How did I arrive here?

From as long ago as I can remember once I left the parental home I’ve been drawn to working from home in some capacity or another. Because I loved craft and all things related, the first work I did was knitting. My grandmother had taught me how, a local wool shop needed someone to knit for their customers and so the adventure began. As I got a taste for expansion I bought my first knitting machine. Although it was second hand, it opened up a whole new world of speed for knitting! Wow, the possibilities were endless – or so I thought at the time!

Eventually, as a bit more money came in, I invested in a new machine and started knitting sweaters for the local pubs and sports teams – this was before the days of sweatshirts!

And then my career in publishing and a love affair with computers began when I joined a publishing company who catered to the motor industry. Every aspect of computers fascinated me. I even tried programming, but sadly was never able to get my head around the ‘logic’, though I can manage a bit of basic HTML 😊

I learned touch typing at school, so word processing came easily. I evolved with Windows (I would hate to try and learn it now!), DTP (Desk Top Publishing as it became known) and the in-house print model and so arrived at today’s open arena with relish!

Sounds easy doesn’t it? It wasn’t that easy of course.

When I bought my first PC, it just about managed to handle Word and Excel. But that was enough to allow me to do some extra work at home for the publishers I worked for. Some freelance writing and basically get a taste for the possibilities this brand new world of the Internet could bring.

I began devouring everything I could about the various routes one could earn money from this box in the corner. Spent thousands on courses and shiny objects (as they have now become known). Learned and forgot more than I could ever put into practice. A typical story of many wannabe online entrepreneurs.

Was it all a waste?

Of course not. If nothing else I learned to distinguish what I disliked doing, what I was no good at doing and where my strengths were. How to work out what was worth my time and what was better off being subbed out. What gave me satisfaction and what left me feeling drained and uncomfortable.

During that journey, I spent a very happy 12 years working from home as a freelancer in the research and publishing industry alongside OFSTED and other publishers. Government cutbacks sadly brought that idyllic period to an end and another lesson was learned. Mainly – never rely on others (i.e. outside companies) for your income.

Now we can’t all do that I know. And I have recently read that ‘creatives’ as it seems ‘we’ are known, are coming under severe pressure in the US (in particular) where new state laws are being brought in supposedly to ‘protect’ the self-employed. But in reality, this is having the opposite effect, as companies are now too scared to hire freelancers for such work. Which is a shame for everyone.

It makes a mockery of people who wish to be independent, NOT rely on state handouts, and quite happy to work whatever hours they need to and might put a lot of people off ‘doing their own thing’. Anyway, let’s not go down that rabbit hole ….

In 2012 I had to go back into the workplace as bills had to be paid. More experience was gained in the roles I had, but eventually the stress levels became too much and I decided to call it quits. STOP working for other people, STOP having to tow anybody else’s line but my own and knuckle down at my own business.

I should perhaps point out that during the last few years I have explored several avenues to that end, but not with the success I wanted. Consequently, I am glad, as none of them gave me the work satisfaction that I now get from my self-publishing business.

Being me, I had to ask the question as to why that was?

We sometimes do not see what is under our noses until it leaps up and bites said nose!

If someone had said to me eight years ago, “What was the happiest (work) period of your life so far?” I would not have hesitated and said “Publishing!” IF they had then said, “Go away and build a business based on that then!” I would not have known where to start – not in as much as it related to me and my circumstances then. Because, KDP Amazon was not around then, although CreateSpace maybe was. On a quick search, I have not been able to find the date it came in to being. Over the intervening years, I have since discovered how to publish on Kindle, Lulu, KDP Amazon, and others, and spent a great deal of that time building a library of assets to use for when the time came to START.

And here’s the thing …

Procrastination is the devil, isn’t it? Always a good reason why you should perhaps wait until the time was right? Wait until my husband found another job. Wait until I started receiving my pension. Wait until blah, blah, blah. You get my drift.

Then the Christmas holidays arrived and I just decided not to go back to work. As simple as that in the end. Imagine huge weights dropping off at this point! Such a relief to finally be doing what I really wanted to do.

I had my first book published within a week, and (lucky me!), some really kind friends who bought it! Which – and more importantly – gave me the incentive to keep going, within two weeks I had eight published, and now the ideas just keep flowing …. Yes – definitely in the right mindset now!

My point to all this is not to bore you with my life’s story, or wow you with any rags to riches yarn – that certainly hasn’t happened yet! But to explain how I finally arrived in my own ‘satisfaction zone’, and to let others realise two things:

  1. It really is never too late (At the time of writing I’m 65!)
  2. You have to take the first step to get anywhere

Welcome to my journey. I look forward to seeing you again on this amazing road to share what I learn and maybe inspire one or two others to just ‘give it a go!’ 😊