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Staying as a “Company of One”

4c IMG_20191124_105654

Yes, even a sole trader gets to have hobbies and holidays!

I recently read Paul Jarvis’ book, Company of One, which I have reviewed on my book review and running sister blog. I enjoy reading business books (and editing them, too) and it’s always nice if you read one that tells you you’ve been doing the right things all along, isn’t it!

I’ve been running my company of one for 11 years now, give or take a month, and as I’ve written before on here, I started off VERY small, working at a day job with only a few clients, then building things up while still working at the day job, working out on a spreadsheet when I was replacing enough income to swap a day in the day job for one on the business until I took the full-time plunge (which wasn’t so much a plunge as a gentle push off into the sea from a gently sloping beach) in 2012.

I’ve never been tempted to take on staff, although I enjoy working in coopetition with other editors, localisers and transcribers, gladly recommending trusted colleagues when I’m not a good fit for a prospect (or a current client’s particular project, as happened recently) or am simply too booked up. And as the image shows, I have reached a stage where I can indulge in my hobby of running and go on holiday (when holidays can be gone on) – there really is no heroism in working every single hour of every single day to the detriment of your physical and mental health and your relationships with family and friends. About a year ago, I decided not to work at weekends if I could possibly help it, and while that has cut down on my coffee break availability during the week, it has given me a proper rest at the weekend.

Jarvis also talks in his book about the importance of maintaining your business in line with your own personal ethics and character, and I think this is vitally important for two reasons. First of all, that buzzword “authenticity” – if you are being your authentic self, people will see that and respond positively, and the people who align with the way you work and your character will come to you and stay with you. Second, it will protect you, as there’s nothing like working outside what you’re comfortable with to make you feel stressed, edgy and unwell.

if you set this out from the start, you can keep good customers you’re aligned with and retain your own comfort. For example, I’m clear that I don’t work on topics which have cruelty or violence (especially animal cruelty or violence) or very upsetting scenes. I have initial terms and conditions which explain this and I ask new clients to read my full Ts and Cs and check they are not planning to send me something which I will find upsetting. If I do end up working on upsetting content I will stop and say no, and explain why. And because I’ve set that expectation, it’s OK, and we can all respect that. For example, years ago when I still edited fiction, I worked on some supernatural thrillers which were really well done but too much for me. I explained after one that I wasn’t going to be able to do these any more as it was too much. My client was absolutely fine, and retained me for working on their non-fiction and another line of fiction that was less brutal. More recently, a long-term ghostwriter client offered me work on a book that I knew from the subject matter I wouldn’t be able to deal with. I found them an alternative transcriber for that project, and am starting work on their next book soon. Setting the parameters from the start allows this to happen and saves me from upset and my clients from sudden unexpected refusals.

So just because other people run themselves ragged hiring staff, pushing for new sales constantly and trying to firefight problems at all times of the day and night, it doesn’t mean you have to, too. You can find a way of doing business that suits you, that works with your ethics and personality. If I can do it (and I was a very much in the background admin person without an “entrepreneurial-type” personality), you can, too.


I’ve written my own business books, too. I was just remarking to a friend that I had a review opining that one of them has too many cardigans and not enough bullet points … and that I’m fine with that!

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

What else do editors and other small business owners do?

I haven’t got a Small Business Chat to share with you all today, so I thought I’d have a bit of fun and ask the editing and general small business community … what else do you do?

I’ll go first, shall I, then I’d love it if people shared in the comments. I’m looking for maybe surprising things you do outside of your job / business, whether that’s sport, crafts, volunteering or family responsibilities, whatever any of those things mean to you.

I’m an editor, proofreader, transcriber and localiser, and while my long-lasting hobby of reading All The Things (see my book review blog here) also keeps me sitting on my bottom a lot, my other hobby is running and all things to do with running.

So as well as running myself (I’m pictured here with running chums having done my third marathon, a DIY one), I’m a qualified Run Leader (so I can support groups of new and established runners), I’ve just qualified as a Level One Endurance Official (meaning I am working my way up through the levels of officiating at cross-country and road races), I regularly volunteer to lead runs and support beginners at my running club and I’m a committed parkrun volunteer. Keeps me busy and on my feet and outdoors, which is really important for balance in my life and keeping me socialised, too!

How do you keep balance in your life and switch off from your work responsibilities. Do share in the comments, and of course feel free to include your URL!

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Plain English – what are the business benefits?

My colleague Laura Ripper is an expert in Plain English. In this excellent article, she explains the benefits of plain language. A must-read for all businesses, and if you’re looking for Plain English editing and proofreading, head her way!

Laura Ripper | Proofreading and copy-editing

A picture of a piggybank

If you run a business, you probably know that customers appreciate clear communication. They want to be able to find important information quickly – for example, about products and services, how to find you or how to return an item they’ve bought. Direct, concise and jargon-free text saves them time, frustration and effort. It gives your customers a better experience of working with you.

But what are the benefits for you – and your company? How can writing in plain English help you achieve your business goals, such as making a profit or building your brand? Is communicating clearly anything more than ‘doing the right thing’?

Using plain English can help your business in three main ways:

  1. It saves money
  2. It saves time
  3. It builds your reputation

It saves money

– and it makes money, too.

If your marketing materials, letters and newsletters present information clearly, your customers are more…

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Posted by on April 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Should I use an editor before submitting to agents and publishers? A reblog

My wonderfully experienced and knowledgeable colleague, Louise Harnby, has written the perfect article about the issues around authors using editors before submitting to agents or publishers. It has loads of information for both editors and writers and will help writers to decide what process to use and editors to decide whether to take on projects.

Editing prior to submission: First principles
Here are four things that writers and editors should be mindful of at the outset:

  • Not all editors are the same: editors have different skill sets and specialisms.
  • Not all authors are the same: writers have different budgets, goals and preferences.
  • Opinion abounds about whether writers should hire editors. And while there isn’t  consensus, some overarching good-sense guidance prevails.
  • Right/wrong or yes/no isn’t the best approach. Instead, I recommend that writers make informed decisions based on a solid understanding of editorial process, and that editors make informed decisions based on professional integrity and a solid understanding of authorial intention … Read more

I strongly urge you to read the rest of Louise’s article here.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Desk bikes – the Tour de Your House

Desk bikes – the Tour de Your House

My friend and colleague Laura Ripper talks about her desk bike in this interesting article.

Laura Ripper | Proofreading and copy-editing

Last Wednesday was National Fitness Day in the UK.

Keeping fit’s a doddle if you work from home, isn’t it? You start the day with yoga. Go swimming at lunchtime. On sunny days you put down your pen (or keyboard) and head to the hills for a long walk – because you’re your own boss and you can do what you want.

Hmm.

It’s not always easy to find time to exercise when you’ve got a business to run.

You might rather keep working on something you’re really enjoying. There’s only you to get the work done, so sometimes you need to keep going to meet all your deadlines. And there isn’t always enough time to go to the gym and be there to sort out [insert home repair job of your choice]. Today, for example, the plumber’s here in the morning and the electrician’s coming in the afternoon. (Stop…

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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Wyke Farms: Please change your mind on your Superlight Cheese!

Reblogging from my Adventures in Reading, Writing and Working from home blog to leverage the bigger audience for this blog. This is a plea to bring back the only cheese I could eat on my cholesterol-beating regime, which has now been discontinued. Please click through to the article, like, share, etc. Thank you!

Adventures in reading, running and working from home

Wyke Farms Superlight Cheese Wyke Farms Superlight Cheese

Way back when I discovered I had high cholesterol and became determined to get it down using diet rather than drugs, my friend Gill went to the Good Food Show and came back with some SuperLight cheese by small producer Wyke Farms. Hooray – created for a family member who had high cholesterol himself, this cheese had only 1.5% saturated fat. And.

And.

AND

AND

it tasted really nice. Like proper cheddar. Because it was proper cheddar. Cheese you would want to cut a slice off and actually eat (but would melt nicely on toast or on top of your pasta, too). I wrote about it in my book. I wrote about it in this blog.

First of all, I could get it from a few places locally. Then it narrowed down. But hey, it was OK, because I could still get it direct from…

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Posted by on November 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Introducing my new business titles: Running a Successful Business After the Start-up Phase and Your Guide to Starting and Building your Business

Liz with her new books

Liz with her new books

It’s time to tell the world: I have two new books out, and I’m pleased to share the news with my readers and subscribers.

Running a Successful Business After the Start-up Phase: Who are you Calling Mature?” is a look at what happens next. Following on from “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment: Going it Alone at 40“, it shares what I’ve learned about optimising your customer base (including saying no to prospective new business), optimising your income, keeping that vital work-life balance, and blogging and the use of social media to build awareness and grow your business. It’s had some good feedback both personally and on its Amazon review page and I’m really pleased to be able to help people further along their journey through the wonderful world of self-employment and running a small business.

You can buy the print or e-book version from Amazon – you can go straight to Amazon UK, or see the book’s web page for links to the other international Amazons, and buy in different formats including pdf and for Kobo at Smashwords.

I decided to put “Your Guide to Starting and Building your Business” together to offer a low-cost option for people who want to read both books. It’s on e-book only at the moment, and is an omnibus made up for “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment” and “Running a Successful Business after the Start-up Phase” which takes you right through from how to decide whether to go self-employed, taking the first steps, perhaps while working in a day job, setting up your business, getting your first customers, working out which customers to continue working with, using blogging and social media platforms and getting your life back while running a successful business. I really do write this blog and these books to help people, so I’m really pleased to be able to put this package together at a decent price, and it’s so great when I hear how I have helped people!

You can buy the e-book only omnibus from Amazon UK and other versions of Amazon (see list of links), and for all e-book formats, from Smashwords.

Thank you to everyone who’s supported me in my writing efforts – I’m so glad when I hear how I’ve helped people, and hope that I can continue to do so for many years to come. Watch this space for my new venture – an editors’ version of the two books and a workbook to go with both sets of books, based on the mentoring I’ve been doing with some industry colleagues this year.

If you’re interested in how I got to this point, do pop over to my Adventures in Reading, Writing and Working From Home blog, where I talk more personally about writing the books and choosing (and tweaking) their titles.

And you can find info on all of my books on the Liz Broomfield Books website!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Business, Ebooks, Uncategorized, Writing

 

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Find and replace in Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 3: finding formatting

In this series of articles on Find and Replace in Word, we’ve looked at basic Find and Replace and advanced Find and Replace (wild cards and the like). Now we’re going to have a look at finding and replacing formats.

Why would I want to search for formats?

There are lots of reasons why you might want to search for formats. I’ve used this particularly when working with anything that has specific formatting for specific words or phrases. For example, you may have decided to italicise all book titles in your thesis bibliography, only to find that they’re supposed to be in no italics and bold. You can search for all text that’s in italics and change it to being in bold using Replace All (or Find Next – Replace, which, as we discussed in the first article, is a safer option just to be sure). Another way I use this is if I need to look for manual page breaks that have been inserted into a document, or section breaks: it’s much quicker than scanning through hundreds of pages looking for formatting marks.

How do I search for formats in Word 2007, 2010 and 2013?

Some good news here first of all: once you’ve found your way to the Advanced search dialogue box, the procedure from here onwards is exactly the same for Word 2007, 2010 and 2013. Phew!

To search for JUST a format, rather than a particular word in a format, you need to leave the Find what search box blank. Then click the Format button at the bottom left, to bring up the familiar Format menu that you find if you right-click on any text in the document itself:

1 Find format

Click on Font, for example, and you can search for text in any Font, Font Style (marked here as I’m searching for Bold text) or Size:

2 Find format

When you’ve clicked on Bold (or whichever format you’ve decided to search for) you will be returned to the standard Find dialogue window. You can see that “Format: Font: Bold” appears underneath the Find what search box. I find it useful to select Highlight all – and as you can see, this has highlighted all of the text that’s in bold in my document:

3 Find format

How do I search for a word in a particular format?

You can combine format search with the standard text search. For example, here I’ve chosen the format to be Bold and have then entered the word “troughs” into the Find what box. As we can see from the text behind the box, this has searched for the word troughs in bold:

4 Find format with a word

How do I remove format search from my search?

If you want to remove the format search, you will need to press the No Formatting button at the bottom of the screen. This will remove the “Format: Font: Bold” or whatever note from your Find What search box. If you don’t remove it, Word will continue to only find text in that format, whatever you enter in the search box.

5 remove Find format

How do I replace a format with a different format?

Once you’ve found all of the text with your required format, you can move to the Replace tab and replace one format with another. In the Replace tab, press the Format button just as you did in the Find tab:

6 replace format

Here I’m choosing to change the Bold text I highlighted earlier into Italic text:

7 replace format

I’m being brave and hitting Replace All, and here’s the effect: those sections that were in Bold are now in Italics:

8 replace format

How do I search for page breaks and formatting characters?

You can also search for different kinds of page formatting using the Special button at the bottom of the Find and Replace dialogue box. This gives you a whole range of formatting characters that you can search for, including paragraph marks, section breaks, etc.

9 special

I find this very useful for searching for manual page breaks – you can do this with formatting marks turned on or off (if you have then turned on, it will highlight the formatting mark; if they’re turned off, just the space where it would appear). Here I’ve searched for manual page breaks (where I’ve pressed Ctrl-Enter to force a page break):

10 special

You can see that it’s highlighted a space where the page break is hidden from view – but there:

11 special

If I turn on Show Formatting, you can see what Word is highlighting:

13 special

In this article, we’ve learned how to Find and Replace formats in Word 2007, 2010 and 2013, and how to search for breaks and other formatting characters. If you’ve enjoyed this post or found it useful, please do take a moment to share or comment – your comments and shares are always appreciated!

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents.

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007, Word 2010 and Word 2013 all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Find all of the short cuts here

Related posts on this blog:

How to use Find and Replace 1 – basic find and replace

How to use Find and Replace 2 – advanced find

Formatting marks and how to turn them on and off

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Uncategorized