At Friday’s Freelancer Get-Together in Bridport – I spent a wonderful morning chatting to a fellow independent self-employed business owner, who I will refer to as Nancy Drew for the sake of this blog. Nancy and I have known each other for a number of years – both having been employed before, and both taking the plunge to change our lives, wear our hearts on our sleeves, and give self-employment a real go.
Nancy is, despite her protest, a wonder in her field. A gentle soul with so much experience in what she does and a wealth of energy bubbling over with ideas. We got to talking about things that many of us self-starters and freelancers deal with – things like dealing with Competition, knowing where our next Gig will come from, reinventing something that doesn’t appear to be working, looking for the break to get us in front of a new audience.
It dawned on me, as Nancy and I passed the time with our coffee and hot chocolate, that many of the things I’d been struggling with as a new business owner was anything but uncommon. The reality of having to face the challenges that are usually absorbed by individual departments in large corporates, by myself only was one that appears to be shared by all self-starters and independent workers.
We got talking about dealing with Competition. We both live in relatively small towns in Dorset – where there are probably a handful of other people in the county doing similar things. Yes, we’re carving ourselves out as individuals and we’re finding the perfect recipe to blend our extensive experience with our new independent venture – but despite our steadfast head-down perspective, we all too often become distracted by our competitor who is shouting louder, making bigger waves, getting more attention. And, as we both discovered on Friday morning, it’s not always the competition shouting the loudest, that ends up reaping the reward. Sometimes it’s simply those of us who do what they say, and say what they do, keep their heads down, deliver a fantastic service – and simply get the job done.
My dad used to warn me to be careful of people who were over-baked soufflés – looking great and sumptuous on the outside, but the minute you cut through that top layer – all you find is a bunch of hot air, and disappointment.
Me – I’d rather be an all-round bake – warm and mushy on the inside, toasty on the outside – a sure thing. And thankfully, Nancy and I are just that!