It’s been almost three months since I started working for myself as a freelance writer. I can’t believe I’m actually writing that sentence, because the idea that anybody would ever pay me to write for them had been a dream I never thought I would make come true.
Working every day for myself and doing something I love is amazing, but it can also be unsettling. It struck me recently that the last time I felt this sense of genuine upheaval was when I was going through a divorce. There’s that same reckless sense of having just thrown everything I had up into the air, with no real idea how it would all land. The same stomach-churning sense of relishing my new-found freedom, mixed right in with the fear of whether I could actually handle it.
To find out, I decided I would have to simply plough on forwards, give my absolute best to every opportunity that came my way and…well, just see what happened.
My business is growing every day, and as I approach the end of my first quarter-year, here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way!
1. Scream into the face of things that scare you…
Over the past three months I’ve not only ‘networked effectively’ (translation: actually talked to and worked with strangers masquerading as businesspeople and realised they’re as human and flaw-ful as I am) but I’ve also recorded two Facebook Live videos. I’m a natural introvert, so both of these activities brought me out into a cold sweat just thinking about them, but I knew that if I wanted to progress, I’d have to take a deep breath and simply get on with it.
(I’ve started to notice that every little thing I do that’s different and scary makes me feel stronger, braver and more confident. It’s a fair exchange!)
2.…but not every day
As I got started, one of the most important pieces of advice I received, though I didn’t know it at the time, was to take at least one full day each week and not do anything work-related. At all. Yes, I felt guilty at first, but thankful when I began my next day at work feeling energised and raring to go from the break.
3. Give yourself some structure
One of the things I took for granted in a traditional office was the automatic structure it provided. I may work from home these days, but I still have a set routine during the week that stops every day from blending into one amorphous, terrifying mass.
There’s a lot to manage when you’re out on your own, so I split my business areas into different sections (finances, networking, social media, actual client work), and at the end of each day, record everything I’ve done. I also plan out each week according to the wider goals I’ve set for the month. This doesn’t take half as long as it sounds! – and it helps me focus on days when I’m feeling lost or overwhelmed.
4. Recruit some cheerleaders
It’s so very easy to feel anxious when you work for yourself. After all, I’m responsible for everything, and on some days that’s a lot harder to deal with than others. My daily spreadsheet helps me realise how well I’m doing, but so does my best friend. When I update her, she naturally hones in on all the good stuff and gets excited about it for me, helping me to separate the wood from the trees – and ultimately appreciate how far I’ve come.
I now spend my days translating thoughts and feelings into words people want to read, and I’m quite good at it even if I do say so myself! So if there’s something you’re struggling with – whether it’s your CV, some website copy, a profile or even a personal memoir, then why not contact me?
I'm a friendly and professional writer, reviewer and editor who works with warmth, humour and flexibility.
It's Universal Letter Writing Week - how will you celebrate?Read more
When you give people a piece of yourself, you will naturally engage them.Read more
November means #NaNoWriMo - so whatever you're working on, it's time to get it done!Read more
Ironically, it's when you're writing about yourself that you will sound least like you. Hiring a writer to do it for you can bring a whole host of benefits.Read more
Learn how to live happily ever after through the power of storytellingRead more
Writing books is big business - or at least it can be, if you get it right. For starters, this means not rushing the process!Read more
Do you edit your work before you publish it?Read more
Standing up and presenting to a group of people is something that strikes fear into the hearts of even the most confident people - so if you're an introvert like me, it can really be the stuff of nightmares! Here's how I tackle my nerves head-on, with some careful preparation and relatable content.Read more
Creating a schedule can be a difficult task, especially when you're planning for work you're not being paid for - or that nobody is expecting! Here's how to get started on crafting a time plan that will work for you.Read more
I'm a 'Success Story'! My career change journey was featured on Careershifters' website this week, and I'm incredibly proud of it. But I wouldn't want anybody to think changing my career has been easy. And so this is a reflection of sorts, on where I was when I began, and how I've ended up where I am now.Read more
If you know someone who already has everything, give them something truly unique - special words.Read more
Are you reading this over coffee, or maybe as you wait for a late train? Blogging for business is a handy way to keep in regular contact with your followers and show them the human side of your company, but it can be difficult to keep it going once you've started. It's worth it, though - so here are a few tips to keep your blog posts consistent and entertaining.Read more
There's a new trend sweeping Silicon Valley - giving honest and direct feedback to your colleagues. Before you go rushing in, focus your message by writing it down first...your colleagues and your career will thank you for it!Read more
All those celebrated business gurus had to start somewhere...and the most successful ones know how to tell their stories in a relatable way that inspires others to act on their dreams and ideas. By writing a business book, you can do just that yourself!Read more
Writing a recruitment ad is often a rushed activity, with the words used ones you've read many times before ("dynamic" anyone?) Here's how the Banks children managed to recruit their ideal candidate - Mary Poppins! - by using clear and creative words that stood out.Read more
If you're stuck in a job you don't particularly like, mindlessly searching job boards for something else, it can be hard to dredge up any enthusiasm to make a change. But that little bit of rest time between Christmas and a brand new year beginning is perfect for considering exactly what you want, and how to take the very first step towards making 2017 your happy work year!Read more
With a new year on the horizon, why not make a resolution to tell your life story? Committing your personal tales to paper can be a rich and rewarding experience for you to write and others to read...for generations to come. Here's how to get started.Read more
Are you often left with the feeling that you don't quite know enough about all the online tools you can use to promote your business? How about website analytics...shouldn't you be checking them every five minutes just like the experts say? Relax - here's how to take advantage of all the advice available online, by defining exactly what YOU want to know.Read more
Is time getting the better of you? With a growing business, several passion projects on the go, books to read and friends I'd quite like to see, I was starting to feel overwhelmed...until I decided to take a closer look at planning my time more effectively. Here's how you can do the same.Read more
Looking for ways to sound consistent and authentic in your written communications? Here are a few tried, tested and original ways to do just that.Read more
BOO! Like a ripe pumpkin Hallowe'en has rolled around yet again, so what better time to extol the benefits of ghostwriting, definitely not just the province of bargain-bin bound celebrities.Read more
An encounter with a corporate headhunter made me question my career - why was I still doing something I didn't love? Here's how I formulated my corporate escape plan and found a career I truly enjoy.Read more
Going it alone, releasing yourself from the shackles of a traditional nine-to-five, is exhilarating. It's also incredibly scary! To celebrate my first quarter-year in business, here are some of the most important lessons I've learned from the front line.Read more
Regular blog posts - especially if you run a business - can drastically increase your following, as well as helping you beat the competition by describing how you do things your way. Read on for a few more great reasons why you should join the blogging revolution!Read more