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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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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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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Dealing with imposter syndrome

At some point in our careers imposter syndrome will strike. I have suffered with it many times, and it always feels like the little monster on your shoulder telling you that you shouldn’t be there.

Imposter syndrome was first coined in the 1970’s when a study in America at Georgia State University noticed that successful women suffered from chronic self doubt.

Men also suffer from imposter syndrome but not as often as women. There are several examples of high profile women who have come out and talked about their own feelings of dealing with imposter syndrome.

“There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am”
Facebook Chief Sheryl Sandberg

So why does hearing about how successful people also struggle with this help you? Imposter syndrome strikes when you are reaching out of your comfort zone and growing. If we can take a moment to thank it for showing us that we are challenging ourselves, we can gain some control back from it.

In this podcast I talk about why imposter syndrome strikes, how to overcome it & I set you a challenge to help you deal with your own imposter feelings.

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Giving thanks

This week I want to talk about giving thanks. It isn’t thanksgiving, or a special reason to do this -although the holiday season is a great time to send a card.

Taking the time at the end of the year to think about all of the people who have helped you, is a great way to see that you haven’t had to do this all alone.

Sometimes we forget the small things that people do for us; whether they make an introduction, explain a new skill or lend an ear to listen to your concerns.

I have been blessed this week with thank you’s from some of the people I have mentored over the year. It means so much to me that they have taken the time to write and tell me about the successes they have had. It was this that gave me the idea for this week’s podcast.

In the podcast I talk about why it is important for you to give thanks to the people who have helped you, and I have set you a challenge start to thank those that have helped you.

Reminding people that they have touched your career and life in a positive way, helps to spread a bit of magic around. We often spend too much time focussing on the negatives when we build our careers,  without taking a look to really see all of the positive help we have received during the year.

What has someone done to help you this year? Let me know about it in the comments below. 

Remember to be thankful as 2016 draws to a close, and think of ways that you can help others in the coming year.

Planning For A Great Year

success-doesnt-just-happen-its-planned-for-2

As we race towards the end of the year, I always think that this is a great time to review what you have achieved so far, and to plan for 2017.

Planning for a great year takes structure, and not just the odd to-do-list. This is more about looking at what you want to achieve, and setting those points as markers for how the rest of the year will be structured.

I explain how to do this in the podcast that you can listen to below.

I still use to-do-lists (I know they can be addictive!), but if the major events aren’t planned out, it makes it hard for you to know when you need help, support or finance to get the project done. It is also crucial to make sure that you have given yourself enough time to complete the project.

Too often we think that we can achieve something in a certain time frame, and then life gets in the way. Make sure you build in contingency planning, both in terms of time and money, in case something goes wrong. It is better not to need it, than to wish you had it!

A challenge for you

At the end of the podcast I talk about a challenge for you to plan your own year ahead. Here are some of the key things you need to think about:

  • Do you know the deadlines for your project?
  • Do you have all the people you need to help you?
  • Have you got finance in place for the project?
  • If you don’t have finance in place, have you planned how and when you will need it?
  • Are there press and PR moments that you need to plot out for the project? (Remember that some magazines have 3 months lead times!)
  • Do you have support plotted out for the year, so that you are able to achieve what you need?
  • Have you plotted out holidays and fun times with family and friends? It is so important to take breaks so that you have the energy to go back and finish the project.
  • Have you plotted out points in the year to review your progress? By making moments to review, you can see if something is working or not, and whether you should continue with it or try something else.

Above all have fun with this. Things are flexible, and can be changed as we go along. Unless we know what the big challenges are, we can’t prepare for them. It might mean that you only focus on one big thing a year rather than several, but it is better to have achieved one thing, than to fail at several.

Let me know in the comments below what you are going to aim for next year. Is there any help that you need with it?