Statistics show that 20% of new startups fail to make it through their first 12 months, and 60% go bust within three years – and that was pre-pandemic. HD Words has been very fortunate to make it to 6 years, and come through the pandemic unscathed. This is my story.
6 years ago, in March 2015, I left my half-time employment at Cornwall Council, and began working full time for myself, having spent my last 6 months at the Council learning how to run a business and putting together a website and logo on.
In the first two years of operation, I did a lot of discovering. I found out where to meet good clients, and where was a waste of my time. I learned a lot about writing, and customers, and running a business. I also did some temping, in order to maintain an income. In the early days, we were on a holiday that we’d paid for before my redundancy was even a possibility, and my husband was eyeing up a second-hand surfboard. It was a straight choice between that purchase and a tank of petrol to get us home. It wasn’t an easy time.
Years three, four and five were consolidation years, discovering my strengths and weaknesses, making some really great connections through networking, and developing my skills. In 2016 I began some small-scale contract work for Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum, which gradually evolved to become 6-10 hours per week writing news items and occasional other tasks, as Communications Officer there.
Year six, from March 2020, was different. To be fair, for many people, the year from March 2020 has been very much out of the ordinary, but this is how it played out for me.
With the advent of the pandemic, it became apparent very quickly that the voluntary sector was going to play a hugely important role in supporting people in Cornwall; people who were going to be shielding for their health, people who were going to be experiencing poverty, and those struggling with various other problems that presented themselves as the year progressed – a rise in mental health issues, isolation in older people, ‘digital exclusion’, increased domestic abuse, physical health problems being exacerbated by lack of access to ‘normal’ health services… and more.
The position of Cornwall VSF, as the umbrella organisation for the voluntary sector in Cornwall, was clear: led by our new CEO, our job was to resource and equip the sector to support the people they were helping (and remain operational as organisations), to make sure the sector was represented in the high-level conversations taking place, to create links and networks within the sector and with others such as faith organisations and supportive local businesses, and generally do whatever we could to help.
As Comms Officer, I was in the thick of that, working many more hours per week than I had previously, which continued, with some degree of ebb and flow according to the level of lockdown, until March of this year. From January 2021, a total of 6 new colleagues were employed by VSF, taking over different aspects of the work that I’d been juggling, and forming a solid and talented team that will be able to take the organisation forward. Therefore it was time for me, as a contractor, to back out and leave them to it.
I’m not saying goodbye, and will likely return for occasional projects, but the time is right for me to pick up HD Words clients, and start looking for more. I had been working for a few clients in between VSF work, but many of the people I’ve been working with recently were either going quiet due to government restrictions affecting their businesses, or so busy that they hadn’t two spare brain cells to rub together to consider any copywriting that I might be able to do for them. And I was sufficiently busy that I didn’t have time to handle an influx of new clients, therefore didn’t do any marketing, or much networking, of my own.
Now that I have time again, and now that organisations are emerging from lockdown (or drawing breath after their extremely busy year), I hope to be able to pick up more work for my existing clients, and make connections with new clients who are in a position to need support with their websites, blogs, newsletters and other communications.
My aim is to participate in more of the awesome networking events laid on by Your Partnerships, perhaps even in person, who knows! I’ll also be blogging regularly, and making more of my social media. I will be sprucing up my own website, and updating some of the services I offer, as well as case studies that can help people see what I could offer them.
Please do contact me to discuss how I might be able to help, and what a copywriter could do for your business.