Things I have learned about running a business (2)

In November 2016 I took a retrenchment package from my post at Independent Online.

I thought of myself as being about to go freelancing, a time-honoured way for journalists to reinvent themselves.

Four years later, I think about things a little differently: I think of myself as running a one-woman business. If I didn’t hate the clumsiness of it, I might say that I was a solopreneur.
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Loadshedding solutions for home office workers (that won’t break the bank)

A friend who lives in Melbourne, Australia complained recently on Facebook that he had been without electricity for several hours, in a curfew. His laptop died on him, and there he was in the dark with only his thoughts for company.

I smiled slightly but did not comment.

After all, there is no real joy in claiming the high ground on the question of being without power, and all the tips I could have given him were useless as sitting in the dark probably won’t happen to him again for months or even years.

Here in South Africa of course we all know what it is to be without power – that state of being for which we all grudgingly use the Eskom euphemism: loadshedding. Continue reading

My business and personal theme for 2020: Abundance

April 2020 update: I wrote this post in February, when the world was as it was. Pre-pandemic and pre-lockdown and pre-catastophic economic meltdowns. The world is now a very different place, and I hesitated before sharing it, but I think it still has validity. The world has become a much smaller and scarier place for all of us, and much of that is out of our control. But we can control how we think about things. We can  hope for a better world, and give thanks for what we have now. There is still abundance, if we choose to look for it.
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Small business lessons learned: ask for help, collaborate

At the beginning of 2020, I found myself so exhausted all I could do was sit in a chair and read.

Two weeks into my holiday, I wasn’t feeling much better. I felt as though I was walking a labyrinth that would never end.

Ask for help, said a voice in my head. So when marketing guru and coach  Tina Keys at Pink Diamond Projects asked me to look over a document for her, in return for whatever work I might need done, I said could you give me some of your magic and get me up and running again?

She promptly enrolled me in her month-long Purpose and Identity challenge, which provides a framework for looking at the old year, thinking about the new year and setting some goals, along with a daily and weekly programme to make it all happen.
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Two years on: My business gets a rebranding

Big businesses do rebranding exercises; small businesses can too…

When I first started freelancing in December 2016, I described myself as just that: a freelancer.

But I soon learned that saying I was a freelancer was either not understandable, or made me sound like someone who “just worked from home”.

So I started saying I run a small business, or sometimes “I am a journalist”.

And when in November 2018 I made enough money in one month to cover all my expenses I thought: okay, now this is serious. This really is a business, and that’s not just something I say because that’s the general advice on all the entrepreneurial websites.

At about the same time, I was due to get new business cards printed. I looked at my existing cards and thought they looked a little tired. When I first started my business (see what I did there) I went on to Fiverr, found a designer, told him I wanted something minimalist and then used what he did for two years.

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Why businesses need editors: it’s in the details

Editors like to say that their work is invisible. An editor should leave things better than they were before, and no one should know they were there. Because that is true, most people don’t really know what editors do, or where they work. I would guess that the general public thinks of an editor as someone who works at a publishing house, or at a news publication – and indeed you will find editors in those places.

But wherever there is the written word, there is the need for a second eye, an editor who checks what has been written and applies a particular set of skills. Don’t believe me? Dear reader, I will now demonstrate. Continue reading