you were all awesome.