A year of lessons

By Shae Lalor

A year ago I registered my business: The Write Path was officially born. I took the leap into the world of solo, micro business ownership. And what a year it has been! 

Every day there has been a lesson. This is what I have learnt.

1. People are genuinely supportive

Friends, family, colleagues and complete strangers have been genuinely interested in my writing and editing business. I have been amazed at the willingness of people to offer support or a referral.

It's especially wonderful when I witness someone else's pride in my choice to have a go and start a business.

2. You have to keep the faith

Just as George Michael sang, you gotta have faith! There is uncertainty in business. You don't know what is around the corner. I like being in control. The work goes up and it goes down. Life is messy. Everything goes crazy all at once.

I have to continually remind myself to have faith: in my networks, my skills and my choices. It will all be okay. Breathe.

3. I am responsible

Overall, I think I sleep more soundly than I did before being a solo business operator. But I admit to waking in hot sweats over the sheer responsibility of it all! What if I get sick? What if something happens and I can't deliver? Will I ever take a real holiday again? It is all on ME.

But you know what, these are my choices to make.

4. There are experts who are very generous

Early on, I made contact with a well-known Canberra writer, hoping for some mentoring and guidance. Since that first contact, we have worked together on multiple projects. I not only gained a fabulous mentor, I have learnt so much from her approach to business, client communication and preparing quality content.

I hope after 20 years in this business, I am just as willing to share my knowledge and time. Thanks Cinden.

5. Flexibility is still a choice

If you're lucky enough to work flexible hours, it still takes effort to maintain a balance.

I don't like saying no especially to clients. There is a customer-service ethic in me built from my days in retail. It's very easy to keep working when the kids are home or on the weekend just to stay on top of everything. 

Yet there are values intrinsic to my business that I need to maintain. One of those values is balance. Making a choice to deliver on time is critical, but it also needs to be carefully balanced with the needs of my other clients, my family, and my energy.

Maintaining flexibility takes discipline. It's available if I factor it in.

6. Every new job is a thrill

I still high-five myself on landing a writing or editing job! It is super exciting, and I am determined to keep celebrating each success.

Repeat business, positive feedback, and seeing the tangible results of my hours spent tapping at the computer, all reinforce the choices I have made.

Of course, there are still doubts at times (I'm only human!), but if I keep learning, I'll keep growing.

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