The naughty niggles of Freelancing

Balancing all aspects of life as a freelancer, business owner and entrepreneur is tough. Full stop. Especially when you are trying to live a three dimensional, fully rounded, heart led existence.  

Working for yourself and being your own boss is awesome, I can think of so many 'pros' the ones that come to mind first are:

  • No two days are the same
  • Doing something you love and providing value to the world
  • You get to choose what you do and who you work with
  • You can wear what you want. (If you want to wear no makeup and no bra you can (most of the time))
  • You can work smart not hard and trade value for money rather than time for money
  • You can work the hours that suit you
  • You get to prioritise according to your own personal values
  • You are the master of your destiny

and there are also some BIG cons:

  • Managing your workload is a complex beast
  • Motivation and time management can be overwhelming
  • Getting  money in the bank can be irregular and a much larger part of the job than you'd like
  • You don't get paid when you are ill, or creating content (unless it is for contract or retainer)

So how do you overcome these naughty niggles?

Here are my 5 top tips to structuring your life so you can have it ALL:

1. Marketing: Work out when and how you will market yourself and stick to it.
Having a marketing strategy doesn't need to be complex and doesn't need to be done by a professional. You know your business better than anyone else and so are best placed to talk about what you do. When you are starting out having someone else do it is a waste of money. Getting someone in to help you figure out what your message is, who your people are, where they are and what they want to hear from you might be a good thing, and you can figure this out for yourself. Get a year planner, work out when you want to launch new products or services and block them into the planner. Create deadlines for yourself.

Do you have access to them?
Can they afford your services?
What problems do they have?
What keeps them awake at night?
What solutions are they looking for?
What experience / credibility do you have?
Who is already doing what you want to do and doing it very well?
What seasonal challenges might your target Market have that could link to products / promotions / PR?
Who already has your clients? Who could you partner with?

If Internet Marketing and Social media scares the bejesus out of you, get some training. Don't set yourself up by trying to run before you can walk. Pick one or two places that your people hang out online and go hang out with them there... Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Linkedin, Google+ are all great for different markets. There is no need to have a presence everywhere. Just pick one and start there.

Set aside one day a week, or a couple of hours a day, or whatever works for you and ready your content. Put all your content in one place, have a folder or make friends with Excel, and set up a spread sheet. Get a Hootsuite account which allows you to automate when you send things out and set it up with something for each day. Experiment with when and what. Remember to ask questions and stimulate a conversation.

[Tweet "Don't just automate, respond to people and be interactive!!"]

If you are going to write a Blog or guest Blog for others, write about things that interest you. Someone else will be interested too. Remember, don't be ashamed of your story - it will inspire others!

2. Scheduling: Make lists that work for you.
Admin is a pain in the arse. It gets in the way of the job you want to be doing, but it also means that the space for you to do that job is clear, ready and set up as you need it. I talk about my 3 list system in my FREE ebook. Essentially though a TODAY list is essential. Don't give yourself too much. Do the thing that you want to do the least first. I am also a big fan of a GENERAL note book (of things that need to be done not necessarily by you.) Keep it with you at all times and jot things down as they come up, negating the need to remember everything and freeing up brain space. The last list is a DREAMS list. Or a GOALS list. In this I write the things I want to achieve personally and professionally. From time to time (and with my coach) I break these down into smaller component parts and work out what actions I can take to move myself one step closer. This will keep you motivated and maintain your development.

Remember that there are only 7 days in a week. Remember that you don't want to work all of them. Physically block out and schedule in all the things that you are going to do. Schedule in down time. Exercise time. Date time. Friend time. Family time. Meal Prep time. Whatever you need to include to make sure you are not over extending yourself and that your priorities are being looked after.

3. Be Realistic. You are not a superhero.
Likelihood is that you are a dreamer. If you have a lot of big ideas I congratulate you and welcome you to an awesome gang of people who have to chunk things down and be realistic about their own capabilities and time bending skills. Yes, you have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce, but you don't have her resources. Lets get real here. Be kind to yourself. Reward and acknowledge yourself when you get stuff done, catch yourself when you say "Yes, but I could have done more."

This works the other way too. If you aren't doing enough, and waiting for your dream life to magically appear - work out what is stopping you from being motivated. How can you make your task list more motivating?

4. Communicate: Ask for what you need and listen to your clients.

Tell your clients how you want to work with them. How to book your time. How to ask questions. Do you want to be called? Do you prefer messages or text. Is email good for you or overwhelming?

Seek first to understand and then to be understood. It's all about relationships, and people want to work with people they like. People like people who listen to them and set out the expectations clearly.

Make it easy for people to book your services or buy your products. Often it's not about selling to them, but letting them buy.

5. Ask for the money. Don't be afraid to talk about money.

Know how you want to be paid and on what terms. Get a contract from the very beginning. With everyone. Set out the terms before you begin the work. This is  chance to talk about how it will work. Is there something to be paid upfront? Are there expenses to be considered? Is a cheque ok or will you be taking cash, paypal, or bacs payments? Some of this seems really basic, but being clear on this and unafraid to discuss it upfront will in the long term work out much better for both parties.

Thats it from me this week...

As usual I welcome your thoughts and questions,