You Are Your Best Asset

When you’re self-employed, everything depends on you, so you need to take care of yourself. You are the entire workforce from the janitor all the way up through every level to the CEO. You’re the human resources department, the marketing team and customer service. You’re all of it, so don’t work so hard that you burn out.

That’s pretty much the entirety of what I wanted to talk about today, but I’m going to elaborate anyway. When I started doing Odd-Job work, my entire body would hurt after just two hours of pulling up weeds and planting. I knew though that it was just because I wasn’t used to the work though, and I pushed through it. I knew that as my work load gradually increased, I would become fitter and better able to handle it.

I was right, but only because I made sure that I took a break when my body needed it and got plenty of sleep when I got home. I had to treat it like a workout at the gym. Plenty of protein in my diet to help my muscles build up, and staying hydrated while on the job. Clients often help with this last part by offering a cup of tea!

If the clients are pushing you to work harder, or to put more hours in than you can manage, you have to say, ‘no’. If they can’t handle that, they may threaten to give the job to someone else. Let them. There’s plenty of work to go around, and your mental health is just as important as your physical wellbeing. They can go be a bully to someone else.

You’re going to need to take time off occasionally. When you’re helping lots of people, you’re going to catch a few bugs. Especially if weather is warm and damp. Which it has been recently here in Wales. I’ve had to take over a week off to really get over the infection. It can be difficult when your income is so directly dependent on working to give yourself the time you need without feeling guilty, but you have to be kind to yourself.

You don’t necessarily have to be physically ill either. You might just be having a bad day emotionally, for whatever reason, and just need to take a personal day. Luckily for me, most of the time when I’m having a bad day, it’s raining too much to do any gardening work anyway, and since gardening is mostly what people ask me to do, rainy days usually give me a day off anyway.

Hopefully you won’t be taking time off for an injury. You need to be safe at work, which is part of the reason you shouldn’t be working while feeling sick. Feeling ill affects your focus and concentration, making it much easier to hurt yourself, and if you hurt yourself badly enough, you might never be able to work again. Be careful.

I’m not trying to scare you off. I’m saying you should go for it. Go do the thing and push yourself to work at it even harder. Just also be aware that you’re not a disposable member of the workforce. You’re the ONLY member of the workforce, and you need to take care of yourself.

I personally recommend working no more than 30 hours per week, giving yourself weekends off, and making sure you take breaks every two hours, including an hour for lunch. It also helps if you’re putting a little of your money away so that you can take days off without hurting too badly financially.

If you push yourself too hard and find yourself working too many hours for too little money, then you may as well be working for a company, instead of yourself. If being self-employed isn’t giving you a better life than working for an employer, then you need to take a look at how you’re treating yourself, and maybe your client list, and then make some changes.

I hope this has been helpful. If you need more detailed and specific advice, just ask me. Have a great day.

Featured

First Steps

Since I’m not well enough to work right now, it seems like the ideal time to write the article that has been swimming around my brain a while. However, my brain is, itself, swimming in snot so this may end up being utter nonsense. Here goes.

I’ve been thinking about three topics that I was going to discuss in details in three separate articles, and I wasn’t sure which should be discussed first. However, I think I’ll worry about that later and for now cover the basics of all three topics in this one article. Maybe I’ll even leave it up to you, the reader, to determine what I write about next.

I’d love there to be more odd-jobbers out there, like myself, helping people do the small gardening and home improvement jobs that they can no longer do themselves, but odd-jobbing isn’t for everyone, and there may not be enough demand for it where you live to earn a sustainable income from it, which is why I think the best place to start after you’ve decided that you want to be self-employed is figuring out what you’ll be doing.

The best way to do this is to ask around. Ask people in your community what it is they feel is needed. One of the easiest ways to do this, if you have the opportunity, is to pay attention to local online noticeboard groups. Not every community does it, but you may find, after a quick search on Facebook, that there is at least one Group or Page dedicated to local news, events, and requests.

In my case I found that a lot of people in my area were asking for help with small jobs, but you may find that the people in your town are frequently asking for pet-sitting/walking services, cleaners, carers, piano tutors, math tutors, children’s entertainers or tax accountants. See what opportunities are available, and, if any of them take you fancy, reply that you are willing and able to help.

If you don’t find anything you can do locally, and you’re willing and able to deliver your products and services to anywhere, then spread your online search further afield to see what people in your field of expertise/experience are clamouring for.

Now, there’s a good chance that you won’t be qualified for some of the opportunities available. For example, perhaps you don’t have a degree in accounting, but you do know your way around a tax form. It’s okay to let your potential client know this. Most of the time they can’t afford a ‘professional’, and they don’t really need one. If the job is something they used to do themselves, they may even be able to teach you a thing or two.

I’ve already begun telling you about the next topic. How to find clients. I’ve got most of mine online to begin with, and then from word-of-mouth recommendations after that. I also got one or two from posters I put up in places I expected potential clients to go. I also hung out at the local ‘community hub’ to introduce myself in person while I was between jobs.

Participating in community events and projects will also help you get noticed.

The best way to get clients by far is by word of mouth recommendation, so when you’re doing a job, it helps to bear in mind that you’re also the best form of advertising for your business that you can get. You need to make a great impression, and maintain it. However, you also need to be honest, and be yourself. Some people have the knack to charm people, others, like myself had to learn it. However, it’s going to take more than one article to explore that topic.

The third topic I wanted to mention was money, specifically how much you need to charge. I actually hadn’t figured this out when I started. I knew I wanted it to be more that minimum wage, but I didn’t know what people would be willing to pay. I hoped that people would see my work and pay what they thought it was worth. It turns out that people like to have a number. Your best clients will be the ones that think the work is worth more than you’re asking.

Now, as your own boss, you need to pay yourself a fair wage for the work you’re doing. Ideally it needs to be enough to cover all your expenses even this is your only job. Also, you need to reach the target with just 20 hours per week (or less). As the word spreads and your reputation grows, you should be working more hours than that, but when you’re starting out, it may be a struggle to get that much.

Add up all your monthly expenses, for the whole household, for the year. Monthly expenses rarely include clothes shopping trips and things like car repairs, and you may have to guess how much unexpected expenses will cost you. The more thorough you are, the better, but even a best guess will give you a starting point. You can adjust later if necessary.

It may be mind numbing, but it will be worth it.

Once you have your grand total, subtract any other sources of income you may have (like a spouses, or a part-time job you’ve been doing) to see how much of the grand total you still need to make up. Divide that number by 52 (the number of weeks in the year) to see how much you need to reach per week, and again by 20 hours per week to see how much you should be charging per hour to cover these expenses.

If the amount you have left seems unreasonable, feel free to do the calculations again, and see what you can sacrifice, at least until you get more hours. I myself like to buy games, but I had to put that on hold until the basics were covered. For you it might be cigarettes, or your favourite fast food. Hopefully you won’t have to do without it for long.

Doing this will also show you how insufficient minimum wage jobs really are. Particularly if you don’t have 20 hours spare between caring for children/ other family members and that part-time job you’re doing. You may have to quit that part time job once your own business succeeds. As much as you may like it, you may start to resent how little it pays. Sorry about that.

If you feel tempted to discount your hourly rates to even less, bear in mind you’ll need to work more hours to cover your expenses. One of the biggest mistakes that new businesses make is undervaluing their time and their products. A high price suggests quality, and a low price suggests the opposite. You may surprise yourself to see what people are willing to pay for a good job well done, even if you’re telling yourself you could have done better.

There will be some clients that think you’re charging too much. Some will will insist on getting a flat-rate quote instead of charging by the hour. Be wary of clients like this and replace them with others who like what you do and are happy to pay what you ask (or more) as soon as you can. However, particularly if you’re making products, you may want to offer a price for each item, or project, rather than charge by the hour.

You still need to take into account how much time it will take you to complete the project/product, as well as any materials used. If it will take you six hours, then the client will need to pay you for six hours work, plus the cost to replace any materials you’ve used. Even if you had everything you needed laying around, you will need to buy more for the next one, and the cost should be included in the products price. As does the cost of any ‘free samples’ you’re handing out.

If you can make it and people want it, then do it. 🙂

It’s going to be a struggle at first, but once people start praising you to others, you should be able to cover all of your basic needs, as well as save up for holidays and treat yourself to the occasional fancy meal, expensive gadget, or snazzy new outfit. Though you may find that the first things you spend the ‘extra’ money on is more tools and marketing for your business.

I hope this advice has been useful. Feel free to ask me questions. I’ll be happy to explain anything in more detail, or discuss your particular situation and how you can still be successful despite your personal obstacles. For the moment this is all free because I’m figuring out how to teach all this as I go and your feedback will help me improve my coaching methods and advice.

Thank you for reading, liking and sharing, and have a great day 🙂

Business to Business

When I first moved to Kidwelly, I tried to get a job with one of the local businesses. One of these businesses even gave me a trial shift. I didn’t hear back from them, until yesterday. It’s been months, but I guess with Christmas around the corner they’re looking to hire some extra hands.

This reminded me of an idea I’d considered a while back. Offering my extensive experience to businesses as well as private individuals. My workload is full at the moment, but with winter coming, and gardening work becoming unnecessary, I expect I’ll be needing other kinds of work to maintain a steady income.

I’ve been doing painting jobs, assembling furniture, etc. which has been great, but projects like that end. Once the walls are painted, the new furniture assembled, the curtains hung, the carpet laid, the cracks filled, or whatever other work I’ve been asked to do is done, there’s nothing else to do but hope they find more work for me.

20181017_114756[1]

I’ve already begun making contacts among the local rental property owners and done some work for them. I’ve done handyman work for other local businesses too, gardening. I’d be more than happy to do more of the same, but it never hurts to have more to offer. I am, after all, a true jack of all trades. It would be a shame to leave some of my skills untapped.

So here’s my thinking. Local businesses can hire Odd-Job Antony, just like they might hire a plumber or an electrician, to do a job for them. This might be to cover for an absent employee, or to help with the Christmas rush, or even to do some handyman work. Either way they don’t have to employ me permanently, or even put me on the payroll. I’m a contractor, not an employee.

Here’s what I can do. Even before I got my first job in retail, I was raised to believe that a little good customer service can go a long way. I wanted to be even better, so I studied interpersonal skills, body language, and sales techniques. This served me well as I tried my hand at telesales as well as face-to-face sales positions, bar work, and even a supervisor role at a laser-tag arena.

I ended up back in retail again when I moved to America. I also got my first opportunity to work in a kitchen. It was just a McDonald’s, but it was a start. I got back into sales after that, and found I was good at over-the-phone debt collection. I only quit that job because I had to move. I found out I wasn’t so good at car sales. At least, not then. I’m a little curious if I could now with all I’ve learned since.

I started looking for other ways to make money. Particularly after I got a taste of management and corporate-ladder climbing. I started reading about self-improvement, leadership, entrepreneurship, and marketing. It got me a promotion to the marketing department of the communications company I was working for at the time. It gave me the opportunity to see how demographic data was used to increase sales, and even train people how to sell.

rsz_rafal_olechowski_istock_thinkstock_customer_service_0_1

I learned so much about business and management that I want to try starting my own business. I once spent a whole evening finding names and contact info for 200 people with the intention of inviting them to a tarot reading provided by my ex-wife, but she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of cold-calling strangers. In hindsight she was probably right, but it was kinda fun gathering all the information.

If you want I can tell you more about that little business venture, but it will have to be in person, or a least a private message. I started writing and blogging after that, inspired by the books I was reading. Hoping that the key to building wealth was writing. When I came back home to the UK I went back to working in bars and hotels. Until I moved to Kidwelly.

I found it hard to generate an income from writing and blogging, even using every social media marketing trick I learned. Local jobs were hard to come by, but I applied for every one that popped up. None of them panned out. I noticed though that lots of people were asking for help on the Kidwelly Noticeboard groups on Facebook. I realised there was a need that I could fill, and that’s why I started Odd-Job Antony.

To summarise. I’m a customer service and sales expert experienced in bar-work, retail, hospitality, entertainment, marketing, blogging and entrepreneurship, as well as being handy with a paintbrush, trowel, saw, hammer or screwdriver. In fact, if you can find something I can’t do, I’ll knock £10 off the next job. That’s a free hour doing anything you want. You could even use that hour to train me up if yo like. Want to try me?

Time to Commit

I think it’s time to take the stories down. I need to make this website all about the handyman work. The fiction distracts and detracts from the new direction I’ve taken. So, to that end, I’ll be taking it all down. From now on every page will be related to the Odd-Job business. I won’t take down the old blog posts, they show my journey if anyone is interested, but future blog posts will mostly be about how the business is doing.

It won’t all be business. Sometimes I just want to write about something that’s on my mind. I’ll try to avoid anything controversial, but hopefully these random musings will get people to know me better as a person. I’m a firm believer that people tend to work with people they like. You could be the most talented, experienced and professional handyman in the area, but if people don’t like you they won’t hire you again.

I don’t put on a show though. Part of the reason I prefer working for myself instead of any other job I’ve ever had, is that I can just be myself. I don’t need to conform to what some manager with no training thinks the customer wants. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very nice to people, but not because I’m being told to. I’m nice because I like to be nice. It feels good to smile. It feels even better to make others smile.

I won’t tell you I can do something if I don’t think I can or I’ve never tried. I will tell you up front if I have no access to the resources necessary for the job. If I haven’t done something before, but I have a good idea how to do it and I’d like to give it a shot, I’ll tell you that too. I prefer honesty to making promises I can’t deliver on. I do like doing new things though. It’s how I get more experienced, after all. Plus, it’s way more fun doing something new than doing the same boring old things all the time!

Things I really can’t do at the moment includes anything that involves driving anywhere or transporting stuff (I don’t have a van yet), going up to a second storey on a ladder (I really don’t want to die or be severely injured for £10 per hour), or raise an army of the dead (I could never find any decent necromancy classes). I’ll try my hand at almost anything else, but please bear in mind that I’m an enthusiastic and helpful amateur, and not a tradesman of any kind. Most of my experience before I started has been from helping out friends and family, and maintaining my own house and garden when I lived in the US.

I’ve been doing a lot of gardening for people, including mowing lawns, strimming, pruning, weeding, trimming, planting, and even burning the garden waste. That season is drawing to a close though. Luckily I’m also getting a lot more DIY jobs like hanging shelves and curtain rails, painting fences, sheds and staircases, building furniture (from flat pack and from scratch), disassembling furniture carefully for re-assembly elsewhere, and I’ve also helped clear out a junk room and walked dogs (though that’s not really DIY).

I’d love to get more jobs that involve making something. It could be anything from helping to make toys and clothing (did I mention I can sew?) to a new partition wall in your house. Anything I don’t know how to do, I can learn. If the client knows how something is done, and just needs an extra pair of hands to do it, I’ll be happy to learn from them. If not I can do the research and get back to them. I’ll show them what I plan to do, making certain it matches their vision and figuring out together what needs to be changed.

Since my overheads are low (I’m living with my parents rent free and I don’t have a vehicle to maintain), and I’m not a certified tradesman, I can keeps my rates low too, though I do appreciate it when a client feels that my work and my time is worth a bit more. One client that did so without any prompting from me said, ‘If I pay you a decent wage then you’ll keep coming back to me’. He’s absolutely right. If I have a scheduling conflict and I have to chose between client that only pays my base rate and him, I’m going to pick him!

It’s getting so I’m busy every week now, which is great. With luck and kindness, I’ll be able to start saving up for my own place, or a cheap vehicle, soon. It’s been slow going at the moment while I invest in more tools for the business, work clothes, bus travel (I have a client I visit twice a week that lives out of town), but I’m trying to cut back on these expenses so that I can begin making some real head way.

I’ll keep you up to date on my progress when I can. I’ve been so busy that writing this post has taken over a week to write! To be fair, it’s not just the Odd-Job business. I’ve also got a Games & Geekery club started in Kidwelly that’s branched into Family Games Day and a Warhammer group too, plus there’s my personal life. I won’t talk about that here though. Local geeks and gamers are welcome to join the Facebook Group. I also have a WordPress site for anyone to enjoy.

If you want to know the more personal stuff, you’ll have to know me better 😉

I’d best wrap this up and get this out, or it’ll be another week before I do. Before I go though, I have a few easy questions. Just to see if you’ve been paying attention.

  1. What’s my basic hourly rate for any odd-job work?
  2. What did I think I could make a career out of before I started Odd-Jobbing?
  3. What else have I been up to in the community that’s been keeping me busy?
  4. Why are my rates so low?

Can you find all the answers? (Hint: they’re in bold!)

Thanks for following, and have a great day! 🙂

 

Odd-Job Antony!

 

I have put the idea I had while writing ‘The Hunt Continues‘ into effect! I am now an odd-job man!

My first gig starts on Tuesday (unless another client asks me to work in Monday)! They’ve asked me to clean their sunroof, dig up some bushes, bag up the mulch on their flower bed, straighten up a leaning clothes-line pole and paint the bathroom. I won’t be able to get it all done in one day, and that’s fine by me. I’m really looking forward to it.

One of the things that seems to be missing from modern employment is a feeling of having actually accomplished something. Some jobs may have certain metrics you’re expected to reach, and if you do you’re expected to keep going. The job isn’t ever ‘done’. You don’t get to sit back and admire your handiwork. When you get up tomorrow, there will be more of the same repetitive work to do.

As an odd-jobber, I’ll be able to see my progress, check each job off as it’s completed, and then do something else! It’ll will also feel better to be doing something physical. We all know the health benefits of exercise, but it always seems so boring and purposeless. This way I’ll be walking to the client’s home and doing physical activity of some kind with a clearly defined objective.

Accomplishing things feels good. Helping people feels good. I may not make a ton of money, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about being the best me I can be and feeling good about myself. I also like writing, but I have a feeling that I’ll feel more motivated, energised and happy if I’m also doing something physical, helpful and productive.

If I can make enough to get by with odd-jobs, and possibly a local part-time job (if I can find one I like) to keep a roof over my head and pay for groceries, then everything I make from writing can be reinvested into marketing my books, improving my website, and investing in myself to become an even better writer. By the time I’m too old to work odd-jobs anymore, it is my hope that the passive income from royalties I will fund my retirement.

What I actually want is to start my own publishing business, but I’ll start with my own place and full belly and see how it goes from there! One of the ways that I might be able to generate additional income is by posting ads on this website, or by participating in affiliate marketing (in which case I’d be actively promoting certain products an services in an attempt to earn commission). I’d rather not to that.

I’d also rather not crowdfund. I’ve tried it before, but my heart wasn’t in it. Partly because I feel like I need to offer something tangible to feel like I’ve earned the money. Doing odd-jobs to raise the money I need to get by feels right. I’ve tried offering writing services too, and I’m still willing to do that, but it’s a very hard market to break into, with a lot of competition.

I’ve also seen websites earn income by offering ‘products’. Usually these take the form of a slick video course, a pdf format e-book, or a package that combines the two. Something like that may be interesting, though I’m thinking my ‘products’, if I ever do such a thing would probably be campaigns for role-play games like D&D, Pathfinder, ShadowRun, or even the upcoming UbiquiCity roleplay system. Perhaps. We’ll see.

One step at a time. I’m just excited. One thing I may do is set up a separate website just for the odd-jobs business. That might include ads and product reviews (ie. affiliate marketing) that would fit the home, gardening, decorating and DIY theme. I’ve already set up a Facebook page for Odd-Job Antony. It would help to have a website associated with it.

I’m going to look into that idea a little, and also research what I should be charging. The clients I’ll be working for on Tuesday asked me what the ‘going rate’ was for odd-jobs, and I realised I have absolutely no idea, so I’m going to research that a little too. I had been thinking that people can pay me (or barter with me) for whatever they think the work is worth, and what they can afford. It would help to have a basic idea of what others charge though.

I’d best get on with it. Have a great day 🙂

 

Merry Solstice/ Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Hanukkah/ Saturnalia/ Festivus

In recognition of the festivities, I’m offering a £10 discount on all my rates from now until the end of the year!

That means blog articles are now £40 (instead of $50) per 500-600 words, and my normal rate of £25 per hour for ghost writing short stories, novellas and novels is now reduced to just £15 per hour!

What is Ghostwriting?

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to be a published author. Nothing would make you happier than to see a book with your name on it being read on the train, or being sold in your local bookstore, or on a shelf in the library. There’s only one problem. You hate writing. It’s just too hard and everything you try to write seems stupid and childish. Don’t worry, you can just hire a ghostwriter to do the hard part for you.

As a ghostwriter I can write any story you want. If you don’t have any idea what sort of book you want to write, I can help you figure it out. I have a ton of ideas just waiting to be made into stories, but if you’d rather use one of your own, that’s marvelous. 🙂

You may even have written other books yourself already, but there’s this one story that’s been bugging you for years and you can’t figure out how to finish it. I can help you with that too. I’ll use your outline and whatever you’ve written so far and get the story going again.

Why does it cost money to do this?

The story I write will be yours to do with as you wish. I don’t want an author credit or any of the royalties. It’s 100% your story, and any and all money you make from it will be yours. It could become and international best seller, and make you a millionaire, and I would have no legal entitlement to any of it.

Whatever you choose to do with the story is up to you, it’s yours. You can have it edited, changed and rewritten to suit your own needs, and I won’t bat an eye. You can then submit it to prize-winning contests, have it published (either through self-publishing or traditional), or even sell the story to a movie studio to become the next blockbuster hit!

Of course, you don’t have to make money off the story I write for you. If you like you can commission me to write you a unique, one-of-a-kind book, just for you. You could even have me include a loved one as a character in the story and give it to them as a gift.

If you do choose to use the story as a source of passive income though, then the money you pay me is your initial investment. It also means that I can do this full-time, without being distracted and exhausted by a time-consuming and low-paying traditional job. I simply don’t have the time to do this while also working as a minimum wage employee.

What exactly am I paying for?

I have loved reading and telling stories for as long as I can remember. I was raised on amazing stories from fantasy, folklore, science fiction and history. Over the years I developed a fascination for the art of storytelling that borders on obsession.

In later years the childish sense of the fantastic and whimsical has been tempered by disappointing reality. This too has influenced my writing, adding a layer of cynical realism to the magical and futuristic worlds I created. I still write the fanciful and idyllic from time to time, but I find that a touch of real pain and conflict makes the characters far more relatable and interesting, don’t you?

If you would like to see some samples of my work, there are a couple of short stories on Amazon published in my name, and also a first-person sci-fi story called Hermes925 that you can find right here on this website. The two short stories are Dead Letter and Murder Inc. The latter of which is part of an anthology called UbiquiCity. You can also observe the ongoing fantasy adventure I write as the GM for an RP group on Facebook called The City of Gate.

What sort of things will you write?

Pretty much anything. For myself I tend to write sci-fi, fantasy and horror, but I don’t mind writing romance, westerns, comedy, self-help (and other non-fiction), and any other genre you can think of. As I’ve hinted at earlier, I’ve already written campaigns for role-play adventures such as D&D and ShadowRun. Ask for something really weird and see what I can come up with. It’ll be fun!

If you need a screenplay or script, It’ll be a new challenge for me, but I’ll give it a try. I’d likely write it as a story first, then try to adapt it. If you’d rather have someone with experience do the adapting, I’d be more than happy to just write you the story and let you do whatever you want with it afterwards.

I think I’ll just save my money and write it myself

That’s awesome. If you want to bounce any ideas off me or any other members of the Creative Writers Facebook community, just ask. If you get stuck, we can help (and it’s completely free). If you try everyone’s suggestions and your story still isn’t going anywhere, you’re welcome to talk to me again about ghostwriting it for you.

You’ve convinced me. What’s next?

If you’re ready to discuss ghostwriting your project, or have some more questions, just contact me using the email form on this website, or you can track me down on Facebook and message me, or or my sadly neglected Google+ profile and chat via Hangouts. You could even use the comments section of this blog post if you like 🙂

I hope to hear from you soon. Have a great day 🙂

 

The New Plan – Operation Freelance!

After talking it over with a very smart friend I’ve decided to offer blog articles for £100 each, and £50 each for short ones.

I’m offering Ghostwriting and Co-Author services too. If you have a great story idea but don’t think that you could do it justice, then I can help. You may even have started writing it yourself and got stuck. You can hire me as a Ghostwriter, in which case the book has your name on it, and you get to keep the royalties, but you pay me for my time upfront. Or, you can let me take a Co-Author credit, both names are on the cover, we split the royalties 50-50, and it costs you nothing.

hypnotoad

I’m hoping to build up a client list as quickly as possible. I need to be a full-time writer. I’m going nuts. I’ve been trying to build my profile, and my reputation. Take my time. Do this right. Work wherever I can to survive while I make myself look great online. The problem is that the job I’m doing for money is taking all my time, energy and motivation.

I didn’t realize when I started working nights how lonely and depressing it would get. I needed some time to think, but now I’m ready to rejoin the world. I could just get another shitty job doing bar-work, retail or call centre customer service, but I really don’t want to have to. I want to write. It’s all I want to do, and I’m good at it.

I got my start as a blogger writing geek-culture articles for a WordPress-based website. The articles I’ve written for them seem to have gone, but I saved a few of my favourites and re-blogged them on Games ‘n’ Geekery. A geeky website of my own I created using all the skills I learned while working for them, and a few tricks I’ve picked up since.

They didn’t pay me anything, but the experience was invaluable. I learned how to use WordPress, how to make a good-looking blog article, and that I could churn out an original 500-1000 word article, including research, links, pictures and video, every single day.

ubi-ad-300-square

I used what they taught me to create this blog, and others. The Hermes925 serialized story that I’ve been posting to this website attracted the attention of Tod Foley, who recruited me for the UbiquiCity project. The writer team would video conference online to talk about our ideas and world-build together, then we each wrote a short story that fit into the world we created. My short story, and the others, are now available on Amazon as part of the UbiquiCity anthology. The accompanying RPG sourcebook will be out soon. It was a fun project. 🙂

I got the opportunity to ghost-write a story for someone, and that was fun too, but the client put the project on hold before I saw a penny for the work I did. I definitely learned a lesson there, but it put me off the idea of ghost-writing for a while.

I submitted a short story or two to contests and publications that offered a cash prize or payment if you were accepted, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that writing short stories for submission, especially if they don’t get accepted. Too much time and effort, for not enough guaranteed reward. If I write a good short story, I want some guarantee I’m going to get paid for it, and I certainly didn’t want to have to pay someone to publish it.

It’s about that time I got distracted by the Creative Writers group. It had only 32 members left, no admin at all. It occurred to me that I could test some of the things I’d learned about social media management and audience building, and also create the kind of supportive community I wanted to find. The group now has over seventeen thousand members.

FB_IMG_1492162261458

I even created an opportunity for group members. I’ve always been a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person. I learn best when it’s a necessary means to accomplish a desired outcome. In hindsight the Monolith project was probably a little too ambitious, but that was kind of the idea. Set the bar high and see if I could pull it off. I didn’t, but I learned a lot along the way.

The idea was to create a series of large anthologies, containing well-written stories, all conforming to the same theme. There would be no charge to submit and we would review the stories as they were submitted. That way we wouldn’t have to try and deal with a huge pile all at once after the submission deadline, and the writers would get feedback right away instead of having to wait. This also gave them an opportunity to try and improve their submission and try again.

We ended up with a lot of great stories, and a lot that could have been good if the writers had been willing to improve them. The project became a logistical nightmare, even with help from other admins in the group, and so the project was abandoned. However, I decided to test self-publishing anyway with one of the short-stories I had written. It sold pretty well for a short story, and I’m currently writing a longer story, hopefully a novel, inspired by the short story. It’s called The Haunted Story.

Dead Letter cover

It’s taking longer to write than I wanted though. I enjoy writing stories, but they’re harder than blog articles. I have several work-in-progress story-lines that I will to turn into books. A few of the ideas have already been mentioned in this blog. I know I can manage my time better, and be able to spend more time and energy writing my stories, if I can write full-time. The night porter job is an inefficient use of my time and wastes my creativity.

I could replace the hotel job by securing enough clients to write an article a day, just like I used to do. I’m a good writer, as you can see from this blog and my published stories. I’m more than happy to negotiate, especially if I can gain something else besides money, like cover-art, editing, or marketing.

I can do blogging, and it comes easily to me, but I’d prefer to write a book with you. I know from the previous experience that I write better and faster when I’m working for someone, and it gives me something to look forward to each day. Unlike my current job. At this point I’d welcome any opportunity to write for a living really.

So, want to write a book with me? If you don’t have any ideas, I can help with that too. I’m aware that some people just want to see a book on the shelves with their name on the cover. I can arrange that. I can also go to the opposite extreme and help you polish up and revise a story that you’ve mostly written already (and that wouldn’t cost as much). It’d be much more fun to bounce ideas off each other and come up with a great story together, but I’m flexible.

Please email me: antonym.copeland@gmail.com or leave me a comment if you have any questions, advice for new freelancers, or a project for me. Whether you’re a fellow writer with too much on your plate, a website manager that needs more content, or just someone that wants their name on a book, I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day 🙂