Self-employment survival in a pandemic

On the first day of lockdown, a year ago, it was the quiet that was most unnerving.

I live in South West London, opposite a small park, and there is always the sound of a ball being kicked or bounced on the sports pitches.

Taken at Megan’s in Clapham the day the first lockdown was announced

An aircraft flying over, a car going by or someone talking loudly on their phone. Even on my relatively unpopulated street.

My neighbourhood had been switched off. But friends and family sprang to life; Zoom calls were organised, regular Whatsapp messages sent to check in on each other.

In contrast, being self-employed, there were no colleagues to rally around and huge uncertainty about what would happen to business.

I had enough work to see me through the first few weeks, but regular writing gigs started to dry up.

Negotiations about new work stopped.

There were debates on LinkedIn about whether it was appropriate to be marketing during a pandemic. How else was I get work if I didn’t stay visible?

Visibility campaign

I adjusted my approach but threw myself into a visibility campaign. In those first few months, I was never in a position where I didn’t have any work; it was just small bits and pieces.

Continue reading “Self-employment survival in a pandemic”

The language of winning – are we taught to collaborate?

In business (and life) people talk about ‘winning’. Some even use #win on social media and I have too – usually tongue in cheek. But what does winning mean?

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

I was listening to a podcast interview recently with Olympic-medal winning rower and diplomat Cath Bishop (link to podcast at the bottom).

She talked about how a change in mindset helped her to achieve more and that change was focusing on the process rather than the end goal which was winning.

Her approach isn’t unusual, I’ve heard other successful sportspeople say they take the same approach.

Winning no doubt gives you a high but it is short-lived and if that is your sole focus then it can be deflating and misses out on a much more enriching experience.

The value in the process

Seeing the value in the process gives you something more sustainable and rewarding than focusing simply on winning or losing. It’s a series of smaller victories: What you learn along the way, how you develop and improve.

If you focus on enjoying the process then success – the win – is the cherry on the cake. And as Cath Bishop found, it ultimately led to far more wins.

It’s the equivalent of enjoying the journey, not just the destination. Or in business really loving what you do and enjoying getting better at it. The results are a happy bi-product.

Continue reading “The language of winning – are we taught to collaborate?”

New Year’s resolutions

happy new year decorative plate
Photo by on

I’ve never been one for setting New Year resolutions which limit or restrict, instead, I’d rather draw up a list of things I want to do more of – spending time with friends, for example.

This is my first New Year in business so the temptation is to come up with a huge list of goals but one thing I’ve learned in the past seven months is that it is something that needs to be reviewed regularly.

I started using a Trello board for keeping tabs on ideas and leads which I’m constantly updating and adding to.

In those moments when things feel like they aren’t moving the way I want, I’ll scan through to see where I’ve come from, what I’ve already achieved and take inspiration from the ideas and leads.

So this (short) list is part resolution, part well-being reminder and part motivator, all of which will no doubt have wider benefits.

1. Blog regularly on my website

This isn’t purely because it’s good for profile and SEO but because I really enjoy writing, which is why it is a big part of my work. Continue reading “New Year’s resolutions”