Everyday Tales of Business Folk: a business story for business people – Episode 9

Katherine is making a list. She’s got pro’s on one side and cons on the other. She’s trying to make a rational choice about whether to go freelance.

So far, the list is all pro’s. But everyone else is telling her not to do this. All her friends and family are saying that she shouldn’t be self employed, that she’s not suited to it, it will be too hard.

The cats are no use in decision making, they just keep sitting on the piece of paper she’s trying to write on, and batting the pens off the desk. “Should have got a dog. You can talk to dogs. And they don’t sit on your paperwork.” Katherine mumbles “Or maybe a horse.” With the picture of a small pony sitting on her desk in her head, she decides to do some research.

She Googles, freelancer or self-employed, and finds this article, which talks about the importance of seeing yourself as running a business from the start, rather than self employed or freelancing. “It all sounds a bit serious. I just need to earn some decent money and do some work for a change. I’m getting more and more confused.”

Katherine is just about to give up and give her tired brain a rest by checking out the next episode of House of Cards (yes, she’s given in to the charms of watching Netflix in the daytime) when her eyes go to the photo on the blog. Like most people reading online she hadn’t actually paid any attention to what website she was on, or who was writing, Katherine had just been mainlining information. But now she realised that she was on Julia Chanteray’s website, the same Chanteray who was advising her dad’s company, and who had asked her to do the proposal for another of her clients. “She’s everywhere, that woman.”

Katherine gets up and paces around the flat for a bit. She thinks a bit about the bit on the website where Julia apparently invites people to come and get some initial advice for the price of a coffee and cake. “Must be a trick.” Katherine reads some more on Julia’s website and sees this article about why she offers the coffee and cake deal. Katherine paces some more. And then the phone rings. Of course, it’s Julia. See, she’s everywhere.

Katherine answers the phone. “Hi Julia, I was just on your website, so that’s a strange coincidence.” “Were you going to call me? I’ve just been talking about you to Oliver, my client who wants the copy done. Maybe you felt the telepathic waves?” Oh, yes, thought Katherine. “Well, I just found your website for some research I’ve been doing. I didn’t realise it was you at first.” “Oh, there’s a lot of blogs on there now, I like blogging, so it comes up sometimes. Anyway, Oliver is keen to get started, he’s been feeling very frustrated because he’s been trying to write his own content, and he’s a visual person, not a word person, so he’s well outside his comfort zone with that one. He liked the middle option, where you suggest rewriting the copy, and changing round those categories to make them more granular. But he wants pieces written to accompany his own art work, so there’s some extras as well. And he wants to talk to you about you handling social media for him, although I have to say that I’d prefer him to do that himself, maybe with some suggestions from you, if that’s okay.”

Katherine’s mind is still preoccupied with the strange coincidence of Julia calling just then, and she hadn’t actually believed that her quote would be accepted, so she doesn’t hear what Julia is saying. But the professional part of her responds automatically “He’d be much better off handling his own social media, otherwise it comes across as inauthentic, particularly for a smaller company.”

The news slowly starts to sink in. “So, do you want to give him a timeline, with some milestones as to when you’ll be able to produce all of this. I’ll send you his details, and he’s in London, so it would be best to Skype him.” “Ok.” Katherine feels numb all over and realises she can’t move her legs. She wonders if she’s having a stroke.

Tomorrow’s episode. Has Katherine’s fate been decided for her? Did Julia plan it all along? Was Jung correct in his theory of synchronicity? Actually, you can decide the last of these for yourself, but tomorrow I’ll reveal what happens next to Katherine. She’s not having a stroke by the way.

PS If you’d like a coffee and cake chat, or are wondering why I offer an hour’s consultancy just for people buying me cake, the answers are here. How the coffee and cake deal works. Why I offer my coffee and cake for consultancy deal