My Biz My Way

My Biz My Way

In celebration of her new book “Your Biz Your Way”, author Judith Morgan, aka The Small Business Oracle, has kindly invited me to write a blog post around the topic: “My Biz My Way” – so here goes.

This year is going to be radically different for me. No, it really is this time around. For the first time in a decade I have NO copywriting clients on my books. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And boy am I glad about that!

You’ve no doubt heard the oft quoted phrase: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Well it’s true, as I’ve learned from first-hand experience.

You see I’m such a diligent and devout client-pleaser. Although I have had the pleasure of working with many great clients down the years, I have also consistently managed to attract the wrong people to my marketing services; folk who didn’t appreciate the value high-converting sales copy adds to a small business. The kind of clients who would utter the words “could you just” at the drop of a hat.

Of course I could. Don’t worry yourself that it’s almost midnight when your email arrived, or that you have no intention of paying me extra for all those little tweaks. It’s no problem at all.

And do you know what? It’s entirely my fault that I’ve manifested the wrong kind of clients to my copywriting business and have failed to educate them sufficiently, or dared to charge what I’m really worth. I take full responsibility for my predicament.

More than that, I’m glad things turned out this way, because ditching my marketing practice has enabled me to turn my hobby – something I love to do for fun – into a proper home-based biz with prospects!

A new dawn has arrived – and I’m ready to embrace it fully, with unswerving commitment and ZERO distractions. Yay!

Towards the end of last year, I vowed that 2018 would be an entirely different prospect career-wise. It would be all about me, me, me, Sweetie. (I’m turning into Ab Fab’s Edina, clearly). Yes, 2018 heralds the Year of the Jan and I have but one goal for the next 12 months: to make my new biz pay its way.

Before committing to my new business model, I asked myself the following questions:

  • Is this biz a good fit for me personally? (ie. Is it something I will enjoy doing every day?)
  • Will it scale?
  • Does it have high growth/ high impact potential, with good profit margins?
  • Do I have assets other people cannot easily replicate?
  • Does my business idea offer recurring income potential?
  • Can I launch quickly?

With the above boxes ticked I decided to move forward in earnest.

So what is this new life-changing biz? I hear you cry.

Well now, seeing as you asked, I’m excited to announce that Jan Jordyn is now a children’s author, illustrator and publisher, and I also have my own personalised greetings card and gifting business courtesy of Etsy. (My shop is Jordyn Digital Art, in case you fancy a browse over a cuppa).

I’ve spent every spare minute of the past 12 months frantically teaching myself Photoshop, Illustrator and Character Animator, (in between burning the midnight oil to fulfil those pesky client obligations, naturally!) Learning to use the Adobe Creative Suite has proved a real game-changer for me. Previously I used to rely on software platforms like Xara and Canva to produce my graphics for clients. (I’m not dissing these applications – they’re great – it’s just that I need something a tad more sophisticated to kickstart my awesome new career.)

Armed with my new skillset I have created some dynamic and quirky animal characters called the WildStarz, to assist me in my quest to make it BIG in the competitive world of children’s publishing .

Primarily aimed at youngsters 5-7, the WildStarz brand is all about encouraging kids, (and their grown-ups), to get active and creative, but in a totally non-preachy way!

Currently I have two WildStarz seasonal fun books for sale on Amazon UK, plus the Spring Fun Book, which launches on March 1st. I am also working on my very first WildStarz story books, which will include interactive versions also.

By the end of this year I hope to have at least one major licensor on board. I’ve teamed up with Bee Licensing’s Trudi Bishop, a highly respected licensing expert with a solid reputation in the industry, to help me navigate the minefield and evaluate the potential opportunities that brand licensing represents.

I might have inadvertently let slip to the bank manager recently that in three years’ time we’re going to be as big as Peppa Pig, but hey, a girl’s got to have that Big Audacious Dream to keep her motivated, right?

So how does my latest venture measure up to the old one?

Happier? Definitely.

More productive? Infinitely.

More abundant? Can I get back to you in six months’ time?

So as we speak, I have but one client on my books … ME!

And that, Sweetie, suits me just fine. 

Farewell Freelancing … Hello Hobby-to-Home-Based Business!

12 Things I Won't Miss About the Gig Economy

After 15 years’ experiencing the good, the bad and the truly ugly side of freelancing, I’ve taken the momentous decision to fire the clients and embark on an exciting new adventure. I’m starting a home-based business – a venture where I’m well and truly the BOSS!

Now you may think that freelancers have it easy. It’s all slopping around in your PJs, latte on tap and listening to Smooth FM, whilst bashing out the odd piece of content as you drift dreamily through your day.

Yet this has not been my experience at all.

Okay, in theory, time is your own to schedule as you see fit. But unless you’re strict with yourself about when and if to answer the phone during work hours, not to mention curtailing unscheduled visits from friends/ neighbours/ acquaintances who happened to spot your car in the driveway and thought they’d surprise you, it’s easy to get sucked into a regime where it’s hard to say ‘no’ to people’s demands on your time.

So, without further ado, here’s:

12 Things I Won’t Miss About the Gig Economy (in no particular order)

Clients who:

  • are exceptionally price-conscious, or prefer to award their precious project to the lowest bidder, regardless of ability.
  • use the phrase “if we could just tweak …”
  • say things like: “this should only take someone with your skills an hour or so”.
  • haven’t a clue what they want/ keep changing their mind.
  • want stuff yesterday.
  • think it’s okay to call you up on weekends/ outside of normal business hours.
  • phone you up for a chat on the way to a meeting.
  • want to ‘pick your brains’, not pay you for your expertise.
  • show your content around to their colleagues/ friends/ family and want to change a paragraph because Great Aunt Marge objects to the wording.
  • ignore your invoice requests for ‘payment within 30 days please’ and constantly settle late.
  • think it’s fine to cancel their project at a moment’s notice, even though they’ve signed a contract.

And finally (though this is by no means an exhaustive list!):

  • the unpredictability of freelance work/ income.

 

Don’t get me wrong. Today’s gig economy offers some great benefits over the traditional office environment, for example:

  • Flexibility – work where you want and when you are at your most productive.
  • 30-second commute and zero travel costs.
  • Holiday when you want.
  • Unlimited earning potential.
  • No dress code.
  • No office politics.

 

But to make the gig economy work in your favour you need to be far savvier than ever I was starting out. So, here’s the advice I would give anyone wishing to pursue a career as a freelance creative today:

  • Never accept a role as an intern, or offer to work ‘on spec’. Any ethical company will value your skillset and be prepared to pay the going rate for it.
  • Charge what you are worth and be discerning about the clients you take on.
  • Don’t use freelance job boards or sites where you have to bid on projects. (You can waste a lot of time pitching for projects that never get awarded). Also, these places tend to attract price-conscious clients, (see list above).
  • Market yourself as a ‘niche specialist’ rather than a generalist and create a strong portfolio around your chosen niche.
  • Ask for at least 30% of your agreed fee up front and the remainder to be paid within 14 days of completion.
  • Try not to limit yourself to only one client, even if he/ she wants to employ you full time. If the company goes bust, (as happened with one of my clients), then you will be left scratching around for work just to pay the bills.

 

So what’s next for me?

Well, I’ve been designing my own-brand birthday cards for friends and family for a while now. And the fact is, I love designing bespoke greetings so much that I plan to turn my hobby into a home-based business, selling personalised cards and digital art.

I spent yesterday afternoon eagerly devouring Clare Hudson’s excellent Kindle book: Etsy Artist: How to Successfully Launch, Market and Sell Your Art on Etsy, and I’m going to spend the rest of this afternoon setting up my new Etsy shop: JordynDigitalArt.

Exciting times, eh?

I’m also going to document my progress in the form of an online diary so that anyone wishing to do something similar can benefit from my experiences; the good, the bad and … (you know the rest!)

Thanks for reading this piece and I hope you’ll drop by and check out my shop soon. Oh and do feel free to post a comment below if you wish!