On a wet weekend in the middle of this summer, I was locked away in an airport hotel. That sounds like the beginning of a short story but it was in fact all true. Well, apart from being locked in.
I was on a residential course which was held over a weekend. Now then, I'm no fan of death by powerpoint over the course of a weekend, and truth be told wasn't really looking forward to this. But I do like learning, in fact I hunger to learn new things and to keep my skills up to date.
Working for myself now, as a freelance writer, it's important I keep myself aware of what's going on because some days, as a writer, I don't even leave the house. And that's great on days like today when it's sleeting down outside and the muse is upon me (well, she was this morning, I think she's gone for a lie-down now). But on other days, when it's not blowing a gale outdoors, I like to get out and meet people. Most of all I like to learn.
After seeing a social media workshop advertised online at the NE-BIC my local business information centre I went along for the first session. It was great! Then I went back for the second and the third session until I felt I wasn't learning much more. But I did wonder what else the NE-BIC might be able to offer me as a freelance writer. I wasn't a business, I wasn't out to make cash, I was a writer sitting at home, typing, drinking tea and eating far too many biscuits. I wasn't sure I fit their profile as a business owner, as someone they were offering to help.
How wrong I was.
A phone call later, I met a lovely lady called Louise Hardy at the NE-BIC and she talked me through all of the help I could access - free of charge - through them. They run sessions in finance, tax, spreadsheets, doing your books, promoting yourself, marketing, web design. Well, you name it and you can learn it there. All for free!
Louise suggested the residential weekend for me and I made the most of the opportunity. My certificates arrived today and it reminded me how fortunate I was to have a place at that weekend and what a debt I owe to the NE-BIC. After the weekend course, I attended two days of an advanced digital masterclass through the BIC, which was run by a fantastic fella called Pascal Fintoni. And I'm going to be doing the same with Pascal in January next year too.
And so I thought I'd write this blog post. Why not call in at your local BIC and see what they can offer you as a self-employed person, even if you're a writer, like me.
Oh, and did I mention it's all free?
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