13 May 2006

A productive few days

I was exhausted by Friday evening as it was an exceptionally busy week. I spent two whole days creating copy for a client's website - a process that entailed hours spent on the phone with my graphic designer while we talked things through, looked at the draft designs (which have been approved) and amended the search tags I had to write. The client was unavailable whenever I tried to contact him, which was frustrating. I sent him an e-mail full of questions that I needed answers to, then I sent another e-mail with 5 pages of draft copy. The designer has already seen them and given the thumbs up and, while his opinion is important, the one that really counts is the client's. I know he was around as he'd been at the designer's studio in the morning, being talked through the design drafts. My designer works across the road from my base, so the client could have called, especially as he'd told the designer he was going to ring me. An annoyance, but I'm sure I'll hear from him first thing Monday.

I completed the edit of the latest book chapter on Tuesday. My client, who is the "real" editor, has subcontracted this job to me. She mailed me to say there were definitely 3 more chapters in the pipeline but couldn't say when. We agreed I'd invoice her for the 8 I've already edited. I was relieved about that as I've been on this job since March and have clocked up a lot of hours. Seeing some money would be good.

I found time at the end of Friday to write a free article for an e-newsletter on why small businesses need to hire professionals to write their copy. It wasn't totally altruistic, as I'll get a plug for my own business. But on the altruistic side, it's a subject I feel passionate about - so many start-ups fail because they don't get their publicity right. Badly worded web copy full of spelling errors is a real turn off to customers. In my view, businesses that don't care how they come across often don't care about their customers. Getting it right can make a real difference to turnover and customer retention. Getting it wrong can mean business failure. And with 16 million workers out there with the literacy skills of a primary school student, it's vital that start-ups invest in their business literature. I'm always amazed that start-ups will happily shell out for a graphic designer, legal advice, a book-keeper and the rest but then decide to save money by writing their own copy. It's an expensive mistake.

My local weekly paper is once again running its county-wide business competition. This is the third year of the Cheshire Business Awards. I'm tempted to enter this year, now I've been freelance for more than 16 months. I need to talk it through with my beloved P.

I watched the final of The Apprentice on Wednesday. I shall miss it now it's finished as it's been riveting. Here I am, a sole trader working from home, doing reasonably well, and doing every single job for the business - I write, I edit, I proofread (the stuff that earns the money), then I do the books, invoice the clients and pay my suppliers, make the coffee, market myself to potential clients, manage myself, do my own appraisals... the only thing I don't have to do is clean my office - we pay someone for that. And there are these supposedly competent managers begging to work for Alan Sugar. What a bunch of hopeless, conniving, back-stabbing, bitchy and useless idiots most of them were!. I wouldn't give one of them a day's free work experience at Chateau Wordsmith. I was glad Michelle won, she deserved it. Ruth will do well for herself anyway. Dunno how I shall fill my Wednesday nights though now, unless I go to the belly dancing class up the road from my house. I've been sorely tempted for a while.

I missed my networking meeting on Thursday evening due to the heavy workload. I need to get out more.

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