Sarah Browning is throwing caution to the wind and trying life without a plan..
To me, autumn time has always meant new beginnings and exciting new projects. A bit weird, when the leaves are coming off the trees, I know, but I put it down to being in full-time education until I was 21. And now I work with universities, the academic year is still a big part of my life.
This autumn sees me looking for new work projects. A big contract I’ve been working on for 3 years is coming to an end and I’m excited about moving on to new opportunities and challenges. But where to find them?
I’ve often written on my blog about the importance of planning, especially in relation to communications for my clients. Accepted wisdom on running a business is also that you need to plan where you’re going and what you’re trying to achieve, otherwise how will you get there? This approach says that I should have a plan of who to contact, who to network with and how that could lead me to new opportunities and work. A financial plan. A marketing plan. But what if I don’t want to plan this much?
It turns out that I’m not such a planner after all – I can’t bring myself to plan every aspect of my business to the nth degree. Don’t get me wrong, I have an overall idea of what I want to do and who I want to work with. I have a to-do list of tasks (mostly admin-related). I have some broad areas I want to explore further. These are all pulled together in something I term my ‘business plan’. I don’t think a bank manager would recognise it as a business plan, but that’s as far as I’m going to go!
It’s a surprise to find this out about myself – something else to add to the list of things being a freelancer has taught me! It’s also a surprise to realise that this lightly-planned approach is working. Some of the most interesting things I have done in the last few years have come from a spur-of-the-moment action, something I’ve done on a ‘whim’. I think I wrote my first piece for KindredHQ on an impulse! Usually I’ve seen something on Twitter, LinkedIn or another website and thought ‘ooh, that sounds interesting’ and without thinking about it too much, I’ve sent off a tweet, message or email offering my services. Or I’ve been speaking to someone new and said ‘that sounds interesting, tell me more’. Maybe because I haven’t over-thought or over-analysed, my passion and enthusiasm have shone through in my words. Maybe it’s because I’m genuinely interested in finding out more. Maybe it’s because my stars and the heavens are aligned and it was meant to be. Who knows?
Whatever the case, it’s nice to know that things don’t always have to be planned in every detail. As long as you have some kind of idea of what you want to do in the world, I believe your subconscious mind will look out for opportunities that fit and your ‘whims’ will take you to very interesting places. My experience is showing me that. I reckon I would have struggled to explain that to my former boss in my annual appraisal though!
You’ll find Sarah at Browning York.