Tag Archives: self-employment

Have I been a bit quiet?

I have been rather quiet for a while, apart from the occasional flurry of links to various things that catch my eye. I haven’t been updating the blog with reports from my real life, mainly because I have been a little too busy to get around to it.

So, here’s an update.

I finally got through to a model railway magazine editor. He liked my model photograpy, but couldn’t promise any work. Right there is the story of my life. Promises, promises, promises. Still, it was a step forward, and I have now contacted one other editor with the same pitch. If I get any work from either source, I will be pleasantly surprised. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.

I have had a small web site job for the significant other of a friend. I am currently waiting for them to get back to me with their thoughts on what I have done so far. That reminds me I had better chase them up—may make a phone call instead of email.

Another potentially long-running freelance job is beginning to rumble into life. I’m not entirely sure what I will be expected to do at this stage, or how much I will be paid. I guess I ought to find out sooner rather than later. 

While there’s nothing concrete, then, things are beginning to look a little brighter round here. This is a Good Thing.

Meanwhile, I am finding myself engrossed on the modelling workbench, busily building three commissioned 7mm scale railway coaches. You may recall I built a coach for a friend last year. He asked me if I’d build some more for him, so I have three BR Mark 1 corridor seconds on the go. 

I built one kit to see how the thing went together, and to work out what modifications I might need or want to do before I embarked on the other two. I got that first coach to a stage where it was all but complete, aside from paint and final details, and then set about the other two in a batch. Some of the work is fiddly, and some is fiddly and tedious, but it keeps me quiet and occupied, doing constructive things with my hands.

Perhaps I go beyond the call of duty—certainly beyond what my friend is paying me to build these kits for him—but I enjoy the details. I also consider these models as portfolio pieces I can use to perhaps get more work in this field. It’s not a field that will make me rich, but I think there’s a niche for me somwhere.

I am nearing the point where I will want to break out the airbrush and get paint on the models. Sadly, my spray booth is in a garden shed, and the weather of late round here has been a bit cold for that kind of environment. I think I will have to rig up a spray booth in our loft workshop, where it may be cold but at least I have access to electricity, heating and hot drinks!

That’s what’s been going on round here for the past few weeks. I just wish some of the things I am supposed to be involved in would firm up and give me some regular income again. 

Hanging around

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2012 hasn’t started off terribly well at Snaptophobic Towers. I got a cold just before Christmas last year, which I shrugged off pretty quickly. The new year started with an upset stomach—not related to any excess on New Year’s Eve, I might add—and I have been knocked sideways by another heavy cold barely into the third week of the year. I hate being ill. 

Perhaps it’s a combination of these things, and the dull weather at the moment which is neither one thing or another, but I feel out of sorts. I feel in a kind of limbo. Hanging around.

As you know, I have been looking for full time work. Vacancies have been pretty thin on the ground in my area for a while, and I had more or less given up any prospect of firing my CV off into the void for the foreseeable future. This morning, though, two likely vacancies arrived in my email. I took a look, but decided it simply wasn’t worth my while even applying for them. 

What? Have I gone completely mad?

Well, no. Not really. I just had a dose of reality. Both were jobs for which I have the skill sets. Both were well-paid. Both were in a part of the county fairly difficult to get to from where I live. 

I have a mental block about travelling to that part of Kent known as Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. It is a lovely part of the county, but it is more than an hour’s drive from here, on single-carriageway A roads for the most part. I’m frankly getting too old for trekking across country to work eight or more hours, then trekking back again. 

What is the point in me even applying for such jobs? The descriptions were worded in such a way that it was clear they didn’t really want anyone of maturer years applying. They wanted younger, fresher people, or so it seemed to me. Why waste my bandwidth in applying when I won’t even get past the delete key of the agency’s in-box?

My confidence has taken a real knock in the past year or so, and I just can’t see the point in applying for jobs only to never hear from them again. It has happened so often now there seems no point in trying to carry on looking for jobs in my line of work. I have been here before, and I am unable to find work in any other sphere. Stuck in limbo. Again.

I am having no success in finding work in the model photography. I’m going to keep battering at that door until one of us gives. There are hints of some freelance design work, but currently it’s all ifs and maybes. They don’t pay the bills, but who knows? It may turn out differently in a while. 

Until I get over this funk, sort out the health problems and get a decent idea of what direction the rest of my life needs to take, I guess I’ll just have to contine hanging around.

Looking for work and a plea

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As you know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, I take a mean photo of scale models, if I do say so myself. You’ve seen some of my images and can judge for yourself, but I do think I have the knack.

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I have been trying on and off for the past couple of years to gain a foothold in the UK modelling press as a freelance photographer of models, layouts, etc. I had a colour portfolio booklet printed, which I sent out to several editors and publishers. Disappointingly, I only got one indirect response, and even that hasn’t led to any work. I just can’t seem to break into the business at all, and I don’t know why.

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Download this file

Rather than go for a reprint of the portfolio with updated images, I have opted for a PDF version instead. Hopefully, you can click to download it from the image above. It’s around 3MB. Please download it and share it around with my blessings. If you can’t download it, please let me know and I can email a copy or provide it somewhere a download works as expected.

So, I need to ask a favour. If you know anyone in the print or publishing industries in the UK who deals with railway or other modelling titles, I would like to get contacts for editors and publishers for those titles. Personal contacts and recommendations would be even better. Please pass on to them my portfolio, point them at this blog and my Flickr collection of model images

I really want to start getting some work in the model railway press in the coming year. I don’t ask for much, just a break to get my toe in the door would help. Thank you for your indulgence.

 

Changing Seasons

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While we currently bask in an indian summer here in much of England, it’s hard not to notice autumn is upon us. The trees seem desperate to lose their foliage this year, and predictions are we’re in for a cold snap as early as the end of October—much as last year. Oh, good. 

(Did that sound sarcastic enough?)

After a bout of exuberance as I relaunched my freelance life, I find actually getting the work—in equal parts the most important and the most tedious things about freelancing in general—brings me down with a bump. I don’t ask for much, but my list of clients is shorter than I’d like. The question is, how do I find new clients? Not just new clients, but ones who want to start a long-term working relationship, rather than the more familiar “quick jobs” I tended to collect the last time I played this game seriously.

I’d like to say my heart is really in it, but if I am truly honest with myself it’s not. While I enjoy the freedom to work the hours I want, to be able to give myself a day off if I feel like it, I long for regular income. I need to figure out how to market myself effectively without costing me a packet. Meanwhile, if a “proper” job opportunity comes along, I will go for it.

But that’s a whole other can of worms.