September is New Year’s for me. Years of schooling always made me feel like this month was for new beginnings. That continues to this day. I live with an academic and two school kids, after all. I’m sure it’s the same for many of you.
This September, I’ve been revisiting my business plan and refreshing my goals, as I do every year at this time. I realized that 2019 officially marks my fifth year as a freelancer. I’ve taken on editorial side gigs for nearly twenty years, but it was five years ago that I wrote my first business plan. Five years is worth celebrating! To mark the occasion, I've come up with a list of five things to be thankful for. Here goes:
First and foremost, I’m grateful to my clients for sharing their work and stories with me. Fiction about finding yourself, identity, women and men, old age, war, journeys, and bullies. Non-fiction about nature, food, football, Indigenous film, art, technology, healthy living, nursing, growing up in post-war England, and travel to places like Sri Lanka and Spain. These are the stories that keep it all interesting. So, thank you.
From a business point of view, I’m grateful that every year has ended with more gains than losses. That’s a good start for any entrepreneur and a motivator to keep going. Freelance editing can be done with pretty low overheads. With a quiet place to work, a computer, some good reference books, and strong professional networks, you’re pretty much set.
I’m grateful to be independent. It’s a lean business as a freelancer in more ways than one. I’m alone in my office most of the time—no one to share gossip with at the water cooler. I appreciate that because it gives me plenty of time and space to focus on doing what I love most. When I do connect with clients, writers, and other editors, it’s refreshing because we have a shared passion (a.k.a. nerdiness) for finding the best way to put ideas into words.
I’m grateful for the flexibility of freelancing. It was always my goal to fit work around my family, rather than the other way around. Don’t get me wrong. I love my work and, to be frank, I crave more time for it. But while my kids are still young, I want to be there if they get hurt or sick. As a freelancer, I can be available for them at the drop of a hat. Sometimes it means late nights to make up for lost days. But the freedom to fit work around my family makes the work-life balance so much easier.
Finally, I’m grateful to all the editors and other freelancers who carved out a path in the economy so that I could do this too. I've met so many like-minded people through Editors Canada. Special mention goes to the generous editors who have mentored me, Greg Iaonnou and Jennifer Foster.
P.S. Here's a special treat to celebrate five years. The incomparable David Bowie...