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It was 2009. I had a business in financial services: good clients, nice suits, fourteen stripy ties – and a small voice inside me saying “Let me out, I’m a writer.”

Occasionally I did. In the Spring of 2003 I’d started writing a newspaper column – a humorous look at family life from a Dad’s point of view – and in 2006 I’d self-published a book of the columns. But whatever the small voice said, writing was only a hobby. Real life was clients, financial planning and the outlook for the Chinese stock market…

And then my brother died of cancer.

Pivotal moments happen in all our lives. This was one of mine. As I delivered Mike’s eulogy I realised that writing, speaking and communicating was what I really wanted to do. I either let the small voice out – or I forgot about it for good.

Six months later I’d sold the business, sent my stripy ties to the charity shop and started writing.

Five years on, the business of SimpleWords breaks down into four:

Providing clients with regular content for blogs and social media

Copywriting – which mostly means writing copy for websites, web applications and landing pages

Speaking and Speechwriting – I speak about how to create and deliver consistently good content, and how businesses can tell their story in a way that clients want to hear. And I’m writing an increasing number of speeches for my clients.

Training and Coaching – I work with clients to develop and deliver a social media strategy. I run courses on blogging and social media – and work with a small number of bloggers on a 1:1 basis

All of these are dealt with in more detail on the relevant pages. If you’d like to read a more in-depth account of my journey from stripy ties to keyboard, it’s on the About page of my personal blog – the original newspaper column about family life, still going strong after 12 years and now an award-winning blog.