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!

Gelatin-based confectionery and other lessons

Gelatin-based confectionery and other lessons

Well, Creative Daydream has been going for 18 months and I’ve learnt quite a lot. Particularly:

1 I have little self-control if there’s an open bag of marshmallows in the house.

2 If you’re going to be part of a meeting via Skype, you’ll spend an hour staring at the top of people’s heads.

3 It’s not going to go well if you put a TV programme on ‘in the background’.

4 Going to the supermarket at 10 on Monday morning means that you avoid the crowds, but also that the aisles will be populated with pensioners who stop suddenly for no apparent reason.

5 Searching iTunes for old Eurovision songs is not an acceptable way to spend the working day. (But you do rediscover beauties like this – I love a song with whistling…)

On the other hand, I’ve had a great time writing, editing, training and generally being creative for companies and organisations such as the Diocese of London, Dubit, Leprosy Mission, Dodo and Co, Shooting Star Chase and Childrenswork magazine. And I’m really looking forward to what the next 18 months might bring!

If you’ve got a project that requires a great way with words, a hundred ideas or a warm presenting style, then get in touch. What can Creative Daydream do for you?


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!)

Really flying

Really flying

I was away recently, volunteering on a residential for young people. It’s a creative arts holiday, where young people can take part in everything from painting to dance, from musical theatre to creative writing. We also do lots of different theme nights and it was my joy to be able to host a Eurovision-style video competition. I loved it, I was in my element – flags, voting, scoreboards, national pride (but no politics getting in the way of the winner – congratulations Russia!).

My co-leader commented that this ‘World-o-vision’ night had gone so well because I was so enthusiastic about it. Other events during the week also went brilliantly because the people running them were doing something they were really good at. They were flying, and the young people had a great time because of the leader’s skill, talent and enthusiasm.

I’m all for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and discovering/developing new talents and skills, but when you get to put all your effort into something that you love and you’re good at, that’s when you soar – that’s often when you produce your best work. So all you need to do is figure out how to get people to pay you to do the things you really, really love. That’s easier said than done, particularly if you’re in a role you don’t find terribly fulfilling. But sometimes we need to be ready to take a big step of faith (and be ready to fail) to give ourselves a chance of really flying.

Now, I wonder if the Danes are looking for someone to host next year’s Eurovision?


Photograph taken by the lovely Saira Final