Home Business Heroes: Julian Hall

Home businesses create £284bn of the UK's GDP. This makes them the true heroes of our economy and they deserve to be celebrated. So to continue Smarta and Viking's search of these brave entrepreneurs, we tracked down Julian Hall, the founder of Textual Healing.

Name: Julian Hall

Business: www.textualhealing.co.uk

What is your business?

In a word, copywriting, but also editorial, advertorial, copyediting, branding and PR, blogging and more - to quote the website!

What were you doing before?

I have been a little bit of a career journeyman, but copy has been key to my every incarnation. I started my working life as a political researcher, then went on to become a diarist, a theatre PR and a freelance journalist, specialising in live comedy. I wrote The Rough Guide to British Cult Comedy and still review for The Independent.

How did the idea come about?

I wanted to do more client-led copy because the editorial side of things was proving erratic. I found that by doing this it was easier to branch out and start reconnecting with areas I had dealt with when I was in politics.

I don't mean this in a partisan way, of course, but with business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) commissions there has been a chance to get to grips with absorbing environmental, social and economic issues. Some people have messages worth hearing, a good cause, scheme, idea or product, and I want to be helping people hone those messages.

How did you fund it?

So far, all I have had to fund is the creation of a better "one-stop-shop" website, and that very quickly paid for itself.

How did you market it?

By and large, it is done by word of mouth and through online campaigns. We have some rather natty business cards too.

How did you build a list of clients?

See above really. I always go back to people I have dealt with before to let them know how we have expanded on our experience base.

Where's your office?

In what my partner now describes as my "man cave". It is still my own room, essentially, but the bed has "morphed" into a desk. The walls are decorated with comedy tickets, as a reminder of the days when I used to leave the house. Oh, and a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) lamp to fill the hole where the sun is supposed to go.

Do you have set working hours?

Not really.

I am a much earlier bird than I used to be, but, if you can afford to, it's good to be flexible and strike at the right moment. It depends on the discipline. I wrote a catalogue recently and that meant going at it square on to meet the deadline, but also the task suited that kind of bullish, "we never close", approach.

I had a bit more time on a job for a hotel chain recently, and the breathing space allowed me to think up some neat headlines and taglines. The rest of the copy flowed from that, and so the project really benefited from taking time out.

How do you make sure you're focused and never get distracted at home?

People often say they couldn't work from home because of the distractions, but you get used to this way of working very quickly. On the rare occasion I work in-house, I find the office environment way more distracting. I'll decide when I want another cup of tea, if you know what I mean?

What was it like at the start?

Pretty much as it is now. The main difference is that I have invested time and money in my surroundings. It would be crazy not to, since I spend so much time here. Besides, I love my house and my immediate area and that is all part of the work/life balance and mindset.

What's the worst thing about working from home?

On a grey day it is hard to leave the house. A walk is vital though; a lesson I keep reminding myself of.

What's the best?

Everything else. You can change rooms if you need to (that's proper hot desking) you can spread papers across the floor, let your cats have a go at a pitch. That kind of thing.

Would you ever go back to working in an office that is not at home? 

How much are you offering me?

For more information visit www.textualhealing.co.uk

Home Business Heroes, in association with

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