Freelance Life

  • Freelance Lifestyle picks for February – Bloggers, vloggers and books

    lovehearts

    As it’s February, the month of love, I figured it would be good to throw some love stuff out there. There have been a few things I’ve been loving recently, so rather than write a few short posts, I’ve lumped them all in together.

    I’m efficient/lazy like that…

    Bloggers

    Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish – I’ve fallen desperately behind on my Bloglovin’ subscriptions, and now tend to rely on Facebook for keeping up to date with my favourite blogs. Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish is one of the few blogs that I *always* click through to. Laura’s blog is all about healthy, clean eating, and she shares a day in her life each week. As a freelancer, it’s great to see how healthy living can fit in to a busy working day, plus I love having a nosy at other people’s meals.

    One Man Band Accounting – Regular readers will probably know about Rosie from One Man Band Accounting. She offers a variety of accounting services and ebooks to help people like us, freelancers and small businesses, to get on top of our finances. I’m not particularly amazing at keeping on top of money matters, but Rosie’s blog posts give me the nudge I often need. This post on Tax & Money Essentials for Freelancers was particularly handy.

    Plus, she sends clients cake.

    Vloggers

    Marie Forleo – Marie’s videos have been on my subscription list for a few years now, but a couple of her more recent ones have been particularly interesting. I loved this one about how to get the most out of your To Do list.

    Emily and Elizabeth – I’m off to see Emily Jayne and Elizabeth Sellars this weekend for a catch up and an assortment of blogger cliches (cake, tea and Instagram). In the meantime, I’ve been catching up with a few of the videos they’ve been recording together, like the Valentine’s Day tag below.

    Books

    The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness – I have a soft spot for psychology books, and I loved The Chimp Paradox. It’s based on the principle that your brain is split into different personas, and the ‘chimp’ part has a tendency to rule – even though it’s the less intelligent, more emotional part. If you tend to find yourself struggling to focus, maintain self discipline or just get stuff done, I’d highly recommend getting this.

    As They Slept – As They Slept is a series of non-fiction books that prove that a lot can be achieved in a commute to and from work. Andy Leeks writes a new chapter every day during his train commute, in a bid to prove a friend wrong. If Andy can write several ebooks during his commutes, what’s stopping you from making plans for your freelance business during yours?

    What things are you loving in February? 

  • Freelancing, contracts and part time jobs

    employment

    A quick personal post today, reflecting both on decisions I’ve made recently, and decisions available to you (and an explanation as to why I haven’t been updating this site as much).

    For nearly five years now, I’ve been mainly freelancing from home. I’ve had one part-time digital media job during that time and several in-house contracts (usually 4-6 weeks long), but my general preference has been for working from home.

    But back in September, I started an employed contract role three days a week with Quest, training graduates and young people in careers skills and social media. It’s a bit of a departure from my previous work in digital media, but that’s part of the joy of this way of life – you can explore lots of different roles, environments and sectors without someone rolling their eyes at your CV. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to work with grads, and I can draw on my experience both as a freelancer working with lots of different companies, and as a recruitment consultant (my first role after university). Plus one of my goals has been to improve my training and public speaking skills – and nothing does that better than standing in front of a bunch of 20 year olds!

    I still freelance two days a week from home (oh, who am I kidding, the occasional weekend might be a freelancing zone too). For me, this will be an interesting look into how a part-time job can impact on my freelancing schedule – so far I’ve found, and been told the same by my colleague Jenn, that having less time to freelance means that the days I do get to work from home are far more efficient.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m still hugely passionate about freelancing, and I couldn’t take on a full-time employed role for that reason. In fact, had this role been a freelance contract, it would be even more perfect (it’s far simpler from a tax point of view for one). But I think it’s important for me to honest about what I’m doing.

    So, that’s what I’m doing at the moment. In a year’s time, I might be back to freelancing full time, or try out a series of contracts. Who knows? I have a feeling training will become a really strong part of my career future though – it’s a huge buzz being able to help and shape the progress of others.

    Do you mix up freelancing, contracts and part time jobs? Let me know how you find it in the comments.

     

  • What happened when I spilled water on my MacBook

    macbook enemy

    This week got off to a shaky start. On Monday morning, I was putting together a video for a future newsletter, when my cat tipped a glass of water all over my MacBook. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t be drinking water near my laptop. Amazing the number of people who are keen to state the obvious after an event.)

    A trip to the Apple store (thanks to @teenytinyleanne) revealed that the keyboard and potentially the battery are done. Hello £233 bill.

    It’s not a total disaster though. I had an old Dell laptop (plus my trusty iPad and iPhone.) And thanks to the following, I’ve been able to pick up where I left off while my MacBook is in for repair:

    • The majority of my documents are on Google Drive or Dropbox, so it’s easy to login and continue.
    •  The iCloud has all my music sorted (although I mainly use Spotify these days)
    • I’m a Chrome user, so all I needed to do was login in again on my Dell, and like magic all my bookmarks, plugins and extensions appeared.
    • I use LastPass, a plugin/extension that remembers all your password for you, so I didn’t have to faff around remembering the login details for various sites.

    I’m not great at remembering to back up into a portable hard disc, so I’ve set a reminder to do this in this future – there are always a few things that don’t end up on Dropbox or Google Drive.

    Overall, it’s made me realise how much I really do rely on various ‘clouds’, which is reassuring in situations like this but also a little scary – what if anything happens to those clouds?

    How would you cope if anything happened to your laptop? Do you have a back up plan? Let me know your thoughts below!

  • The Freelance Lifestyle Co-Working Venue Map – I need you!

    I’ve been moaning about the lack of decent co-working spaces in Berkshire for a while now. I live in Bracknell, near Reading, but the nearest permanent co-working space to me is probably in London. We have temporary co-working events, Jelly events. And I recently signed up to the Club b Business lounge at the Bracknell Hub, a brand new office space for entrepreneurs. I’m excited to see what happens with Club b, but I still think there’s room for other co-working spaces in the Berkshire area.

    I wanted to find out what else is out there. Turns out, some of the big cities have pretty amazing co-working spaces…

    Sheffield Co-Working

    @Pixlz on Twitter suggested I have a look at Electric Works. This is a co-working space with a helter skelter.

    A HELTER SKELTER PEOPLE!

    Electric Works slide

     

    They’ve also got some pretty amazing facilities for freelancers too. Check out the Electric Works website for more details.

    Leeds Co-Working

    Next up, @Tiger_tea sent me in the direction of Duke Studios in Leeds. This is one of those co-working spaces that understands that facilities are as important as inspiring surroundings. It has cool little touches like indoor picnic benches, cardboard studios and art from the residents of Duke Studios.

    Duke Studios

    Liverpool Co-Working

    The Leaf Tea Shop gave me a shout, and caught my interest with their website introduction “Over the years we’ve worked hard to deliver our ethos, which is to provide a space that can accommodate creativity and good times.” I’ve had a little nosy at their events too – they’ve got a lot to offer for freelancers and bloggers.

    Brighton Co-Working

    Several people in the Brighton area raved about Super Super HQ. I’m not surprised – it’s got that quirky, cool look that works perfectly in one of the UK’s hippest cities. They list their perks as biscuits, tea, being close to the sea and free entry to monthly S+S Sunday night film club for you and your family. More co-working venues like this in the UK please.

    mg_4121

    London, Bristol and Manchester Co-Working

    If you tend to travel quite a bit, the B-Hive co-working spaces are worth a look. For £25 a month, you have access to the B-Hive locations in London, Bristol and Manchester, which includes refreshments, free wi-fi and discounts on various other business service. They’re aimed at women – and the beautiful surroundings reflect this.

    screenshot377

    I need YOU!

    So, that’s just a few of them. There are plenty of other co-working spaces though. I’ve started to create a Google map pinpointing all the co-working spaces in the UK, so you can find your nearest one with just a few clicks.

    The Freelance Lifestyle Co-Working Venue Map


    View Freelance-Friendly places in a larger map

    Want to add your favourite co-working space? Just fill in the form below, and I’ll add it!

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    Where are your favourite co-working spaces?

  • Switching off, #SSSVEDA and South Hill Park

    South Hill Park Blogging Course

    Just a quick post today with some housekeeping. This month is set to be an exciting one – I turn 28 on Wednesday, get married on the 27th and have plenty to prepare for in May. I’ve also, possibly unwisely, set myself a couple of challenges for April.

    So, here’s what is coming up…

    #SSSVEDA

    Regular readers might remember me taking part in SSSVEDA last year – Sexy Savvy Social’s Vlog Every Day in August. I enjoyed it, but lost my way a little half way through the month. This year, I’m taking part on my Vine channel during April. Six seconds a day is achievable…right? If you fancy joining in, pop on over to Amy’s SSS site to sign up and check out the calendar of suggested topics. Also, feel free to leave me a comment below if you fancy joining in! Also, don’t forget to follow the #SSSVEDA hashtag.

    Switch off after 6pm

    With so much going on this month, it seems particularly important to find some time to switch off. I’m aiming to switch off my emails and social media after 6pm. Realistically, I know this isn’t going to happen 100% of the time – sometimes I need to work evenings, and sometimes deadlines demand a little evening overtime. If I can keep to this 80% of the time though, I’ll have achieved something.

    Teaching at South Hill Park

    Throughout May and June, I’ll be teaching at course on blogging at South Hill Park, my local Arts Centre in Bracknell. Teaching was something I wanted to do more of in 2013, despite being a huge bundle of nerves, so I’m really looking forward to this. April will be about finishing off the course content plan.

    Cybher

    Some of you might have heard about Cybher, the blogging conference for women. I attended last year thanks to The High Tea Cast girls. This year, I’ll be joining them on the speaking line up, talking about freelancing. Tickets for the event are still available, although running out fast!

    Now over to you! What three things are you excited about in April? 

     

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  • Missing In Action: One freelance blogger

    Possibly the best part of wedding planning - make up trials. I want my face sprayed on EVERY DAY.
    This is the real reason people get married isn’t it? Bridal make up trials. I want my face sprayed on EVERY DAY.

    Hello.

    I don’t really want to do one of those ‘sorry I haven’t posted in so long’ posts because, if you’re anything like me and follow twenteen million blogs, you probably haven’t even noticed. But I do rather miss writing in this little corner of the internet. Sadly, wedding planning + heavy work load to pay for wedding + life in general has made it a bit tricky to get my blog on. It’s been a stressful six months to say the least (hell, I’ve even taken up meditation. Or ‘healthy naps’ as I prefer to call them).

    So the chances are, things won’t get back to normal until after I’m back from honeymoon in June, although I expect the odd post or two will pop up before then. I’m a little giddy at the thought of all that wonderful free time I’ll have once the wedding is over. I’ll blog! I’ll read books! I’ll catch up on Game of Thrones! I’ll take up a new hobby sport*

    I do have lots of things in the pipeline though (anyone else find that all the ideas come when we don’t have the time to start them?)

    • I really want to make this a cosy hub for freelancers and home workers to kick off their slippers and enjoy. So I’m planning some fun features for home workers, some collaborative things, a few more podcasts and I’ll finally get round to organise that Google+ hangout.
    • I’ll be reporting back from a few things happening in the next couple of months, including speaking at Cybher in June. I’m sure a photo or two from the wedding will pop up too.
    • I’ll be sharing my top tip for how to get slow clients to pay up in SEVEN DAYS! No scary men in leather coats knocking on their door required. I’ve been trying it out this year, and it really does work, so I’m excited to share that one with you.
    • A post on what to do when freelancing life goes a bit sh*t. That one is going to be a doozey.

    In the meantime, if you’re freelance or work from home (and not offering me a ‘free post in exchange for a dofollow link to an entirely irrelevant site *sigh*, and you fancy writing a post about your experiences of freelancing or your top tips for working from home, drop me an email. And if there’s anything you’d like to see more of, just leave a comment below.

    Oh, and miraculously I’m managing to do some writing for The High Tea Cast, where I’m now their deputy editor. I’ll be honest – 78% of this job involves  sending videos of cats to the team.

    *Ha! No, that’s a total lie of course.

  • Freelance book of the month: Be A Free Range Human

    Be A Free Range Human bookDespite the fact that I spend most of my time reading and writing online content, I still end up splurging on real books, audiobooks and ebooks all about freelancing, entrepreneurship and lifestyle. A lot of my favourite freelancers I know make a real effort to constantly update their knowledge with content online and offline. Therefore, I thought it might be interesting to start a series of posts on great books to read as a freelancer.

    Be A Free Range Human

    First up is the first book by Marianne Cantwell, who runs the community Free Range Humans. According to Marianne, Free Range Humans “escape the corporate cage, get paid to do what they love and live life on their terms.” Definitely a mission statement I can get on board with. I’ve been a fan of Free Range Humans since I read her article on ‘How To Create Your Ideal Career When No One Job Ticks the Boxes‘, which rang so many bells for me. Why should we settle for doing just one thing, when most of us have an assortment of passions? Most freelancers I know juggle a number of things, ranging from graphic design and social media to blogging and life coaching.

    What’s it about?

    Free Range Humans is a book all about creating the career you want, while ignoring the traditional rules of how you should go about it. If you’re a fan of Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, this will probably tick some boxes for you too. It’s essentially about doing something you love, earning a decent amount and still having time to enjoy life. Considering how much time you spend working in life, isn’t it worthwhile working out how you can do something you actually enjoy? As someone who has never particularly fitted in well to the corporate mould and the traditional approach to life, I rather like the idea of being a Free Range Human.

    The Freelance Lifestyle verdict

    So far, I’ve only read the first free chapter, but it’s inspiring enough for me to make it my book of the month already (check out beafreerangehuman.com if you want to read the free chapter too). If you feel like you need a kick up the butt for 2013, this might be worth investing in.

    You might like Be A Free Range Human if you like….

    Tim FerrisMarie ForleoMayi Carles.

    Where to buy

    Now, it doesn’t technically launch until January on Amazon, although I hear if you pre-order it on Friday there might just be a bundle of extras….

    Have a look at the Be A Free Range Hero video for a little more info.

     What books are you hoping to see in your Christmas stocking this year?

  • Flexi-working – Are Work From Home Fridays the answer?

    With Nick Clegg outlining a proposal to give all workers the right to demand flexible working, I thought this infographic about Work From Home Fridays was worth a share. Flexible working has been available to parents for several years now, but Clegg is hoping to expand the concept to all workers, and therefore remove the stigma of flexi-working.

    It’ll be interesting to see what impact this will have on businesses, especially as there are additional plans for parents to share a year of parental leave when they have a child (a practice that has been successful in several European countries). Work From Home Fridays may be one way to adopt a flexi-working approach, where employees can choose to work from home one day a week (depending on the role, obviously).

    Work from Home Fridays. Join the movement!

    What do you think about the potential move to increase flexi-working and rework parental leave?