Back in December, I wrote a business plan for 2016 where I focused on 3 key targets:
- Continuing Professional Development
So far, it’s going great. The earlier part of the year was busy, busy, busy and I’ve certainly seen an increase in earning capacity since this time last year. I have to be pretty strict with my time as a freelancer working from home, as I’m also parenting two children (one with autism) and getting used to life with a Labrador.
So, having had a busy year so far, I’m taking a short break from paid work to concentrate on other things.
At the moment, I’m concentrating on Continuing Professional Development. I made a promise to myself (and others) that I would use writing as way to support a cause close to my heart, the special school that my son attends.
So I’ve been undertaking research about fundraising, particularly writing funding proposals and looking into how social media can be used to increase awareness and fundraising opportunities. It’s a huge learning curve and a bit of a slow-burning project, as it’s been fitted in with other priorities.
I have it in the back of mind that I may move into working for non-profit organisations and charities further down the line, so it’s not completely selfless, but primarily I want to help out those that have helped me. The impact of parenting autism is significant, it affects everything. Without specialist support for my son, I wouldn’t be working at all.
So it’s a long-term target (my son will be in school for a long time yet) which may shape the work I do in future. At the very least, I hope some good will come of it and I can offer support to the school and maybe other charities that have made a difference to my life (I’m also crap at baking cakes and too scared to jump out of an aeroplane, so I’m hoping the offer of some writing will let me off the hook on that score).
As well as my fundraising project, I want to rethink my marketing strategy. I also want to get to grips with WordPress a bit better, as I’m planning to rehash my website and give my blog a bigger focus and practice what I preach!
My big weakness is networking and nothing’s changed there! I’ve yet to attend any face-to-face networking events, though I do try to stay aware of what is going on in local business and in the copywriting industry in general. I try to be generous, referring clients I can’t help to other copywriters and nudging someone behind the scenes if I spot a typo on their blog or website, before someone else announces it on social media.
Building a rapport with other business people and being supportive is what it’s all about, even if I’m not finding the time to meet up and socialise!
As well as some behind-the-scenes work and CPD, I’m going to spend some time with the kids and our Labrador.
Last year, I wrote a light-hearted, somewhat silly, piece about combining my first year of business with getting a puppy. It was tongue-in-cheek, but the reality of dog ownership and starting a business was hard work. At times, I genuinely wondered if I’d taken on too much, but a year on; things are working out great. I’m a lot closer now to my vision of a calm office-dog and tomorrow I’m getting a quote to replace the carpet he ripped up during separation anxiety (20 minute school run after the holidays) as he can now be trusted anywhere in the house.
Best of all is the fun and happiness he brings to the kids. Without my son’s disability, I would probably never have considered a dog (I’ve been petrified of them for most of my life) but the life we’re building is different to the one we expected. My son kept his distance from Z for a long time, but a bond has slowly formed. Every so often, a little bit of magic happens (see pic). And that makes everything worthwhile.
Over to you
How’s your year been so far? What challenges do you face and how do you overcome them? I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time.
Alison is a Freelance Copywriter in Milton Keynes offering a range of services for small and large organisations in MK and across the UK. For further information visit www.mkwordstudio.co.uk