It’s been a while since I did one of these. It’s always rather fun to see what a typical working week looks like for someone else – and I always recommend it as a post to my Blog Challenge delegates! – so I’m opening the door Chez RLC, and inviting you to see what fills a typical RLC Words week…
First on the list – writing my own regular newsletter, Content Cracked (although I never call it a newsletter – I prefer to describe it as a Writing Goodie Bag, and it does sound a bit more tempting to open that way). There’s a formula I follow – give a bit of expertise away in the Explainer, include a tip on the same subject, share my latest blog posts, and promote any events or the membership. Then to finish, a lovely quote and graphic I’ve designed in Canva. Getting the writing out of the way is half the battle done. (If you haven’t signed up, please do – it’s out on the first Monday of each month: Get your Content Cracked)
This is also the day I visit school with my little Bertie dog to hear some of the children read. Literacy is a massive passion of mine, and it’s a true privilege to help children practise the skill that will underpin so many others in their lives. My biggest challenge here is keeping a good stock of dog choccie drops, which each child gives him after he’s listened to their book.
This morning, a meeting with an infant school to find out if I can apply for any and all of the grants available out there for educational projects. This is getting more and more serious as the school funding crisis deepens – I knew it was bad, but until I heard and saw the impacts for myself, I had no idea just how bad it can be for some schools. It’s a little easier for the ones in more affluent areas with active PTAs to fundraise for some extras, but in places where the families have next to no disposable income – much less money for fundraising – it’s desperate. So of course I’m delighted to help however I can (at my reduced charity and not-for-profit rate).
In the afternoon I plunge into a bit of social media planning and investigate the new Facebook scheduler – mixed results, but I decide to persist with it. Twiddle about a bit on Canva with graphics for posts into my Membership group, and then get far too immersed in looking for a lovely March quotation for Content Cracked, from the vast swathes of English literature out there – and then settle on the Dickens one I’ve used before. Must do better next year.
A networking day! The National Busy Women Networking Online group session is at 12, and there’s plenty to pack in before then. I’ve got a Masterclass to write for my lovely membership, a newsletter and lead magnets to create for a client, and a regular blog post for another. Then late morning, I have a brilliant meeting with a new client who’d like me to help with a blog post about why she started her own business, after a major life event. It’s the fact-finding call, where I interview her about what she wants to include. It’s an emotive subject and means a huge amount to her, and it’s an honour to be trusted with creating this personal and poignant account for her to share.
I love my online networking – the same supportive and collaborative atmosphere exists at this meeting that I get from my in-person ones, and it is a fantastic boost to give and get referrals, and just to have some time to catch up with other business owners, many of them now friends too.
Routine appointment for one of the boys – being able to do this as-and-when is one of the main reasons I love working for myself. Once that’s done and he’s safely delivered back to school, I crack on with grants research for my latest school’s top projects, and then create an outline of the heartfelt blog post interview from yesterday. Like always, I leave the first draft completely over lunchtime and read it over again cold when I’ve had a break. Building in this time is essential with everything I write, because without fail I find parts I want to change – things that seemed great at the time, but just don’t sit right when I read them again. The question is: is it the break or the full stomach that changes my perspective?
One of my favourite parts of the week – attending the Incubation Nation drop in sessions up at MKU Innovation Hub. This business development programme is funded by the council, and I’m one of the resident experts, supporting female business owners who are just starting out. Sam Poole and Carol Wright lead these sessions, and I learn so much from them, as much as I help the programme members.
Friday afternoons I reserve for taking it a little easy. I will often treat myself to a bit of social media planning, playing about on Canva, or tinkering with a bit of my website while I stick something on Netflix I’ve been meaning to enjoy. I think Friday might just be my favourite day of the week.
Constrained by school pickups, and then taxi service to and from all manner of after-school fun and frolics, there’s a lot to fit into just a few hours each day, and no week is dull. In the first couple of years of RLC Words, I had teach myself to give timescales to clients that were realistic for me, and not . Customers are happy to wait a reasonable amount of time if they want you, and getting that notion clear in my head had a big impact on how I organise my time.
And none of the above includes the many sidetracks we find ourselves down every day as business owners – the emails that pop up just as you’re writing another one, the accounts to check, invoices to pay, social media interactions and management time to put in – but somehow it all fits in. The work gets done, the messages are dealt with and filed, and only sometimes – very rarely – does anything fall out of my head and get forgotten. But if it’s ever been your thing that’s fallen out of my head, I’m truly sorry!
Five years on, and I still wouldn’t change it for anything. I get to meet such amazing people, from children to business owners who’ve been doing it for years – and help them find words that they struggle to pin down on their own. The very best part is seeing how these words open all sorts of opportunities for them, and knowing that I’ve helped with that is very special indeed.