Not freelancing!

NotFreelanceAs it turns out, I’m mostly not going to be freelancing from now on.

With opportunities suddenly growing like weeds, and yours truly beginning to wonder if freelancing really might work, one of my main hopes rang me up out of the blue.

“We’ve got a lot of work for you, Stu,” they said, “Guaranteed six months worth; how about if you contract for us instead? Full-time with full benefits?”

Well, I…” I began.

“Or would you prefer to stay freelance? We can do that if you like. Have you been freelance long?”

“No, I think contract might be best, I’ve only been freelance 48 hours – since Friday.”

“Last Friday?”

“Yes.”

“Well, this is perfect timing for you, isn’t it?! Can you start next week?”

“Yes. Yes, I can!”

So I start tomorrow. It seems like forever since I looked forward to working, but I write this with a wide smile, full of enthusiasm about writing, meeting new people and doing a rewarding job again. I love being a writer and being able to call myself a WRITER. People paying me to do it is pretty much a bonus!

Over the last week I’ve found myself just…happy again. When you’ve been down for so long then rock-bottom starts to feel like normal. It was only this weekend, when I found myself smiling in the sunshine, stopping to smell bluebells in the woods and tickling my kids till they squealed, that I realised these simple enjoyments have largely been missing from life this last year.

It’s good to have them back. Wish me luck for tomorrow – and for the other freelance work that I’m hoping to carry on as a sideline.

You know, just in case. 😉

Freelancing?

ExitYou may have noticed (or you may not…) that it’s been quite some time since I mentioned work here.

There are reasons for that.

Most of them were related to my not enjoying the job. However, I finished there on Friday and am now much happier – if somewhat lacking in disposable income.

Resigning without another job to go to isn’t something I’ve done before, and I couldn’t have done without the support (if not the happiness…) of my wonderful wife and family. Thanks, guys!

I’ve been job hunting for a while now, and despite coming tantalisingly close on occasion have yet to have any luck. But that luck seems to have changed following my resignation, just not in quite the way I expected, because I’ve now got some freelance work.

Freelancing is new to me. I have friends who are very successful at it and recommend the life to everyone. Their stories have always sounded marvellous, but while talking about tax advice, remarkable pay and choices of self-employment or limited company status, they always seemed to miss out the part where they find the work.

You know, the important part.

Luckily I seem to have stumbled onto some of this forbidden knowledge by accident.

In a couple of job interviews they loved me and my writing, but the job didn’t quite match my skillset. I shrugged my shoulders, thanked them for their time and was about to move on when the interviewer paused for a second.

“You know,” they would say, “we really did enjoy meeting you. Could we keep your details on file for the future?”

“Sure,” I would always smile, “that would be great.” And then close the door.

Well, this time, I’m pleased to say, they weren’t joking. In fact, they were so not joking that it might – just possibly maybe might – be a substitute for a “proper” job.

Only time will tell. In 12 months I might be king of the freelancers or I might be blogging from my ‘phone as I beg for money outside Albany Park station.

You’ll know it’s me because the cardboard sign will be properly spelt, grammatically correct and devastatingly effective in its call to action. 🙂

 

After school and after work

Another week, another school milestone for Amber.

This week it was her first session at after-school club.  Fortunately for her her she’s got it relatively easy. Millie knew absolutely no one at after school club – she was the only one from her class!  Amber, on the other hand, has a big sister and TWO classmates.

So, to be honest, after school club shouldn’t have been a big hurdle.

And it wasn’t.

I’ve been busy since I got back from the Isle of Wight with freelance work.  I spent the night before we went trying to polish off some emails for my old employer, and again most of last night was spent doing the same.  It’s all money in the bank (or it will be, when I get paid) but it’s hard work holding down a day job, trying to be a good Dad, and spending every waking hour churning out copy.

Did I mention that that I’ve set up my own company?  StuPC Ltd has one shareholder – me, and one reason for existing – as a vehicle for my prodigious copywriting talents.  I’ve even added a new freelancing section to this blog, which you may/may not have noticed…

Employment news!

And in employment news…  Er, not a lot.

I’ve got a short telephone interview tomorrow (Monday) and I’ve applied for a lot of jobs in the last couple of weeks.

Of those jobs, quite a few have been application forms – which sort the men from the boys; CV applications take a couple of minutes, but application forms take a couple of hours, and there have been some that match my skillset to the letter – of which, an elite few have even matched my interests; so I’m hoping to hear back from those in a positive vein soon.

If I don’t…well, we’ll have to take another good long look at how I’m selling my skills, won’t we?

It would be nice to get an interview (or two) over this coming week, because I finish my current job on Friday.  Some freelance stuff is coming in, and more is in the pipeline, but nowhere near enough to live on yet.

If you’ve got any copywriting or editing to be done then I’m your man.  Get in touch at stu(at)stupc.co.uk

Back to the drawing board

Sadly, I didn’t get the job I (second) interviewed for last week.  They were looking for someone with design skills more than copywriting skills (so I was lucky to get through to the second interview stage, I suspect!)

Anyway, despite a momentary sinking feeling when I read the email I’m still feeling confident about finding a new job before we starve to death and lose our home.

I can’t explain why exactly; perhaps because there are plenty of vacancies coming up that I’m qualified and experienced for.  And I am getting some interviews, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time.

In the meantime, my thoughts have turned to freelance work, thanks to a slew of positive comments about my writing.  And not even the proper stuff I write for a living, just the nonsense I scratch out here most days! 🙂

So, if you’re reading this and you:

  • want a copywriter
  • know someone looking for a copywriter
  • know someone who needs a copywriter but doesn’t realise they need a copywriter (it’s more common than you’d think)

then leave a comment on this page or email godlessheathenATstupc.co.uk and our courteous and efficient staff will follow up your message ASAP.

Seriously.

(except for the bit about the courteous and efficient staff)

Sunday morning perfection

It’s 10.15 on a glorious Sunday morning and I’ve just got up.

Yeah, that’s right, 10.15 and I’ve only just got up.

I love my children, but sometimes I love them more from a distance – like when they’re in Swindon with Nanny & Grampy for the first few days of the summer holidays.

That’s possibly a terrible thing to say, but I’m going to say it anyway.

Having a lazy morning with nobody bodyslamming you awake at 6.45, nobody arguing about colouring pens, nobody asking “When are we having breakfast?” every 30 seconds and nobody needing to go anywhere – that is the perfect Sunday morning right now.

The girls are away until Wednesday – by which point we’ll be desperate to have them home once more; but Wednesday seems a long loooong way away just now.  I’m going to finish writing this blog entry, get dressed, have a large bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and a cup of tea, read the papers and then go to the pub to meet some friends.

Ahhh, just writing my itinerary is making me happy! 🙂

Yesterday, before dropping the girls at Paddington Station with my parents, we went to meet baby Clara in Croydon – the first-born of our friends Shash and Megan.  She was pretty cute, obviously, but it was a little odd to be speaking to them as “old hands” in parenting.  Every time they mentioned something Clara did we thought, “I remember that…”  The Lovely Melanie really enjoyed holding Clara, and Millie, as always, was fascinated and very affectionate.  Amber not so much.

Amber and the Mayor of BexleySpeaking of Amber, here’s a picture of her graduation ceremony from Premier Lodge Nursery on Thursday, where she wore a gown and mortarboard and received a scroll from the mayor of Bexley.  I couldn’t go (although, I elected to work from home that day) but the Lovely Melanie tells me it was outrageously cute.  They sang songs “Big school, big school here we come, we know we’ll have lots of fun…), there was a cake and a ceremony and everything.  The only thing missing was a stretch limo!

Abigail Cobb, Ella and AmberAnd here’s another picture of Amber with her friends Abigail Cobb and Ella – neither of which are going to her school, but the three of them have been a little “gang” at nursery for some time.  Sad to think she’ll probably never see them again, but I’m sure she’ll make lots of new friends at big school. 🙂

UPDATE – I’ve uploaded some video of the graduation ceremony.  It’s shot on the Lovely Melanie’s iPhone, so the quality’s not that great, but you get the idea.

As mentioned, I worked from home that day because I had a second interview with a well-known company based in Leicester Square.  I like the sound of the job, I liked the guy interviewing me, and I liked the fact that there was no obvious shirt-and-tie dress code.

Shallow, I know, but we all know my feelings on shirts and ties and “proper” trousers. 😛

I felt the interview went well, and should hear back early this week; but there’ll be a third interview to attend if they like me.  And with unemployment looming large now let’s hope they really like me!

One other thing to note on the unemployment front is that I’m now seriously thinking of doing freelance work as a copywriter.  I’ve been doing some research, putting together some vague plans and seeking  advice.  Nothing concrete yet, but the main opposing argument previously was the lack of security freelancing entails; however, having now been made redundant three times in two years, even the Lovely Melanie is now thinking “How bad can it be…?

Now, it’s time for a large bowl of delicious Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and a cup of milky tea! 😀

Job search developments

You may recall I had a job interview and copywriting test with a charity last week.  The interview went only “averagely” well, I thought, but the copywriting test was a different story.

pile of wordsTurns out I was right.  They’ve been in touch to say I wasn’t quite right for the job I interviewed for, but my test was quoteamazingunquote, and would I be interested in doing some freelance work for them? 🙂

So, a real case of swings and roundabouts there, and one that is making me think seriously about trying for some freelance work to supplement whatever “proper” job I do manage to get.

The problem with trying this avenue is largely one of self confidence: my faith in my own ability to write ebbs and flows.  Sometimes I’m convinced I’m a copywriting rockstar; at others I wonder if I’m not just an out-of-my-depth amateur.

Going freelance would be a challenge because I’d have to prove once and for all that I can write well.

sad childAnd write well enough for people to pay me money.

Sure, I’ve been blogging for years, and I work (albeit, not for much longer) as a copywriter, but there’s often a little nervous voice in my head worrying that people are simply saying nice things about what I write because they don’t want to hurt my feelings (and being made redundant from my job after just a few months doesn’t help with that – even if I’ve been told it’s absolutely not a reflection on my copywriting skills).

But at the core of this fear is the fact that I’m not terribly good at many other things; so, if I’m not even good at writing (says the little nervous voice) then I must be completely useless.

Yeah, it’s stupid, I know, but that’s why being told my work is quote amazing unquote by someone who has no investment in my feelings feels like a big deal.

Maybe I’ll look back on this blog entry in a year’s time, when I’m the world’s highest paid copywriter, and laugh.

By the way, I also have a second interview tomorrow for a different writing job, so I must be doing something right.

Right?