At a recent cultural event in Newcastle, which involved dance, film, poetry, and some incredible vegan cake, one poem made me smile.

In The Pitman’s Garden[1], David Constantine talks of ‘plenty of shite and sunshine’. For some reason, the phrase resonated at the time, and now, when I find myself reflecting on my first year as an independent consultant, I think it fits pretty well.

There has indeed been plenty of shite, as well as a whole heap of sunshine, both literal and figurative, and there’s absolutely no doubt that in keeping with the horticultural theme used in the poem, the result has been a huge amount of personal and professional growth.

So what’s your story?

My journey into self-employment, albeit partial was, like many people, assisted by being made redundant, in my case twice in less than two years. And while a big part of me is grateful for the push, the redundancy process is never much fun for anyone, so I’ll admit I didn’t enjoy getting to the great place I’m at now as much as I hoped I would when I decided to pursue the dream of a portfolio career. So the aim for year two is exactly that – to have a lot more fun!

Year one saw me carry out a huge variety of work for 10 different clients, as well as being offered, and turning down after careful thought, two very tempting opportunities to return to full time employment. Variety is one great advantage to a career in communications; no matter where you work in the field, chances are no day will be the same. And that’s definitely magnified when you work independently, particularly when you add photography into the mix, as I do. Clients last year included those in software and IT, manufacturing, enterprise development, and even funeral directing!

Bring it on

I also networked my socks off, running out of business cards in the process, which undoubtedly led to work I may not have won otherwise, as well as building relationships with other professionals I admire, and learning lots along the way to make me a stronger practitioner.

There is so much more I could say as it’s been a full and productive 12 months to say the least. There’s no doubt that my CV and I are both stronger as a result and I look forward to continuing to share the benefit with current and future clients.

[1] The poem can be heard in full as one of three recorded by the author on YouTube at