10 years ago this month I became self-employed. My contract as a Policy Analyst at SSHRC ended on April 1, 2005. And over the next few weeks I figured out a way to offer services. I’m not good marking the beginning of things, as my partner will attest, so I’m not sure the exact date to celebrate but here I am. 10 years. Wow.
My business looks very different now than it did back in 2005. It didn’t get a website until 2009. When I started out I mostly did grant related consulting, for university research offices.
This year, I decided that grant proposal development (as such) is no longer something I offer. And over the past 6 months I’ve been rethinking my services to make them more consistent with who I am now, who I really want to serve, and how I can best serve those people.
Wayfinding is new for 2015 but designed around the best of what I’ve been doing for clients for years. You have considerable autonomy and academic freedom. Research generates far more questions than it answers. You are capable and motivated and there really is more stuff you want and need to do than you can possibly fit into the day. The Wayfinding service is designed to help you clarify your vision, identify your priorities, and make tough decisions about what to do next to travel in the direction you want to go. It will provide a firm foundation for decisions about writing and publishing strategies, career decisions, when to apply for a grant and what to put in the application, what to do with your sabbatical, and how and when to plan for retirement.
Sometimes you just need a sounding board to think through one isolated decision and maybe boost your confidence. So I’ve also created Confidence Boost sessions to reduce the time you spend worrying, remind you that you CAN do this job, and help you figure out what other support you have available and how to access it without letting them see how freaked out you get sometimes.
A Meeting With Your Writing started in 2012 and has become a foundational service. It meets your basic need to write regularly by providing just enough structure to build a regular practice along with a bit of accountability and encouragement. In 2014 I expanded it to twice a week. I’ve also added occasional classes on planning and other writing-related topics. Participants are enthusiastic about how much meeting virtually to write has improved their academic lives. They are writing more, and enjoying their writing more.
For those who, for reasons of time zone or other commitments can’t make A Meeting With Your Writing, I also have a series of recorded classes to help you Establish a Writing Practice That Works for You and Plan your semesters and breaks to include writing (and self-care) along with all your other responsibilities. Foundations of an Academic Writing Practice also makes a great introduction to my approach or a great gift for an academic colleague or friend.
I look forward to serving many more academics over the next 10 years. I love my work. And I want you to love yours, too.