Too much information

•July 18, 2010 • 2 Comments

I have been slowly investigating what I would need to do to set up a new business. There is just so much information out there: websites, training, advice, books and list goes on. I think I have nearly sorted out what I need to in terms of training – just a few small courses to hone some skills and get upto date with the latest computer packages. I have some idea of what I need to do to set up a new business but I think the best thing I have found is the book flying solo and the associated website:

Not only does this website have numerous tips for those starting a new business but it also has some great articles by people who have done it and are loving it. The articles don’t sugar coat that it is hard work but are very clear about how much the benefits outweigh the costs.

Most of all the people on the website come across as for the most part, happy in what they are . That is certainly not me at the moment, but when I picture me in my own business, then I always seem to be smiling.

Maybe I am being naive but I also think if I don’t try then I won’t know. I saw my career coach again last week and I got my motivation back. She made me realise that I don’t need to settle. And to help me along the way she has arranged for a practice client for me, just to check I enjoy it before quitting that job!


How to overcome the fear

•July 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So I want to set up my own business. But I just find it such a scary prospect. So how do you overcome that fear.  I think part of my problem is that having worked as part of an accounting firm managing insolvent companies, I have seen too many businesses go under with owners left with nothing except a large pile of debts.

Not having parents who are business owners has not helped.  I think they are even more terrified of setting up a business than me.  And whilst I am now over 40 and should be out from under my parents influences, they are just so damned ingrained.  I mention quitting my job and setting up a business to my mother and the look of fear that she gets is terrifying! I know she only wants what is best for me but I am not sure my idea of what is best for me is the same as her idea.  My mother is still waiting for me to get married.  She can’t understand that I am quite happy being single and certainly a lot happier than some of my married friends!

Having said that I think my current job is giving me the kick in the butt that I need to go out and set up my own business.  I want to have more control over what I am doing.  I want the organisation I work for to reflect my values.  I know it will be crazy hard work but surely that is worth it if you get to build something you are proud of.

I want to be able to combine my skills in mentoring people with my business and accounting skills.  I am starting to refine what that is likely to look like.  It might be less strategic and more around accounts than I would like at least initially but I think I need to get some more experience around issues businesses face.

So off to start my business plan and work out what I need to do to get that business going!

Some people came to my party but other unreliable people

•June 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Ok so some people came to the launch I arranged including the local MP. And everyone seemed to have a good time. But no media showed which was a bit disappointing. Having said that, colleagues of mine who have had similar launches in other parts of the country and have had media turn up, have not done any better in finding participants.  Who would have thought it would be this hard to give away money!

Most importantly for me, people were enjoying themselves and there was lots of chatting and laughter.  So if nothing else I hope the people who did come remember my program with a smile.  The politician who came to the launch was very supportive and surprisingly warm and genuine.

But the event was more stressful than it needed to be as people with key things for the launch including the drinks showed up late.  I hate unreliable people, particularly when they are supposed to be working with you!  So instead of getting to talk to people about the program I am running, was busily sorting out things as people arrived.  Was quite cross as the traffic where I live is not that bad – the people were late because they couldn’t give a damn.

It does make me think working for myself is the way to go.  I know things can still go wrong but would have felt more in control.  Does this make me a control freak?  I think not – just someone who likes to be organised.

But one launch down and one to go.

Nobody is coming to my party

•April 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

One of my greatest fears has always been that I would hold a party and no one turns up.  So my usual policy is to avoid arranging that sort of thing. But in this new job, I have to arrange a launch for the community development program I am setting up. And all my nightmares are coming true!  No one wants to come to my party.  I have just spent the day chasing up RSVPs and have had a lot of rejections.

And when did it suddenly become ok not to RSVP to an invitation?  How hard it is to send an email saying you can’t make it?  The worst offenders have been school principals which probably explains why manners aren’t what they used to be.  Plus I know feel very old after saying that.  I am starting to sound like my grandmother and I am only 40.

The new job I have requires me to be a bit of a jack of all trades.  I have to sell my program to other people (it doesn’t cost them anything though), do all the admin, one-on-one case management and set up and run training courses.

I am ok on the admin, case management and training but I am finding the whole selling and marketing deal very challenging to say the least.  I really believe in the program I am working on but still feel uncomfortable ringing people up and trying to convince them to refer people to me, advertised the program and generally support the program. So any tips and tricks to get people on board are much appreciated.

Off to have a glass of wine to recover from my traumatic day

Closer to that job

•April 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So I am in the third month of my new job and while it is not perfect, I feel like I am much closer to the career that I really want.  I think the perfect job doesn’t really exist, there is always something you don’t like about a job.  But what percentage of the job am I willing to accept as not perfect?

The one thing I have gotten out of this job is that I love the autonomy I have.  I work in an office by myself and basically I decide, within reason what I do each day to reach the outcome that I am supposed to reach.  There have been some wierd budgetary constraints placed on that have to some extent limited what I can do.  Wierd in that I am allowed to spend money on making files look pretty – files that basically only I look at and to show off to the internal auditors once a year but not on activities that might actually recruit people to the program I am running.  Recruitment has been quite challenging!  I think my files are fine as they are – they contain the information they need and it is not that much information that it is tricky to find.  Whereas I could badly use the money I am now spending on plastic sleeves etc for marketing.

I am also enjoying working with people – I love hearing the different stories have to tell and really like not having to spend too much time writing reports that are never read.  Something I have done a bit of in previous jobs!

So where to from here?  I think I would like to take what I am doing now and make it in to my own business.  I work with people on low incomes but can see that what I would do would be of benefit to those on slightly higher incomes.  Good personal financial management is certainly important in helping people achieve their other goals.

I would also like to work with people setting up small business advice – the strategic start up side of things.  I would love to be a sounding board for people considering setting up their own business and assisting them to find information to get going.

All I need now is the courage to set out on my own.  And in doing so scaring the pants of my parents who have also been salaried employees!

A bit overwhelmed

•December 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hmm have been madly applying for jobs/courses and now feel a bit overwhelmed! Have been accepted for a bridging course in psychology at one Uni, could do some career development studies or maybe a financial counselling qualification.

Have also had two job interviews. One went quite well – for a financial literacy program and at the end of the interview they asked if I wasn’t successful this time around would I be interested in a similar job as they have a few coming up. I think they thought I was suitable for the job, it will just depend on the qualifications of other applicants. It was with a not-for-profit and it felt great when I walked in to their office. Felt a bit like this is where I belong – I have previously worked for a not-for-profit but as an accountant and no longer want to do that.

The other job interview was not brilliant but I knew I wasn’t as qualified as they were looking for and the job interview was a bit wierd – asking questions that you could look up on the internet if you had half a brain, but not something you needed to know per se. More focussed on knowledge than skills. Mind you they also explained what the main role would be – organising career events rather than actual career counselling so not sure I want it anyway. But a great experience and helped clarify where I do want to work.

Which course to take/which job to do?

•December 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

According to some people, the hard work is now done.   I now have a much better idea of what type of career I want, both in terms of the nature of the work and the nature of the company I want to work for.

It has taken a while but I enjoy the mentoring/training work I have done in previous jobs and realise this is the kind of work I want to do full time. I have also come to the conclusion that I want to eventually work for myself.  I am pretty much over working for organisations that say one thing and do another.  But initially at least I want to get some further experience working for someone else!  And if I like the organisation then would be happy to stay there.

However, have hit that age old problem of all jobs needing experience.  So how do you get that experience?  Am looking at some volunteering options – tried one organisation but they were very vague – in terms of getting themselves organised as opposed to not wanting me.  At least I hope that it is the case.

Had a busy weekend writing job applications for jobs I am not completely qualified for so will see how I go.  One of them had a ridiculous number of selection criteria to address, particularly for the pay they were offering!  Whilst I think selection criteria can be useful in considering applications, surely they should be the key skills.  These were pretty repetitive.

But am enjoying working part time – has made my current job so much more tolerable.  I may have some consultancy work over January, helping an not-for-profit with a background brief to direct their strategic planning.  Not quite what I want to do but heading in the right direction and hopefully will gain some good contacts.

I have also had a look at training courses and there are just way too many options.  Do I want to do another uni degree, bachelor or postgrad, or a TAFE course or something else all together?  I have been amazed at the options.  There are quite a few private courses on life coaching but they don’t give a formal qualification and how do you tell which ones are good quality?

But at least it is all exciting and new!