Freelance advice

7 Ways For Freelancers to Weather the Covid19 Storm

Seven Ways for Freelancers to Weather the COVID-19 Storm 

The freelance and self-employed community is well equipped to survive working from home for prolonged periods, but the business closures and lockdown situation due to COVID-19 has already had a devastating effect on many sectors. 

So, in this shaky and uncertain climate, and in this unprecedented global situation, what can freelancers do to weather the storm and prevail?

Here are seven ideas that may help...

  • Think about alternative options for work 

Firstly, if you have lost clients or feel like this could be a possibility, it’s important that you find more work - and fast! There are still opportunities out there and freelancers are pulling together online to pass work to each other. 

Facebook has some brilliant groups for different sectors and skill sets - Freelance PR Jobs for PR’s for example, or No 1 Freelance Media Women for writers, and there are larger all-encompassing groups like Freelance Heroes. There are also platforms for freelance work, such as The PR Cavalry and People Per Hour and lots of regional business and networking groups to tap into. 

Check in with old clients and contacts, you never know who might need a hand as things change on a daily basis, and check Twitter and LinkedIn for leads by searching for freelance jobs hashtags and using specific jobs terms in the search option. 

Lastly, try calling recruitment agencies who are looking for emergency freelance support across a variety of sectors.

Whilst we know that many businesses have taken a hit, others have pivoted their offer to create products to help during the crisis. Some sectors are even seeing huge sales uplifts,  especially those in wellbeing and fitness, home furnishings, tech, some food and drink and home entertainment. So, don’t lose heart completely, have a think about the businesses who might actually be busier as a result of the crisis and in need of support. 

  • Look for different ways to support your existing clients

Some businesses may have to reduce output, but will need to carry on and try to weather the storm the best they can if they are to come out the other side. 

Many companies will have had to furlough staff, or have shortages due to illness, so there will be opportunities to offer up your services to help out where you can and plug the gaps with flexible support. This might mean using your transferable skills to do something you don’t usually do, the key is to be flexible and be willing to roll your sleeves up. 

  • Work out a survival budget

Whilst it’s always great advice to have some money saved up to cope with any sudden loss of business, it’s not always the reality for many of the nation’s freelancers. 

Regardless of your savings situation, do a quick inventory of the money that you do have, and think about what bills and payments are necessary, which can be postponed, and which things are easily cancelled for now. Have a look through your direct debits and standing orders and cancel any unnecessary subscriptions or things you don’t use. Councils are starting to offer council tax breaks for those who have lost work because of the crisis, so speak to them early and find out what help you can get. 

Call your creditors and arrange payment breaks, most are now offering some sort of help, whether that’s a payment holiday, reduced or interest-only payments. You can also speak to your landlord or mortgage firm to ask if a payment holiday is possible. Again, do this as soon as possible so you know what your options are, don’t wait until you just can’t pay. By applying for a mortgage holiday properly, it shouldn't impact on your credit rating, but if you just cancel the direct debit or don't make the payment, it will.  

  • Find out what you’re entitled to

The government has now announced a self-employed rescue package that has left many freelancers, and those with Limited Companies, in the lurch and quite confused about what they’re entitled to. 

At the time of writing, petitions have already been set-up to lobby the Chancellor to offer more support for the self-employed and those running their freelance businesses as Limited Companies. On the flip side, some self-employed freelancers will be able to access up to £2,500 per month. 

Financial support options currently include the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan which will be delivered by the British Business Bank, however some applicants are reporting that you must have a turnover of over £100k ,which won’t be the case for most freelancers.  

For the self-employed not eligible for statutory sick pay, Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by Coronavirus or self-isolating in-line with official advice. This will be payable from day one of sickness, rather than day eight which is usually the case.  

To summarise the help that freelancers can claim:

For sole traders - Income support, Universal Credit, Self-assessment/tax deferral scheme and a taxable grant of up to £2,500 per month depending on profits (available from June) and possibly the Business Interruption Loan. 

For Directors of Limited Companies - It has now been confirmed that you can furlough yourself and claim 80% of your PAYE salary but NOT dividends. Directors will also be able to defer tax and VAT and those in premises already receiving small business rates relief will be eligible for a grant of up to £25,000. The Business Interruption Loan may be an option depending on your turnover and Universal Credit for those who don’t pay themselves a PAYE salary. 

You can read more about the ever-changing government support for small businesses here

  • Help each other 

As a freelancer, you’ll be well versed in working from home and coping with isolation, self-motivation, time-management and looking after your wellbeing, but remember to reach out to friends, family, and colleagues who might have had a harder time adjusting. Helping our fellow humans is essential in times like this, and it will help you to feel empowered and in control, too….

There are Facebook groups popping up for local Covid-19 Mutual Aid, so if you are able to help, consider seeing how you may be able to provide assistance for vulnerable neighbours or elderly members of the community.

Freelancers can stay connected to each other and chat about issues affecting them by joining Facebook groups, which all help to bolster the feeling of community amongst the self employed. The Freelance Kit has a free closed group which allows members to ask questions and share advice in a private environment. You can access the group here

  • Stay connected but look after your mental health 

It goes without saying, but staying in touch with friends and family is more important than ever right now. Human contact, even via video call, is crucial to maintain sanity and ensure we all stay connected as much as possible. 

However, as much as it’s important to stay in touch, make sure that you also take the time to have phone and device breaks, switch off, leave the social media feeds alone before bed and get enough sleep. There is so much information out there right now and it can become confusing and overwhelming and impact our anxiety levels. Having a digital detox period every day is really beneficial for your wellbeing and mental health. 

If you feel stressed out, don’t bottle it up - speak to your friends and family and vent/ask for advice in freelance community groups. 

  • Use the time to rest, plan and think! 

Whilst the situation is scary and uncertain financially, try not to panic and go into frantic survival mode. We’re going through a life changing experience which will undoubtedly leave us in a very different world when the crisis has passed, so it’s important to think strategically about what’s next for you. What is your business vision, what is it that you really want to achieve? 

Also, it’s OK to rest! Most self-employed people are always on the go, always on to the next thing, but treat the time as a gift and a chance to rest and recuperate. Look after your health as a priority, catch up on sleep and switch off from the news and social media as often as possible. 

Stay safe and well. 

Nikki Kitchen, Founder of The Freelance Kit

You can find our top 45 tools and tips for working from home and managing your freelance business in a handy FREE downloadable guide HERE. We also have a FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community, join HERE

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

SHOP


digital nomad

10 tips for becoming a digital nomad

Let’s face it, owning a house is out of reach for many millennial nowadays, so the thought of working remotely from a Balinese beach and earning money at the same time is pretty appealing, so more and more people are making the leap and becoming a digital nomad. Recent figures suggest that around four million Brits work from home, so taking the next step and working from an AirBnB in Barcelona isn’t necessarily a huge stretch.

Fully connected virtual offices and huge leaps in remote technology means that anyone can work from anywhere nowadays, but before you take the leap and book that round-the world ticket, starting with the yoga retreat with super fast WiFi in Koh Phagnam, there are a few things to consider...

Whether you want to put your stuff in storage, sell your car and embark on a fully fledged digital nomadic lifestyle, or you just fancy taking a few working holidays to get away from the grey winter skies, here are our top ten tips for taking the leap to becoming a fully fledged digital nomad in 2018.

1. Go fully digital - if you haven’t already, you’ll need to take your business fully online and get rid of any paper products or filing systems you may have in your home office or setup. Make sure you have Cloud storage, get yourself a decent VPN (Virtual Private Network) and research solutions that can help you ditch any tangible stuff that may hold you back. Apps such as Basecamp for to-do lists, planning and keeping clients up to date, Dropbox for file storage and Toggl for time management are all worth looking into.

2. Engage your clients - It goes without saying that you’ll need to have your clients onboard if you decide to leave the country for a few weeks, months or even permanently! The digital nomadic lifestyle is still considered to be pretty extreme by more traditional business people, so you may have to convince them that Skype updates and Basecamp will be just as efficient as face-to-face meetings once a month, printable agendas and paper reports.

3. Invest in your equipment - If you are travelling and working, you are only as good as your kit will allow you to be, so it is well worth investing some money into some seriously hardy equipment.

Every freelancer’s needs are different, but chances are you’ll need a decent unlocked mobile phone that will work in any country and on any network, with a variety of SIM cards if necessary. You’ll also need a great laptop with a decent length of time between charges, a Skype headset to interact with clients, customers and team members, a tablet, extra chargers and plug adapters for every country on your dream list. If you plan to work on the beach (which isn’t always as idyllic as it sounds!) then look into waterproof/sandproof covers and cases for all of your tech.

4. Plan plan plan - It sounds romantic and pretty exciting to jet off into the sunset armed with only a dream and a copy of Eat, Pray, Love, but it’s probably better to do some serious planning if you want to maintain a professional service on the move.

Join Facebook groups and read books and articles to get a good feel for your new lifestyle, and make sure you research you accommodation well to make sure it is well connected and has fast, reliable WiFi. Buy travel insurance that will cover all your equipment in case anything happens, and make sure that you have your work life planned out so you can meet deadlines easily and join in with any pre-arranged conference calls and virtual meetings. Don’t forget to take the time difference info account for each country you plan to visit!

5. It’s all about the money... It may be boring, but it’s worth investing a little time to understand the financial side of your new lifestyle. Being a digital nomad may allow you to be location-independent, but you will still have to pay your taxes and manage your money like everyone else.

If you plan to remain to be a UK resident, you’ll have to pay your taxes via self-assessment as always, but if you plan to spend more time out of the country then you’ll have to do some serious research into each country’s tax laws and regulations. Chances are you won’t have to pay double taxes (as the UK has a double taxation treaty with many countries) but some places do insist that you pay tax on anything you earn while living there. Each case is different, but don’t forget to do your homework - or check with your accountant!

It also goes without saying that you’ll have to do all of your banking online, so make sure you’re all set up and inform your bank of your travel plans before you embark on your journey.

There are many solutions for carrying and spending your money on the go, but investing in a travel money card that acts as a MasterCard while abroad is a simple yet safe solution. Many such cards let you lock them by SMS and move funds back into your bank account should it be stolen or misplaced.

6. Research co-working spaces

Co-working spaces for digital nomads are cropping up all over the world, and if you want to make friends, join a community or just talk to other humans while you’re typing away, these spaces are for you.

One useful tip is to download the “Work Hard Anywhere” app, which uses your location to find the nearest co-working spaces, libraries and coffee shops with good WiFi where you can crack on.

Well established co-working spaces you may want check out include MANA in Chang Mai, which offers waiter service, free fast WiFi and even free coffee if you pay the day rate, and HUBUD in Bali, an amazing community in the capital that offers co-working, co-learning, advice on where to live and loads of events to get stuck into.

7. Stay productive.

Remember, this is not a holiday. I repeat, THIS IS NOT A HOLIDAY! Make sure you plan you life and give yourself targets so you can get stuff done event day, and stay productive. You may want to leave your evenings free to explore, or you might want to take a nap at the hottest time of the day. Heck, you might even want to incorporate ski lessons. Just make sure you plan well, stick to your goals, remember the time differences and - if you struggle with motivation - get up, get dressed and walk to a co-work space for some buzzy inspiration from your new nomadic buddies! You get to design your life, just remember to stay motivated.

8. Keep learning

Just because you’ve chosen a more unconventional lifestyle doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels and stop learning. Pay for online courses, keep reading, stay abreast of the media if needs be and don’t stop yearning to know more. It’s easy now to read articles on the go, and if you’re in the media industry, apps like Readly will allow you to read all your favourite glossy mags as you sunbathe or enjoy your G&T on the balcony.

9. Travel slowly

Moving from place to place can be fun, but it’s also time consuming and exhausting, so forget about trying to cram things in and travel slowly. Digital nomadism allows you to take your time and get to know a place, and if you need to meet deadlines or establish leads or sales, give yourself a break and take your time.

Slower travel also allows you to negotiate better rates for accommodation, make lasting friendships and business connections and really get to know a place, inside out.

10. Party smart

Hand in hand with slow travel is partying smart! It can be tempting to throw yourself into the party lifestyle and cram in a few full moon parties, but true digital nomads understand the repercussions of a party lifestyle and keep the all-nighters to a minimum.

Take your business seriously and put your best foot forward. Have fun, make friends and attend the odd party, just aim to get the balance right and do it smartly.

You can find our top 45 tools and tips for working from home and managing your freelance business in a handy FREE downloadable guide HERE. We also have a FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community, join HERE

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

SHOP

 

 


Freelance

Welcome to the self-employed club, you're in for an exciting ride!

So here we all are – freelancers, business owners, solopreneurs - welcome to the freelance self-employed club!  Frankly I’m a firm believer in networks as a tremendous source of support.  No-one tells you all the challenges you’ll have to face – the frustrations, the constant learning, the second-guessing ….

For example do you remember when you were younger and parenthood looked seamless?  Not just seamless but it was as if new parents had their Mary Poppins gene kicked in and this spell had bewitched the child into utter perfection.  They fed, slept and even pooped on time, in fact with precision you could set your watch to.  Their little gurgles and smiles would make everyone’s hearts melt, strangers would even cross the street in adoration…… yep you may have thought to yourself, piece of cake!

Then as you got older, perhaps you or your friends had babies and all of a sudden the reality isn’t quite as picture perfect.  Constantly sleep deprived, feeling like an extra from the Walking Dead only able to grunt and point….and that’s after sleep!  Any fashion choice is constantly in risk of receiving a splattering of baby vomit, casually thrown dinner and if you’re really lucky a gifted explosive nappy (of course followed by a smile as if they knew what they were doing).  As intelligent human beings, the frustration of not being able to stop the constant screaming or crying can drive you to pretty much to the brink of insanity.

And yet, for that one smile amidst the madness and mayhem, you wouldn’t consider trading it for the world!  You’ve joined the club where others have dared to tread and at least they can help guide you through the process…..or at least have the decency to bring wine and tell us how they make it look so easy!

Some of us will have just started our businesses, whereas others may have been running their companies for years.  Either way, similar to the parenting club, the business owner/entrepreneurial/freelancer club can be a very different reality to what we may envisaged in our heads when we first started and no-one, no-one, is born ready to deal with every given situation – it is a constant learning experience.

We’re living in an exciting time where technology, lifestyle and opportunity mean more of us are working for ourselves.  We’re finally doing what we love, almost to the point of obsession, and hopefully working on a passion that makes us happy.  In Richard St John’s Ted Talk – 8 Secrets To Success – we’ve stopped being work-a-holics for other people, but instead become work-a-frolics for ourselves and creating a life and a lifestyle we had only previously dreamed.

Yet on the other side of that coin, not everyone will share your journey with you.  Your friends, family, colleagues even your partner will be pleased for you but despite their best intentions, running a business is not something that everyone can fully comprehend. There is plenty of confusion, juggling, worry and stress – days, weeks, months where you feel like you’ve experienced ten rounds in the boxing ring and just as things are running smoothly again having to deal with an unexpected gift akin to an explosive nappy situation.

Truth be told it can be pretty isolating, so my advice for anyone working for themselves?  Find your support network of like-minded people who lift, inspire and can advise – your tribe!  I always feel enlightened by the positivity, excitement and energy of someone else doing their own thing.  It acts as a constant reminder of why you decided to do this yourself too.  As you grow and develop as a person through this exciting challenge, it’s a connection with those who also dared to jump and create the life they want.

Finally you’re able to talk to those who understand your situation, your challenges, your fears, your doubts.  They can even offer a new perspective or advice, share resources and tips or refer you to someone you need to contact.  They’re there to remind you of what you’ve achieved so far when you feel like you’re not progressing, and when you feel the strain of constantly taking one step forward/two steps back they remind you to kick off your heels and relish the dance!

It is a boost, a tonic, sometimes a much needed kick up the backside!

So welcome to this freelance and self-employed network where you can build your tribe with brilliant people who are also committed in succeeding and driving their businesses forward as you are.  The reality is we don’t know or have the answers to everything.  This thrilling journey of running your business is unique to you and wouldn’t think of trading it in.  Even during your times of mayhem and especially times to celebrate - remember you always have your tribe …..and wine!!

You can find our top 45 tools and tips for working from home and managing your freelance business in a handy FREE downloadable guide HERE. We also have a FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community, join HERE

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

SHOP

 


freelancers

Freelancing and mental health - 8 steps to happiness

Going freelance might seem like the answer to all of your prayers. More control, a flexible lifestyle, time off whenever you feel like it, more time to spend with friends or family and no boss to answer to. Sadly, freelancing isn’t always as straightforward as that, and working for yourself can throw up some different stresses and life hurdles to deal which with may impact on your mental health and wellbeing

In a recent Guardian article (1) that examined the very same topic, Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at MBS Manchester University said:  “Isolation, financial pressures, irregular hours and an inability to switch off can have a real impact when not managed properly. For self-employed people, it’s a real problem. It can lead to the common mental health disorders - stress, depression and anxiety.”

So how then do freelancers manage the balance between work and life, and learn to embrace the unpredictability that self-employment brings? After all, our time is valuable and taking time away from work to deal with mental health issues and our own wellbeing can seem like a bigger stress in itself.

Here are eight practical tips to help...

  1. Stay in control - remember your WHY

Like many freelancers, you probably took the leap into self-employment because of a desire to design your own life and be in charge. Working for yourself can be life affirming, empowering and inspiring, and if these qualities seem like they’re slipping away, it can be useful to take a step back and remember WHY you decided to go freelance.

Write down the reasons you decided to go it alone, and make the decision to take control back. Perhaps you need to learn to say no, set clear boundaries with clients about working hours, stop doing pro bono work for a while or make sure your diary and to-do list is up to date and clear.

It IS possible to design your own life, and if your reasons for going freelance included being around to pick the kids up from school, being able to take Fridays off, or attending a regular exercise class, take back your entitlement and do it. It’s so easy to let things slip away from you (we ALL do it) and end up lurching from procrastination to being up at midnight trying to make a deadline. Take back control.

  1. Cover yourself

Having insurance for things like illness, professional indemnity, cyber security and public liability makes sense. Don’t cut corners or put things off, get these things sorted so your sense of security can take a step up. Insurance isn’t an unnecessary expense, it’s just sensible - and things like this will add to your overall wellbeing.

Additionally, using a simple contract with regular clients can help you to feel more in control and professional, and can help both parties if you decide to part ways or move on.

There are new platforms to help freelancers popping up every week, and one of our favourites is new platform Penny Freedom which takes the stress out of getting paid. You get paid within 24 hours and Penny chases the client. Dream!

  1. Focus your stress

It’s nice to think that a zen lifestyle awaits us all if we could just leave our stress behind us, but realistically that isn’t life for anyone who isn’t a Tibetan monk, and everyone feels stressed from time to time.

Stress is a natural reaction, and “framing” your stress and using the additional adrenaline to propel you into networking or taking a brave leap into a new area might be just what you need.

Appreciated, that isn’t easy, but thinking of your day to day stress as a (potentially) positive thing could help you to feel more empowered and driven.

If stress becomes too overwhelming though, then focus on your own self-care, work can wait.

  1. Practice self-care

This one is so important. Without proper self-care, we simply cannot function day to day, week to week, month to month. Something’s got to give and it's usually our mental health.

Like the old adage of making sure your oxygen mask is attached before you help anyone else in the event of an airborne emergency, you need to look after your own wellbeing or you’ll be no use to anyone else. We all know what to do - get more sleep, deactivate your Facebook account for a while, drink more water, drink less wine, get up and dressed in the morning and get some regular fresh air and exercise.  Simple? Maybe...

One positive step that is surprisingly common with freelancers is dog walking! Whether it’s buying your own canine buddy or signing up to a dog walking scheme such as BorrowMyDoggy, the responsibility of taking Rover for a walk once a day will give you a kick up the bum, provide a solid reason to get out of the house and take a well-deserved screen break, and get some fresh oxygen into your lungs.

By taking care of yourself and putting yourself first, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how a few little changes can have a positive affect on your life - including your concentration levels, motivation and overall health and happiness.

  1. Be sociable

Isolation can truly be one of the most soul destroying things for a freelancer, especially if you come from a buzzy office environment where the social aspect was taken for granted and after work drinks were a regular occurrence.

Joining a co-working space or even taking your work to a park bench or coffee shop can shake things up and allow you to feel like you’re part of the world once again.  Human contact is important, and sometimes, having someone to natter to once or twice a week and bounce a few ideas off can make the difference between feeling isolated and lonely and feeling like you’re winning at life.  Go for it! You might even make a new friend.

  1. Know when to switch off

This one can take time to nail as a freelancer, as work and life can blur so easily. And even though that can be a nice thing occasionally due to things like digital nomadism, realistically everyone needs to take time completely away from work in order to function properly.

It may take a while to get your finances to a point where you can take a week off here and there, but it’s worth taking these things seriously. Use a flexible savings app, and when you have enough money to cover a week’s work, plan in a holiday, even if it’s just to bum around the garden or go and visit your mum.

Additionally, have a cut off point where you put the devices down and step away from your emails every night. Use an out of office with a phone number listed for urgent things if it makes you feel better, but having a clear distinction between work and life can help massively if you are feeling overwhelmed.

  1. Delegate

Delegation isn't a new concept, but outsourcing aspects of your life makes massive amounts of sense if things are feeling too much.

Examine your pain points, and make a plan to delegate the tasks. Hate admin? Hire a virtual PA. Getting a bit bogged down by your finances? Take on an accountant or book-keeper. Sick of feeling like your house is a tip? Get a cleaner. Yes, these things cost money but your time will be freed up to focus on yourself, look after your wellbeing and focus on areas of your work and home life that makes you money or drives your business forward. Makes sense? You bet it does.

  1. Get help

Above all else, if you are struggling with your mental health, please - get help. Remember, you are NOT alone, and we are lucky to live in a society where mental health and wellbeing are (finally) being taken seriously.

MIND offers a free counselling service in many areas of the UK, and freephone numbers if you’re not sure where to turn. With therapy, CBT and other services on offer by the NHS too, help is there if you need it.

Please do not suffer in silence, talk to friends, ask advice in social media groups, reach out to a caring stranger privately on social media - so many people are willing to give advice and lend an ear, remember you are amazing and there is always support.

 

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/dec/08/i-felt-vulnerable-freelancers-on-the-stress-of-self-employment

 

You can find our top 45 tools and tips for working from home and managing your freelance business in a handy FREE downloadable guide HERE. We also have a FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community, join HERE

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

SHOP

 

 


top 10 freelance hangouts

The Top 10 Best Freelance Co-Working Spaces in the UK

Working every day from the same desk in the same office is a thing of the past for many. Nowadays, freelance, home workers and start-up businesses operate from coffee shops, museum cafes and a swathe of newly opened collaborative co-working spaces that have cropped up in disused mills and cool old buildings throughout the country.

We checkout the best co-working spaces across the UK. Pull up your MacBook and green matcha....

Ziferblat, Manchester City Centre

Manchester city centre’s Edge Street branch is the jewel in the crown of this quirky chain, and the largest of all its locations worldwide. Nestling in the vibrant Northern Quarter, this kooky coffee shop is designed to be an extension of your living room. And the most amazing thing?  You don’t pay for any of the food or drink, you simply pay for time spent. So for 8p a minute, Manchester’s growing freelance community can take advantage of free WiFi, meeting rooms, great coffee, cakes, soup, houmous - there are even board games and a piano if you fancy a little time away from the screen…

23 Edge Street, Manchester http://www.ziferblat.co.uk/edgestmanchester.html

 PLATF9RM, Brighton & Hove

PLATF9RM is split across two locations at Tower Point in Brighton’s North Laines, and the newly opened Hove Town Hall. This burgeoning creative community hosts both multi-national businesses and freelancers who thrive on collaboration. Brighton train station has eight platforms, so this growing collective is duly named as an extension of the city’s thriving business talent portfolio, many of whom used to commute to London every day.

Tower Point, 44 North Road, Brighton & Hove Town Hall, Tilsbury Road, Hove https://www.platf9rm.com

The Harpenden Collective, Harpenden

Located within the historic and beautiful Harpenden Hall, this professional yet chilled co-working space has it all. The Harpenden Collective can host 16 members at any one time, who pay just £14 a day for a desk. There are meeting rooms and desks for conversations, free cold refreshments and access to printing, copying and - of course - WiFi.

Harpenden Hall, Southdown Road, Harpenden http://www.theharpendencollective.co.uk

SoulShine Cafe, Bridport, Dorset

This gorgeous little cafe in sunny Bridport is a real gem. Built up with a passion for great food in a community setting, SoulShine sells amazing juices and smoothies, speciality coffees and fresh, tasty local ingredients. Freelancers, families, kids and business people are all welcomed with open arms, so the atmosphere is always friendly and kind. It’s a lovely little place to hang out and write, dream up ideas or plan your own empire.

76 South Street, Bridport http://soulshinecafe.co.uk

Pico Lounge, Glossop, Derbyshire

Glossop, a small market town in the High Peak, is located a stone’s throw away from Manchester but is surrounded by rolling hills and purple-heathered moors. Playing house to many of the town’s freelancers and home workers is Pico Lounge, a large, trendy and buzzy cafe bar, situated in the new Howard Town Mill development.  It’s lunch menu includes vegan and gluten free options and a brunch selection to die for. With decent WiFi, good coffee and a quirky interior that looks like your nan’s living room, Pico Lounge is a great place to work as you watch the world go by.

Howard Town Shopping Park, Victoria Street, Glossop https://thelounges.co.uk/pico/

Cambridge Business Lounge, Cambridge 

If you prefer a more professional atmosphere, this fantastic co-working space allows freelancers to work in a real office environment, where they can happily collaborate and communicate with other businesses. The Business Lounge also features serviced offices and meeting rooms, and - for a small daily fee - users are guaranteed to receive top notch WiFi and unlimited free Nespresso Coffee. The co-working space also puts on social events such as Beer Friday, so if you work from home a lot and miss the buzz of the office and after-work pre-weekend drinks, this place is definitely for you!

52 Burleigh Street, Cambridge http://www.cambridgebusinesslounge.com

The Elephant House, Edinburgh

A little bit legendary amongst creative and literary types, the Elephant House prides itself on being one of JK Rowling’s favourite hang outs when she was writing Harry Potter. Other writers that have found solace in its welcoming walls are Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin. The Elephant House serves up fresh, locally roasted coffee using Arabica beans, and a cracking plate of nachos, so if you want to soak up two decades of creative juices and give yours a nudge, this fabulous little place is the place to be.

21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. http://www.elephanthouse.biz

Bakesmiths, Bristol

Much loved by locals, Bakesmiths is a coffee shop, bakery, cakery (definitely a word, definitely), innovation and demo centre and has meeting rooms, test kitchens and even a photo studio for hire.  Knocking out an impressive brunch menu (the Eggs Florentine is to die for!) and the fanciest Flat White in town, Bakesmiths is a fabulous place to knuckle down and do some work and the freelance hang our du jour in Bristol.

65 Whiteladies Road, Bristol https://bakesmiths.co.uk/home/

Co-Up, Slaithwaite, Yorkshire

Co Up is one of the new wave of co-working spaces, designed to offer flexible and professional work environments for start ups and freelancers. Nestled in the South Pennines, Co Up in beautiful Slaithwaite (pronounced Slah-wit, trust us on this!) features hot desks, co-working spaces, permanent desks, pop up spaces and studios, either with a rolling monthly rate or a day pass. As usual, good coffee and great WiFi awaits the creative community of West Yorkshire.

Britannia Mill, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield http://www.co-up.co

Forge & Co, Shoreditch, London

Offering social working solutions for the creative community of east London, Forge & Co on Shoreditch High Street features two workspace floors brimming with desks for freelancers or small teams, meeting rooms, studios and and all-day dining experience at the Modern Grill. This achingly cool space allows freelancers to interact with others in a great environment for a few days or months - whatever suits.

154-158 Shoreditch High Street, E1 http://forgeandco.co.uk

 

You can find our top 45 tools and tips for working from home and managing your freelance business in a handy FREE downloadable guide HERE. We also have a FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community, joinHERE

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

SHOP

 

 


Number 1 tip for running your own business-Be kind to yourself!

The Top Tip For Running Your Own Business - Be Kind To Yourself!

Being a freelancer or solopreneur means we put our heads down and have to work hard, very hard for what we want.  However, as fun and rewarding as it can be, we often forget to come up for air.  We’re so focussed in what we’re doing that we forget that a healthy life needs more than just work.

Hustle yes, but with balance!

I love the word ‘Hustle’.  I revel in that accomplished feeling of getting things done.  No really, I’m that geek that likes to physically tick off her to-do-list (it gives me such perverse pleasure that sometimes I will add things on my list that I didn’t account for just so I can tick it off!)  However at the moment it seems ‘hustle’ is being overused and celebrated for working yourself into the ground.  It has become somewhat of a bragging right.

Yes - absolutely you need to take consistent action and pull out all the stops if you want success, however running your own business can take its toll if we don’t look after ourselves, and if we don’t look after ourselves how are we expected to win the end game?

Just before the summer I was suffering from complete overwhelm.  I had just come up with a new idea for my business and after all the initial excitement, all of a sudden it completely struck me how much I had to do which would challenge me and push me past my comfort zone.  So much so, I hit a complete block.  I knew what to do, I had planned and allocated time in my day for tasks but I would just sit down and stare at a blank screen.

The more I wanted to get things done, the more I would struggle.  My brain had ‘too many tabs open’ and was constantly whirring, I couldn’t stop thinking about the 1001 things I should be getting done but wasn’t.  I had trouble sleeping, I couldn’t focus and I was feeling the physical effects of stress.

However I know that I’m not the only one who hits this block.  So rather than persist fruitlessly, wasting more time and creating more stress, it became clear I needed to change my course of action!  I took a decision to ‘shut down the tabs’ that weren’t benefitting me and to be kind to myself.  We often forget to do this, particularly during times of stress or urgency but without sounding woo-woo here, sometimes we need to nurture ourselves with a little self-care to get us back on track and here’s how.

  1. Procrastination isn’t as evil as we believe.

Instead of beating ourselves up when it happens, procrastination can actually be a good thing!  Ironically (whilst procrastinating of course) I was reading an article on how to boost your productively (read it here) which includes Adam Grant’s TED Talk on ‘The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers’.  He actually says that those who procrastinated before starting their tasks often came up with the most original ideas!  At least that’s how I try and convince myself when an impending deadline looms!!  However if I find that I can’t get the task done straight away, I don’t push it any more.  I know I will pull out all the stops to deliver on time and within deadline, but if a little creative break helps I take it, or I choose to watch a TED Talk which also inspires me with new ideas – then at least I’m ticking the personal development item on my to-do list.

  1. Get creative and play!

Kids teach us the best lessons sometimes - play time is an essential part of life. Sometimes we need to balance out how we’re using our brains in order to make them work more effectively.  Having to constantly think about all aspects of our business, doing another unrelated activity can be a welcomed break.  Tap into your inner child and play – take a class, join a group.  Whether you paint, draw, colour or bake simply create, shake off the usual restraints and learn to free yourself.  That time you take out can help refresh your brain by using another part of it and make you more productive.   After suffering from writers block, I managed to churn out four blog posts in one day after a creative art class!

  1. Look after yourself and your health

Diet and exercise are all very important to incorporate into your lifestyle if you want to be able to endure the physical tolls of working for yourself.  In addition, remember to treat yourself from time to time with activities that give you joy.  Take in plenty of fresh air and enjoy the outdoors.  If you’re prone to stress book in a massage or if money is tight block out time for a luxurious bath time ritual – scented bath products, candles, music, maybe a glass of wine and a book.   Last week it was our one day of summer.  I was hot and bothered travelling across the city for meetings and all I could think about was the long list of things I had to do on my return back to my desk.  I noticed I was feeling agitated and stressed which isn’t productive, so I changed my mood by picking up two cupcakes from the station, made myself a pot of tea even used a cup and saucer (oooh fancy!) and sat outside in the sunshine for 20 minutes before settling into work.  Not only did this help my Vitamin D deficiency but I was able to work more productively and longer than pushing through being worn out and worn down.

  1. Spend time with the people who make you happy.

Surround yourself with those who lift you.  Whilst it’s important to achieve your goals it shouldn’t come at the cost of neglecting loved ones.  Working 24/7 may be a necessity for some but the business will always be there, time with those precious to us goes quickly.  The wonderful benefit of working for yourself is that you can be more flexible with your time.  Meet your friends for lunch, or take your folks to the cinema.  There is a wonderful documentary on Netflix called Happy.  It found that one of the key recipes for happiness are the relationships and community around us, so it’s important to remain involved whether that be with family, friends, charity work, or community.  Find your tribe and love them hard!

  1. Embrace the digital detox

If I’m taking a time out for a coffee in between meetings, I love to people watch.  Yet have you noticed how we’re always looking down at our phones?  As if we weren’t looking at our screens long enough with work, even whilst we’re walking down the street, in the shops, with our friends we’re glued to those pesky screens.  Texts, social media, emails, this constant access just consumes us and let’s face it, it’s just plain rude at times when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone who won’t put their phone away.  So switch off your notifications, check your emails and social media at specific times, take breaks from the screen, put your phones away/on silent especially if you’re on holiday – close down those pesky tabs.  If it’s an emergency – someone will actually call you rather than tweet you and leave a message.  You miss so much when you’re not looking up, so heads up!

  1. Remember and celebrate how well you’re doing!

We all have so much to do in such little time that sometimes with this constant grind we need to be reminded how far we’ve actually come.  An accountability partner is a great way to ensure you’re moving forwards - check in, talk about your goals, what actions need to be taken, what you need to deliver and then set a date for the next check in to evaluate your progress.  This can be such a valuable exercise especially during months, where naturally in business things haven’t gone to plan.  An accountability partner can also help find the positive in the progress you are making whilst setting each other tasks or provide recommendations or advice to help get you back on track to get the job done!

After taking some of positive steps above, I was able to get back on track.  It wasn’t easy to do, it took small steps every day but helped create a big change.  My enthusiasm and drive returned, I was again productive and more things off that pesky list were being completed.  I’m finally seeing progress and I’m excited again to be working on my business.

How are you kind to yourself?

We need to remember that this exciting adventure of working for ourselves also needs us to function at our best level so let’s share what little steps we can take us there.  How do you show yourself kindness and what tips or activities can you recommend?

You can find our top 45 tools and tips for working from home and managing your freelance business in a handy FREE downloadable guide HERE. We also have a FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community, joinHERE

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

SHOP