Today I’m celebrating my fourth year in business at Gudrun Lauret Copywriting with a fruit tart in France! I’ve been here in Brittany since June, and it’s been more work than holiday. It’s so peaceful, though, that I’ve had plenty of time to focus on what’s important.
When I went to review my previous bizversary posts, I realised I didn’t actually write one last year. In my defence, I remember being very busy with work, but I really should have acknowledged it somehow.
So, this post will be a quick whiz through the last two years, a reflection on what I’ve done and where I’ve had challenges, and what I’m planning to do in the next 12 months – and beyond.
What I’ve Been up to
I’ve been fortunate to work with some fantastic businesses, local, national and international. I’ve worked with financial advisers, marketers, graphic designers, a cleaning company, resilience coaches and charities of all kinds.
Since my last review post, I’ve worked with a lot more IT and MSP (managed service provider) companies, and really honed my knowledge of the sector. I’ve attended a couple of industry events, so I’ve heard first-hand about the challenges they face when it comes to marketing themselves.
Like all businesses, MSP owners are good at what they do but struggle with finding time (and the inclination) to create content, which led me to produce a blog series and a handy guide to make the process a bit easier for them.
Since 2017, I’ve attended a lot more conferences. Locally, we’ve had Talking Point of Business, which I’ve been to several years in a row. There’s such a welcoming atmosphere and so many great delegates and speakers. I enjoy it so much, I’ve put myself forward to lead a masterclass next year!
My friends and mentors Andrew and Pete, who I mentioned in my first birthday blog, hosted their first international conference, Atomicon, in the north east this year, and I’m already excited for the next one – it promises to be even better.
We’re approaching conference season now, so I’ll be heading back to the UK for a few weeks for MarketEd.Live, which I attended for the first time last year. Then, it’ll be Cambridge for my friend Lenka’s Social Media Day, and on to London for the third Youpreneur Summit. This one is huge, and always leaves me excited for the new year. It’s also quite draining, so I need a couple of days off to recover!
I’ve done more business coaching with the brilliant Tiana Wilson-Buys, who helps me to clarify my thoughts and make proper plans. I’m hoping to have a session with her again soon to refine my new business ideas.
I’ve also been part of a supportive mastermind group, where we share challenges, talk about new ideas and offer suggestions. I like it because it gives me the chance to talk to people who understand me, and also because they don’t just agree with what I say. I also went to London to take part in Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur Midyear Mastermind, which was invaluable.
I’ve been a guest on a few podcasts, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and would love to do more of. You can listen to my interviews with my friends and clients, Pete Matthew of Meaningful Money, and Roger at Roger Edwards Marketing to find out more.
I also did my own mini-series of video interviews, where I spoke to people running successful podcasts in industries where they don’t seem naturally suited. I’d like to do some more of those, so I’ll have to get my thinking cap on for a theme for a new batch.
Another big achievement was making my business location-independent, which I had as a goal in 2017. I’ve been able to spend more time in Brittany, working for three months at the start of last year out here, and for four months this summer. I’ve also taken work with me to places like Malta, and resisted the urge to spend all my time at the pool!
I’ve FINALLY employed a social media manager, which was on my to-do list since I started my business! Nicola at Blue Jeans Velvet Shoes has only been working with me for a few weeks, but she’s already doing amazing things. I also invested in a graphic designer, so the beautiful images you see on my services pages are all thanks to Claire. I spend a lot of time admiring them!
I was flattered to be approached to provide some mentoring and a work experience opportunity to someone who’d heard my interview with Pete. Freya Inston didn’t need much help, but she did some great work for me and provided my first guest blog too. I wish her lots of luck for the future!
Types of Work I’ve Done
Back in 2017, I was doing a lot of transcription. While this is still an element of what I do, the advent of AI and cheap services such as Rev means that’s less in demand. Although what I have found is that any copy produced by these companies needs a lot of editing.
My main focus at the moment is blog writing, and I get to do that for a range of clients. I’m also offering more content marketing services, such as audits and ways to maximise existing content.
And I also create white papers, which lets me use my research skills, and produce a range of lead magnets, including ebooks created from blogs, podcast series and interviews, which is a lot of fun (and I benefit from the knowledge my clients are sharing too!)
Future Business Plans
I’ve loved all the work I’ve done in the last two years. It’s been interesting and varied, and I’ve learned all kinds of things I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I’ve met so many new and interesting people, and had some amazing opportunities.
However, I felt that I was missing something, and I needed to be creative for my own business and do more writing. I also wanted to find a way of combining my love of history with that writing. So, in early July, I embarked on a rather ambitious project – to write 100 blogs over a year (two per week) about historical items, places and buildings that mean something to me.
You can find out more about the Time Pieces History Project (TPHP) here. As of this post, I’ve published 12 blogs, with another one coming tomorrow. I’m really enjoying the process of putting them together, and I’ve had some great feedback so far.
I like carrying out the research to find the most interesting or unusual facts to share with my readers, and I’ve discovered so many new things already. I’m looking forward to seeing where the project goes, and I’m planning to publish a book of my findings in September 2020.
Working on TPHP has encouraged me to think about what I’d like to do in future and who I want to work with. I’ll be participating in a programme to grow and develop my business, which I can’t wait to start. It will give me a chance to discuss my ideas with people from all over the world.
Earlier this year, I created a series of workbooks to help people with their content strategy – identifying their ideal customer and the challenges they face, coming up with blog ideas and so on. I’d like to develop that side of the business further. This is perfect for both those new to content marketing and those who need to be more consistent with it, and it’s suitable for all industries.
I’m also keen to start working with sites of historical interest or people running history-related companies, whether that’s tourism, online advice or travel guides. It might also be writers, researchers, educators or something else I haven’t thought of!
I want to combine my knowledge of content marketing, my writing skills and my enthusiasm for history to offer them a unique service to help them promote their work or organisation and to educate future generations on why understanding the past is important. I’m excited to get started on creating the best offerings possible.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this post, so please do leave a comment. In case you’re wondering, the tart was very good!