Welcome to another Small Business Chat update, and I’m pleased to be doing my fourth interview with Alison Thompson from The Proof Fairy, who started off, like me, as a proofreader and editor, but has since branched out (like me, but in different directions) into authorship, coaching and event organisation. We first met Alison in this series in July 2012, and she updated us in July 2013, and August 2014, at which point this was her plan for the upcoming year: “Every time I’ve predicted where I’ll be something has changed along the way! As The Proof Fairy I would like to be doing more book coaching and I definitely still want to have a freelance proofreader working for me, so I can pick and choose the projects I want to handle myself. I have a couple of books I want to write, if time allows. And in terms of the ADHD stuff, who knows where the next 12 months will take me? All I can say is that I feel like I am entering a really exciting period of my life … So watch this space!” Did things change or stay as she predicted? Read on to find out …
Hello again, Alison, it’s lovely to have you back. Are you where you thought you might be when you looked forward a year ago?
It’s a bit depressing but in many ways I haven’t moved forwards at all as The Proof Fairy – in fact, it feels like I’ve moved backwards a little! I haven’t had very many writing coaching clients and I seem to spend about 70% of my working day doing proofreading these days! I would still like to take on a proofreading assistant but think I’m a bit of a control freak and can’t quite bring myself to trust anyone to do the job as well as I do it!
The new ADHD business has been very exciting, though. I ran a big event, an ADHD Inspiration Day, in Swindon last October and 80 parents, teachers and experts came along. It was an incredible event and was only possible thanks to the people who supported a crowdfunding campaign I created, which raised over £2,000. From there I ran a group coaching session and have also done some telephone and face to face coaching with parents, which I’ve enjoyed hugely.
Later this year I will be launching an online ADHD parenting programme, looking forward to that. But best of all, I have just been given a contract with a major publishing company who want to publish an updated edition of my book, The Boy From Hell! I had a feeling there could be exciting times in store for the ADHD business and I wasn’t wrong!
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Well, we moved house earlier this year, so my location has changed – though I’m only six miles down the road. It was surprising just how much upheaval the move caused to the business, and it took a few months to get back on top of things. I’ve also had some interesting new clients and projects to work on – as well as repeat business from lovely people who keep coming back!
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
Think big and keep your options open – you never know what’s around the next corner.
Any more hints and tips for people?
As soon as you can, start to think about which parts of your business you could outsource. I have been working with a Virtual Assistant for over a year now and it’s relieved the pressure hugely as I can now send some of the more mundane tasks to her while I focus on what I do best.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Who knows! I’m hoping the ADHD business will provide a regular, almost passive source of income, leaving me free to pick the most exciting projects to work on with my Proof Fairy hat on. I’ll have had an updated version of The Boy From Hell published and I’d like to have another couple of books under my belt too – a parents’ guide to ADHD and an erotic novel!
So, things did develop and pretty well in the ways Alison had hoped, and exciting times are coming. As a writer myself, I’m hugely impressed that she’s got picked up by a publisher and glad her very useful book will be getting a wider audience thanks to having a publishing company behind it. And I fully echo her call to keep your options open – as I’ve said before, my business has developed in ways I didn’t even consider when I first started, and that’s to do with giving things a go (while checking that they’re right for me) and exploring new avenues. Good luck to Alison for her exciting year ahead!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.