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

 


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

 

 

freelance work

Top six tips on how to find freelance work

If you’re an established freelancer, chances are that finding work comes quite easy to you by now.

Word of mouth and referrals are probably the best way to source new clients and find new projects, but if you’re just starting out, trying to break into a new sector or finding it a bit of an uphill struggle to keep the work rolling in, you might need a nudge in the right direction.

 

Here are six fool-proof tips for finding work as a freelancer:

1. Traditional networking

It almost goes without saying but putting yourself out there and making friends and potential contacts is a good place to start. Check out your local chamber of commerce or comb the local business pages and groups on social media, and find out which events, seminars, presentations, and networking events might be beneficial to you.

Training is great for improving your skill set and knowledge, but it’s also a good place to chat to fellow freelancers who might be able to point you in the right direction for work or refer projects your way.

Chatting to small business leaders is also a great idea. Many startups, SMEs and scale-ups might not know that they need you yet, so a well-timed chat over a coffee or glass of wine at an event can help put yourself in the picture.

2. Social Media

Professional platforms such as LinkedIn are a great place to start, but joining Facebook groups of fellow freelancers, creatives or even local business networks will help you to find relevant work.

Don’t just be a lurker though, introduce yourself, join in, answer questions, share info, ask advice, comment on posts and pool your knowledge. Work is often pitched and shared on these platforms so be bold and make sure you don’t miss out.

3. Approach companies within your target sector

If you have a particular specialism, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to a few cherry-picked companies that might be in need of your help. Do your research though, rather than adopting a scattergun approach, and send the MD or founder a thought out, personal note.

Nobody likes being sold at, but sharing information about yourself, your skills and your previous work will do wonders, especially if you have spotted a potential gap that you can fill to add value to their business. Send them your portfolio and tell them you’d be happy to chat or meet for a coffee if they ever want to discuss their needs. Simple, and not salesey.

Agencies are a great starting point as they regularly use freelancers, so pick out your top 5-10 and go from there. You can usually find contact details for the right person on LinkedIn and again, adopt a personalised approach to that agency and their clients, values, and ethos.

4. Job sites and job ads

Many companies hire freelancers now to fill temporary contracts or pick up specific projects, and lots of them use standard job sites to advertise the work.

Additionally, you might spot maternity cover or contract work on job sites that would fit in well with your other clients, or you may even be able to persuade a company to use your skills and flexibility rather than hiring a permanent member of staff. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know! 

5. Freelancing platforms

Since freelancing and flexible ways of working have increased in popularity over the past few years, platforms such as PeoplePerHour.comand freelanceuk.com offer smaller and larger projects to get stuck into.

Additionally, don’t forget to look out for industry-specific platforms. For freelance PR and comms professionals, the recently launched PR Cavalry (prcavalry.com) offers the chance to build a profile so brands and companies can view your skills and day rate, before they ask you to pitch or pull together proposals for work.

6. Showcase your skills

Work on your personal brand, and you’re guaranteed to convert the effort into work. Sometimes, your most important client is yourself. Invest in a website, make sure all your social profiles are up to date and share your successes as you go along. As a freelancer, nobody will blow your trumpet for you, so you may as well get used to blowing your own!

Another great idea for working on your personal brand is writing a blog. Not only will this help with your SEO, it will also position you as an expert in your field and give a platform to talk about your business and how it can help others. Blogging will also provide you with bespoke content to share across your social media platforms, expanding your reach within your industry and area. Long form content works particularly well for LinkedIn and by posting regularly, you will start to position yourself as an expert on your chosen area of skills or sector.

Additionally, if you’re brave enough, run your own how-to events or seminars for fellow freelancers, or put yourself forwards as a guest speaker at regular events.

Remember, fortune favours the bold, so don’t be shy - you have skills and knowledge that will be hugely beneficial to some companies or brands, so try and make sure that you’re in the picture! Good luck.

 And lastly, it goes without saying that you should use The Freelance Kit to stay on top of all your lovely new leads. ;) There are planning templates to organise client work, prospects lists, project management and specific templates for social media and content planning.

You can join our FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community here. 

And grab your FREE Ultimate Freelance Guide here,The Ultimate Freelance Guide 2020 with 45 top tools and tips from our community.

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