Of course, the question was always what was I going to do with the rest of my free time? When I was brainstorming about jobs last year, one of the things I thought about was being a freelance proofreader (and perhaps translator). It sounded like an interesting idea for me, especially after quite a negative working experience I had earlier this year; the idea of working from home was very appealing. There were cons, such as the worry about setting up being self-employed, taxes, how to drum up sufficient business to pay the bills, how to network (not one of my strengths!), how the process of getting and submitting work to clients would be etc and then the self-doubt would creep in - am I good enough? I haven't really done it professionally before or been taught what to do. These worries, as was pointed out to me, were just me coming up with excuses. I've taken an Editorial and Proofreading course which I passed with distinction. I was copy editor and proofreader for an entire book by myself! I used to be proofreader for a music magazine until they stopped publishing, as well as for various websites. So whilst I'm not the most experienced out there, I certainly have the skills to do it.
The next and biggest worries, those about the financial and administrative side of things, have sorted themselves out meanwhile. Back in March I was offered a freelance contract for a few weeks by a publisher which was too good an opportunity to miss, so within a weekend I officially became self-employed! It did take a lot of research, reading the HMRC's website, reading freelancers' blogs for advice, phone calls to my father who is fortunately a Chartered Accountant. Now I know the basics, I can cast away those excuses as potential barriers.
I am very much enjoying working part time and it was particularly useful in the beginning when I was moving house the same week as starting the new job and going on holiday the following week. I had plenty to do to occupy my time and in fact would have found it quite stressful had I had a full time job to contend with. Day after day, week after week, I have had To Do lists as long as my arm. These are slowing down now however I have realised that I am the kind of person who will always have a To Do list! For me, it's the best way to keep track of [what I have determined] needs to be done, as well as the best way to get things done; there's nothing like the sense of accomplishment when crossing a task off the list.
Last week I felt for the first time in 2 months that I could be putting my spare time to better use. I feel ready to take on more work. I guess I'm a workaholic who isn't satisfied with only working part time! (See my previous post about feeling guilty at not working full time). I would like a good work-life balance, which I have now. However I do feel like I could be spending some more time working. It's not like I get bored in my spare time as I have plenty of hobbies that I enjoy. On the flip side, there's nothing like having limited resources (time and money) to focus the mind! It really helps to illuminate what is important. When freshly made redundant, I had what seemed like endless resources to do with what I will. This was quite hard to cope with and whilst it opened my mind to new possibilities, it also highlighted the confusion I was feeling on what I wanted to do.
But now I am in a great position to start thinking about my old ideas - other ways to earn an income and occupy my time. Ways to further my career and carve out the life that I want, professionally. I have a regular income and I am still a registered freelancer. Anything extra I now do will be a bonus without the pressure of needing to make a living from it. Now is the perfect time to give it a shot. So today's To Do list consists of brainstorming ways to start my own proofreading business.