I started writing my first novel in January 2016. This was also the time I started blogging, and dreaming of a future in which I worked for myself. I said many times, in many posts, that I viewed writing as a business - not just an enjoyable hobby. My goal was to eventually combine my writing and my love of publishing to forge a career that was creatively and intellectually fulfilling and that would allow me to get the most out of life.
Well, folks. I've finally done it!
In 2017, I gave birth to two books and a baby boy - a bit of a whirlwind year - and at the start of my maternity leave I told myself that by September 2018, instead of returning to my job in educational publishing, I would be in a position to launch my own business and work for myself.
There are two parts to my business model: Bewick Press, my publishing company, which will produce writing and literature based resources for schools, and my freelance work as a book coach and author services provider.
Ups and downs and roundabouts
I started off pretty optimistically, despite friends and family gently reminding me that starting a business is pretty darn hard at the best of times, let alone when you’re accompanied 24/7 by a newborn baby. But I was determined. I snatched minutes in nap times and when my husband got home from work. I seemed to be spending every spare second working, planning, thinking, calculating... but nothing was happening.
Around the six month mark, I was utterly convinced that I would have to return to work. The time was coming when I would have to let my employers know whether I'd be going back and I just couldn't justify quitting my job when I had no evidence that any freelance work would be coming in.
I was also not having much luck with my educational resources. I was trying to launch my own creative writing based project and although I knew it was a fantastic idea because teachers told me it was, they also told me they didn't have the money to sign up for it. I spent a gut wrenching amount of money on my first email campaign and it resulted in absolutely zero orders. Actually, the cost of the campaign would be a drop in the ocean for most businesses, but for someone on maternity leave with next-to-no income it felt like a lot!
So, a few weeks away from the end of my maternity leave, I found myself with two choices: give up, return to work and plug away at my business whenever I could find time, which, let’s face it, would be pretty infrequently if I was working full time in the day and looking after a little one in the evenings; or give myself a kick up the butt and make one last attempt to MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Making it happen!
I chose the second option. I turned my business model upside down, sent another email and told myself that if ten schools signed up for the project I would quit my job.
Guess what? 30 schools signed up and I emailed my boss to say those two joyous words: I QUIT. (I actually worded my email much more politely than that but you get the gist.)
Becoming self-employed was still daunting. The money from the school orders won’t start trickling through until December/January and going from knowing what you’ll get in your pay packet at the end of the month to having absolutely no clue is pretty scary. But you know what I found? As soon as I started to think self-employed, as soon as I started to tell people that I worked for myself and about the services I could provide, things started to happen.
On top of