+44 7879 440170 helen@unlikelygenius.com

I have won an award. Two in fact, in two weeks.

“For what?” I hear you cry. Not not for clumsiest sod of t’north. Not for best bunmum ever (though obvs that should be it). These are real legit, bonafide awards.

Both were a total surprise, and hugely appreciated. And rather than hiding, I thought I should share.

It has given me a real boost, when admittedly, lockdown fever was starting to creep into the brain and I was starting to get cabin fever – not just for the house, but the country. I want to get away and am still mourning the loss of our Transylvania trip. But I digress.

So here are the two biggies I have somehow won.

First up was the NEOTW (Non-employee of the week) award in the Being Freelance community

Every week pre-lockdown, intrepid leader Steve Folland picked someone in the 2.1k strong community of freelancers to be the non-employee of the week. This took a hiatus over lockdown as Steve was shufted out of his co-work space for lockdown and lost his presenting arena – the car park of dreams. But it returned on 11th September for its 50th winner for the live Friday announcements.

Not having a clue what day it is (lockdown standard), taking only my 4th day off this year and in the middle of sorting the diva rabbits who were having a huge strop, I missed the announcement that the recipient was…me.

Given that the previous recipients of this are people I watch with wonder and have become my gurus, it was a total shock.

(blushes)

If you are a freelancer and not yet in the group, I recommend you get there pronto. It is a marvellous community and a safe place to vent, pick brains, share ideas, ask for advice or just talk about biscuits. There is a lot of biscuit talk. Everyone is lovely and as mad as a box of…biscuits.

Me with my ceramic trophy (BF mug) and badge - just some of my winnings

UK Technical Communication Awards 2020

A week later I then received an email informing me that I have won ‘Article of the year’ at the UK Technical Communication Awards – for which all four of my articles I had written for Communicator magazine had been nominated.

I was amazed at that alone when I received the listing, so to win is amazing. Especially for someone who declared that ‘I will not call myself a writer – yet’ just a few months ago.

Maybe I will have to start doing now.

It was a shame that the current situation had put the kibosh on the gala dinner and awards ceremony that usually takes place, and as terrifying as it was to have to do a little speech, it was lovely to be able to at least attend an online ceremony and to get some recognition for the time I have put into writing the articles. And I was promptly reeled in to write for the next edition making the most of my excitement, so they aren’t getting rid of me yet! šŸ˜‚

Keep your eyes peeled for the next edition late in 2021.

 

“You are attracting all these awards”

Amidst the celebrations it has been really interesting to see some of the comments I have received. Everyone has been lovely, but I was intrigued by some mentions that I was ‘attracting’ these wins at the moment.

Let me tell you, they have not come without blood (well, bruises), sweat and tears. Since I made the leap to work for myself I think we can successfully say I have worked my arse off. Possibly too much.

At times it has been very difficult to fit in business development and writing with juggling numerous clients and projects, so I have spent lots of late nights and weekends writing these articles into the late hours.Ā I haven’t attracted the wins so much as put the hours in, tried new things, and am learning to put myself out there and tell the world what I am up to.

In 2020 alone I have only taken a few days holiday and as I have also worked an unbelievable amount of evening and weekends I am actually in holiday debt. And weekend debt. And debt to Graham for the number of meals he has cooked me this last two years.

I know this is not good for me (and this will change I promise), but I genuinely have been enjoying my work and love my business so I have relished spending time developing it. And it is finally coming to fruition.

It has been a very long wandering path to get here, and I am still in disbelief as to where I am. But it’s bloody lovely. So though I do not recommend attacking business life like I have (slow and steady wins the race and all that), I do recommend the following which have all contributed to my progression:

  • Guest blog
  • ContributeĀ to an industry journal/blog
  • Work on your mission and values, making sure they are clear
  • Join (and interact with) networks fo your peers/other freelancers
  • Join accountability groups to keep the momentum
  • Use videos and lives to talk about your work and industry knowledge
  • Be open to any new opportunities that come your way
  • Be yourself!

Next step for me – to rediscover the balance in life!