I’m Emma Cossey, a long-term freelancer, mum of toddler and all round digital geek, and I’m happy to welcome you to The Freelance Lifestyle.
I launched this blog in 2011, to provide freelancers with down-to-earth support, and practical advice. I wanted it to be a kind, supportive place to get tips and advice on living a great freelance life (without the constant narrative of ‘earn six figures or you’re failing’).
Since then, the community has morphed into that friendly and honest place I dreamt of visiting when I first started out as a freelancer back in 2009. The space to celebrate successes, discuss the challenging elements of freelancing, and to connect with others on the same path. Because working on your own shouldn’t mean being alone!
What’s here for you?
I’ve spent years building up my own freelance business. I’ve been a pro blogger, a social media consultant, a copywriter, a teacher… but my passion is helping people just like you take the next step. So whether you want to pick up tips from the blog, listen in to the podcast, come join the Facebook group or get some more focused 1-2-1 support with my coaching, there’s something here for you.
Find blog posts and podcasts all about freelancing and working from home, including interviews with freelancers about their daily lives, pitching tips, finance facts and lots of free resources to help you live your best freelance life
Looking for 1-2-1 support, accountability and mentoring from someone who GETS freelancing? I'm your coach! I've been freelance for over ten years, and I love supporting other freelancers to achieve their goals.
Last week, I resurrected the Twitter chat #FreelanceUK, and we discussed work/life balance and juggling freelancing and family during the summer holidays. This Sunday at 8pm, we’ll be discussing something that came up in the last chat but there seems to be a lot of confusion over – maternity, paternity and pension pay when you’re a freelancer. We’re going to delve into the topics and make some sense of this confusing area!
Got a suggestion for a future chat? Let me know in the comments below!
p.s You might see a few things changing around here, I’m having a little summer update. Would love to know what else you’d like to see on the blog.
The purpose of the #FreelanceUK Twitter chat, is to get freelancers together to discuss the highs and lows of being self-employed – and tackle topics that we all deal with. It’s a way to network with other freelancers, without faffing about with making yourself presentable!
We’ve talked about a few things recently on The Freelance Lifestyle, which have got people talking. So why not vote below on what subject you want to chat about? Then we’ll kick things off at 7.30pm next Wednesday! Simply follow @Freelance_Life, and use the #freelanceuk hashtag.
Apologies for the late summary post for Monday’s #FreelanceUK Twitter chat . Ironically, it was all about work/life balance (something I’ve clearly failed at this week).
Anyway, I’ve finally got round to creating a Storify summary for those of you who missed it but wanted to find out what was said about work/life balance. Interestingly, there were certain concerns nearly every freelancer involved admitted to.
Guilt. This cropped up A LOT. Everyone seems to suffer from a sense of guilt when they’re not working (which leads to most of us working far more than we need to), but also guilt if they don’t spend enough time with family/friends.
Workload. While some people admitted to having a very large workload, others discovered that their workload was manageable, but that as a freelancer there’s always something else you CAN do. Whether it be pitching for more work, updating a website or catching up on blogs. A freelancer’s job is never done.
Late resolutions were made to exercise more, set work hours and try some more productivity methods.
I think perhaps the biggest change you can make to your work/life balance, is to change your mindset. Accepting that you’re never going to finish ALL your work might make finishing on time easier. Structure too, can help you finish on time. I know personally, if I don’t set a finish time, I don’t have the focus to get the job done and I end up working until 9pm. I know after the week I’ve had, I’ll be getting back into a structure next week.
Do you have any top tips? Why not share them in the comments below?
p.s Pop the 4th March in your diary for the next #freelanceuk. Any requests for topics?
Just a quick post to remind you about tonight’s Twitter chat for freelancers. Kicking off at 7.30pm (UK time) on the #freelancersuk hashtag (and also by following @Freelance_life), we’ll be chatting about work/life balance. Questions will include:
Do you think you have a good work/life balance?
What do you think are the biggest barriers to creating a good work/life balance?
Work hours – Do you set them?
Where do you work? Are you able to leave the area when you’re finished for the day?
Are you able to make time for lunch breaks, exercise and even holidays?
Got another question you’d like added to the list? Let me know in the comments!
Just a quick post today to let you know about two online events next week:
Monday 4th February – Twitter Chat
The Freelance Lifestyle Twitter chat is back! Follow #FreelanceUK at 7:30pm on Twitter to chat with fellow freelancers about this month’s topic – Work/Life balance! Got a question you’d like answered? Comment with it below, or tweet Freelance Lifestyle. You can also leave your thoughts and questions on the #FreelanceUK hashtag, as I monitor it daily.
Wednesday 6th February – Digital Q&A on Google+
The Digital Q&A has been going for a few months now, and we’re hoping to add a few new elements to it this month. Join me, Fran Swaine and Jennifer Begg for a hangout on Google+ all about the digital world. It will be streamed live to YouTube and on our blog too!
Want to see what our hangouts are like? Here’s last month’s hangout, all about digital resolutions.
Will you be joining me on Twitter or Google+ for these events?
The second #FreelanceUK Twitter chat took place last night, with a particular focus on pitching. We covered everything from how to pitch and who to pitch to, to debating whether pitching is necessary.
In summary, here are a few of the most interesting points:
Don’t be afraid to pitch over the phone. There was a great debate about the pros and cons of phone pitching vs. email pitching. It really seems to depend on your comfort levels and the industry.
For a lot of freelancers, a big barrier to pitching is simply confidence – fear of rejection or being laughed at. Samantha Sparrow made a good point here – “they can only say no”!
It’s fine to reach out to an editorial contact on social media, as long as you follow-up with a well thought out pitch afterwards.
A debate started over whether pitches should be long and thorough, or short and clear. Personally, I’d suggest keeping it short and clear, as there’s a danger that your pitch might be replicated in-house – and you won’t get commissioned.
I’d have loved to have explored the issue of some publications using taking pitches without commissioning freelancers more, but we ran out of time.
Have a read of some of the tweets from last night below. I’m planning another Twitter chat for early February, so I’d love to hear what you’d like to talk about next.
I was really chuffed to see how many people turned up for last month’s Twitter #freelanceuk chat to talk about all things freelancing, so I’ve decided to make it a monthly event. On the first Tuesday evening of each month at 6.30pm for an hour, we’ll be talking about a new freelance topic each month.
In January, the #FreelanceUK Twitter chat will be on the 1st. A lot of people requested the next topic to be about pitching, so feel free to leave a comment below if you have a particular question you want answered. We’ll be discussing everything from how to pitch, to the etiquette of pitching in the Twitter era. If you’re experienced in this area, please feel free to join in the chat and share your advice to up-and-coming freelancers too.
Don’t forget to follow @Freelance_Life for all the questions and retweets of the best and most interesting replies.
p.s You can follow Freelance Lifestyle on Twitter, Facebook AND Google+ now. I also recently launched two communities on Google+ for UK bloggers and freelancers, why not join in the chat? Feel free to leave a question on any of those accounts too.
During last week’s #freelanceUK twitter chat, I noticed a few people chatting about how they didn’t have many other freelancers to talk to. I’ve been very fortunate to have a great network of people I can talk to through Twitter, the Google+ communities, certain projects (the team at Dork Adore, the High Tea Cast and Aigua Media are all particularly lovely) and local networking. But I understand that’s not the case for everyone – and varies depending on the type of freelancing you do.
The Freelance Friends and Mentors Project
So, here’s the idea. Match up readers of the Freelance Lifestyle with each other, to mentor, learn from each other or simply have another freelancer to bounce ideas off of.
There are three different ‘roles’ in this project:
Mentors – Have you got good experience of working for yourself, and you’re eager to advise an up-and-coming freelancer? If you can spend 1-2 hours a month chatting over email/Skype/Google Hangout with a newbie, choose the ‘Mentor’ option below.
Newbie – Are you new to freelancing (less than a year)? Want someone who can spare an hour or two to help guide you on the right path? Choose ‘Newbie’ from the drop down list below.
Friends – If you’re looking for someone to discuss ideas with, collaborate with or simply want to get to know more freelance locals, ‘Friends’ is the box to tick!
Just fill in the form below to get involved. Don’t forget, you can also chat to other freelancers during the Twitter chat, and on the Freelance Lifestyle G+ community. It’ll be open until the end of February, then I’ll get matching!
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