Freelance Personal Development

  • 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.

  • Apps, eBooks and public speaking

    This past week has been a busy one. Busy in a fun way, busy in a scary way, busy in an exciting way.

    The Only Way Is Blogging

    It all kicked off last weekend, when I went to London to speak at The Only Way Is Blogging (TOWIB for short, obvs) on a Q&A panel about making a career from blogging. To be honest the idea of public speaking scares the hell out of me, which is partly why I agreed to do it. It all seemed to go well, and I was really interested to see what the other panelists had to say. It was nice to meet lots of new and successful bloggers too (even if, at 27, I was a decade older than half of them…)

    So ‘appy!

    Next up, The Bag Lady got an app! I’ve been editor of The Bag Lady for a year or so, and I’ve been writing for Aigua Media, the network TBL is part of, for over three years. So it’s exciting to see all the sites (Catwalk Queen, Crafty Crafty, Shoewawa, Dollymix, Kiss and Make Up, Trashionista, Star Trip and The Bag Lady) go mobile. You can download the app on all mobile and tablet platforms, for regular (and live) updates from the blog. On the right is a little screen grab of how it will look on the iPad.

    I’m on Kindle

    Well, my 30 Day Freelancing Challenge eBook is. You can now buy my eBook through the Amazon store, to read on your Kindle when you’re on the go if you so wish. If nothing else, my mum is excited she can tell people my book is on Amazon, and not have to explain what blogging is.

    The Rest

    BuyaPowa got in touch to ask for a recommendation for their festival products. So, if you pop over there now, you can see it in the Coming Soon section. It should go live next week, but you can pop your email in there to get an alert when it’s ready. If you’re not familiar with the co-buying concept, check out my earlier post on BuyaPowa.

    Aside from all that, I’ve picked up a couple of new clients, so I’ve been adjusting to the new workload. I’m hoping regular blog posting here will resume soon, now that I have an idea of how much free time I’ve got. I’ve also got some interesting guest posts coming up. If you’ve got any particular topics you’d like to see covered, please do leave me a comment below, or give me a tweet.

    Have you had any exciting news recently?

  • Are you introverted or extroverted?

    Ever read something and thought “Wow, that’s exactly how I feel”? That’s pretty much how I’ve felt recently when reading about introverts and extroverts.

    Obviously, these are not new terms to me. But I’ve always looked at them in quite a basic way – extroverts are confident people, introverts are shy people. I grew up being a shy person, but I’m generally quite confident now so does that make me now an extrovert?

    Can you be introverted and confident, or extroverted and shy?

    The interesting thing is, it’s actually not to do with confidence. An extrovert is someone who gains energy from being around others. An introvert is someone who feels drained from being around others for too long. Introverts generally need time away from people to gather their own thoughts. Extroverts seem out company, while introverts need time to themselves. That’s not to say introverts don’t enjoy socialising, but they have a limit. According to Wikipedia, “An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though he or she may enjoy interactions with close friends”

    This is exactly how I feel. I find big social occasions completely draining, even if I’ve enjoyed them. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my friends. They’re brilliant, funny and interesting people and I love spending time with them. But part of me can’t wait to get home at the end of the night. I always thought that I was being anti-social, overly-irratated or anxious. Journeys back from London would leave me feeling emotional, stressed and completely exhausted, for days. But because I’m not particularly shy these days, I assumed I was more of an extrovert.

    I’m sure this is why I love being freelance – I have the time and space to be on my own. In fact, introverts are usually found in more creative roles, while extroverts favour roles like politics, teaching, sales, managing and brokering.

    Introverted AND extroverted?

    You can be a bit of both (Ambiversion), and I’m sure most people are a mixture. For example I’m talkative which is an extrovert trait, while my extroverted fiancé is a man of few words. There’s a quiz here to tell you just how extroverted or introverted you are. The important thing is to stop fighting what kind of person you are – it’ll only make your life harder.

    Annoyingly I can’t find the exact article, but I read somewhere that introverts make up a far smaller percentage of the population, which is why social norms tend to be tailored towards the extroverted population.

    On the upside, apparently introverts make up a higher proportion of ‘gifted’ people 🙂

    Are you introverted or extroverted? Does this ring any bells for any other introverts out there?

  • Do you believe in luck?

    Ever been told you’re lucky? I’ve heard it a few times recently, especially now I’m going back to freelancing. Generally it’s said with good intentions, along the lines of “You’re so lucky to do what you do” or “You’re lucky to work from home”. But I can’t help feeling mildly irritated when people say it.

    Here’s the thing: I don’t believe in luck. Not really. It’s phooey. I believe in chance, but luck seems a little lazy. Like we’re all waiting for life to land in our laps and have no control over our own lives. It’s all a little patronising – as if you did nothing more to deserve something other than be lucky.

    My thinking is, ‘lucky’ people tend to have an optimistic outlook on life, make decisions based on common sense and yet be open to taking the odd risk too. Bad things happen to them too, but they might be able to see that silver lining more – or at least learn from it. Perhaps ‘lucky’ people are more grateful for all the things they’ve achieved so far – while unlucky people count all the reasons why they’re not grateful. Can you think of many successful entrepreneurs who have a pessimistic view on life?

    Derren Brown’s The Secret of Luck

    Recently, Derren Brown had a great series of programs called the Experiments that looked at human behaviour (well worth watching, even if you’re not a Derren fan). The one that caught my interest was The Secret Of Luck (4OD link here if you want to watch the whole thing before I spoil it in a second).

    Derren discovered that people in the village he visited considered themselves either lucky or unlucky. However, further tests proved that those who were ‘lucky’ were the ones who were more open-minded to opportunities and therefore had more chance of being lucky. When he targeted one of the unlucky men and explained this theory, his outlook started to change and he became ‘luckier’.

    What do you think? Do you believe in luck?

    p.s Funnily enough, just as I was writing this, Mayi Carles’ latest video popped up in my inbox on a very similar theme! Watch the video from about four minutes onwards for her take on luck and what kind of characteristics do ‘lucky’ people have.

  • 2012 so far

     

    Hands up, who made New Year’s resolutions to give their blog a kick-start this year?

    *Raises hand*

    Everyone knows New Year’s resolutions don’t really start until February though. Right? (Along with Frugal February. Obviously)

    Here’s what I’ve done instead of blogging here.

    • I got engaged to Pete on Christmas Day (that’s us on the right). If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, you’re probably bored silly of me discussing dresses and buffet food. Mainly the latter. Who doesn’t want a freakin’ pie on a stick? (above ). So I’ll try not to talk about it too much on here. Besides, I now have somewhere else to discuss it….
    • Thanks to Sian, I’m now blogging about weddings for The Times online. The Times has a paywall (although it’s very cheap, around £2 a week!), so if you are subscribed you can see my posts in the Wedding Section.
    • I’m launching a 30 Day Freelancing Challenge with Nikki Pilkington soon. Nikki’s 30 day challenges come in book and email form, and they’re usually around £4-£8, depending on when you order them. You can follow the 30 Day Challenge guide on the Facebook  group.
    • Things at The Bag Lady, and Aigua Media in general, are busy but there are plenty of exciting things coming up. I love this company.
    • I’m going to be more involved with Dork Adore this year, coordinating our lovely team of writers as well as writing for them myself. If you have a geeky area of expertise, it’s probably on Dork Adore (and if it’s not, why not write about it?)
    I’ve also been..
    • Reading Eat That Frog. I’m not usually one for motivational business books, but I adore this book. Its message is all about common sense – get the biggest, hardest job out of the way first thing (Eat That Frog) and everything afterwards will seem much easier. I’d really recommend giving it a read, or downloading the audiobook (my preferred method)
    • Learning French. By audiobook. Not entirely sure how much is sticking, but I’m hoping to go to Paris later this year to put it into practice.
    • Taking a day off every week. Might not sound like much, but I really struggle to switch off and then work myself into the ground. The combination of trying the Eat That Frog method and accepting I’m never going to get everything done seems to be helping me reach that goal though. And actually, I’m really enjoying time off, and feeling much better for it the rest of the week. Progress.
    • Researching an idea for a new website and ebook.
    • Inventing. I’m slightly addicted to Quirky, a site that helps people turn their ideas into a reality. You submit an idea (and pay $10) and they’ll put it to the community. If enough people like it, they’ll get their design team on it. So I’ve put forward my idea – a pair of shoes with an unscrewable or flip-in heel, so you can go from killer heel to comfy flat in seconds. Feel free to give it a vote or a comment!

    Still here? Marvellous. Tell me what you’ve been up to so far in 2012.

  • The Bag Lady and the Aigua Media revamps

    Just a quick post today with some news about Aigua Media. As you may know, I’ve been writing for several of the Aigua Media fashion and lifestyle blogs for a couple of years now. Titles in the network include Catwalk Queen (the UK’s leading fashion blog), Shoewawa, The Bag Lady, Kiss and Make Up, Crafty Crafty, Star Trip, Dollymix, Nollie (one for the active types), Trashionista (for the bookaholics), OSOYOU (fashion shopping) and OSOGLAM (beauty shopping).

    This week, they went live with the revamps for the sites, and they’ve really done a great job. The sites now have easy-to-view galleries, featured videos, a regularly updated set of leading stories at the top and lots of posts.

    You can find links to all the Aigua Media blogs here.

    In other good news, I’m now editor of The Bag Lady. So if you’re a fan of accessories, you might want to come visit the site. I promise not to entirely fill it with glittery things. And if you’re a PR dealing with bags, tech cases, scarves, jewellery and hats, please do drop me an email.

  • Things I’m loving this week (or is it month?)

    Between Freshers’ Week at work, packing for the big move (and dealing with numerous hiccups in the house buying process), this particular weekly feature has turned into something of a monthly one.

    Dork Adore Tumblr

    A couple of weeks ago I set up a Tumblr for Dork Adore. It’s a place to share all the stuff we love, but don’t quite get the time to write about. So far, we’ve covered everything from geeky romantic posters (top right) to robot tea strainers (bottom right).

    We’ll be posting up two new items each day, so feel free to give us a follow and let me know if you find anything worth adding.

    ProBlogger post on increasing traffic

    I tend to scan over posts that claim to improve your traffic (how many times do you really need to hear ‘post regularly, link back, comment more’?). But this guest post on ProBlogger by BlogStash actually has some pretty interesting suggestions. I won’t be rushing out to buy an engraved giant flip flop anytime soon, but I will be trying out the Odiogo plugin.

    Autumn

    I adore autumn. It’s easily the prettiest season, with the rusty leaves, morning mists and conkers, and cosy stews are always going to win out over summer salads. I wrote a piece over on Dollymix this week rounding up all the best bits about autumn – and threw in a bunch of autumnal pictures for good measure.

    Featuring on A Thrifty Mrs blog

    A Thrifty Mrs kindly linked to my post on five myths people believe about freelancers yesterday. I’m really chuffed about this, as I love her blog. Go check out her recent posts on saving old nail varnishes and her hilarious live blog on watching Eat, Pray, Love.

    My latest purchase

    This arrived last week:

    I love it.

    What things are you loving this week (or month)?