A year of being self-employed

The autumn is here – my favourite time of year. As you can tell from the length of time it’s been since I last updated, things have become VERY busy. Over the summer I’ve been writing about 16,000 words a week, and I’ve had so much work that I’ve had to turn down quite a lot of incoming requests for copy, which I don’t like doing, but I just haven’t had time. Luckily things have quietened down a bit now, so I’m taking on new work for the first time in a while. If you have anything you’d like me to write for you, do let me know!

I’m still loving being self-employed, and I’m daily grateful for not having to commute, or sit for hours in pointless meetings. I devote one morning a week to volunteering for Guide Dogs (for the Blind), where I look after lots of gorgeous puppies. I’ve neglected my PPL over the summer as I’ve been so busy, but I need to get it finished off over the winter else the ground exams I’ve done will become invalid.

Air Experiences is still going strong, though Lee’s been doing most of the running of it while I’ve been so busy with copywriting. We’ll be doing some Christmas gift fairs again this year, which will be a chance for me to get more involved with the business again. I’ll also be doing more blogging for the company in the coming months.

On a personal note, some happy news: Lee and I got engaged last month! So that’s very exciting and we are starting to plan our wedding now! We’ve just got back from ten amazing days in Florida, which you can read about (along with everything else I’ve been up to) on my other blog.

Once again, let me know if you’d like any copy – I’m taking on new clients and projects at the moment, so I’d be delighted to give you a quote or discuss your requirements.

Half way through the year

June has been and gone, and it was another insanely busy month for me, with the result that I’ve made virtually no progress on my PPL and have had very few days off. The workload looked like this:

  • 29 educational articles (2,000 words each – 58,000 words in total!!)
  • A business profile/proposal doc for a client
  • A sales email promoting a new resource website for another client
  • Another whitepaper for the same client
  • Some social media updates for the same client
  • Two blog posts for Air Experiences
  • A three-hour meeting writing blog posts and promotional letters for another client
  • A blog post on online accessibility for another client
  • Six more events listings for the prestigious/luxury client

On top of that:

  • Our parents met for the first time when we all had lunch together in Cirencester; they got on really well!
  • We’ve flown to the Isle of Wight for the day
  • We’ve flown to Dover for the day
  • We visited Packwood House
  • We’ve started crewing for the hot air balloon again
  • And I’m still volunteering for Guide Dogs every Thursday morning, walking dogs/puppies

I’m coping ok with this much bigger workload, though I sometimes wish I could have more time off. It gets pretty intense when I’m struggling to get everything written and then I have edits to make on top of that, and new projects to price up, invoices to send/chase, accounts to keep (theoretically – still behind on that!), and a life to live. Hence why I’m not updating this blog so often now!

As ever, you can keep up to date with my non-work activities over at www.cosylife.co.uk.

I’m still here

Hi all,

Just to let you know that I am still here. Hopefully you’re not missing Diary of a Freelancer too much. ;-)

May has been busy on an unprecedented scale. I must have written and edited many tens of thousands of words, including:

  • Tonnes more long education articles
  • Nearly a hundred meta descriptions and introductory texts for a software client
  • A blog post for a lovely lady who’s about to publish a craft book
  • Three digital marketing whitepapers
  • Two case studies for an industrial client
  • Four blog posts about Thailand and Burma for a new travel client
  • Some copy for my wedding photographer client
  • Two pages for a solicitor via a digital marketing agency client
  • An Italian pizza delivery menu and slogans
  • Copy for eight pages of a sign-maker/graphic design website

Phew! No wonder I am suffering from repetitive strain injury and general exhaustion. On top of all that, I’ve somehow also found time to:

    • Pass three more PPL exams (communications, meteorology, aircraft general knowledge)
    • Pass my aircraft radio practical exam (with flying colours!) to obtain my aircraft radio licence
    • Fly solo again for the first time since September
    • Fly in a very fancy motorglider, including in an aerotow (pulling a glider)
    • See Jimmy Carr
    • Fly to another airfield for Sunday lunch
    • Meet up with various friends and family in Oxford
    • Buy a MacBook Air
    • Buy a coffee machine (and learn how to use it!)

I’ve written a few blog posts on my other blog about non-work activities – check out http://www.cosylife.co.uk. I’ve only had three days off this month, and I’m hoping that June will be a little more forgiving.

Diary of a Freelancer – Week 30

Monday

Bank Holidays don’t mean anything when you’re self-employed, and today I demonstrated that fact by carrying on working on the email marketing whitepaper I’m doing at the moment. I had just enough time at the end of the day to walk into town and see what was left of the Festival of Motoring – the streets of Stratford taken over by classic cars. The cars looked quite incongruous outside Shakespeare’s birthplace:

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Work is constantly on my mind at the moment because I have so much of it, as a result of which I am currently feeling anxious and stressed for much of the time.

Tuesday

I will add “lonely” to the list of anxious and stressed today. One of the perils of working from home/being freelance I guess. Still, I got a fair bit done – I finished the whitepaper and wrote another long education article. I am bursting with ideas for things I want to write for myself, but have no time for anything beyond my occasional Cosy Life posts.

Wednesday

Today I learnt that my policy of always checking in advance that meetings of any kind are still on is a good one that I ought always to stick to. A meeting with a new client had been arranged a couple of weeks ago for today, and I had incorrectly assumed that if I heard nothing, it would be going ahead. The one time I didn’t think to check that it was going ahead, it wasn’t. So a wasted battle through traffic resulted in my standing outside the designated meeting area for ten minutes, having texted to let them know I was there, until the client called to explain the situation! A complete failure on my part and I shall never again stray from my policy. Still, I treated myself to a sandwich from Marks and Spencers on the way back to the car, so it wasn’t a complete write-off.

On a better note, I had an email from one of my biggest clients after lunch saying that the long articles I’ve been writing for them are proving so successful that they want to (more than) double the number of articles I’m writing for them. Quite how I shall manage to fit all that in remains to be seen, but I’m pretty chuffed! I spent the afternoon working on various bits of work, including a starting a couple of pages of website copy for a solicitor, and starting a new whitepaper on increasing the number of subscribers to your blog.

In the evening we went to a rather disappointing meeting at the airfield about its future. Recent media reports have suggested that the future of the airfield is now secure, but apparently this is far from the case and it is in just as much danger as it ever was. But because the press have said that it’s safe, everyone now thinks it is, and attendance went from about 100 people at the first meeting to about 25 at this one. Poor show.

Thursday

I had my morning at Guide Dogs today, and wasn’t too enthusiastic when I woke up to find it raining heavily. Not a shower – the sort of persistent heavy rain that lingers all day. So I ended up having two long walks in the rain with Blakey and Wendi and the room was filled with the pungent scent of wet dog. Still, they’re so sweet that one doesn’t mind. This is little Petal, everyone’s favourite.

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When I got home I rapidly engaged my work brain and got to work on another education article, this time about how to research an essay effectively. Then it was more work on another whitepaper, this time about increasing your blog subscribers.

Friday

I started the day with a last-minute request for a press release, and then put the finishing touches on the whitepaper and sent that off. I spent the rest of the day working on more education articles, including one about common English cliches, which was fun.

Finally, just a note to say that I shall be winding down ‘Diary of a Freelancer’ in the coming weeks, reducing it to a fortnightly or monthly update with less detail. It’s been a great way of documenting my first few months as a freelancer, for my own sake, but I don’t feel that it’s providing much benefit for the time it takes (it hasn’t increased search engine traffic, for example) and I get precious little comment or anything about it, so I’m really not sure it’s worth the effort! I also don’t want to continue revealing quite so much about what I get up to; although I only put a fraction of what I do into these posts, I want to regain a bit more privacy. However, please do subscribe to my other blog, Cosy Life, if you want to keep up with the non-work stuff I’m doing.

Diary of a Freelancer – Week 29

Monday
We had a lazy start, having both worked all day on Sunday but not yet really back in the swing of things after our eventful week off. When I eventually got started, I worked on a blog post for a client, revamping one that a colleague of theirs had written. I also priced up a big new project for them, which they have given the go-ahead for; I’m a little concerned as to how I shall fit everything in, as I’m planning on finishing my PPL off in May too! After lunch I wrote a blog post for my other blog about the lovely art exhibition launch that Lee and I were invited to at Upton House over the weekend (http://www.cosylife.co.uk/culture/new-exhibition-upton-house/), and then got to work on another education article.

Tuesday
I started the day by finished the education article I started yesterday, this time offering advice to non-UK residents about the UK schooling system. After that I wrote up my carrot cake recipe for my other blog (http://www.cosylife.co.uk/recipes/iced-spiced-carrot-cake-recipe/), and then it was onto another education article, which I managed to get finished by 5pm so that I could go to the airfield and fly Wilhelm, our new plane. It was my first time flying in the left (captain’s) seat, and we did some really useful revision on how to recover from stalls and so on. When we landed we taxied to the place we’ve been parking Wilhelm, which is a bit away from the other aircraft and next to a deserted carparking area. In said carpark there was a Polish car full of four really dodgy-looking guys, who were drinking and smoking and looking quite intently at us as we parked. We felt pretty uncomfortable and decided to switch the engine back on and taxi Wilhelm over to where all the other aircraft were parked. We called the Police 101 number and told them about it and they immediately dispatched a couple of officers to investigate; there have been fuel thefts from the aircraft there in recent months and it was about 6.30pm by that point, after closing time. From a distance, we saw the police arrive and they were there for *ages* talking to the guys and calling up on their radios. Unfortunately our cars were parked right next to this Polish car (I had driven over to join Lee there so we had both cars there) and we were scared to go back because it would be obvious it was us who called the cops, as we were the only ones at that part of the airfield! So we hung about at one of the flying schools for a while and then ventured over – just as the police were about to drive off with one of the Polish guys! So it looks as though we were right to be suspicious. So that was a bit of unexpected drama on a Tuesday evening!

Wednesday

I had a challenging morning working on a page of web copy for my international client, once again trying to make a complex topic into something understandable for someone who knows nothing about it. As I know nothing about it myself, making sense of it myself was half the battle! My brain was feeling a bit frazzled by the end of the morning, and I struggled to concentrate on my next bit of work (a whitepaper about email marketing, for a different client), so I decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and walk into town. I had a voucher for four free packs of seeds from The Works (no purchase necessary!), so I chose courgettes, sunflowers, sweet peas and Nigella (Love in a Mist). On the way back I treated myself to a jam doughnut milkshake (yes, really), and when I got home I took some further time out to plant my various new seeds in the few spaces we have left. I spent the rest of the day mostly working on even more education articles, as I have been given an extra one to do for Monday.

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Thursday

It was my morning with Guide Dogs this morning, so most of the morning was spent walking first Wendi and then Blakey, which was very good exercise. Here’s a photo of Wendi and me in the park!

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The rain held off just long enough for me to walk them, and then it absolutely poured down, so I timed that well. When I got home I had more work waiting for me from my international client, just a small bit, so I did that and finished my latest education article in the afternoon.

Friday

I’m a bit stressed out, as I really have too much work at the moment. I had an education article to write today that took longer than normal because it required a lot of research (it’s about Oxford-based companies that were founded by Oxford graduates – I resisted the temptation to put Air Experiences!), which delayed my schedule. I had a call with another client to brief me on another big project I’m about to start for them, and also had to carry on with some whitepaper work that I started the other day. When I needed a break I popped out for half an hour to get the Dine In deal from Marks and Spencer for the weekend, and then it was back to work. It’s far better to have too much work than too little, of course, but it’s constantly on my mind because of just how much there is to get done! Gah!

Bank Holiday weekend

It’s been a mixture of work and play this weekend. Lee unexpectedly didn’t have to work, so that was nice. I worked on Saturday morning and we went flying in the afternoon, and then had the whole of yesterday off and back to work this morning. Head over to my other blog for what I’ve been up to over the weekend: http://www.cosylife.co.uk. Here’s a taster!

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Diary of a Freelancer – Week 28

Hi everyone!

No Diary of a Freelancer this week as I’ve been away – travelling to Germany to buy an aircraft and flying it back! It was rather an eventful trip and you can read all about it over on my other blog, Cosy Life.

Part one is here: http://www.cosylife.co.uk/flying/day-bought-plane/

And there are a couple more to come about the journey back, so pop your email in the ‘subscribe’ box to make sure you don’t miss any updates!

Back to work today and I’m swamped again, so normal service resumed next week. :)

Diary of a Freelancer – Week 27

Monday

After a super-productive day on Sunday, I took things a little easier yesterday. The sun was shining and I wanted to be outside, so I spent the morning working and then Lee and I went out for a lovely walk at Charlecote Park (photos here: http://www.cosylife.co.uk/places/sunny-walk-charlecote/).

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It once again reminded me how lucky I am and how glad I am that I took the plunge to go self-employed; my quality of life has improved immeasurably. While we were walking in Charlecote we took a call from an Air Experiences customer and sold a voucher, so we were enjoying the great outdoors and earning money at the same time – result!

Tuesday

The Air Experiences phone was ringing off the hook all morning; I think the sun being out is making people think about flying, not surprisingly! Luckily Lee is dealing with the customer service side of things (I take care of the website, social media etc), otherwise I’d never get any of my copywriting work done. I’m so proud of how we have built up Air Experiences from nothing to the point that it’s regularly bringing in sales; we’ve both worked hard on it but it’s starting to pay off, which is wonderful. And it’s a nice thing to have alongside my copywriting business too. On the subject of which, I spent today finishing off an article about great works of art, music and literature produced by people of student age. It was a lovely opportunity to write about Mozart!

Wednesday

I had the day off and spent it with my mum in Stratford – we went to see the RSC production of Henry IV Part I, starring Sir Antony Sher. It was really good, and I’ve written about it here: http://www.cosylife.co.uk/culture/henry-iv-part-1-rsc/

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Thursday

Today I’ve been writing about what famous people got up to when they were at university – tales such as Lord Byron keeping a bear in his college rooms, and that sort of thing. It’s taken ages to research, but it’s been interesting, so it doesn’t matter. I’ve also made my own Korma sauce today, for the first time – this also took ages, preparing all the spices, so I’m hoping it tastes ok! I’ll post the recipe on my other blog when I get the chance.

Friday

The korma was really good. We had the day off on Friday and went flying. It was a good gliding day, with lots of thermals, so we turned the engine off and thermalled up to 4,500ft.

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Saturday

Today I’m catching up on a little bit of work and preparing for our imminent trip to the continent. We are going to see an aircraft we might be buying, and we may even be flying it back! A full account of our adventures to follow in due course…