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 14: “Guessing the wins”
I have good news to report. I won my benefit review and got onto the Invalid’s Benefit (from the Sickness Benefit) and I have a small piece of good work from the ringing around I’ve been doing.
As I write that sentence it starkly occurs to me what a weird world I now inhabit.
Two doctors have testified that I can’t go to work in the usual way anymore. I agree with that analysis, but I also know I can do a limited amount of great work — if I’m able to approach it in my own way.
As well as doing the ringing around in the last two weeks, I have been writing my business plan for the Enterprise Allowance. However, a stumbling block has made itself very apparent. How can I estimate how many wins I’m going to have, convincing the world to let me have the kind of work I want?
Let’s re-cap. What is my work? I’ll use the little job I have just been offered as an example. I will be doing a series of interviews and then writing up stories for a website. I will get a brief, do the interviews then write up the stories at home.
Depending on the size of the job, that could mean ten, twenty or maybe thirty hours work.
Back to my question, how can I be sure I can get work like that as often as I need it? To write a business plan you need to make your best guess based on your market research. My ring around of my professional contacts has yielded one piece of work. Would another ring around in a week, or a fortnight, yield another piece of similar work?
Logically, I know that’s impossible to predict.
So what do I do? Do I go ahead with my business plan and try and convince the Enterprise Allowance assessors that it’s a sure thing? I’m sure they’re logical too. But maybe, by doing so, I maximise my potential, if you get my drift.
And what if I do get through the process? Do I want to put myself in the position of accepting $5,000 for capital expenditure and $5,000 for living expenses only to find I can’t make it work within six months and be applying for the Invalid’s Benefit again?
No, I can’t go through that again. Yet don’t I have the same right to try as the next person?
I’m sick of myself so I’m going to bed.
You know, when I get paid for this work, I’m going to buy myself a new lipstick – a bright, bright, red lipstick. Wearing it, there’s a good chance I might jolly well scare the world as much as it scares me at times.
Sally is happy to answer any questions from readers about the Enterprise Allowance. She would also be grateful for readers’ views.