Everyday Tales of Business Folk: a business story for business people – Episode 5

Previously on Everyday Business Folk We’ve met our heroine Katherine, who has lost her job in London, and is struggling to feed herself and her three cats in Hove.

She’s got some work, writing web content for her pal Claire and for her dad’s company, but so far, she has only earned a £100 plus bonuses of flowers, beer and cat food. She hasn’t quite got the hang of the idea of charging for her services yet, let alone self employment or what she might do for the rest of her life.

Today, Katherine is going to meet Dave, the manager of the engineering firm her dad owns, along with Julia, his newly appointed business adviser. Katherine is a bit suspicious about this business adviser. She’s had a look at her website, and although it’s okay, it’s nothing much to shout about compared to some of the campaigns Katherine has run in the past. And there are a lot of jokes. But she is president of the Brighton Chamber of Commerce, which must mean something.

But Katherine resents someone else coming in to advise her dad, when he and Dave don’t seem to have taken any notice of all the suggestions she’s made over the years about how they might improve their online marketing. ‘We shall see’, she thinks to herself.

After the meeting, Katherine walks to the train station with Julia. The meeting has gone well, and there are a lot of new plans. Katherine finds herself admiring the way that Julia managed to stick to her guns about the need to invest in the online marketing, but make sure that the plans were actually achievable. She smiles to herself as she realises that Julia managed to put Katherine’s name down to do a lot of the work needed.

“Was that okay today?” Julia asks. “Yeah, I think they’re finally starting to see that the overseas markets are important. I’ve been banging on to them about how to reach out to China for years, but they’ve only just got their heads around the fact that most of the medical tech market is in the US and Germany, let alone that in 10 years China and South Korea are going to be where it’s at. I liked that you got them to sign up to make these changes, and make it happen.”

“Well, that’s the key isn’t it? Getting people to actually step out of their comfort zone and do some marketing, rather than sit back and just do business with the same people you’ve already done business with for years. Was it okay that I asked you to do a lot of the writing, that’s a pretty big action list for you from today?” “Oh, that’s fine. Um, I’m out of work at the moment, so I might as well help my dad out rather than sitting around the flat. I don’t want to become that person who watches re-runs of the British Bake Off during the day.”

“How come you’re out of work? You seem to be totally up to date on content marketing strategy, I thought someone like you would have tons of work on?” “I got made redundant a couple of months ago, and I’ve not been able to get anything else since. I’m overqualified, it seems, and the few jobs in Brighton are either taken by freelancers or bright young things who can work for 16k a year. I’ve done some work for my friend Claire who runs PascalPR, but she’s all about traditional PR and events, so she doesn’t have much to give me.”

And she doesn’t want to pay real money, thought Katherine, keeping this one to herself. “Well, why don’t you send me your CV – I’m always meeting people who want help with developing content, and I just do strategy, so it would be good to suggest someone who can help out with the creation and creativity bit”

Next time… will Katherine finally twig that she could be making lots of money if she went self-employed? Will she get her head around the idea of creating a business for herself? And will she ever charge anyone real money?

PS – Want some help getting your business off the ground? Whether you’ve been running for 30 years, like Pete, or are just thinking about starting out, like Katherine, you might want to check some of the practical tips and advice on my blog