Members 73. Covid Reset

Thirteen weeks ago today, Mags and I returned from Rome, just ahead of this thing, known as Covid 19.

She went to bed and has been there ever since, I added nursing to my daily task list and Covid 19 went from “some virus in China, and maybe Italy” to a pandemic.

My writing is supported by people like you. The remainder of this post is reserved for Members. Membership costs £12 per year. For this princely sum, you will get access to subscriber only posts, direct access to a members chatroom , and a digital copy of any and all work that I publish in the year. Become a member.

Going Solo. 2. What’s the start point?

Start Point

You think you want to go solo. That’s great. I’ve worked for myself since 2003 and I wouldn’t ever want to work for anyone else, ever again. Let’s work out your start point.

You can do it. Everyone can do it. But being able to do it does not mean that you should do it.

If there is one thread that runs through everything involved in being your own boss, is that the buck stops with you. There’s no one to bail you out. The first maxim is “be honest with yourself”.


I’m an analogue sort of guy, as will become increasingly obvious. Grab yourself a notebook. I’ll happily sell you one, but any book will do. This book will record your thoughts and chart your progress.

Leave the first few pages blank (we’ll put an index in here). At the top of say, page 5 write,

“Going Solo”.

Then beneath it, write the following

  1. What you are now. Employee? Student? Unemployed?
  2. How you fund your life. Salary? Savings? Partner? Any way you can?
  3. What responsibilities you have. Parent? Carer?
  4. What’s your personal situation? Do you live alone or with others? Do you fund just yourself or others?

Write as little or as much as you want. The important thing is to be honest. This book is for you. It’s your business partner. Don’t tell lies to your business partner.

Leave a line, and write down what you want to be; You Tube Superstar, Management Consultant, Landscape Gardener, Author, Model, Gravedigger, Personal Trainer – whatever it is that you want to be. What’s the dream? What are you aiming for?


Don’t look now, but you’ve just documented a start point and an end point. If you were working for a big company, then you have completed a “situational assessment” (or any other of a thousand buzz phrases) and set a goal.

We are just going to call it the journey. We have identified where we are starting (Point A) and where we want to get (Point M). Now, all we have to work out is how to get from point A to M.

Now, go back to page 1 and write Index at the top of the page. Then write – “The Journey” on the left side of the page and “5” in the middle.

Wow. Look at you. You have instigated project “Going Solo”, completed a Situational Analysis, established a goal and documented and indexed the project. In an office, you should probably take a break here. Lunch maybe. It’s been a productive day.

Sorry, I’m being flippant (partially). We will revisit the journey and will write more pages on it. When we do – be sure to add the page number next to the 5. That way, whenever you want to reference the journey, you’ll know where to look.

OK. Lunch break over.

Take a look at the four questions and their answers. If you are unemployed, independently wealthy with no responsibilities, then what are you doing here? Go surfing. Immediately.


If you are not that person, then the chances are that your start point is, to some extent at least, going to guide your approach to going solo. That, my friends, is effectively the beginning of a feasibility study.

Next post – what to do about money?

My writing is supported by people like you. “Going Solo” is free, and will remain so, but some content is reserved for members. Membership costs £12 per year. For this princely sum, you will get access to subscriber only posts, direct access to a members chatroom , and a digital copy of any and all work that I publish in the year. Become a member.

Working Tools – 4. Bullet Journal

You may know that I run Nero’s Notes, where I sell notebooks and the odd bit of stationery. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that I use quite a lot of notebooks myself.

I am resolved for 2019 to keep a bullet journal, or indeed, a series of them. If you are not familiar with #bulletjournal, where have you been? That aside, go check out this excellent overview from the man that created the system. You can read about my earlier experiences with the journal here.

Quarterly System

I have decided to use one book for a quarter, at which point, I will move on to a new one, regardless of how much space remains in the current book. This is a departure; typically I flog a notebook until every single page is covered.

Why the change?

It’s all related to goals and flexibility. I do like a bit of goal setting. Traditionally, I draw up a list of annual target and goals for each area of my life, the hope being, that these will guide my every action throughout the next twelve months. It may be my age, it may be the scale of my endeavours, or it may be the modern world – but I now find that twelve months is a very long time. Therefore, I’m splitting the year into quarters, and setting goals for thirteen weeks rather than fifty two.

I will still consider the outcomes that I’m hoping for at the end of 2019, but in terms of actionable items, I’m going to focus on just the first quarter. As that quarter comes to an end, I’ll conduct a review and set targets for the next three months. There is nothing original about this approach – I’m sure that I have read it in several different places and guises. However, I’m just co-opting the time frame, in an effort to keep my goals relevant to my reality.

My goals are more diverse now, than they have ever been. There’s Nero’s Notes, Lime Training and Consultancy, this website, 1857 and my novel – just in the ‘Work’ sphere. Breaking things down into quarters forces me to focus on small, “doable” actions. This, I hope, will help ensure that my goals do not overwhelm me and become irrelevant.


A part of the bullet journal method involves a process of migration. From day to day, month to month or even journal to journal. This is a kind of enforced review and will keep reminding me of the goals set. That is not to say that they cannot change, only that if they do it will be something that happens with intention, rather than by default.

Furthermore, having lots of pages available in each journal will encourage me to make more notes. This is in part inspired by the concept that when looking to have a good ideas, a great way to get going is to focus on having lots of ideas. Joey Cofone, CEO and co-founder of Baron Fig, reminded me of this on a productivity podcast that I listened to just the other day.


You can find my 2019 set up here – and I will continue to update here on the site (category Journal), for better or worse.


Progress Report


Glass of Sherry
Much underestimated; sherry.

I have been quiet recently. Progress has been slow. Unusually for me, I have been working.

I wrote before about setting simple goals this year. As January draws to a close, this is a progress report.


I haven’t lost two stone, or published a novel. I have bought a company though. Look at that. January not yet finished, and I have one of the year’s three goals in the bag. How’s that for progress?

I have signed the contract for the deal, but I can’t reveal what it is for a couple of days yet, not until I have paid for it. They can be funny like that; vendors.

My last venture was in partnership with a great friend, and this one is no different. However, this time, I am the senior partner. Allow me to introduce my Chief Operations Officer, Tamodan Midnight Sun, or Nero as he is more commonly known.

Nero, COO of pocketnotebooks
Nero Assessing Progress


This is his first real management position, but he is off to a flying start. We have had several management meetings, and he is never short of an apposite bark or dismissive sniff.

We have secured ourselves a very desirable office on the Castledown Business Park, and tomorrow we collect the keys.

Exciting times.