Take away the guilt.

Let’s take away the guilt from freelancing. I’m re-posting this image of my morning coffee on a mini break to Cornwall. You might be wondering what this has to do with guilt?

When I started my career as a freelancer I was on call 24/7, I would jump if the phone rang and I was still checking messages well into the night. All of this made me burn out. I was worried that if I didn’t appear available at all times, that I would never work again. Have you had that feeling?

So jump forward several years and I am pleased to say that I have figured out that no-one is going to black list you if you don’t reply to that email they sent at midnight, or you won’t ever work again if you take the afternoon off to sit in the park or on the beach.

Freelancing is tough. We have no medical care, no paid holiday or sick days. So we need to take the perks as well. If the sun is shining and you are up to date with your work, go on out there and enjoy it.

There is a quote that I read the other day that sums this up perfectly;

“No one wishes that they spent more time at work when they are on their death bed”.

This week’s podcast talks you through how to take the guilt away and how these mini-breaks can help your creative output.

I have a challenge for you….look at the week ahead and book yourself some time, guilt free. Let me know what you plan to do in the comments below. 

How to build an audience

How to build an audience- might be something that you have been thinking about yourself. I’m not talking about an audience in a theatre (although if that is your creative career, these tips can work for that as well), I’m talking about an audience of new customers and clients.

You might have a small audience at the moment, and are worrying about how, and what, you can do to grow it. It isn’t all about numbers…having a small audience can often be all you need. It is all about having the right audience. 

In this podcast I talk through ways to build an audience and what to do with the one that you have. I also talk through ways of engaging with them on social media and through more traditional methods, like leafleting.

Things you need to think about when you build an audience

  1. Why? You need to be clear about why you want your audience to engage with you on a certain platform, or via a leaflet.
  2. Start with the outcome you desire and work backwards. This can be a useful technique for all the work that you produce. Starting with the end helps you to build a timeline of what you need to do, and when, to achieve the result you desire.
  3. Remember the audience you already have. It can take 7 times more work to attract a new client or customer, than to keep the ones you already have. Think of ways that you can reward them. Is it by offering them special discounts or being the first through the door at your exhibition?
  4. Make yourself useful. If you post of social media, it is important to know why, when and how you are doing it. Make sure that you post things that are of interest to your audience or things that tell them more about you and your business. Make them a fan rather than just a customer.

Summing up!

  • Remember that if you try to talk to everyone, you talk to no-one. 
  • Think strategically about what you are doing and Look, Review and Reflect.

  • Remember the audience you already have.
  • Think of the outcome first and work backwards.

Your challenge for this week is to look at your own social media use. Think of the things that you like or dislike, the articles that interest you or the people that you follow. Why do you do that, and what can you learn from it for your own social media strategy?

Let me know in the comments what you want from your own audience.

How to leave a corporate job for a creative one

Sometimes we have a dream to leave a corporate job for a creative one. But how on earth can we do it? For this podcast I was lucky enough to interview Bree Noble who did exactly that. She left her corporate job as a Director of finance to pursue a career in music.

Bree talks candidly about the journey she took from University, to the corporate world, and then finally leaving to fulfil her dreams of a creative career.

Bree was able to carve out a successful career, not only as a musician, but as a podcaster, and as a supporter of other musicians through online courses, sharing the tools that worked for her.

Listen to the podcast to find out more, and you can follow these links to see more of Bree’s work:

Women of Substance Podcast

Female music academy 

Bree’s own website

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Starting a creative business at any age

Tricia Cusden proves that you can start a creative business at any age. I was so impressed with Tricia’s outlook on life and it was a real pleasure to be able to interview her for this podcast.

Tricia founded the pro-age beauty brand Look Fabulous Forever  when she was 65 years old and already retired. Tricia had become frustrated with beauty products that weren’t suitable for mature skin, so decided to take herself back to school as a make-up artist and then launch her own range of beauty products.

What I loved about Tricia was that she was repeated told that her vision wouldn’t work and that older women wouldn’t buy make-up. Rather than stop Tricia, it only encouraged her to continue.

Starting a creative business at any age can be daunting, but when you haven’t grown up with social media or computers from a young age, it can be hard to know how to connect with your audience through these methods. Tricia’s daughter helped her to upload a video to Youtube showing you how to apply make-up for mature women and it went viral.

This changed how Tricia decide to run her business. Originally she was going to follow the formula of holding selling-parties, where a host helps to sell the products to a group of friends at a small event. With the success of the online video, Tricia realised that she could connect more easily with her audience on-line.

Her business has gone from strength to strength and now turns over nearly £2 million. Not bad for someone who was told that older women wouldn’t buy make-up!

You can listen to her whole story and the advice that she gives the younger generation on starting their own business by listening to the podcast below.

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Value your creativity

Successful failing

When we are creating something new we often forget that the failures along the way are as important as the final success. Valuing your creativity in all of its forms is so important. It helps you to keep going when the process is hard and it can help you to negotiate higher fees for your work.

In this podcast I talk through ways of valuing your own creativity and how you can use this to explain to new clients and customers the creative process. This can then help you negotiate higher fees for your work. If you don’t value the creative process yourself, how is anyone else going to value you it and pay you for it?

As creatives we often forget to build reflection time into our work. Because being creative is instinctive to us, we forget how much brain power and energy it takes each day to create.

Listen to the podcast and let me know in the comments below how you value your own creativity. 

There are tips below on how you can value your own creativity….

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Timelines can help you achieve success

When we are busy focussing on our own career we often forget to look backwards at how far we have come. Timelines can help you achieve success if you use them in the right way.

I am writing this article a couple of days after my birthday (yes that’s crazy eyed me on my first birthday!).

Birthdays are always a good point in the year to reflect on how far you have come, and what you have achieved with your life so far. It isn’t a moment to put undue pressure on yourself! It is a time to appreciate all that you have done, to get where you are right now.

We forget that when we entered this world we didn’t know anything. We had to learn how to blow out that candle on the cake until eventually we were baking our own. It is the same with your career path. We gaze lovingly at the people who are ahead of us and believe that we can never do as well as them.

Not only is this damaging to your self confidence, but you also have no idea whether they have had help to get where they are today, or have grown up with family members to help them into the industry.

It is important to focus on your own path. In this week’s podcast I talk through ways that you can do this, and how to use timelines to plot out- not only where you have been, but where you are heading as well.

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How to get to the top of Google

Learning how to get to the top of Google can help you to attract new clients & customers. It builds trust & gets you ahead of the competition. But how can you do it successfully as a creative?

In this podcast I spoke to #1 Bestseller and digital expert Tim Cameron-Kitchen from Exposure Ninja about how creatives can improve their websites to give their clients & customers the best experience, how keywords can help you get ahead of the competition, and improve your ranking on Google. 

As someone who used to struggle with this myself, Tim breaks it down into manageable chunks that you can start working on straight away. He offers practical advise that won’t cost you a penny to start working on right now.

You can listen to the whole interview in the podcast below.

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Multi tasking can be bad for you

We are often told that multi tasking is the answer, but what if I was to tell you that multi tasking can be bad for you?

As women we are told that it is a skill we are good at, something to be admired as we rush around and try to finish a million things at the same time.

Now I’m not saying that multi tasking doesn’t have its place. The best way to multi task is to break tasks down into chunks and only focusing on each chunk at a time. Single-focus-tasking works on a similar principle, but in a more extreme way.

In this week’s podcast I talk about how you can make Single-focus-tasking work for you and how it can help you to make your projects more successful.

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How to work with passion rather than money

There are moments in your career when you need to forget about the money. This might sound like a strange thing to say, so let me explain why.

As creatives it is nearly impossible to be creative if you are thinking or worrying about money. Have you ever tried to design something from a starting point of money concerns? If you have, you’ll discover that the creative part of you becomes stilted. You panic. You over analyse. And before you know it, you haven’t been about to design anything.

Creativity needs freedom. It needs to know that anything is possible and it needs to come from a starting point of passion.

In this week’s podcast I talk about ways of making passion your priority, and how and when you need to stop thinking about the money.

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Why loneliness is a freelancing issue

At some point in your freelance career, you might find yourself feeling lonely. Loneliness can at times feel like being bored. You feel like you are in a funk and there is no way out of it. At other times it can feel like a crippling black cloud, and you need help to see a way out of it.

There is a lot of talk in the press at the moment about loneliness. It is often seen as an elder issue, but I know from experience that it can affect anyone who has to spend a great deal of time alone- like most freelancers do!

So what can we do about it? And why should we talk about it? 

In this podcast I talk about my own issues with loneliness and how I have combatted them over the years. I share ways that you can deal with your own loneliness, and also ways that you can help others that are suffering.

As more and more people work from home, it is important for us to discuss these types of issues, so that it normalises them, and makes it easier for people to come forward and seek help if they need it.

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