Monday, 10 September 2012

Stilling my voice of doubt and dreaming big

Okay, I really must wrap up these posts on my future work plans. Thanks for your patience - they've been very long. I'm just trying madly to piece this enormous mental jigsaw puzzle together and I don't have the box to look at to see where everything fits! Know the feeling? It's a tad daunting but also exhilarating. So, back to where I left off - knowing I can't return to insurance litigation in private practice.

You know how I told you last night that merely writing about my experiences as a Sydney solicitor was causing my stomach to ache? Well, I was up half the night with the excruciating pain. Truly. It was such a powerful reminder to me of the toxic nature of the work situations I've left behind me. 

I can't return to it. Those days are over for me. Years ago, I would have perceived that decision as weakness and 'giving in'. Yes, my trusty old Voice of Doubt would have given me a fearful shellacking. But nowadays, after many years of skilled attention from professionals, I'm more adept at ignoring his advice (yes, my VOD is male. He sits on my right shoulder and yells.). 

What do I want to do with my legal background instead?
So, with my VOD stilled, what is it I want to do with my one wild and precious life as the fabulous Mary Oliver once asked?

Well, a lot actually. And there's the rub - getting all these seemingly disparate dreams and ideas of mine to coalesce into a greater and more splendid whole than the mere sum of its parts.

Turning away from the area of law I've specialised in for so many years is scary. How can I possibly retrain at this age? And what would really fire up my brain cells yet also make my heart sing? I relish intellectual challenges, organising the inchoate into systematic order and helping people. Solving problems is so satisfying for me.

I no longer am interested in acting on behalf of insurance companies and big organisations. I'd much prefer working on a smaller scale and preferably from home. Then I could try to fit work around our family life.

That is a huge change in mindset for me. I've only ever been an employee. I always shied away from the thought of 'hanging out my shingle' and practising on my own. I much preferred operating under the cloak of an organisation with bosses who could double-check my work. And their professional indemnity insurance cover always stood there in the wings, ready to be called upon, if required (it never was). But he who pays the piper calls the tune. And I'm sick of other people calling the tune for me to play.

I want to do it my way.

Here's to letting go of the unfamiliar and embracing the new! 
                                    Source: via Jane on Pinterest

So what does 'doing it my way' mean?

That, my friends, is where I'm still piecing the jigsaw puzzle together. But the main thrust of it is that I'd like to do a post-graduate course in intellectual property law. 

After months of mulling over it, tomorrow I'm going to call my old professor at UTAS to see if they offer such a thing. From their website, it looks like I'd have to do a Masters degree. 

I don't want to do that. I'd prefer to be able to just study a unit, if one exists, and do it online. No doubt some mainland universities offer such a course.

Why intellectual property law? 

Well, after 2 years of blogging and 3 of befriending local Tasmanian crafters, both purely for pleasure, I now see a real niche I could fill down here. This is where these seemingly disparate entities could coalesce for me. I could combine my passions for blogging and helping people with empowering them to protect their rights through the law. 

So many crafty friends have told me that they've had to retain Melbourne firms to represent them when a competitor has copied their designs. They've pleaded with me to represent them as they'd "prefer to work with someone we know". I've had to politely demur, due to my lack of training and expertise in the field. 

How could I use such expertise?

I'd relish the chance to advise them on their rights, protecting their copyright, branding, the insurance cover they require, how to register business names and so on. 

What else could I do?
Then, if they wished, I could also assist them in setting up blogs to promote their businesses. So many Tasmanian crafters have started blogs but find they don't have the time, skills and/or inclination to keep them updated and develop a supportive and thriving community. I'd love to help them turn that around. So, can you see how my brain is working now?

All this links to the PayPal seminar I attended. We were told that 60% of Tasmanian companies don't have a website. I imagine that's higher than the national average. I was struck by that statistic. From personal experience, I know that the other 40% have websites which could be enhanced. For sure. 

Now I'm no expert coder or blog designer. Rather, I envisage I could help people set up a basic blog. After all, apart from Katrina's clever design work, that's what I've done here. If they wanted to take the blog to the next level, I could happily refer them to the pros like Katrina

With all that in mind, I've nabbed a couple of helpful domain names for such ventures. I'll sit on them until the time is right. For $10 a year, reserving a domain name is a cheap no-brainer and something which helps me sleep at night, knowing I've covered that important detail.
So ultimately, I envisage offering a 'one stop shop' for local businesses and crafters with legal advice and blogging support. All these 'Blogging 101' posts I've been writing could now earn me an income instead of just being the freebies they are here! But don't worry - I'll still share what I've learned with you here ☺.

I have a couple more ideas involving blogging but I'll keep them close to my chest for a while. I hope you understand. I'm already wondering if I've revealed too much here!

So, that's my plan - the one to utilise my legal training but bring it into the 21st century in this age of hyper-connectivity and instant communication.

Mind you, I also have the creative itch I just have to scratch - hence the upcoming opening of my Etsy shop. That deserves a separate post!

Oh and this is where I'd like to end up:
                                          Source: via Jane on Pinterest

Tell me, do you think my plan is feasible? Or do any of my fellow lawyer Planetarians consider it 'far-fetched and fanciful'?! Do you have any suggestions or things I've missed? I can't wait to hear your thoughts - you know how much I value them.
PS For those awaiting Kelly's follow-up post to this one, click here.

PPS Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a place in the 30 Day Self-care Blueprint e-course - it closes this coming Saturday 15 September.
Linked up with the September 2012 edition of the Post of the Month Club.
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