It’s Small Business Chat update time with Alison Thompson from The Proof Fairy, proofreader, editor, and author. We first met Alison in this series in July 2012, and she updated us in July 2013, August 2014 and August 2015, Last year, when we spoke in August 2016, Alison had just had a tricky period in her business when some big clients moved on, through no fault of her own (these things happen, they’ve happened to me, particularly when agencies lose a big contract and you can’t do anything about it), so she’d taken on a part-time job to keep things stable. When I asked about her plans for the year, she had this to say: “Whatever I say in this section, I never seem to get there! So I think I’m going to leave this really open and just say that in another year’s time I want to be financially comfortable and doing something I really enjoy. And I will DEFINITELY have written that erotic novel!” So, what happened next? Read on to find out …
Hello again, Alison. Last time we talked you had just started a part-time job and had some fairly open plans. Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Well, I was pretty vague about my plans for the next year, so I guess I’m where I thought I’d be! The part time temping job because permanent at the start of 2017, and then full time in May. I’m now responsible for health & safety, facilities management, temp recruitment, training and HR admin for a retail fulfilment company. It’s taken me into areas I’d never dreamed of working – who’d have thought I’d spend most of my day in a hi viz vest and safety boots! I’ve also been learning lots of new things so my “portfolio” of skills has grown substantially.
However, I still do a little bit of freelance work. I’ve kept a couple of long-term clients and do monthly newsletters, blog posts and proofreading for them, plus I take on other projects as and when I can. I’m currently proofreading and formatting a travelogue, which is quite an enjoyable job, and I have a website redesign coming up too. It’s been much harder than I thought to juggle the two roles though – I’m usually tired when I get home from the day job, and then want to relax at the weekend rather than work! I’m gradually starting to find a new routine.
I’ve still not written that erotic novel though …
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
See the above answer! I’m working a full-time job, dabbling in freelance stuff on the side and trying to fit in a social life too. I guess the biggest change is that I’ve pretty much dropped my plans for any sort of coaching business, partly because I don’t have the time to give it to do it justice, but also because, especially with the ADHD parent coaching, I found it too draining on me emotionally.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
The biggest lesson has been to never say never. Twelve months ago, I was starting the temping job fully expecting to hate working fixed hours, hate working with other people, hate having to get changed out of pyjamas in the morning and hate being told what to do! But actually, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of a more traditional job and have made good friends. I’ve also thrown myself into areas I had no previous experience of and have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Be honest about how things are. When my business was struggling, I stuck my head in the sand for a long time in the hope that things would pick up. If I’d been honest with myself I could probably have turned things around much faster. And be open to opportunities, especially those where you can transfer your skills to a new area. You never know what you can do until you try!
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
I’m enjoying the “proper” job at the moment and I hope that will continue, but who knows what’s around the corner? In terms of the business, I’d like to have found a way to promote my ADHD online parenting course so it makes a regular passive income, because that would be a far more efficient way of supplementing my salary than spending every weekend proofreading!
As for the erotic novel … I live in hope of doing it one day!
I admire Alison for her positivity and tenacity and for doing so well in her part-time temp to full-time permanent role. I completely know where she’s coming from with the coaching: I’ve had people approach me for career coaching, especially in transcription, and I’m just not keen on spending all that energy doing that one-to-one, it’s just not my forte. I can’t imagine how hard that would be in the ADHD area. Like Alison, I’ve created resources instead, which helps other people without exhausting ourselves. Good luck with that erotic novel, Alison and thanks for sharing your story with all its ups and downs!
The Proof Fairy: Helping You Take Your Book from Possibility to Plan to Publication Tel: 01367 888229 Mob: 07927 330293 Skype: alisonthompson555 www.theprooffairy.com
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.