A 'digital golden girl' with no intention of slowing down...
I expect you'll be inundated with bright young things with wild and crazy ideas to be the next Zuckerberg...
Well my angle is different. All over the world there are tiny, one person businesses who collectively make a valuable contribution to the global economy. Some will be online businesses - but many won't.
My venture is called Brightspark Solo. It aims to provide a support system to all those brave souls who take the plunge and give up the day job to set up their own tiny business. Here in the UK there's over 1.4 million freelancers, and in the US, freelance workers account for 26% of your economy (it's predicted that this sector will grow to around 40% of the US workforce by 2020).
My credentials to provide this offering are simply that I've been freelance for 20 years. And I'm a qualified, experienced marketing and copywriting professional. I've pulled these two key factors together to create Brightspark Solo. The type of business I think I can help include...
- Maria, the woman who makes delicious Damson jam and then sells it at a local farmer’s market.
- Matthew, a young electrician who was made redundant from a large construction firm who now has a business doing small jobs in people’s homes.
- Stephen, the wedding photographer who’s feeling that the Instagram generation is eroding his business.
- Catherine, who selflessly runs a small charity that uses art therapy to help disabled and mentally handicapped young people.
- Steve, a curry fanatic who makes his own blended curry spices and sells them to delis all over the UK.
- Writers of romantic fiction who are taking their first steps into self-publishing and finding a voice on social media networks.
- Jeannie, a horticulturalist who saves dying trees.
- Cathy, a clinical psychologist who has created a set of learning tools for Care Workers looking after troubled children.
- Darren, a sports therapist who alleviates physical pain.
- Jackie, that's me - the freelance copywriter and marketing consultant, trapped by an hourly rate business model.
- And of course, the rest of the 1.4 million freelance folks in the UK and beyond.
These businesses might go digital, or they may not. It doesn't matter if they do or don't. But we all have something important in common;
- We all work alone and find it hard to get a benchmark on how well we're doing.
- Mainstream banks and financial institutions don't think we're big enough or important enough to bother with.
- We all think the problems we face are ours alone - we rarely consider that other freelancers have to deal with the same issues.
- We all struggle to keep the faith with our abilities.
- We all have to cope with the pendulum swing of feast & famine workload.
- We all have to fight to get paid on time.
So what have I done so far on my journey?
- I've written an ebook called 'Working in Pajamas' which is a 10,000 word manifesto for solo workers everywhere. I plan to use this as my incentive offer. I'm having it professionally proofread as I write this.
- I plan to do a low-cost membership site with content and advice from accountants, lawyers, bank managers and other professionals. That's about 80% built.
- I want do little case study videos with solo business owners who are doing well, living life on their own terms. I'll be shooting the footage and I have someone lined up to do the editing.
- Some step by step guides on various skills; like copywriting, using promoted posts on Facebook, managing 'feast & famine' - simple pragmatic stuff that anyone can follow.
- I've started building my website on Wordpress.
- I've started creating my content.
- I've got a long list of people who have agreed to be interviewed and provide specialist advice.
- I want to have a forum where people can share their experiences and ask each other questions.
What would your competition prize mean to me?
Well it boils down to this... I'm working alone, to provide a service to other people who work alone. So having someone to support me and keep me focused would be invaluable. I'm confident that I can create good content. But building the online audience and the whole 'traffic thing' is overwhelming to say the least. Your prize would definitely be embraced and used well.