As some of you may know I am now dipping my toe into consultancy waters and am enjoying working for myself. It was something I have been thinking about for a while and this was the week I finally said as much on LinkedIn! You can’t get much more official than that.
I thought this might be a good time to do another series of weeknotes, and share my learning. I have worked in a multi-national, in large and small non-profits and SMEs, so I guess this would be an area I would explore before too long.
I’m finding I enjoying working for myself and having the freedom to work in the way I want. It suits me in all sorts of ways. I was able to go for a good walk with my sister the other day without feeling guilty. But that freedom has a responsibility attached. The only fall back systems are yourself. I’m finding my first learning point is
#1 Getting organised
I have spent a fair amount of time setting up systems in the last week or so. I’ve been creating template documents to new folders and structures on the laptop. It was amazing how the documents have quickly grown and my accounting training kicked in quickly. I knew I needed to get my systems out there or I would drown. I’m also very glad I went on a bullet journalling class over Christmas. I did it for amusement/creative reasons but I am finding it has an enormous micro-business application. The inner accountant quite enjoyed setting these systems up tbh. They are holding up well, but I hadn’t factored into the equation the administration time required. So glad this was an upfront lesson!
#2 Tweaking technology
I’m quite a fan of google tech (shout outs to Neil Tamplin and Polly Thompson) for this. I found it was hugely helpful a few weeks ago to properly set up a separate google work email address. Its integration with other apps eg google meet made such a difference. My old Yahoo account, which I had used for semi-business stuff, has been with me since the Dark Ages of the Internet (c1998). So long Yahoo. I moved after I lost one too many Microsoft Teams meeting requests. Its not compatible for some reason, sadly. I couldn’t believe how much slicker and faster things have been since. I have been tweaking my other tech elements accordingly as I go this week.
Next on my list will be taking a look at Calendly — used it once or twice and it seems promising. And related to #1 setting up meetings is costly in time and effort so anything which makes that better is good. If anyone can suggest others would gladly hear them.
#3 Getting out there
Bearing in mind the truism that its harder to network remotely, this has been going well. I’m lucky in that I have a fairly broad network. A lot of what I have been doing is reconnecting with people I haven’t spoken to for a little bit. Which has been fun. My guess is most of us are more up for conversations with old acquaintances, and appreciate the value of connection a little bit more now. And whilst we are often on social media more to stay connected that makes it a little easier to get seen, and just as important, spot opportunities. I am a strong believer in working out in the open and I think I am learning its just as important whatever your type of employment. And, rather like in #1, proactively spend time on networking and nurturing the connection. I’ve learned its something which deserves time slots of itself, and not just being squeezed around other things. I’m thinking to how I might structure it well in the future.
The walk along the Taff did me good the other day. And the water was crystal clear. The banks are wearing away in places which leaves amazing roots like this exposed.
Its a reminder that everything is in flux and nothing is permanent. But I would like to end on a positive note and say there is also a lot of beauty and interesting things to explore out there.