A Client Read My Blog!

I definitely need to take the time to finish updating this blog. I actually had a client ask me about the book I was working on. I had to tell her that there is no book anymore, at least not at the moment. Doing odd-jobs is working out well for me, and so my writing career is on hold. At least for now.

I didn’t make this decision lightly. I really thought that telling stories for a living was going to be my calling, so I did my research to find out what it would take to be successful at it. I’ve always learned best by doing, so I got writing. I also tried out some of the tricks I’d learned about social media marketing and ran a pretty successful writer’s group on Facebook for a while.

In the process I figured out how to self-publish and learned a lot from fellow writers. I also got to see first hand how much work actually goes into writing a book, and how little readers appreciate it. Writing is a more than full time job. Especially as an indie writer. You need to keep writing, every day, and you need to promote yourself and build an audience.

What this really means is that you spend all day, everyday shut in your office (which in my case is an old card table I put my laptop on in the spare room of my parent’s house, aka my bedroom). It gets lonely and depressing, especially when you and every other writer you talk to can’t seem to actually make any headway.

There are some writers I’ve talked to that have cracked the code and manage to produce enough writing to make a more than healthy living. They do so by studying market trends to see what sells well, and writing to market. They are able to churn out a daily quota of writing because they follow a plan that conforms to their audience’s expectations.

Sadly, this isn’t the kind of writing I want to do. I want to write the stories I have in my head. It’s possible that I could get to eventually if I write what the people want for a while, but my heart just isn’t in it. I can’t do it. It just sucks all the joy out of writing. I thought maybe I could freelance to make money instead of compromising myself, and found that freelancing as ghost-writer and article writer is just as hard to break into as creative writing.

I then thought that perhaps I could try taking a part time job to bring in some cash that way, but found that finding a job in the small town of Kidwelly was almost impossible, and commuting to the next big town over was problematic. I don’t have a car as yet (because it requires money and a UK license) and so I have to use public transport. The last bus from Carmarthen to Kidwelly is at 6pm, and most employers want you to work past that time.

Out of desperation, frustration and impatience, I decided to offer my services as an Odd-Job guy locally. I knew there were plenty of people living here that could use an extra hand or two from time-to-time. I’ve missed the gardening, DIY and small home repairs I used to do when I had a house, and this seemed like it would give me an outlet for the skills I’ve learned, make me a bit of money, and help people out.

It turned out to be so much more than that! It gets me out of the house, gets me using my body instead of wasting its potential at a desk, it allowed me to meet people in the Kidwelly community and hear their own stories, it makes me feel good to do a good job for the clients and see my progress, and I even have other people interested in working with me. It’s a lot of fun.

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The new Facebook Page pic!

That last part, about the work being fun, is the biggest surprise. I always thought I was too dorky, too wimpy, to be able to do a physical job (I also thought that conforming to a sexist sterotype was inherently sexist). Admittedly, it was a lot harder when I started. My body just wasn’t used to working up a sweat. Now though, I’m disappointed if I don’t get do do at least four to five hours a day of fighting brambles, sawing wood, or hefting something heavy from one place to another!

It’s so fulfilling I feed no need to write fiction. My real life is better. I’ve expressed this sentiment before, but it’s true. I still run my two rp groups, but they’re more of a social game than actual story writing, particularly since it’s just for fun, not profit. I might write some non-fiction later, and maybe some fiction too, but for now I’m happy to let the business grow, and help it along. I’ll go back to writing books when I don’t need the money.

I won’t be able to do physical work forever, it’s bound to take a toll on my body, but for now the aches and pains I have at the end of the day are tangible evidence of a job well done, and it feels good. I feel like I’ve achieved something instead of just waiting for something good to happen.

No more pushing myself to write something and worrying that it’s statistically unlikely to sell a single copy. This is a far more effective and sustainable business model. The next step is to get my bodycam working so I can make videos of what I’m doing that I can then post on YouTube. I’m also working on getting a UK driver’s license so that I can try to get a van. Luckily there’s a guy interested in joining our little Odd-Job Squad that has is an experienced truck driver and is thinking of getting a van too, so I might be able to do bigger jobs earlier than expected! 🙂

I’m really happy, and I never thought it would come from this.

Have a great day. 🙂

 

 

 

What Happened to the Website?

I changed it! Do you like it? Don’t worry, I’m still going to write (in fact I may actually write more frequently), I’ll just be doing it for fun, instead of trying to make a living at it. My main source of income (for now) is performing random tasks, odd-jobs, chores, and bits and bobs!

Most of what I’m doing is gardening. Mowing lawns, ripping up weeds, pruning, strimming, hedge-trimming, planting, etc. Occasionally I get to assemble and hang shelving units, curtains rails and pictures, or to clean up and repaint garden furniture or a fence. I’ve also poured concrete, cleared gutters, shovelled gravel and even helped people to access their emails more easily.

I’m looking forward to some bigger challenges. I have one client that would like to extend their decking. Another has an old wood-frame greenhouse they would like to have repaired (removing the rotten wood and splicing in new, fresh timbers). One of my newer clients has some cracks on the outside of her house that have gone mossy. They’ve been filled before, but they clearly didn’t clean out all the moss. I’ve gotten some expert advice from my Dad on how to fix it properly, and I’m looking forward to it. Even though I’ll have to be up a ladder!

In my last post to try and get more clients (it’s a slow week at the moment), I offered to work an hour for free if someone can find a job a that I can’t figure out how to do. I’m going to do all I can to figure it out, of course, but if it’s beyond me and needs to be referred to a professional, I will happily work an hour for free. Especially if I can work alongside the tradesman that gets the job and learn a new skill. If I have do work of something else, that’s fine too. It will give me another opportunity to impress the client.

I also still have my ongoing referral offer. I hadn’t felt the need to mention it when my weeks were booked solid, but now I have empty slots AND a willing sidekick, I’m going to need to get more work. The referral offer, in case you’re interested, is £10 off your next job for every new client you help me find.

I’m considering trying to find some clients in Carmarthen also, however, those clients will have to pay a travel surcharge. It costs me £5.50 to get a return/day-tripper ticket from Kidwelly to Carmarthen. However, if I can get more than one Carmarthen client per day, I can split the cost between them. Building a client base in Carmarthen would allow me to potentially move to Carmarthen in future, at which point the travel expense will be removed or modified.

Remember the side-kick I mentioned? During a week when I was booked solid, and I was wondering how I would come with the workload should this trend continued, a lad contacted me and asked if I could use an extra pair of hands! It was great timing, however the trend did not continue. I expect work will pick up again, but there’s a cycle race coming through town this week, so everyone is busy with preparations for that and talking about it in the message boards. My posts are getting shoved down the page, unseen.

It did occur to me today that, in a town as small as Kidwelly, I may reach a maximum number of possible clients. Some people aren’t ever going to be interested, no matter how much marketing I do. Others will never be able to afford it. There may even be a few that weren’t happy with my work and will never call me again. So it makes sense to try and expand my client pool to include Carmarthen, and possibly Llanelli too. We’ll see.

A van would help me get around, and let me transport more materials and equipment.

I’m also considering creating a GoFundMe for a van, so I can work further afield and do jobs that will require the moving of materials, waste, and equipment/large tools. Crowdfunding would allow me to acquire the vehicle faster than saving up for it, and I doubt I’d be eligible for a loan, even if I wanted to take on a debt. Rewards would include ad-space on the van. The bigger the donation, the more space they’ll get. Starting with 1cm square. I just need to figure out which van I want, how much usable and visible surface area is on that van, divide the cost of the van by the number of 1cm squares there are available in the usable and visible surface area, and set up the campaign.

I might pitch the idea to various van dealers, or even the vehicle manufacturing companies, to see which of them wants to be involved and if there’s a particular van they want to promote. After the campaign is set up I could then approach both local businesses and large brands I like. Mountain Dew/ PepsiCo would definitely be on the list of big businesses I’d talk too! Perhaps a tool manufacturer like Bosch too. I’d also talk to the local builders merchant, Travis Perkins, and the other two big names in town, Gravells, and Burns.

I need to get my British driver’s license first. starting with a few driving lessons to get me used to driving in the UK. Perhaps the driving school will want to put their name on the side of my van too?

If you know of any businesses and people that might be interested in sponsoring my transition from foot-slogging my way to every job to driving to jobs in a nice new van, please let me know. Either by commenting on this blog post, emailing me, or messaging me via Facebook.

You can also contact me to ask me to do something for you, or just to chat. 🙂

Have a great day! 🙂