Week 2

Around three and half months ago, when I first started my football blog, South Stand Grumps, it was important to feel as though there was an ongoing progression with my work.

As it was just a hobby in the beginning, and I was simply a drop in the already saturated market that are unofficial Manchester City fan sites, progression came in the form of mere recognition and the chance to reach out to a wider audience.

Obviously, as an industry novice, I was also looking to learn as much as possible and so began reading other football articles from a different perspective, as well as lapping up any guides or advice that was readily available on the internet.

Naturally, I’ve applied the same logic since I decided to take my writing to the next stage. For example, at the end of every week, I find myself pondering: What have I learnt this week? What ‘new’ things have I done this week? Am I one step closer to reaching my goal?

I think this stems from spending almost a decade in sales environments, where you constantly have to adapt your pitch and styles in order to consistently improve your results. From experience, I’ve discovered that whilst a certain tact or angle might work wonders on more than one occasion, it can be dangerous to believe that it’s the finished article. You can never stop learning, as many wise people have probably uttered (I’m not too sure).

So, back to the point, in terms of productivity and progression from where I was this time seven days ago, I think that I can definitely tick both boxes.

If I had to break down my week, I’d say that Monday was probably my most constructive day. Firstly, I received an email back from an application that I posted last week. The client wants a piece on relocating staff, so feeling as though she was perhaps looking to bounce a few ideas around from the general gist of her response, I did exactly that.

I wasn’t sure whether this was good protocol or whether I should have just asked for the requirements, but it seemed to be received well and by Wednesday, we had a clear structure in place.

I’ve since started writing the piece, but got only as far as a rough intro, as I had to wait for the green light from her to contact some companies to retrieve a few case studies. I fired what I had over to the client this morning for review and received a ‘thumbs up’ along with the first interview contacts for next week, so that’s now moving along nicely.

Also on Monday: I published my bi-weekly blog for my first client, the national betting company; I applied for one voluntary position (experience is priority at the moment); I then pitched my services for free to a friend back home, who has an organisation in the environmental sector.

It’s probably good time to mention a rather bizarre fact at this point: seeing as though I’m on the other side of the world, I’ve had to pattern my sleep around Manchester City’s fixture schedule.

That might not seem too strange, but it has required a few 4am midweek starts, along with a couple of occasions where a game beginning at 1am has been sandwiched between two 3-4 hour kips. ‘His poor girlfriend’, you must all be thinking.

The weird part is that I now rise at 4am every single day. There is some sense behind this, as I’ve realised that it’s probably quite beneficial in my circumstance. You see, I’m not so much a night person, in that, after a full day of mind-numbingly repetitive office work, the last thing I want to do when I return home is engage my brain.

I therefore found that by waking up at this time, I have a full three hours before both my girlfriend and I get ready for work, and I’m more alert than I would be at 6pm (once I’ve thrown a coffee down my neck).

So, this is what I’ll now be referring to as my ‘Business Time’ – For the record, I’m aware of the Flight of the Conchords song with a similar title and what it’s in reference to. If I’m honest, that’s probably why I chose to name it that.

So, I’ve now got my ‘Business Time’ at the most optimum point for me, which means that I can give 100% to my writing and then whatever’s left can go to the monotonous work tasks. I’m finally sticking it to the man; the man who pays me though. Hmmm…

In Tuesday’s ‘Business Time’, I received confirmation that my recent Danny Tiatto Interview (see Week 1) was now published on a second site that I contribute to and had received a lot more positive feedback.

I also received emails back from the two voluntary applications that I’d submitted the day before, and both were keen to move forward.

For the first one, I’ve been liaising with my friend in the environmental sector over the past few days. I will be creating a blog which will have links to her site and I’ll be posting a couple of articles for her over the next few weeks.

The other job is for a ‘what’s on’ guide. I spoke with the client last night and we’ve agreed to discuss further over the weekend, but it certainly looks promising at this early stage.

So, that now means I have four clients currently on board (albeit only two of those are paid), with one other (a friend’s company in the finance sector) still tentative. The fact that all five companies are all in different industries will certainly help me build a diverse portfolio and as I keep saying, that’s my priority at this stage.

As I’m juggling a full-time job, as well my commitments to South Stand Grumps, I think this is the point where I decide not to bite off more than I can chew. I’m conscious about over-committing myself and not delivering, so whilst I’ll be keeping an eye on the job boards, unless it’s something truly spectacular, I won’t be applying for any more positions just yet.

Elsewhere this week; I’ve built a new spreadsheet to keep track of clients and payments. I’m a bit of an Excel geek, so any form of planning or arranging usually revolves around a new spreadsheet. I also thought it wise to create a template invoice, so that it’s readily available should clients request it. I’ve then assigned each client their own ID number for administrative purposes. ‘Shit just got real’, as Martin Lawrence once said.

Finally, I got two pieces of good feedback in the latter half of the week.

The first came from the betting company in regards to the pieces that I’ve working on for them – I posted my fourth out of the ten they assigned me on Thursday – it all seems to be positive, so I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing for them.

The second was on South Stand Grumps from my friend who works at The Guardian in London. He was impressed and has mentioned looking into sub-editing as a way to earn extra cash, so it’s something else to explore down the lines which I hadn’t previously considered.

To answer the three questions I mentioned earlier: I can’t say that I’ve learnt anything new this week, I’ve just reaffirmed old beliefs; Bringing on my first piece of work from an advert is something new; I believe that I’m definitely closer to my goal, but there’s still a long way to go yet.

Before I sign off for the week, I’d like to add that if anybody would like to offer advice/feedback/criticism, then please do leave me a comment.