The Business Side of Things
And now, I’m finally getting to sharing with you all the business side of things…
I find myself with some time to breathe right now. Last year, I had one large project that kept me busy most of the year, one client with a variety of small-to-medium-sized projects, and several small, “one off” kinds of things that came up along the way. It was a good amount of work–just about right for the amount of time I had last year.
But this year…
I finished the large project. The client with all the small-to-medium projects hasn’t needed much from me of late. And I just haven’t had many little things come my way.
So during this relative lull, I find myself taking a big breath and wondering how to direct my time, efforts, and energies this year.
What do I want from my business?
Primarily, I keep going back to the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” This is what I’ve been considering as I’ve returned to writing over the last few years. I do think I have a fairly good grasp of the skills necessary for good written communication, and I might have a fair bit of talent somewhere in there as well. And I like it–that is not inconsequential. For me, creating good written copy is an act of worship–whether I’m writing for someone else, writing for a product, or writing my own fiction. Just like it can be an act of worship for the Christian shoemaker to make good shoes, it’s an act of worship for the Christian writer to make good sentences and paragraphs–even if those sentences and paragraphs are ads, case studies, blog posts, or websites.
It’s actually kind of huge that I’ve finally come to this point–the point of being able to reconcile and validate my gifts, passions, and desires with my faith. My work does not have to be at odds with my faith. There are still things that I would not write and projects that I would not take, but if the work is not in conflict with my faith, I can integrate it into a picture of the whole Amy.
In more practical terms, here are some other things I want from my business:
- I want to earn enough to help cash flow college for my kids, if that’s what they want to do after high school. Or if they don’t want to go to college right away, I want to be in a position that I can help them some other way if necessary.
- I want to build something that’s mine. I actually really do like writing commercial copy. It’s fun. And I think I’m reasonably good at it. As my kids get older and start their own adult lives and pursue their own passions, I would like to have something to do besides knit and take care of dogs.
- I want to have freedom and independence as I head into the downhill side of things. I turn 50 this year. When I approach 60 or 70, I want to be able to direct my own path–to choose whether to take a month off to travel or spend three months ghostwriting a book for someone.
But I’m struggling with how to get there. The things that worked before just don’t seem to work the same way. And I will say that I haven’t been very good at putting myself “out there” for others to find me. I’ve mostly dabbled inconsistently in various platforms or settings.
So I go back to basics: What do I want? And the way I want to make a living more than anything is by writing books–my own or other peoples’. I truly, genuinely love ghostwriting. I like commercial writing, but books are my passion. I am happy to do all kinds of other commercial writing projects for now, but what I would love to do is create a business where I can work full time ghostwriting books–maybe 2-4 books per year–while I work on my own fiction on the side.
How do I get there? That’s where I keep getting stuck. I suppose the first step is to just start putting myself front and center. People won’t know I’m here unless I tell them, right?
But it’s so. damn. intimidating.
So right now, I’m a bit in limbo. I’m backing up, taking a breath, and reassessing, and at the moment, I can really only face the next few months. I have three more months (give or take) of the long school drive with my youngest daughter, and I have to get through a high school graduation season. Then… Summer. And there are a lot of things up in the air about summer. So for this year, I guess work is going to be one season at a time.
So for spring, here are my plans/goals:
- Finish a copywriting certification program that I started last fall and haven’t finished yet because I keep procrastinating and it’s kind of scary.
- Refresh my work website with updated project samples and content.
- Create an editorial calendar for my work blog and actually start blogging there once a week.
- Create an e-mail list. I don’t have to use it yet. I just have to create it and figure out how to use it.
- Get back to attending at least two Chamber of Commerce events per month. This is tough, you guys, but it’s good for me to connect with people. It keeps me from being a weird old hermit lady.
I think that’s enough to get me through mid-June, when graduation season will be over and the long drive will be done. I may have to start working at the gym more. It’s hard to concentrate here at home with a husband and dogs and cats and the laundry and dishes screaming at me and… Yeah. The gym is quiet. Well, not quiet, but it’s the kind of noise that’s easy to block out. And it has good wifi.
So that’s where I am. And as I read this over, I’m reminded of how many of these things touch on my particular struggle with bravery. I tend to not be very brave. Hmm… I think there’s another post there… In any case, breaking it all down and giving myself little goals makes it easier to take steps in the right general direction.
Here we go.