The blog is in a bit of a mess right now. It used to be my writing blog, where I talked about whatever was on my mind, kept my audience up to date with my work-in-progress, and (eventually) promoted my upcoming books. My writing career fell flat on it’s face when I realised it was a bad business model, and found myself doing odd jobs for money instead.
I then thought I could use the blog to showcase some of the work I’ve done for people, and perhaps increase my client base as a result. This turned out to be unnecessary as word spread quickly, and I found myself too busy to maintain the blog at all. There are still more people asking for help with simple little jobs. More than enough to go around, if you’d like to become an odd-jobber too. I’d be happy to help you do it too.
I don’t have a background in the trades. Both my father and my grandfather were tradesmen though, as well as a couple of my friends. I used to help my Dad with projects around the house, and did more for myself when I had a house of my own. My previous career falls mostly into the retail, customer service, and hospitality fields. I’ve also studied business and management, personal development and entrepreneurship.
I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a business of my own for some time, and had a few false starts along the way. When I moved to Kidwelly, joined the local noticeboard groups on Facebook, and saw how often the locals were asking for help with small jobs, I saw this as my opportunity. I didn’t know at the time it would be as successful as it’s become. I just thought it would give me some pocket money while I figured came up with something better.
I found the work enormously rewarding, and I doubt I could ever be happy in a ‘regular’ job again now. Many of my clients are elderly or have mobility problems, or both. They often used to do jobs like this themselves, but can’t anymore, and they appreciate having someone around to help. You’ll often learn a lot from these people. Others just don’t have the time, or the confidence, to do it themselves, and are thoroughly grateful for lightening their stressful workload.
At this point I often have people contacting me directly to have me do things for them, and there are still more on the Kidwelly community noticeboard groups. I want to help everyone, but I can’t do it alone. Having more people join the odd-job squad and take on the work that I can’t get to myself would be wonderful. Like I mentioned earlier, I’d be more than happy to help you establish yourself and be as successful as I am, by offering tips and advice through this blog, and even via messenger.
For example: One of the easiest ways to impress a new client, is simply by showing up on time, or even a few minutes early. It never hurts to give yourself extra time to find a new location. It’s important to make sure, when setting appointments, that you allow enough time to travel, and to relax a little before you go do another job. Some of them can be tiring and hard work.
Here’s another quick tip for you that ties into the first. Underpromise, and over-deliver. If you’re not sure how to do something, tell the client that you’ll give it a go, and you don’t have much experience, then get online and figure out how to do it. When the time comes, you’ll do a better job than the client expected, and they’ll be far more likely to recommend you to others. If you do it the other way around and talk yourself up to get the gig, but then clearly demonstrate that you’ve never done it before, don’t be surprised if you never hear from them again.
It’s okay to be a complete amateur when it comes to DIY and gardening. Most of the time the client knows exactly what they want doing, and even have most, if not all, of the tools you need to do it. They just need someone with a stronger back, younger muscles, and the time to do it. Sometimes all they need is a second pair of hands to hold something in place while they still do all the actual work.
You’ll quickly learn as you go. Particularly if you take the time to look stuff up online whenever you come across something you don’t know, or even ask the clients themselves how they would like it done. You’ll also find yourself getting fitter. If, like me, you were doing call-center work and waiting tables before you started odd-jobbing, you’ll find doing physical work for a couple of hours to be exhausting.
That’s why breaks are important. You’ll need to get something to drink, to eat, and to slow down for a spell before you go to the next job. Be kind to yourself. This job is going to be way better than working for a company. Pay yourself better than a regular job would, work fewer hours, keep your break times and days off as sacred as you can, and take care of yourself. Use sunblock if you’re outdoors, knee-pads if you have to kneel, and never turn down a drink.
I’m going to wrap this up for now, but there will be more posts like this coming. Feel free to ask me to elaborate on any of the points I’ve touched on, or ask me another question you might have about how to get started. You may even have a problem I’ve not had to deal with, and I’d still be happy to help you figure it out.
There are people out there that need your help with simple jobs, and they would be happy to pay you to help them. You can have the freedom to set your own hours, your own pay, and choose which clients you work with. Becoming Odd-Job Antony was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I suspect it will be for you too.