Friday, June 12, 2009

Leap, Dude, Leap

I just started an editorial and typing service business. Yeah. I did an outline for a business plan, researched my market, carefully read statistics and business start-up info, and created a web site.

Well, I need extra money so I can save enough for a down payment and closing costs. A little moonlight business can help. A former co-worker is moonlighting as a bookkeeper for at least one small company. I figured, I could moonlight too - not as an accountant, but as an editor. I've been writing prose and blogs for years now - specifically, 15 years all told - and I have been editing my nephew and niece's school papers for almost half of that. Plus, I always edit stuff - like news articles, feature articles, company and road signs, other people's blog posts, etc. - in my head.

I thought I could make it as a freelance editor after I worked on Miss KC's essay for her high school IB program. I needed to whittle it down from 600 words to 200. I only managed to reduce it to 400 words, but I tried to rearrange sentences and change the wording so that I could unite her ideas into one decent application essay. Apparently, after I gave it back to Miss KC, they sent it to their editor-friend in New York (yes, the mecca of publishing in the US) for further polishing. I don't know what the final essay looked like, but it probably helped her get in the program. According to Mrs C, their friend said it looked professional - as if a pro editor worked on it. From there, the freelance editorial services business idea was born.

I'm not going to bore you with the details of my research, but it took me two or three weeks before I finished the rough draft of the business plan outline. I still have not finished writing the business plan itself, but I can work from the outline. I even figured out a fair pricing plan: I will be billing based on either word count or page count (depends on the document), rather than on the number of hours I worked on it. Since I have a day job, LOST obsession, and a hint of a social life, the usual pricing basis will not be fair. Anyway, I added document or manuscript typing to widen my market. I would probably do a bit of editing as I type anyway.

So I created a website on Google Sites, because it is free and it is convenient (I am using my other GMail account for the business). It's a decent site - frankly, Microsoft Publisher can do better - but it works. The site is almost complete; I only need to complete my bio and to figure out how to make the file upload page work and secure for my customers. Check it out, if you'd like.

Also, a thought came to me last Saturday: Why don't I actually study editing? Simon Fraser University has a Writing and Publishing Program, which is based in the City of Vancouver. There is a Certificate in Editing program, but all applicants need to complete Editors and Editing: An Introduction. So I registered for the online course, which starts on July 1st (a.k.a. Canada Day) and should be completed after four months. I hope I get to finish all the requirements so I can apply to the Certificate program. And for $420, I'd better!

Now, I need customers. So, if you need someone to polish your work, then let me know. Pricing is on the website, and you'll find it cheap and reasonable.

And, oh, this feels so much like Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother's Season 4 finale ("The Leap"). Although the field is still architecture, teaching is an entirely different career. With the help of his friends, he took the metaphorical leap and left the architectural practice to teach. My situation is different, but the action is the same: I also took the metaphorical leap by moonlighting as a freelance editor and by studying editing. I actually remember telling my old boss (from the one that laid off the entire Burnaby finance department) that I want to go into the literary/publishing field. Ten months after, I finally made good on that statement. Let's hope I become successful enough so I only have to work part-time as an accountant. Hehehe...

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