Oh wow, a writer writing about how she started her own business. Riveting stuff.
But honestly you guys – it’s been exactly a year since I began this old thang called Poor Richard and started thinking seriously about doing it for a crust.
So I thought I’d indulge myself and journal out what I’ve learnt along the way (feel free to scroll right past if this isn’t your thing).
I was working in an awesome Australian fintech company as Lead Writer and planning a wedding and overseas honeymoon and decided very last minute to move to Tasmania from Queensland. I thought this little project called Poor Richard would be a fun hobby to fill in all my spare time now that I was going to be in a new city where I didn’t know anyone.
Yup, I had a lot going on. But I guess that’s how these things always start, right? ‘No time like the present’ and all that.
I got a couple of regular clients in addition to my day job and quite frankly, I couldn’t keep up with it all. I tried to for about two months but it was tough. So after a bit of soul searching, I decided to take the plunge and do it full time – because as great as my job was (and it was great), something in me wanted more.
Not in the greedy sense at all – in fact it was that I had seen friends of mine leave well-paying and steady jobs to get uncomfortable and build something of their own. And I liked the idea – I wanted to have something of my own, I wanted to challenge myself.
Now I’m not bootstrapping an app or creating the next Facebook by any means – this business is simply me focusing my time and energy on the stuff that lights me up and brings the most value to other people and their businesses. That thing for me is writing.
You spend at least 8 hours a day doing your job (however I can vouch for the fact that if you’re in the business of being your own boss, you can double that number), so it makes sense to enjoy it. To have fun. Yes, I’m even talking about the ideas that pop into your head at 1am in a dream, the stress regarding tight deadlines and the tax / BAS / $$ stuff for someone who is DEFINITELY NOT a numbers gal.
It’s fun. It’s rewarding.
And it’s something I never in a million years thought I could do full-time until about 9 months ago. I don’t come from an entrepreneurial / business owner background so this was totally new terrain. I had (and still have sometimes) NFI how to run a business.
Again, it’s still fun. It’s still rewarding.
The trick is to not take yourself too seriously – something that I have always lived by, if you haven’t been able to tell from my self-deprecating humour on Insta (@poorrichardcopy).
And it makes total sense to me now, this path I’ve chosen, how I stumbled onto it blindfolded and why I’m enjoying it so much: I’m self-motivated and I actually like working. I’ve found that I can push through those creative slumps, however painfully, and still get my work done on time. There’s no dragging my feet to get up in the morning or sitting in pjs all day (strictly yoga pants haha). I like talking to people, so I have no issues with getting on the phone to follow up clients or scheduling in get-to-know-you sessions. I know last-minute deadlines are a b*tch, but they’re ok if you know how to deal with them (luckily I’ve had my fair share of practice and in a weird way I have decided that I like the thrill).
What I wasn’t quite ready for was the twinges of loneliness. I wasn’t ready for the negotiating of prices (hint: never negotiate if you know your worth). And I wasn’t ready for my lack of discipline to stop working, or the tiredness and crankiness of little sleep. The beauty of always being ‘on’ with a mobile device, amiright? I wasn’t ready for how hard I was on myself – I am a perfectionist when it comes to copywriting for others.
Now I can safely say that this is the place for me. I can create, and play and work on meaningful things that bring me joy. I am doing good work. And I’ve had a blast working with some incredible Australian and international companies who are doing cool sh*t (check out my ‘Work’ page if you want to see what I mean).
Things are great over here, folks. But I am on the lookout for more professional development opportunities (investing in myself during the new financial year and stuff) – so if you have any you’d recommend for creatives / writers / small service-based businesses, just holla in the comments please!
Oh and if there’s one piece of advice I can give anyone thinking about starting their own little thang, it’s this: get Xero. Don’t even think about it, just do it.