Every business that wants to survive should have a “purple cow,” according to Seth Godin. What is that? It’s something that is extraordinary about it, something remarkable. Although it might not qualify as a “purple cow” according to Seth Godin, there is something special and remarkable about the team at HarshmanServices.com.
The “team” started off as my husband and me. We founded HarshmanServices.com to help solopreneurs and small businesses, so they’d have affordable options for things like websites and site content. I worked at home because of my multiple disabilities. Over time, the business morphed into editing and writing. I worked alone for a few years. Clients loved my work and told other people about me, and soon I had a number of books to edit. I raised rates, and still more clients came. I was working every single day and there was a long waiting list. Some authors’ books were scheduled as far out as one year into the future.
Become a freelance editor
All during this time, people kept asking me how I got started doing freelance editing. They wanted me to teach them how to do it. Several even asked me to hire them. Remembering what I’d heard Dan Miller say about creating an infoproduct after just three people ask him about something, I kept telling myself I needed to write a resource for all of the people who were asking me about editing. But I never had time to write books. I was too busy editing them.
Then there came a month when there was finally wiggle room in the budget. I considered whether I should use the money to purchase some memberships or business books I’d been wanting. I realized that what I really wanted to buy, more than anything else at the moment, was time. I just wanted a day off—maybe even a week! Having even one day off each week was a fantasy. I just hadn’t been able to afford to do it because there were too many bills and visits from Murphy eating up all I earned.
Much as I love my work (and I do love it), around the 160th day in a row that I worked, I found myself not wanting to sit at the computer and edit. I may even have had a moment of tears over it. I pray that the clients whose books I was working on at that time believe me when I say that my stressed-out state that day was no reflection on their work. The first available day on the calendar, I scheduled as my day off. It was after what was to be day #180 worked in a row.
Outsourcing part of the tasks
So, with all those factors added together, it was time to bring on some help: independent contractors. I had already asked a few people to help with specific projects, but they were all a one-off thing. This was different. This was to be as ongoing as the work stream and cash flow would allow. With my day off right around the corner, I spoke with several people, to be sure they were on board with the idea. An official team was born.
One transcriber is a disabled stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of kids who have some special needs. She helps to transcribe audio that authors record on their iPhones or digital recorders (an easy way to write books).
Another transcriber is a stay-at-home mom who has degenerative disc disease.
Another transcriber has multiple chronic illnesses, yet still works all she can.
The pre-proofing team consists of two people. They both have chronic illnesses and are stay-at-home moms. One homeschools now; the other did for years. They will help to clean up the manuscripts so it will take me less time to edit the manuscripts when they get to me.
HarshmanServices’ purple cow
The common thread among all of the team members is this: We are all hardworking female Christians with disabilities. Most are also homeschoolers, though that’s certainly not a requirement for being an independent contractor for HarshmanServices. I don’t know that I’d say there is any specific requirement, other than being a skilled and excellent worker.
But it is remarkable that every one of us is a determined female Christian who has disabilities and needs to work at home. That group is who I want to provide work for, and indie authors and solopreneurs are the clientele I want us to serve.
If you’d like to see this team of hardworking disabled people succeed by offering an excellent service, please share this post. You never know who might need the help.