Sally Champion continues her weekly blog about the process of setting up a part-time business as a writer. She had polio as a child and after years of working nine to five, she is now having to think differently about how to earn her living. Sally invites your comment and advice.
Episode 11: “Tackling it like a pro”
Taking action this week has made me feel a lot better.
I have drawn up a list of organisations to contact about work. List A is “the most likely” list. I know people who work there and I know a lot about their work. On list B are organisations who work in areas I feel an affinity for, but know less about. In total there are 62 organisations.
I’ve decided to either ring them or contact people I know through Linkedin.
As well as making these lists I have been examining my own thinking and challenging ideas that aren’t serving me well. The first idea I’ve tackled is the idea of scarcity of opportunity. My parents often used to say, “You only get one chance”. I’m sure that was meant to encourage us kids to make the most of opportunities that came our way, but it always used to worry me. Only one chance seemed depressingly finite and open to human error.
I realise that I have been applying the “one chance” principal to finding work. I’ve been worrying how I will feel if I contact the people on lists A and B and I don’t get any leads. Not only that, I have been imagining self-reproach would surely accompany such an outcome. After all I’m a writer, not an accomplished telephone salesperson.
Still, I’ve caught that thinking in time. I actually don’t believe in the one chance philosophy. My experience of life doesn’t bear it out and I’ve come up with a really good strategy to beat it.
It’s blindingly obvious, but all you have to do is provide yourself with a second chance and a third and a fourth. So this week I’ve started coming up with ideas for lists C and D, E and F.
I’ve decided the best way to take the sting out of the self-reproach of imperfect performance is to be as prepared as possible. I will write myself a loose script. This week I’ve been finding out the person to talk to in each organisation. I have also been looking at websites to check out the core business of those organisations I’m not so familiar with.
Another thing I need to remember is that the world isn’t fascinated by my every move. When I call I’m sure the person I talk to will be thinking about whether they have any writing work they need done – if I’m lucky. They certainly won’t give my telephone manner – bewitching or otherwise – a second thought. And when I call I can take the opportunity to do market research for my business plan. I can ask questions like, whether they use contract writers or in-house staff, whether they have a list of preferred writers, so I can tailor my next move accordingly.
I will let you know how the initial ring around goes. By the end of it I might be tackling the whole business like a pro.
Sally is happy to answer any questions from readers about the Enterprise Allowance. She would also be grateful for ideas about organisations she could approach to find freelance writing work.