Getting back into the workforce

I’ve been spending the last couple of months thinking about what the next year holds for me.  Working on the house has been great and all the volunteer work for the ski club and the 4-H club  has been wonderful too.   But the last few months have found me itching to move onto something new.  I haven’t worked for myself in a very long time.  In 1997 and 1998 I spent a year freelancing for Canadian oil and gas companies in San Francisco…(please don’t hold it against me!)  So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I could do again that was all my own.

Chris has been busy tying up the last of his engineering jobs and concentrating on the house and really wants to dedicate most of his time to getting us moved in this winter (yay!), even though he has a few income generating projects he would like to investigate in the future, too.

After a lot of thought, and with Chris’ support, I’ve been putting plans in place to return to work as a consultant.  Primarily I will be offering bookkeeping services for other businesses in the North Thompson valley, but I am making a real effort to get back into communications consulting, mostly in writing business tools for other companies.  For example, business plans, reports, grant proposals, speeches, RFPs, policy manuals and sales tools like flyers and brochures.  This is only a part of what I used to do when I was a “high flyer” in the PR/marketing communications world in Toronto.  Barriere isn’t Toronto so I suspect I will extend my market to Kamloops to reach a wider range of customers.

I’ve been spending the last few weeks re-claiming a space in the office and developing a business plan.  I’m ready to take on work now, but also plan to spend some time making sure my ducks are in a row.  Over the next week I’m conducting a market survey (just 10 questions) to make sure that my pricing is in the right range for the Barriere area, and to make sure I’m actually offering services potential customers want.

If you’re local and would volunteer to take my survey I would be very grateful (I can email it to you!)  Your participation would be confidential and your name would never appear in any of my reports.  It really is a very friendly survey and I won’t hold anybody to anything on it.  It’s not a selling tool as much as a tool to help me get started on the right path!  (Of course, if you need a bookkeeper or writer…you know where to find me!)  :)

It’s been great to challenge my mind the last few weeks.  I’ve been taking a few workshops and have met other new small business owners. I’ve even been helping craft mission statements and slogans for other companies, and have received a lot of advice in return as there is a real variety of businesses being started.

My real challenge is to balance all of the wonderful things I’m involved in.  Wish me luck.

The Sears debacle…resolved

Today I arrived at Sears Kamloops and explained my plight to a woman named Sherry (who was very nice).  She gamely phoned the number I gave her and spoke to Eddie.  Eddie then quizzed me as to my birthday, address and phone number.  When he was satisfied that I was the person who could pay my account (I’m wondering why they wouldn’t just let anybody pay it, if they were confused enough to do so!) he told me that Sherry could take my payment.

And we said goodbye.

Then Sherry and I looked at each other and asked at the same time, “How much do I (you) pay?”  Arrghhh.  Apparently she still couldn’t tell me how much was owing; Eddie was supposed to tell me.  After a fit of giggles, Sherry’s supervisor showed up and suggested she simply call head office and ask for my balance (she said not to say anything about my saga).

After much time on hold with me resigned to being a resident of the Sears store, Sherry straightened up and motioned to me.  Then she gave me the total, which I wrote down.  Then paid.

I was a bit incredulous that this is what it might have taken all along but after telling Chris my story, he suggested that perhaps while Sherry was on hold, Eddie was “unlocking” my account so that Sears could access it.  This made a lot of sense as I was told that only the collection agency could access it.

So thanks to Lauren, Eddie and Sherry my life in debt is over (I hope).  I’ve made a note to check Equifax in a few months to make sure my credit rating is spanky again.