New beginnings…

New beginnings…

Following a major restructure of the Library, my time at the University of Hull came to an end at the end of January after 11 years. I took me some time to digest this change and in pausing I reflected on whether I wanted to…

  1. seek a similar position within the profession
    – recognising that suitable and interesting opportunities may be limited in number 
  2. re-frame the skills and experiences that I have so they are relevant to a wider range of employers/sectors
    – accepting this will mean completing more speculative applications than I would normally consider 
  3. look to join the ranks of archives consultants
    – recognising there are a number of consultants out there with that portfolios of projects/clients but that I had considerable collections management and digital preservation experience that I could offer to potential clients

Going freelance would require familiarity with self employment tax regulations, professional indemnity insurance, creating a brand or identity including a website and social media..

Seeing that there were more Information Manager vacancies than there were for Archivists I widened my browsing to include information management. I came across the PG Certificate in Data Protection and Information Governance at Northumbria University, considering whether this could broaden my employability is something I need to consider.

Whilst browsing (I forget exactly how) I came across “serious play” a recognised facilitation methodology using LEGO. Some of the workshops are pricey (as much as the PG certificate) the book was more affordable and one click and one day later duly delivered.

I needed personal indemnity insurance but getting quotes wasn’t as easy as I’d expected. Many of the insurers used the same fixed list of business activities, which excluded archives, using something vaguely close or similar just didn’t seem right. One insurer decided that an archives consultant was basically the same as a “business consultant” but this increased the cost by £150 than other quotes for some reason.

A trip to the local office furniture shop and I bought a desk, pedestal and chair all for £125. I also bought an old exam table (£10), to house a printer I’d purchased online (not appreciating how big it was until it was delivered!). Putting it all together looks good in my honest opinion.

My new office, guarded by R2D2 and Yoda

Setting-up a business bank account was straightforward. I’ve managed £1m+ budgets so I wasn’t worried on that score and started a simple Excel spreadsheet once I’d made the decision to go freelance. I soon moved across to dedicated business finance software designed for sole traders as trying out a demo version I realised the software would save me time and also make the self assessment return easier. I also contacted HMRC and registered as self employed.

Just one thing left on my todo list …paying clients!!

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