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Adrian Pitt

Develop-meant Training Consultants


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Balancing life, work and Wilko’s!


ADRIAN PITT, owner of Develop-meant Training Consultants, sets out to explain why, as someone who's a self-employed trainer, he's never worked so hard in his life and the pangs of guilt he used to feel while going wild is the aisles at Wilko's!

Did you know the seat I'm sat in now is the very same seat I was parked in 10 months ago on my first day of self-employment? Well, of course you wouldn't! Why would you?! Many of you haven't yet been invited round for a spot of tonic wine and a sponge finger! Anyway, then, as now, I kept staring out of the window...and staring...and staring! Back in October 2009, the ONLY thing on my mind as I searched the skies for inspiration was: "Oh my God! What HAVE I done?!"

I set about putting together an Action Plan - which, in turn, became my Business Plan - laying out in black and white (with a few blue underlines and a smattering of red to make it look pretty) my plans for the first month, three months, six months and 12 months. Twas not long after that I tottered off to my Business Link course (all I needed was my satchel, a packed lunch and my Mum to wave me a fond farewell at the door!). Adrian Pitt was heading off into "the great unknown". Well, actually, it was a half-day business enterprise course in North Shropshire, stuck in a poky room with a would-be balloon bender, a tree surgeon, a lady who intended to read company literature and pick fault with their punctuation, a supposed Reiki Master minus a thumb, a soon-to-be delicatessan owner (I made sure I sat next to her!) and yours truly.

Selling your soul!

All fired-up following my course, I returned to my Action Plan and started working down my "To Do" list. Research into tax, National Insurance, Sole Trader vs Limited Company (and believe me, I've traded my soul!), Professional Indemnity Insurance, company logo design, website, networking groups, tendering for contracts, Social Media - you name it, my "To Do" list made the Domesday Book look like a raffle ticket!

Alas, what I'd failed to figure out was, my other list of "To Do's" was fast getting forgotten about. The cats were gnawing at each other's legs they were ravenous, those very same windows I'd been staring out of some weeks previous were not made of self-cleaning glass, my partner had enrolled on a Computer Studies course at Fuengirola Polytechnic and I hadn't even twigged that he'd gone, my washing pile had grown SO high, Sir Edmund Hillary's grandson had phoned through to ask if he could pop round to conquer it AND we needed bin bags!

You see, to move away from my laptop, to stop designing my latest Powerpoint masterpiece, to leave that overdue invoice hanging, to NOT answer that one and only email, to stop fiddling with fonts on my website, to put off creating my e-Newsletter, to cease deliberating about where to put a tea break in my Rickter Scale training programme just to go to Wilko's for cat food, Windolene and bin bags - well, that was like asking Lisa Riley to ride in the Nimble hot-air balloon (for those of you old enough to remember?!). It just COULDN'T be done!

For sanity's sake!

The guilt I'd feel from stopping work to carry out "every day" tasks was immense! It was as though every minute of every day depended on me ploughing all my energy into the business. Fortunately, I'd a hefty stash of Haribo in the house to keep those energy levels topped up! I desperately wanted the business to get off the ground, secure a comfortable future for me, my better half (and the cats!) and enjoy my new-found path after dreaming about self-employment for five years - but, at what cost?

A few months in and "Sanity" came a-knocking! "Sanity" said: "Ade! Give yourself a break, man!" ("Sanity" was a Geordie!) "It will all be there in the morning. Test yourself. Do you HAVE to answer that email now? Will the Sender be doing cartwheels off the Forth Bridge if you DON'T respond straight away?!"

"Sanity" was right! I had to learn to switch off on occasion and not be plagued by paranoia - let me watch "A Place In The Sun" in peace, let me climb that Persil Peak District of washing, let me scrub away at those windows till they gleam, let me go wild in the aisles at Wilko's!

A final thought

Although I look back now at the height of my Freelancer's Guilt Complex, blogging with my tongue pushed very firmly into my cheek, I'd always thought the term "Work-Life Balance" had become a bit corny and American-ised. However, listen to those folk who tell you to take "time out" (sat here making a "T" shape with my hands - not that I want you to think I'd become American-ised! Ahem!).

If, like me, you've become institutionalised over the years by the 9-5, you'll soon learn to relax and start to proactively plan for "down time" away from the business. You'll more than likely find that when you're out and about having fun with family and friends or at home doing the chores, those are the times when you'll reflect on what you've achieved and when those amazing ideas for training world domination will come to fruition!

Right, I'm off to put the bins out - guilt free!


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