Monday, 22 March 2010

And She's OFF!!

Well, I was going to be disciplined and tell you all about my second day's training, followed by my third... so much for that idea!

On Tuesday, two days before my second day's training, received a phone call from a lovely man named Roy Austin, a fellow toastmaster with the English Toastmasters Association. I knew his name, because he'd been kind enough to contact me to welcome me to the association (such a lovely bunch of lads, I'm thinking!) and I thought he was calling to arrange a coffee date or something.

No such luck.

It was better.

He referred me a job! My first real job! I was so excited I literally jumped for joy. Of course, I'm now back down to earth and the job isn't mine until I've received full payment, but the client seemed very positive and didn't have any problem with my fee. I called the client on Wednesday, full of nerves at first until I remembered something very important a dear friend of mine told me. The client is just a guy with a problem, and I have the solution. With that frame of mind I was able to confidently talk about his needs, sent him off a quote and now I'm just waiting for the money. I still need to set up a business account though, otherwise I'm not going to be able to cash the cheques....

So, to my second day's training.

Again I flew anti-clockwise around the M25, smiled at the SwissAir jet as it passed in front of me on its way to land and thanked God over and over and over for the blessing of this new change in direction for me. I was even later leaving than last week (no surprise there) but I arrived by 9.30am which was perfect.

Much of the first half of my second day's training was spent talking through my concerns and issues with my first client. Richard is just the most generous man with his time and knowledge. Sometimes I find myself sitting there on the couch while he's talking, wondering what he's getting out of all this, other than my money. He's a man on a mission and it's not an insignificant one. He wants to take a profession steeped in tradition and standardise it. He wants to see all toastmasters working to a high standard of ethics and professionalism and I tell you what, he's got me on board, for certain. As he talked about standards of service, dealing with venues and other wedding professionals, I realised he and I think very similarly and excitement overflowed once again. I did a role-play where I interviewed Richard and his office assistant Lindsay for the planning meeting and it was incredibly valuable. The form made sense, the flow of the day really came together for me and I left the farm filled with confidence that this indeed is the career for me.

The next week was spent in a haze of activity, designing my business cards and website, getting the right domain name and setting it all up, investigating business bank accounts, thinking about how to administer the business and keep track of everything... it was a brilliant week!

The following, final week was not so smooth. I woke up feeling dreadful and just felt worse as the day wore on. I met another guy finishing his training and we went out for lunch with Andrew Morgan, a lovely man who was very generous with his time, advice and stories of the fabulous and interesting experiences he's had in his three years as a toastmaster. Unfortunately though I ended up with a migraine so had to leave early. I tell you, being stuck in stationary traffic at the Heathrow junction due to an accident was not fun at all. Still, I made it home, crawled into bed and passed out.

Now I've finally managed to get my web site up and running, I've got two clients on the boil and I'm feeling more confident about it all the time. I'm itching to do my first function, I know it's going to be fantastic fun!

In closing, I would like to say how much I appreciate all the positive, encouraging comments I received via Facebook from so many friends all over the place. Words can't express how much your words have meant to me, and if I am a success in this toastmastering caper it will be thanks in no small part to you. So, THANK YOU!!

Much love,
Vanessa King, professional toastmaster