Name: Helen Cooper, 37, married with an 18 month-old daughter
What did you do before? Previously, I worked in the corporate sector. The transition was surprisingly easy: once I’d made up my mind, it seemed such an obvious choice. Maternity leave gives you a lot of thinking space, and it is less daunting to leave when you’re already ‘not there’ than to make a leap of faith and work out your notice.
Launched? June 2010
How did you get started? I joined the Society for Editors and Proofreaders and trained with The Publishing Training Centre. From there, word of mouth and marketing saw the jobs start rolling in.
What research did you do before launching? I started researching the routes into proofreading whilst I was on maternity leave, to see if there are any standard recognized qualifications that would enhance my professional reputation. The training provided by The Publishing Training Centre is accredited by The Society for Editors and Proofreaders and so I studied with them. I also researched the market to ensure there would be enough work to keep me busy. There is – all businesses issue some form of written output, be it websites or brochures, letters or promotional material, so there is plenty of work available.
How have you funded the business? Fortunately, there was little in the way of start-up costs. I paid for the training fees and professional society membership from savings, but I work from home and already owned a PC and printer, so my costs so far have been minimal.
How do you promote your business? My website brings in a lot of enquiries, as does being listed in trade and professional directories, and I’ve been passed work leads by other freelancers. Word of mouth is a wonderful promotional tool: a satisfied client is happy to provide enthusiastic recommendations, and I’ve received some great referrals.
What has worked well? Doing something I love, providing an essential service to others and spending more time with my daughter – everything about it works well!
What has been your biggest challenge so far? Juggling work and a toddler is tricky. My daughter comes first, so when she’s poorly or teething I can find it challenging to find any free hours for work. Luckily my husband is very ‘hands on’ and helps to take the pressure off me!
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