Tell us a bit about you!
I’m Catherine Ross, Director of Planet PR, based in Horsham, West Sussex.
How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?
I started freelancing in August 2011 after taking voluntary redundancy from an in-house role. Redundancy also came on the back of my second round of maternity leave, and having a baby and a preschooler at home was always going to make going out to work tricky.
Let’s talk about the start of your day – Are you an early riser, or a night owl?
I’ve never been an early riser – though I often wish I was. On the occasions when I do get up early, I tend to spend the time getting myself, the house and the children ready for the day ahead. Breakfast, packed lunches, laundry, washing-up, writing cheques for school trips. I try to remain present as a parent while the kids are with me. I have childcare in place for when I’m working.
What time do you start work?
Work starts post-school-run. So around 9am.
Do you work from home?
Yes, and we’re just about to move house, where I’ll have my own, dedicated office for the first time. At the moment I work in the living room, which is fine, but makes it difficult to draw the line between home life and work life. My new office is going to be the key to a new, more productive, more organised me….no, really.
What’s your working routine before you start work?
It’s a whirlwind of coaxing children to eat their breakfasts, brush their teeth, put on their clothes and generally get ready to go out. I like to think of it as an opportunity to hone my negotiating skills and people management. When I get back from the school run, I get ready to start work.
Do you take a lunch break?
I always try to. It depends how busy I am, When the weather’s nice, there’s more of an incentive to take a break and sit in the sunshine for half an hour.
How do you tend to spend your afternoons?
It depends what I’m working on. I do a lot of writing, so afternoons are good for getting my head down. The biggest risk with being a freelancer and working from home is that once I sit down, it’s easy to not get up again until the end of the working day. I try to get out for a walk or bike ride every so often and if the weather’s bad I’ll change into my PE kit and do a workout DVD. Jillian Michaels is the best!
[themify_quote]I love what I do, so getting it done rarely feels like a chore.”[/themify_quote]
How do you motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?
It’s often said that money isn’t a motivator, but as a freelancer, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid, it’s as simple as that. As a result, money is a pretty good motivator. It also helps that I love what I do, so getting it done rarely feels like a chore.
What time do you tend to sign off for the day?
It’s usually dictated by what time the kids need picking up. Monday-Wednesday I finish just after five, Thursdays and Fridays I finish at three, so we have some family fun time during the week.
Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?
The flexibility it gives me. I decide my hours, what work I do and when I do it. It’s fantastic. Last week my son had a school trip, so I gave myself the day off to go with them. I can make time to meet a friend for coffee or, if I’m having a quiet week, I might sneak out for an afternoon wandering around the shops.
And your least favourite thing about freelancing?
The lack of financial security. Sometimes the desire to receive a regular wage is very great, especially at the moment, with the house move just around the corner. I’m getting better at acknowledging that I will have busy periods and quieter periods and at making the most of the quiet times.
[themify_quote]Have laptop, will travel” [/themify_quote]
What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?
My smartphone is pretty much an extension of my hand, whether it’s updating social media on behalf of a client, checking emails or searching for information, I couldn’t be without my Samsung. Beyond that, l keep things pretty simple. Have laptop, will travel.
Where can we find you online?
Say hello on twitter @planetpr_uk and to find out more about what I do, visit http://www.planetpr.co.uk
The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?
Always be nice to people. As a freelancer, I never know where my next piece of work will come from. I tend to believe that if you’re good to people, they’ll be good to you. So far it seems to be working.
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