Wednesday, 27 January 2010

week eleven: no more the fool?

was I fool? i had a part-time senior finance position in a well established company. as i sit wondering quite when i'll derive some cash from my venture i can't stop that 1980s song from snivelling around in my head "no more the sound as my dreams fall and hit the ground, as i wait around, no more the foohooohoool"......

the problem is that there are lots of very positive very excited gate-keepers to possible clients, but the clients, well they ain't showing themselves and i'm losing confidence in what i'm actually saying that i can offer. i have just gone through the financial review that adam did of 2009 and it seems that last year i did spend quite a lot at M&S and John Lewis, not sure what on, and also things that fell into the "presents" category and the "baby" category and the "entertainment" category... life without an income is becoming rather gray and i just ate homemade sweet potato soup for lunch and haven't bought an americano today.

apparently the economy grew by 0.1% yesterday; that's not really very much. that's easily "swingable" by simply making a few casting or transposition errors as us in the trade like to term them. if i told adam that our personal economy had grown by 0.1% last month it would mean that i'd maybe had 4 less coffees, bought two extra i-phone apps (although the deal do-er in me favours the free ones: lineup; toobz, APOD (astrology picture of the day...)), off-set that by using my hazard lights rather than paying for parking when doing a nursery pick-up and made the children eat less squeezy-fruit-smoothies (instant delivery of one of the five fruit portions: guilt free treat). anything more significant such as clinique make-up remover, new tummy reducing tights, jo jingles astronomical term fees, would not be up for consideration in the 0.1% reduction as i'd deem them exceptional items and as such below the line of publication. and i think that is the broad-brush approach that the national statistics team have taken. "oh we've forgotten the self-employed finance sector, oh bugger, nigel did you get those figures? they weren't great were they? but it's january, i think that they were a bit slow on the getgo. it doesn't really count. let's just leave them out. now RETAIL; i definitely have those to hand because december was just so jolly for those folks"...etc etc.

so this week i've met with the two small companies that i will be a volunteer business mentor for in 2010. don't snigger. this was organised through the university spin-out group. both are very different and hugely interesting; the meetings did two things for me. made me realise that i do have good commercial and strategic instincts and things i think are intuitive aren't, they weren't for me 15 years ago either, but you forget what you've learnt and what experience does for you. they also asked some questions about tax and arghghghhh my "at my fingertips" tax knowledge is abysmal! so that was good to know.

i have also taken the plunge and contacted three agencies about contract work; i'll try to get interviews and then enter the "part-time" discussion after those. hmmm.

however on a more positive life note we did have a dinner party on saturday which was the first i've done in a long time and i discovered a wealth of fabby morrocan recipes; i do like to cook on a theme. gordon ramsay's world food book was amazing; i did the falafel and tahini, and also the spinach and feta filo rolls. and adam did the yoghurt cake which was delicious! unlike jamie oliver, who will always hold my cooking heart, gordon's recipes are probably slightly less forgiving however i followed them really carefully and it all worked as described. so i highly recommend a go! i did bill granger's lemon and sweet potato lamb tagine for the main course: easy and yummy and hot hot hot.

but enough; i divulge into my secure haven of cooking to move me away from focusing on getting a client. in fact even writing this is a naughty guilty pleasure as i should be drafting a letter to all the local venture capitalists and accountants in my next round of marketing push.

so enough wondering whether i should have stayed where i was; nothing comes from nothing etc etc and hopefully by this time next week i will have a teeny tiny glimmer of cash-based hope...


  1. Wonderful blog (have you thought of doing a wikki? Seems to be all the thing at the moment).
    I just want to say hang on by your fingertips Kate - I really think that as the Spring shows its face - they will be there, your clients, in their droves. Don't lose heart; just think of all the amazing experience you are gaining with this, every day. (and your dinner sounded absolutely yummy yum) Mum xx

  2. Keep your chin up. Those of in the consultancy business (that now includes you) know that January is slow. Businesses, and the people in them, take a few weeks to shake off their hangovers and loosen the chequebooks. I've noticed more action in the last week than in the previous three.

    And never underestimate how much you really know too. You might feel that the things you know are self-evident and surely other people don't need you to say what's so obvious. But as you've noticed, what's self-evident to a qualified accountant with fifteen year's experience is not so clear to a new business manager, or even an experienced business person in an unrelated skill.

  3. Kate hi!
    Well, anyone who has time to write such a magnificent blog must have time on their hands :-) *grin*.

    It might be helpful to contact EVOC (Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council) and ask if you can add a leaflet about your services with a link to your website into their bigger mailings. They do this free of charge. You may need to set up different rates for voluntary sector orgs and the bigger companies though as I'm aware they usually have small budgets. SCVO might be another option. They do those mailings out as well. I have forwarded your info on to a few orgs I know but they either don't have money or are under an umbrella of another orgs finance support so no luck there so far. If anything else springs to mind, I'll let you know. Glasgow has the same kinds of networks will help.
    and, btw. happy to baby sit for you when I've got my driving license. 22nd Febr. is my test date. Fingers crossed.
    Lovexxx Evelyn

  4. Oh, and by the way. Your colleague is right. From end November to mid January is a slow time (if not just plain 'stand still' for the self employed. Things are picking up for me now and people are finally answering/responding to e-mails as they are slowly getting on top of things again. Also, the end of financial year is coming up. Good for me in terms of people wanting to spend the last of their money on training and good for you if they need some kind of review done. Fingers crossed!! Self employed is a funny one. There's definitely clear months when there's nothing happening and times when everyone seems to 'want you'. Also, once you've got some contacts and work and you have done it positively, usually it means they will ask you back, so like your mum says. Hang in there a bit longer and see how things go. Do advertize yourself though. Don't just rely on the internet. Networking, networking, networking.....

  5. 傻氣的人喜歡給心 雖然每次都被笑了卻得到了別人的心 ..................................................


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