This is the first episode of the story I’m sending you. It’s a tale of Everyday Business Folk, brought to you as an experiment in email marketing by me, Julia Chanteray, over here at the Joy of Business.
Each day, you’ll get a new episode in the story of Katherine and how she faces her business challenges. Katherine is, of course, completely made up. She’s an amalgam of the hundreds of small businesses I’ve advised over the past 14 years. But she’s her own woman, and whether you’ve been a Joy of Business client or not, you’re likely to see something of yourself in Katherine and her business adventures.
Here we go.
Once upon a time, in the strange town of Brighton on Sea, there lived a woman called Katherine. Like many people in Brighton, Katherine lived in Hove. Each morning, she crawled out of bed at 6.30am, annoying her 3 cats who were not any more ready than Katherine to get up yet, got dressed in the dark and got on a train to London Bridge.
Katherine worked for a content marketing agency near London Bridge. She liked her job, secretly thought she was pretty good at it, hated her commute, which was only just about bearable when she got a seat and could catch up on nonsense from the @brightonstation Twitter feed while her body adjusted to being awake. You guessed it. Katherine lost her job. They had to downsize, making almost everyone redundant. One of the company’s biggest customers had gone bust, owing tens of thousands of pounds, and the owners couldn’t make the payroll that month.
Katherine didn’t have to commute any more, but didn’t know if or when she’d get paid. She sat on her settee in Hove and thought about what to do next. She scanned all the job ads, thinking that it would be great to get a job in Brighton for a change, but noticing that the salaries were about 70% of London rates, and guessing that there was some pretty stiff competition for those jobs. She applied for jobs in Brighton, in London, even places like Ipswich she had no idea where they were, treating this just like having a job. She got some interviews, got some second interviews.
Katherine was a sensible woman, and liked to know where she stood. She counted up her money, and worked out that she could survive on her savings for 2 months, on her credit card for another 3 months, and if she got her back pay, that would be another month or so before she was broke and couldn’t pay the rent. Katherine felt sick. She noticed homeless people more, read articles on line about how to save money, cook cheaper meals, reduce your bills. She switched the radio off one day when a politician was talking about the need for austerity, feeling furious and sick. She applied for more jobs, ones that she wasn’t qualified for, ones that she was overqualified for.
‘Overqualified’, what does that mean? she thought. It’s when they want to employ someone cheap, and they’re worried that I’d leave as soon as I get a better job. Which I would.
Katherine’s friend Claire texted her to confirm that they were going for drinks that night.
“Can’t afford it, but am coming. No rounds, ok?”
Katherine was thinking about money all the time, but Claire had been very insistent that she come out. Apparently a few drinks would cheer her up.
It turned out that Claire had another agenda. Claire used to work with Katherine in a previous job, but now ran a PR agency in Brighton.
“We need someone to write copy for this new client’s website. I’m good with the press releases, and the events, but they all want online marketing now, it’s all link bait and content, and to be honest, I don’t have time to do it. I’m spending all my time in London, talking to clients and on the phone with journalists, and I don’t have time to write all this extra copy they want. And I don’t understand all this social media, I mean, we’re on Twitter, but it’s more than just sending out some updates now, there’s all this campaign building.”
So Katherine networked her way to her first freelance job for Claire. She spent the rest of the week writing copy for Claire’s client’s new website, doing keyword research, competitor analysis, suggesting blog posts and telling the client all about a campaign they could do to attract new customers. She felt great, loved it. She charged £100.
Next episode. What will Katherine do next? Will she become a freelance copywriter? How will she spend her massive £100 fee?
Click here to read the next episode if this has reminded you of when you first started up, or just to find out what happens next. You may be surprised.