Career Champion: “Tackling it like a pro”


Sally Champion

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.

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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.

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6 thoughts on “Career Champion: “Tackling it like a pro”

  1. Hi all

    Thanks for your comments and your support. Alex I’m so glad you are finding the blog helpful. Writing it is great for me in terms of motivation. I have to keep going because I have to report back! The tutor at the “Be Your Own Boss” course talked about cold calling as playing a numbers game. I found that quite a useful way to look at it.

  2. wow i am so impressed with your insight and attitude. Keep going and may all good things come to you!

  3. Thanks for the blog, I have found it so useful in thinking about my own approach. It is also nice knowing that someone else has experienced some similar challenges along the way. I think the ‘cold call’ is what I hate the most! All the best in your journey! Keep it going!

  4. I admire your persistence and optimism! I hope it does work for you. I have been through all that you are going through and it just didn’t work for me.It may be that, living in Christchurch was not the most brilliant place for a person of the age I was at the time- 40+ – wasn’t a great place for the over 30s to be looking for work anyway. There were so many of us, taxis, real estate, insurance, private businesses that never brought in enough money- there were always so many chasing that elusive dollar with the same bright ideas as to how they were going to make it work for them! The much touted “older person’s day in the sun” never shone here either.
    Now most of that cohort have made it to National Super with a great sigh of relief.
    It’s a mistake for all the responsibility of finding work to be laid on the shoulders of the job seekers. Bureaucratic requirements have simply forced many small businesses out of existence and lowered the pool of opportunity for would-be staff. New would-be business owners are smothered at the beginning. There is much that could be done to ease the pressure and allow creativity to prosper.

  5. I have a client who is looking for work Sally and I am going to show her your blog. It’s a good example of how to handle a difficult situation.

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