Starting My Own Business

I’m now officially a ‘sole trader’ in Ireland. As you may have gathered, the financial crisis has hit my language teaching hard, but I have managed to find a lot of freelance work. Websites like gumtree are great for stuff like this, and it looks promising in terms of continuing to pick up work in the future. I decided to register myself officially, as there’s only so much you can get away with ‘under the table’. It seemed better to declare myself as a soul trader and cough up the taxes. Operating illegally just isn’t worth the risk in the long run, especially as I have to tell my school when I’m working, so they’ll be looking for the other income when they tax me.

On the writing front, I decided that if I was going to aim high, I might as well hit a lot of people at the same time. My chances of getting a response from a major newspaper are very small, so there’s not really any harm in going for a lot of them at once. The worst that can happen is I have to write about the same thing twice.

My article on the slowly improving situation for dogs in Korea (link: will be published in ‘K9’ magazine at the end of this month (actually my first non web-based UK article), and I saw no harm in using it to try and generate some more interest from the big boys. The day after sending my proposals out to around 30 publications, The Guardian got back to me with an ‘On spec’ request. This basically means they’ll publish if they think the article is good enough. I spent a whole night producing a fact-filled 500-word piece that I can say I’m at least reasonably proud of. It’s difficult to write under such pressure, and I’m honestly not sure if what I produced was that good. I won’t put it on here for inspection yet, as high level papers check search engines to see if the copyright is being breached before they publish, and if they find it on my site it could cost me a big story. I’m finding it hard not to literally hold my breath.  Just in case I’m not the only one, I’ll get straight back on here and let you know when I hear from them. If it’s published, the story will be a small feature in ‘Guardian 2’, which is a kind of random things of interest section of the paper.

Incidentally, I learnt about some of the frustrations of writing over the last couple of days, with a couple of criticisms of an article I wrote from people who basically think I made it up. Very frustrating. The trip I wrote about is new and not very well known, but to assume I’m lying rather than do a simple web search is pretty silly (see message board for an example. I couldn’t resist slating them!)

My travel writing classes will start tomorrow, which will be a nice way to meet a few people and hopefully learn some new stuff. Helena’s very busy with exams and essays, and with only freelance work and writing at the moment, it’s been pretty hard to get to know anyone. At least anyone with English as a first language!

It looks like Helena and I will be heading for India before the end of May, as Helena’s lectures will finish at the start of the month. I can’t wait!



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