Welcome back to Small Business Chat Saturday! I’ve had a bit of a hiatus over the Festive Period here in the UK, as my site visits go down and it doesn’t seem fair to give an interviewee less exposure just because they’ve come to the top of the list at a time when everyone else is busy! So we’re back today with Tammy Ditmore, who has an editing business with an inspired name – eDITMORE Editorial Services! We first met Tammy in June 2012, and had update chats in June 2013, August 2014, September 2015 and most recently, November 2016. Of course I take a special interest in other editors’ lives and work, and I was interested to see how things panned out this year, as Tammy’s resolution last time we spoke was this: “I really hesitate to answer this question. I am once again reconsidering what kinds of clients I really want to work with and how to attract those clients. So let’s just say that I hope I will continue to be busy and continue to have opportunities to do work that I enjoy.” Read on to find out how she’s been getting on.
Hello again, Tammy, and a wave from over the ocean! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Hello! Not exactly. I have had fewer clients this year than in years past, and my calendar for the coming months is uncomfortably light at the moment [as of late November].
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
I’ve still got many of my long-time clients, but I have had fewer big projects this year. Part of that has been my own making; I scheduled more vacation breaks this year than I normally do because I had some opportunities to travel that I simply couldn’t turn down. But I also had to take off time unexpectedly to help my mother, who lives in another state. I had to turn away some potential clients for a while, and I wound up giving discounts to some other clients because I was not able to finish their work as quickly as I had expected. Now that I’m home and in a more stable place, I’ve had fewer projects for the past month or so than I typically do.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
That I can’t always meet my promised turnaround times. Sometimes things come up that take precedence over work, and if I don’t leave myself some margins, I’m going to let someone down. I think I’m also learning that my “passive” marketing activities over the past few years apparently were working better than I thought. I spent less time this year updating my blog, being active in editorial discussion groups, going to conferences, teaching online courses, etc., and I’ve had fewer clients this year too. I have had few true dry spells in the past seven years, but I seem to be in one right now, and I have to believe it’s because I let those things slide too much.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Don’t forget to keep marketing your business!
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
If things stay slow in the new year, I will be making some concentrated efforts to contact past clients, and some new publishers, businesses, etc. I’m not panicking (yet) because I have some good ideas about which bushes to start shaking. In fact, I’m not too sad about having a little extra time to catch my breath during the holiday season–I just don’t want this slower work pace to last for too long!
I know myself how tricky unexpected events can be for the freelancer. I had an operation this last year, the worst of it being when it got postponed at fairly short notice after I’d told my regular clients when I wouldn’t be available. Right in the middle of all that, I gained two wonderful new prospective clients who I didn’t want to lose – I just had to be honest about things and give people longer deadlines than usual – and that was much easier for me because I did have some time to plan things out a little bit. That marketing that goes on in the background is important, and so is the community of editors – of course I offered to add Tammy to my list of recommended editors on my Links page on this site when I heard she was in a low patch, and hopefully that will send some enquiries her way. I love the way our community looks out for each other and I hope things will be more predictable for both of us over the coming year.
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.