At last - February is here! I am so very happy that the longest month - January - has now passed. I’ve even spotted the first of the daffodils here in Glasgow and I’m relishing this stretching out of daylight hours.
As the changes of the seasons creep in, you will also see that ‘The Learning Curve Collective’ has undergone a little transformation too.
I hope you like it.
So, why a new look and a new platform for the newsletter?
My word - and intention - for 2020 is ‘proactive’.
True to my word, I’ve been getting all strategic! Sounds painful, but instead of hibernating over the quieter month of January, I’ve been busy behind the scenes working on rebranding, refocussing and doing some financial reality checking.
The Learning Curve Collective is here to stay. It is a growing business.
We are now 9 months old. Apt, because I feel like it is only now that the core focus and value of the business is really coming into the world.
I’m so happy about it!
I’m keeping the best bits of the Collective - my commitment to accessibility, intelligent content and candid discussions - but the modes of delivery are more streamlined.
The newsletter is here to stay as is the blog. I’m also growing my coaching packages with a new page coming soon - so keep your eyes on your inbox for more details and check out client testimonials if this sounds like something you might be interested in.
In short, I’m taking time away from doing all.of.the.things in a slightly scattergun approach to working on delivering the best content for you consistently. This refocussing does mean some elements of The Collective are going for now
Podcast no more
I’ve decided to pull the podcast.
I actually really enjoyed the process of learning how to make a podcast. It got a lot of listens and good reviews - as well as leading to invitations to do talks and workshops. But - I was just not able to keep it going consistently enough for it to be adding value for you - and it was costing money to host. Not a good business model.
Since making this decision, I’ve felt a lot less anxious. I really am learning that it is more than ok to let go of some things in order to make the important things matter; you all love the blog and social content, so I’m going to be spending more time with you, where you are!
I absolutely love podcasts and listen to them most days - I’ve linked some of my favourites from January here:
E-course: gone but not forgotten
Last year, I ran my first online course, Well/Written. The aim of the course was to share what I knew from being a published academic author together with how I transformed my relationship with my writing - from hate to love - through creative practices. The course was a success in terms that it ran as planned, I had 3 paying clients, and the reviews were really positive - it made a huge difference to everyone who took part.
Running that first e-course also taught me a lot of lessons about what didn’t work so well. I wasn’t great at marketing and promoting - yet. I was also trying to do too many big projects at the same time.
I was still feeling that fear of putting myself out there.
My brand message was still a bit muddled.
Instead of running the course again, I’ve decided to park it for a while. However, it has given me the basis for it’s new incarnation…
Less is more! I’m self-publishing an e-book :)
Now this is my old/new project that I’m working on and I’m so excited to tell you about!
I’m aiming to launch my e-book ‘Audaciously Academic: daring you to write like you’ more widely on Valentines Day for pre-order, but you can have a sneak peek of the working logo for the cover because you are all the best!
Business as unusual: working well with a chronic illness, kids, and a tiny budget
Overall, taking January more slowly has given me the necessary time for some deep thinking and planning work. I’ve given myself time for reflection and I can see how my confidence - and savvy - as a business owner is growing.
I also really enjoyed the conversations taking place over on Instagram about feminism and freelancing in January- really raising the structural issues and privileges that need to be talked about - as Dr Joanna Wolfarth puts it ‘freelancing is not a feminist panacea’.
Workplaces are hard for many women; freelance or not. Add in a chronic illness and children, self-employment may seem like the only route to try to find a better way of working. One that is not about busyness and overwork and unrealistic goals and fitting your square peg self into a round hole.
Not everyone wants to be self-employed; it’s a huge financial risk. It takes a lot of identity work.
I do occasionally wish that I had a magic wand - or cure - for my stage 4 endometriosis. I do get frustrated that I can’t work in the same ways that I used to. It has taken me a lot of unravelling of my identity of overworked, hypermobile academic, to work-from-home primary care-giver.
I do worry about my financial security, independence and future, but I was not well in my old work.
But, overall, now that I am here with the right mindset of business owner, I’m finally feeling ‘at home’. I see being self-employed as my long-term life. I need to allow time to grow.
This, of course, involves certain privileges, which I wrote about over on the Let’s Talk Academic blog earlier last year.
All the risk and uncertainty aside, it is the freedom to choose how and when I work that has allowed me to manage my illness better. More than managing, I’m feeling excited and optimistic.
I’m on the outside looking in, but as with all good collective endeavours, multiple perspectives for the same cause, might be the answer.
This is one of the main reasons I’m focusing on scaling my coaching work. I am absolutely loving my new role as coach. I’m enjoying the training I’m doing as well as being able to use my existing skills and expertise. Most of all, I can see the value that I am bringing. I can see the problems I am helping my clients identify and find ways to resolve - ways that work for them because they come from their own wants and are aligned to their own circumstances.
I’m excited about all that is to come over 2020 - how about you?
New read up on the blog: An interview with writer Susan Earlam
If you are looking for some tips on working routines and understanding what makes you work well, head over to my blog to read my interview with the writer Susan Earlam. We talk all things perpetual career pivots, writing, identity and rebel routines!
Watch this space…
I’ll be back as usual with the monthly round-up of reflections, resources and reality from my journey through the world of self-employment as a company of 1 in March.
I’ll also pop up in your inbox now and again with offers and early information on my coaching packages and e-book launch.
I’m busy planning a subscription site option to launch next quarter, so you can now share this Newsletter to social and friends you think might like it.
As always, my social media channels are there for chat, community, learning. You can DM me in confidence, or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or enquiries.
Have a wonderful February and instead of going all Galentines and Valentines, let’s show each other some support and love.
If writing is your thing, I’m also running a #WhyILoveMyWriting challenge on Instagram until the 14th.
If coaching is your potential thing - I’ve a 20% off offer until 14/02/20. New page coming on the website very soon!
Thank you for joining the Collective!