A Day In The Life Of A Freelancer

  • A Day In The Life Of A Freelance PR Consultant: Kerri Walker

    After quite a long break, The A Day In The Life Of A Freelancer interviews are back! I know I’ve got lots to put up, so I really appreciate your patience if you’ve sent your answers in. Let’s kick off with Kerri Walker, a lovely friend of mine who is a PR guru, entrepreneur and a fellow mum of a toddler.

    Tell us a bit about you!

    I’m Kerri Walker, a Business Coach and Marketing and PR Strategist.

    How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

    I flirted with freelancing and short term contracts for a few years, took 2014 off for maternity leave then launched my consultancy business in 2015. I started up because I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my son every day to commute to a job and be away from him 50-60 hours a week. It wasn’t an option for me. I knew from freelancing part time and from seeing other people do it that I could make a success of it myself too… on my terms!

    Let’s talk about the start of your day – are you an early riser, or a night owl?

    I’m a former night owl but having a small child has made me an early riser. I actually get up an hour before he does now so I can read or write and have some time to myself so when my son wakes up I’m ready to play and not a tired zombie type creature.

    What time do you start work?

    I have 2-3 times a week to work while my son is at preschool so those days I’m at my desk for 9am. If it’s a day when I’m ‘off’ you can often find me at my desk starting a session at 7/8pm but I try to limit this as much as I can.

    Do you work from home?

    Yes and I love it!

    What’s your routine before you start work?

    Getting a child ready for the day including breakfast, board games and of course building train tracks for our Brio collection. No matter what time of day I work my routine is… walk to kettle, make hot drink, take to office.

    Do you take a lunch break?

    I don’t work all day, mainly short bursts now and then but when I do have a longer session I will take a break, even if that’s to get a drink and snacks as I know it’s so important to refresh. In the summer I’ll take a sandwich and my book outside for fifteen minutes, often even that is enough to energise me to get back to work.

    How do you tend to spend your afternoons?

    You can usually find me having a picnic with the mini, out in the New Forest where we live.

    How do you keep motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?

    If I’m stressing over a project I will put it down and come back to it when refreshed. Knowing when to step away is a skill I have learned the hard way. To keep motivated, depending on my mood, I’ll listen to a guided meditation, put on some musical movie soundtracks or just take time away from my computer.

    What time do you tend to sign off for the day?

    Usually lunchtime as I have short bursts of work while my son is in childcare. Even if I had longer to work I genuinely don’t think I would ever work all day because my brain can’t concentrate for that long. I’m quite an energetic person and that requires rest to keep it up!

    Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

    The freedom to create new services and change my path at any time I wish. Also the freedom to be able to work around looking after my son. I will treasure these days for the rest of my life because I haven’t had to leave him all day every day to go to a job that I loathe.

    And your least favourite thing about freelancing?

    I would say financially not knowing what I’m earning in a few months time but then I love the self-employed life so that bothers me less nowadays because I’m able to plan ahead and create packages and income where payment is spread over a certain time so I can.

    What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?

    Wave accounting so I no longer have to send individual invoices, send payment reminders or have any errors in the invoices. It’s an incredible tool and it’s free!

    Calendly I adore too because it saves me so much time for clients to book in coaching calls with me and for new people to connect with me too.

    PayPal is a must for me so visitors to my website can pay for my programs and smaller services such as one-off coaching sessions. It means my website is always working in the background for me and I don’t need to be on emails all day responding to enquiries as people can just pay and confirm my services.

    Naturally I love Dropbox, Evernote and Google Docs too for taking business on the go but also just because they’re awesome tools.

    Where can we find you online?

    Website http://www.kerriwalker.co.uk
    Twitter http://www.twitter.com/kerrilwalker
    Facebook http://www.facebook.com/kerriwalkercomms

    The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?

    Taking inspired action. People can never understand the things I achieve in such a short amount of time. All that requires is a dream, a plan and then taking action to make things happen. I plan out my days in advance so I stick to timings and ensure everything that needs to get done is paid attention. A dream will stay a dream until you take action and make it happen.

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  • A Day In The Life Of A Freelance PR: Jane Thomas

    Welcome to a regular series here at the Freelance Lifestyle, where we take a little peek into the daily life of a freelancer. This week, I’m excited that Jane Thomas has given us an insight into her freelance life as a PR.


    Hi Jane, tell us a bit about you

    I’m Jane and I freelance in public relations, mainly across the sports, arts and culture sectors. I am based in lovely Shrewsbury but most of my work lies across the border in Wales as I spent a large part of my career as a PR Manager in Cardiff.

    How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

    I relocated to Shrewsbury two years ago with my husband and toddler. My husband had started a new job in the West Midlands. It meant leaving my job as PR Manager for Sport Wales which I loved. But it was time to do my own thing. I was really keen to carve out something for myself, continue working with the sports sector but also introduce more variety, plus I wanted to do something that could work around my son and, in future, the school run and holidays.

    Let’s talk about how you start your day – are you an early riser or night owl?

    I have a four year old! I rise as soon as he climbs over me, screaming “I want to go downstairs!”

    What time do you usually start work?

    About 9am usually. I currently work 2-3 days a week.

    Do you work from home?

    Yes, I am lucky to have an office at home which I can escape to. Though in the winter, you’ll find me near the woodburner!

    What’s your morning routine before you start work?

    The routine is all about getting my son to pre-school on time. As soon as I am back, I make a quick coffee and get started. When he starts school, I’d like to introduce a walk before work but time is too precious at the moment. The day flies by and, before I know it, it’s time to pick him up.

    Do you take a lunch break?

    Yes, I do try. I fix a quick lunch and step away from the laptop for a while.

    What’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

    The variety. I was very fortunate that as soon as I started freelancing, I continued working with sports organisations but I also took on clients such as the BFI, Film Hub Wales and a youth music charity. So my week can often involve promoting grassroots football for the FAW Trust whilst generating coverage for a new film season.

    What tools/apps/gadgets could you not live without as a freelancer?

    Email, Timesheet, Dropbox. I’m also a big fan of a few Facebook groups for freelancers (Editor note: you can join The Freelance Lifestyle one by signing up for my free weekly newsletter, and Freelance PRs is also worth a look). It’s a great way of introducing some virtual chat because I do miss the camaraderie that comes with working in an office.

    Finally, where can we find you online?

    Website: http://www.janethomaspr.co.uk

  • A Day In The Life Of A Freelance Finance Blogger: Emma Drew

    Welcome to a regular series here at the Freelance Lifestyle, where we take a little peek into the daily life of a freelancer. This week, I’m excited that Emma Drew has given us an insight into her freelance life. I’ve been following Emma’s blog (previously known as From Aldi To Harrods, now EmmaDrew.info) this year and took her excellent free course on new ways to make money, and I love reading her monthly income reports! 

    402a9189Hi Emma Drew, tell us a bit about you

    My name is Emma Drew and I live in Cambridgeshire with my husband. I run a popular personal finance blog which helps others to make money, save money and live the life they want. Running the blog is now my full time job!

    How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

    I have been freelancing or earning money online since I was 18, so that’s 10 years now. I started because I needed to supplement my income whilst at university, and heavily focused on it when I graduated into the recession.

    Let’s talk about how you start your day – are you an early riser or night owl?

    I’m an early riser. If I don’t get up early and start my day off by showering and getting ready to face the day then often I just can’t manage it! I get so much done in the morning whilst my husband sleeps, meaning there’s peace and quiet! I imagine many mums out there must feel the same about their kids!

    As soon as it gets dark (in the afternoons in winter) then my brain switches off and I cannot be productive.

    Do you have a morning routine before you start work?

    I get up and shower immediately, then from there pretty much anything goes! Sometimes I get so engrossed in my work that I don’t stop to eat until lunch time, whereas other days I plan my day whilst I’m having breakfast.

    How do you stay motivated? Do you have any techniques?

    Staying motivated is my biggest challenge, and I do sometimes give in and just watch Netflix. I do a few things to help me. I look back at how far I’ve come – I actually do a monthly income report on my blog which is really great to look back on. I also look at how others in my niche are doing and get inspired by them. Other times all it takes is a 10 minute walk to get me back into the zone.

    What time do you finish for the day?

    I try to finish around 5 o’clock – finishing up what I’m doing then tidying up my office. I manage this about half of the time, and the rest of the time I am so passionate about my work that I often have to prise myself away. I do take a break most afternoons to have lunch away from my desk and go swimming or go for a walk.

    What’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

    I love the variety that every day brings. No two days are the same and I think that is really exciting! Being your own boss with unlimited earning potential is also amazing.

    What’s the biggest challenge you find as a freelancer?

    Keeping motivated is the biggest challenge I face. When I had a full time job I had to be in the office, but now I’m self-employed it can be really difficult to motivate myself to work when there are some awesome alternatives – like Netflix.

    What tools/apps/gadgets could you not live without as a freelancer?

    I love using tools and gadgets in my daily life, but when it comes to working I really can’t beat good old pen and paper. I have created a bullet journal to keep track of my daily tasks – there’s something so therapeutic about putting pen to paper and crossing things off a list.

    What’s your proudest achievement so far?

    Earlier this year I won Best Money Making Blog at the SHOMOs, which is a UK Money Blogger conference. I am passionate about helping others to make money, so this was a fantastic achievement for me, and it meant so much.

    Emma has also written an ebook on apps that earn!
    Emma has also written an ebook on apps that earn!

    What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt about making money?

    I’ve learned that when you work for yourself, the sky is the limit! It isn’t necessarily about working longer hours – longer hours doesn’t mean more money in your pocket. It is about thinking about ways to work smarter not harder, and generating a passive income.

    What has made the biggest impact on your business, financially?

    This year I have really nailed affiliate marketing, and I do really well from it. I also know the importance of diversifying your income, so I do a number of side hustles including matched betting, surveys and selling on eBay. 

    The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?

    There’s no secret, just something that Pat Flynn said which resonated with me. Serve your customers (or your audience) and they will reward you. This has been so true in my business. As long as I am providing my readers with valuable stuff, they will be happy to keep coming back and to purchase products or services I recommend.

    Finally, where can we find you online?

    You can find my blog at EmmaDrew.Info, or you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

  • A Day In The Life Of A Freelance Childrenswear Designer: Sharon from lily & Bloom

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    Say hello to freelance childrenswear designer Sharon from lily & Bloom.

    Tell us a bit about you!

    Hello I’m Sharon, working as lily&Bloom as a childrenswear designer, based just outside of Birmingham

    How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

    I’ve been freelancing for just over four years now.  I started to freelance almost by accident after losing my job and being unable to find another full-time in-house role that felt like it suited me.  An opportunity came up to cover another freelancer who was on maternity leave and it all started there.

    Let’s talk about the start of your day – are you an early riser, or a night owl?

    I’m an early riser but mainly so I can get out for my morning run and then be ready to start work.

    What time do you start work?

    I’m usually at my desk between 8 and 8.30.

    Do you work from home?

    Yes, my front little bedroom is now my creative space.

    What’s your working routine before you start work?

    Alarm set for around 6.30 & up and out for a run or for a work out by around 7ish.  Then shower and coffee and ready to do an hour or so’s work before having breakfast.

    Do you take a lunch break?

    Yes, I always stop for lunch, even if it’s just for half an hour.

    How do you tend to spend your afternoons?

    It depends on the work I’ve got.  If I’m in the middle of a project or have a deadline looming then it’s work as usual.  If I’m quieter, then afternoons tend to be a time for working on blog posts, or researching or admin.

    How do you keep motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?

    I try to keep in mind that I want to do the best job I can for the client and it’s important to me to honour any deadline I’ve promised.  I think this keeps me motivated as does having a balance between working and creative time for me.

    What time do you tend to sign off for the day?

    I try and finish ‘paid’ work by 6.30 latest unless there is a really urgent deadline.  I tend to then spend another hour or so on my blog.

    Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

    Being able to work from home, being able to be in control of my own time.

    And your least favourite thing about freelancing?

    The uncertainty that can come if you don’t have a regular contract with a client. And clients who think you can drop everything to do work they need right that second!

    What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?

    I log all my work on my Outlook calendar, it’s the easiest and simplest way for me to keep track of things.  Other than that it’s a very old fashioned diary & pencil that I use to jot down my daily to do list.

    Where can we find you online?

    You can find my blog Lily & Bloom at http://www.lilyandbloom.blogspot.co.uk. I’m on twitter @lilyandBloom, on Instagram @sharon.lilyandbloom . on Pinterest @lilyandBloom and hopefully very soon my business website will be back up & running at http://www.lilyandbloom.co.uk.

    The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?

    I’m not sure I do think of myself as successful? I feel lucky enough to have enough work to keep me ticking along, which allows me to work part-time only, work that I enjoy.  I like to think that I do a good job, behave professionally and friendly towards clients and that has meant that my reputation as a Childrenswear Designer has spread by word of mouth meaning that work has kept trickling in.  Not too much, not too little.  I’m like Goldilocks! But I count my blessings each day & feel incredibly lucky.

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  • A Day In The Life Of A Freelance Writer: Patti Podnar

    Patti PodnarTell us a bit about you!

    I’m Patti Podnar, a freelance writer focusing primarily on topics related to business and careers. I specialize in explaining complex things simply and boring things engagingly.

    How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

    For about 18 months. I worked in corporate communications for 12 years, took a decade+ off to stay home with my kids, and finally decided it was time to get back in the game.

    Let’s talk about the start of your day – are you an early riser, or a night owl?

    Early riser. I usually get going as soon as I drop the kids off at school.

    What time do you start work?

    Usually 8-8:30.

    Do you work from home?

    Yes.

    What’s your working routine before you start work?

    Kids to school, hair and makeup (even though I work from home…I’m a southern girl. I can’t help it), clean up the kitchen from breakfast, start a load of laundry.

    Do you take a lunch break?

    If I’m hungry.

    How do you tend to spend your afternoons?

    Keeping the kids off Minecraft until their homework is done.

    How do you keep motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?

    After 10+ years as a SAHM, I don’t have to worry about motivation. I’m loving it!

    What time do you tend to sign off for the day?

    Officially, about 2:30, when I go get the kids. Unofficially, I work off and on until, oh…bedtime.

    Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

    Not being bored, being productive, working for myself.

    And your least favourite thing about freelancing?

    Taxes.

    What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?

    Evernote, Hootsuite, Skype, various to-do apps (I tend to get bored and switch).

    Where can we find you online?

    http://www.pattipodnar.com
    @PattiPodnar

    The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?

    I’m good at what I do, I love it, and I work my fanny off.

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  • A Day In The Life Of A Freelance Copywriter: Art

    Art CopywriterTell us a bit about you!

    Art, freelance copywriter who dwells between the Peaks and the Dales!

    How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

    Been at it for a few years now, as I didn’t feel comfortable spending so much time in the city; high rents and crime rates don’t make for a relaxing way of life!

    Let’s talk about the start of your day – are you an early riser, or a night owl?

    Night owl for sure, but I work with a lot of North American clients, so most of them are still in bed when I get up anyway. I usually kick things off a little after 9am.

    Do you work from home?

    I do. I can’t get on board with the idea of working from coffee shops; knowing my luck, someone (very possibly me) will spill a mocha all over my laptop.

    What’s your morning routine before you start work?

    This might sound strange, but I pick an outfit to reflect what I’m working on that day; for health and fitness, I’ll wear sweats and a sports top, if I’m writing about financial services, I’ll put on an Oxford shirt or something.

    Do you take a lunch break?

    Yes, although not always at lunch. The freedom to break up my day when I’m running low on inspiration is one of the things I love most about freelancing.

    How do you keep motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?

    Regular breaks keep my mind fresh; if I’m not feeling it, I won’t try to force it. It just results in lacklustre copy that I’ll have to rewrite anyway.

    What time do you tend to sign off for the day?

    Usually? Around 6pm. Last night was a bit of an exception, as I worked from 8am through ’til about 9pm!

    Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

    The clue’s in the name – it makes me feel like I’m free. Unless there’s a deadline looming I can go for a quick hike, make a nice lunch or do whatever I feel like doing!

    And your least favourite thing about freelancing?

    The admin side of things. When I was just about to go freelance, someone told me I’d spend 2 days out of the week issuing invoices, chasing money, writing proposals or emails and so on. I didn’t believe them at the time, but they were absolutely right!

    What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?

    My old MacBook was about five years old and I finally replaced it recently. Now that I have, I don’t know how I managed with the old one for so long. I’ve also got a raised monitor that cuts down on the shoulder and neck ache!

    Where can we find you online?

    http://www.copywritingisart.com
    http://www.twitter.com/artcopywriter

    The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?

    Grafting! I’m a bit like Del Boy in that I’ve managed to pick up work all over the place, from the local gym (ok fine, the pub) to Twitter. I think having a solid portfolio of varied work to send people that I’m proud of also helps!

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  • A Day In The Life Of A Freelance Web Developer: Tristan Bailey

    Tristan BaileyTell us a bit about you!

    I’m a freelance web developer – mostly PHP, Joomla, WP, ee and UX. I’m based in Brighton and sometimes Germany.

    How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

    3 years. I started as I was planning it and then my company let me go before I could leave, so that made my mind up.

    Let’s talk about the start of your day – are you an early riser, or a night owl?

    Early up but I have kids to get ready so I only start at 9. I often rest at the end of the day after putting them to bed, then work from 10 or 12 for few a hours.

    Do you work from home?

    Mostly

    What’s your working routine before you start work?

    Sort the kids and get them to kindy and then make coffee.

    [themify_quote]When I collect the kids we can do lunch together.” [/themify_quote]

    Do you take a lunch break?

    When I collect the kids so we can do lunch together.

    How do you tend to spend your afternoons?

    50% of the time I get to work after 3pm when the kids are home.

    How do you keep motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?

    Music and exercise, and talking to other people to realise I need to get on. Sometimes it’s hard when a client is dragging out a job to what is, by then, free work.

    [themify_quote]Sometimes it’s hard when a client is dragging out a job to what is, by then, free work.” [/themify_quote]

    What time do you tend to sign off for the day?

    Between 4pm and 8pm.

    Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

    Being in control of work and meeting new challenges.

    And your least favourite thing about freelancing?

    Starting again, judging new jobs and chasing clients to invoice consistently.

    What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?

    iPhone, Gmail and FreeAgent.

    Where can we find you online?

    Twitter: @tristanbailey

    Website: http://holdingbay.co.uk

    I’m currently trying to build an analytics paid service as a product.

    The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?

    Networking and having contacts before starting freelancing.

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  • Day In The Life Of A Freelance ELT teacher trainer: Rhiannon Ball

    Rhiannon BallTell us a bit about you!

    I’m Rhiannon and I’m a freelance writer, editor and teacher trainer for ELT materials. I’m currently located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but I work for companies in the UK and Brazil.

    I’m currently working on a series of downloadable material for Business English teachers and also English for bus drivers.

    I also love working in social projects and have created a series of material that combines ELT with citizenship for YL that I use in NGOs in low-income communities.

    How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

    I’ve been freelancing since I moved to Brazil in 2011. Initially, I started because I didn’t have much choice while I was waiting for my permanent visa to come through. When it finally did, I got a job teaching English but I quickly got bored of just doing one job and soon started accepting freelance jobs again. When it got too much to juggle a full-time job and freelance assignments I gradually started reducing my teaching hours until I eventually went freelance again!

    Let’s talk about the start of your day – are you an early riser, or a night owl?

    Both! I like to get up early – when I’m working for a UK-based company I prefer to work to GMT, which is a couple of hours ahead of Brazil depending on the time of year. However, sometimes I get so wrapped up in something I keep working until the early hours! I find I work best at the beginning and the end of the day, so sometimes I take a couple of hours off in between.

    What time do you start work?

    I’m usually at my desk for about 7:30am.

    [themify_quote]I’m often out and about giving training sessions or visiting the social projects I’ve implemented at different NGOs here in Rio.”[/themify_quote]

    Do you work from home?

    Yes, I have my own little office in a separate room in my apartment, which is where I do most of my work. It works well because I don’t spend all of my time at home – I’m often out and about giving training sessions or visiting the social projects I’ve implemented at different NGOs here in Rio.

    What’s your working routine before you start work?

    I get up early and go for a run at the sports centre in front of my apartment, then take my sausage dog, Molly, out for a walk. I sit down at my desk at around 7:30am with a strong coffee and catch up on my Twitter feed, read whatever interesting articles grab my attention, then get down to work.

    Do you take a lunch break?

    Only if it’s a day when I’m out training or teaching. If I’m working from home I usually have lunch at my desk.

    How do you tend to spend your afternoons?

    It depends what projects I’m working on. I might be doing some proof reading, materials writing, preparing a training session or doing the accounts for a social project. If I’ve got a light schedule, I use the time to work on the children’s book I’m writing or update my materials blog.

    How do you keep motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?

    I receive the Daily Quipple alerts every day – they send beautifully designed quotes that can be really uplifting if you’re having a bad day. If I’m having a day when I’m struggling creatively, I try not to beat myself up about it and take the afternoon off (if project deadlines allow it, of course). I’ll go to a coffee shop with my laptop or sit by the lake with a notebook. Getting some fresh air and being around other people, even if I’m not interacting with them, usually helps me to focus again and takes the pressure off of sitting in front of a blank document in my office.
    I also tell myself that nothing’s set in stone. Our greatest ability is adaptation and if freelancing doesn’t work out, then I can always try something else and even if that something else doesn’t use my preferred skills set, then I know that I’ll take something away from it.

    [themify_quote]Our greatest ability is adaptation and if freelancing doesn’t work out, then I can always try something else.”[/themify_quote]

    Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

    The variety – nothing beats being able to dip your toes into different areas and projects without being tied down to a routine.

    And your least favourite thing about freelancing?

    No matter how many projects I’m working on or are in the pipeline, I always feel a little worried about where the next one will come from.

    What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?

    I still prefer a notebook and pen over everything else – I just can’t get the joy that comes with choosing beautiful stationary from a digital device. Nonetheless, my Moto G smart phone has changed the way I work, as has Google docs because I can jot down ideas even when I’m squashed on the underground!

    Where can we find you online?

    Twitter: @rhiannonball
    ELT materials blog: rainydayelt.blogspot.com
    Website: rhiannonsarah.com
    Website (in Portuguese for clients in Brazil): simplifiedingles.com

    The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?

    Hard work – I used to regularly have a 3-hour commute that started at 5am and work 12-hour days as a freelance teacher and that installed a work ethic that is vital to being a freelancer. For me, the benefits are many, however I understand that to get those benefits I need to put in the hours and do everything I can to the best of my ability. I hope that shows in my work!

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