in Updates about Chris

Three Weeks Down!

Hey everyone! Three weeks down since I left the cushy office job before this leap into the unknown. Well semi-unknown. Some people who have taken the leap have done very well out of it. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts at this stage:

Have you ever had the following experience?
You walk into a book store because you need to buy a single book. As you walk through the store, all these books shout to you to grab them. After a little while, you come out with a neat stack instead of just the one book.

Three weeks down

Woohoo! Lots of reading to do.

The same thing can be applied to any of my supermarket visits: You just need to grab some eggs. But oh no, they tricked me again. You actually buy a little snack, a bar of chocolate and those juicy nectarines. Yum! Everyone deserves a healthy treat, right?

Turns out that the singular project I had set my eyes on can be added to that list of scenarios. It has now received siblings after three weeks. I just couldn’t resist adding a couple of other projects to my to-do list. Currently, I’ve got three or four separate (but related) projects. I’ll go into more detail a bit further down. First off,

What the hell have I been up to?

Good question! The last three weeks have been rather fuzzy. I’ve done a million and one things but sometimes it’s quite hard to identify them retrospectively. Life has been very similar to what it was like with a day job, except, well there’s no more day job to go to. This frees up a chunk of space in the day. I’ve mainly been filling it with trips to the library to milk the free WiFi and electricity (hehe, saving £ on my bills). Once there I’ve actually been pretty good at working/researching and getting stuff done. Amazing what not having a regular income can do to your productivity levels.

The research I’m currently doing is probably 90% related to the digital marketing industry. Naturally, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the projects I’m busy with currently fit into that space. But I’m also glancing sideways into the eCommerce space as I think there are some interesting opportunities flitting about there. Oh hello eCommerce, you fit pretty neatly into the digital marketing slot too? How nice of you!

As I set out on these projects, I initially expected the research to be done after two weeks. Of course, once you actually start the research, one realises how much there is that you don’t know. It seems that after every article I read, more questions pop up. I have read numerous resources about content marketing, email marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and eCommerce.
I also don’t think I’m anywhere near being finished which is slightly worrying.
But dot not fret. Instead of continuing my research I’m going to start practising and put some of this knowledge to use this week.

Classic! The library WiFi decided it was going to have a long weekend. Guess I’m going to have to write this in MS Word and upload it later.

What are some of the difficulties I’ve encountered?

Hmm… so one thing I’ve found difficult tonight is trying to un-Caps the above headers. WordPress has decided that it likes capitalising all my headers. That was a good hour that I spent trying to find a solution (it was fruitless I might add). EDIT: Well that’s weird. After I hit publish, the caps disappeared and were replaced by beatiful lower case characters…. I’m at a loss. At a happy loss 🙂
Generally speaking, working by myself seemed a bit daunting at first. I remember how hard it was to study by myself  at university when I didn’t have the pressure of a deadline in front of me. So these were some of the difficulties I encountered in the last three weeks:
The biggest issue I’ve had is knowing where to start. When you’re chopping and changing directions and doing so many things at once, it’s hard to keep a track of what is going on and what you need to prioritise.
One of my lifesavers (and time savers) has been a little trusty notepad that I take with me to my library sessions. At the beginning of the day, I keep a track of all the important tasks I need to get done (or at least started). It also serves me as a notepad for any interesting ideas that manage to float into my brain. As I mentioned in a previous post, there’s a really satisfying feeling when you can tick off an item from your list. It feels like you’re getting things done quicker!

Another thing that has been difficult is figuring out a regular routine. It would be easier if I had a regular desk space, but working from home involves too many distractions (my bed is probably one of the biggest culprits, calling for me frequently).
The library on the other hand is only open from 9.30am to 5.00pm. Ideally I’d like to be working from at least 7.30am onwards and finishing around 6.00pm (Yes, it’s a long day, but I actually enjoy it and it doesn’t feel like work). This means I have to break up my day and find somewhere to go to when the library is not open. Annoyingly, the length of these blocks is only 1-2hrs each, so not really worth finding a coffee shop or other hang out in between. So I usually just spend those sessions at home.
These 1 or 2 hour sessions are pretty productive though, as I find I get to start things with a fresh perspective in the morning or wrap some loose ends up at the end of the day. Still, I feel like I’m losing some valuable time with these annoying interruptions. A solution has yet to be found!

Anyhow, these issues are relatively minor compared to having run up a dead-end and finding that one cannot make money in the project one has set out to achieve. However, in that situation I could be having a holiday now… right?

Summary on Three Weeks Down

I’m really enjoying it thus far. It will take a bit longer to get even a tiny slice of income. But like with all good things, I just need to wait and be patient. Although truthfully I would have liked to have been a little bit further down the path of having something concrete in the pipeline. That being said, I’m still interested in worthwhile opportunities that pop up (i.e. working for or with someone on something different) as I feel like these activities can run on the side in my spare time.

Anyhow, that’s all from me right now. Hoping I’ll be able to post more progress going forward!

Happy Monday!

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  1. Cool! Keep it up. Sounds like a good start with room for improvement.
    Everything always takes longer and more work than anticipated. The good thing is to get in there and give it a go.
    Make sure you are putting at least 80% of your effort into one idea though, so that you can be sure to have given at least that one a proper go. Managing your time properly is important here, juggling between urgent and important (i.e. spending an hour trying to fix the caps issue was relatively speaking probably pretty low on both scales.). You can always fix minor quality issues later when you have the customers.
    Last but not least, make sure you spend some time getting out there and testing out your sales pitch etc. even if you are not 100% or even 60% ready yet. The insights and experience you gain in the process are important and may allow you to adapt certain things earlier rather than later. Nothing will be perfect and in hindsight (once you feel you are accomplished) even your current best work will probably seem naive to you, so making your learning curve as steep as possible is crucial I think. Viel Erfolg!