Anecdote is a year old now, so perhaps it’s time to sit back and take stock.
Everyone told me that starting your own business wasn’t easy, and they weren’t wrong. On hearing the news of my departure from the world of employment, one of my oldest and closest friends said: “Well, be prepared to be a salesman for the next year or two, and not a writer.”
I, of course, pooh-poohed him. And, equally predictably, I was completely wrong to do so. I never expected work just to fall into our laps but, equally, I didn’t expect it to be as hard to find paying work as it has been.
One thing I didn’t appreciate the importance of is networking. For the first few months, we talked to people, of course, but we didn’t get to networking events and business clubs. Partly, this is because of my natural lack of confidence. Networking is something I actually find pretty hard. Putting myself out there and blowing my own trumpet has never been something I’m entirely comfortable with. (I know there are lots of people out there who will find that difficult to believe.)
But I have to say that, once I’d taken the plunge, I realised just how vital it is. Perhaps more importantly, I actually found out how much fun it is. Over the past few months I’ve met some wonderful people around Market Harborough and Leicestershire, all of whom have been more than happy to help a newbie finding his feet in the world of business.
In particular, through meetings with Working Breakfast and Connect Market Harborough, I’ve come across a host of fabulous people. They’ve been on hand to give me lots of advice, to lend a sympathetic ear when necessary and to point me in the direction of people who will actually pay for my services.
Some of them have even decided to get me to do some work for themselves. Not least the wonderful Barbara Armstrong of Pthree Business, who has been a great help. The marvellous Dave Hall of DH Small Business Help has also been fantastic. Dave’s pushed my business to everyone he knows and has always been there with a word of advice and support when needed.
I’ve also spent a very happy year at Harborough Innovation Centre. Originally, I’d intended to work from home, but my business partner David Sawford suggested I get a space in the shared office at the centre, and I’m extremely glad he did. Getting the contract to write the centre’s monthly newsletter was even better, as it gave me the opportunity to get out there and meet the other businesses in the centre. I’ll be eternally grateful to HIC manager Liza Menzies for giving me that chance. And everyone else in the centre team – Caroline, Keri and Beki – have been brilliant.
My biggest thanks go to David, of course, whose idea it was to set up Anecdote. It’s been hard work for little financial reward so far! But, of course, it’s been real fun and it’s great to be working for ourselves.
We think all that work is starting to pay off. The clients are beginning to come in, though there’s always room for more. We strongly believe in what we do: providing great words that really show how our clients can make their customers’ lives better. So if you know anyone who needs web copy, newsletters, video scripts – anything with words – why not point them in the direction of Anecdote UK?