I wrote Do it Anyway to let you know about how I had quit my full time job in the hope of making It’s Character Building a business. I figured that spreading happy vibes had been going so well that maybe I could take the leap. When I was interviewed for The Audio Works Podcast, Josh suggested that I write about my progress to let everyone know how it was going, warts and all. I’m seven weeks in to my self-employment venture so I figured it’s as good a time as any to share how the experience has gone so far. Being the realist I am, I’m giving you the good, the bad and the ugly!
I’m not gonna lie, I thought I was going mad during the first couple of weeks. There was so much to do, it all felt a bit overwhelming. It turns out that while I might find writing easy, all the other stuff isn’t. There was the website to commission and re-design, HMRC to contact, blogs to write, social media to keep constantly updated, a million people to contact. That’s all before I had to learn about the art of search engine optimisation and domain authority…..(WTF?) Then of course there’s the interest from well-meaning friends: “So, what is your business plan?” Having to admit that I don’t actually have one, isn’t the most comfortable situation. Thing is, I have a business degree and I’ve worked in business for 15 years so I know how reckless it is not to have a clear business plan before you embark on something. Trying to explain: “I just have a feeling it’ll all work out” made them think I was definitely losing it. It all got a bit much and there were times when I was tempted to agree with them.
Part of my new venture is an initiative called “The Happy You Project” which is myself and my lovely friend/business partner, creating and delivering workshops to make people feel empowered, positive and most of all, happy. The workshops combine positivity training, yoga and meditation. In preparation for letting ourselves loose on the paying public, we did a practise run with our friends.
It’s fair to say, it didn’t go how I expected. I’m an experienced learning and development specialist, having designed and delivered training all over the UK so I thought it would be a walk in the park. It wasn’t. I felt totally self-conscious and thrown off standing in front of all my friends. The feedback I got reflected that it wasn’t my best work. Apparently I made little comments during my delivery putting myself down which undermined my credibility. I didn’t even realise I was doing it. Like anything challenging in life, as we know, it’s character building. But building character can be an extremely difficult process. You’re stepping outside your comfort zone and as I found out that day, it’s no fun.
The feedback from The Happy You Project practise run was fair and hugely useful. I was annoyed that I didn’t do better because I know I’m capable of so much more, but it’s how you respond to situations that matters the most. So, we reflected on everything that was said and now we have something special that I’m really excited about delivering. It’s completely different to our original idea and I’m really glad.
The writing side of the business is going pretty fucking well. I had my first HuffPostUK article published. I was beyond honored to have Macmillan ask me to write the piece for World Cancer Day. The day after it went live, I got the best phone call from my Macmillan editor (Shout out Jazmine!) telling me that HuffPost loved the article so much, they want me to be an ongoing contributor. I still can’t quite believe it. Having friends and family tell me that my writing is good is one thing, having HuffPost say it’s good is something else entirely.
I also pitched an article to Happiful Magazine who are really into it and will be publishing it. That article will officially be my first paid writing gig. Like, I’m officially a proper, legit, freelance writer! I won’t tell you too much about the article but it’s a feature on someone who does amazing work in the mental health space. I have loads more ideas, fingers crossed that Happiful will be pleased with what I produce so that I have more opportunities to write for them. I’m pitching to other publications and organisations too and I have a good feeling that it’ll build up nicely.
The Bloody Marvellous
Finally, I sat in my local co-working space on a random Thursday, having completed a telephone interview, had a meeting about a business collaboration, written a blog post and researched publications to target. I just sat and smiled to myself.
This is my life now.
I couldn’t believe what I had achieved. Life was so different a few months ago, now I’ve created a completely different lifestyle for myself. It’s one that feeds my creativity and makes me happy. 7 weeks in and so far, so good.