• What drives you as a freelancer? A podcast series

    transactional drivers for freelancers

    What drives you as a freelancer? I’m not talking money, work/life balance or a rewarding workload (although those are all very valid reasons). I’m talking about a term used in coaching – transactional drivers. Transactional drivers are the ways in which we respond to times of challenge or stress. Even in an ideal world freelancers face tricky or challenging situations, and understanding why you react the way you do can be hugely beneficial.

    There are five drivers – Work Harder, Be Perfect, Please Others, Be Strong and Hurry Up. Reading those, are there any that stand out, or ring a bell for you? These are the critical voices that pop up in our heads when we’re dealing with tricky situations like pitching for a new project or dealing with client criticism. Understanding what your main drivers are (at the current time, the chances are that all of these will apply at some point in your life for you) can help you overcome those negative voices. For example, if Work Harder is a strong one for you, you may want to think back to where this started. Did you encounter pressure to always do better when younger? Do you now feel like whatever you do isn’t good enough? In coaching, we then challenge these drivers and work on being in control of them rather than them controlling you. Understanding your drivers can also help you identify what projects to take on, which clients are a great match and how much time you need to give yourself for work.

    Got 20 minutes? Catch the Transactional Drivers podcasts

    Last month, I recorded a series of podcasts giving a brief overview of each of the transactional drivers and how it can impact on your freelance life. You can listen to them below, in Soundcloud or by listening on iTunes. You can also take a transactional drivers quiz here if you’re unsure which one you are.

    Which driver(s) do you think apply to you right now?

  • The truth about pricing, peer pressure and parenthood

    This originally went out in my newsletter this week, but I had so many lovely messages from subscribers who felt relieved that they weren’t alone when it comes to freelancing peer pressure and perfection, that I thought it was worth a share here too. 

    I’ve been feeling the peer pressure recently.

    Every time I log onto Facebook, I’m (super-enthusiastically) told:

    • You’re just one Facebook ad away from a six figure business (just as long as you’re OK with paying five figures in FB ads to launch that six figure launch)
    • Make SEVEN figures from your online course! Here’s a 15 step plan to do it! Only £4k.
    • Raise your prices! Constantly! Even if it makes you really, really uncomfortable.
    • You can have a baby, have a million dollar business and have a pristine house and office. To not do so is terribly un-feminist. Pushing yourself to a breakdown is so 2016, darling.
    • Everything I’m doing is wrong and everyone else is right, and get with the programme Emma (OK, that one might just be that mean little voice in my head)

    How utterly exhausting.

    Honestly? I don’t give a damn about having a six figure business right now. If that’s your goal, more power to you! I have nothing against having a chunky bank balance, but right now my goals have to be life-based. I mean, I want to be able to pay the bills, treat myself and my little family and have a semi-comfortable life. But the reason I love being freelance is the flexibility it gives me, the ability to be able to work with people I actually like, and to work from home. I’ve been so focused on ‘proving myself’ financially (partly from guilt that I’m not setting a good example here as a freelancer), that I got a big lost along the way. Which actually limited my income.

    I’m also tired of cookie cutter sales language. Big claims without the evidence. I feel like I’m back at school, with the popular girls boasting about how many boys they’ve pulled and the rest of us feeling a bit inadequate in comparison. Except, now they’re charging thousands to teach you how to replicate their success. In general, I’m just a bit tired of the overwhelm and the enthusiastic quick fixes to a big business. My introvert brain needs a break from all that noise!

    So, I’m making some changes.

    • I’ve lowered my coaching prices. It’s not really the done thing to lower your prices, but I want to help more freelancers (new and established), and lowering my prices makes coaching more accessible. I really believe coaching can make a big difference, and it’s had a huge impact on my life. In fact, as hard on myself as I can be, I think without it I’d have caved in and thrown in the towel by now, instead of relaunching my business and growing it.
    • I’m going to get over this peer pressure block that’s stopped me blogging and podcasting until I’m ‘perfect’. I’ve actually achieved quite a bit over the last year, something I want to blog about more.
    • Here’s a controversial one – accept that it’s ok for the next couple of years to not be where my business was pre-baby. I have a third of the time I had before to work (and that’s throwing working nap times into the mix). It’s ok not to have a baby and a bazillion pounds in the bank, as long as you’re achieving what you want to (for me, that’s time with my son while affording to pay the bills and helping more people to go freelance or improve their freelance life). On that note…
    • *deep breath* Share an income report. This one is risky and very scary, because I don’t have a six figure income (or anywhere close). But there are two benefits: a) it shows you what I actually earn, so I don’t feed into the number bending bullsh*t b) it keeps me accountable with some goal setting for the following month. Because I do want to increase my income, but not by adding to the bullsh*t.

    What does success mean to you? I’d love to hear your personal definition of success in the comments.

  • Podcast #25: Why Freelancers should hire a coach

    It’s podcast time! Pop the kettle on, grab your favourite biscuits (hell, cut yourself a huge slice of cake too) and have a listen to this week’s three minute Freelancer’s Teabreak – we’re chatting about hiring a coach.

    Episode #25: Why freelancers should hire a coach

    What would make you hire a coach, as a freelancer? In this episode, we take a look at how hiring a coach can benefit a freelancer – from accountability to beating those brain gremlins that stop us really going for our goals. Coaching is something that I’m really passionate about, so much so that I started my coaching diploma training just a few months after having Oz. It really does make a huge difference to how I now view my business – and the work lifting limiting beliefs is particularly powerful.

    If you’re interesting in finding out more about how coaching can benefit you and your freelance business, I’m offering 15 minute free coaching chats to find out more about what I offer and how it could work for you. To book a session, simply click here to grab a slot in my calendar.

    Are you subscribed to The Freelance Lifestyle podcast? It’s free! You can subscribe on Soundcloud, or subscribe on iTunes, so these quick soundbites pop up in your chosen podcast app as soon as they go live.

  • How three hours and a mistake helped me find my freelance focus

    Recently, I made a mistake. A mistake that cost me £550, an entire day I could have been working on something else and delivered a serious hit to my self-esteem and confidence.  I felt deflated and a bit useless for three days after. I was a Debbie Downer to live with. This was something I was supposed to be good at (and have had plenty of very positive feedback on before).  It was a costly mistake indeed.

    That mistake, was saying yes to a business opportunity that I should have said no to.

    In truth, I’ve spent the last couple of months in a state of confusion with my freelancing career. I’ve been focused on turning a profit and growing my business, with little focus on why or how.  So I said yes to a work gig that didn’t go to plan, and left me feeling like a failure. A feeling that anyone who has ever felt imposter syndrome will fear the most – of not being enough and people knowing it. Of being completely mortified.

    On reflection, I can now see some silver linings to that failure. And that’s thanks to Sile Walsh.

    I’d pre-arranged a coaching session with Sile for this morning, and it really couldn’t have been better timed. Perhaps going in feeling low enabled me to be more honest and vulnerable about what I want,  but I’ve come away feeling like I’m ready to take a fresh, more focused approach to my work. The key thing I’ve learnt, along with lots of other things (which I’ll be sure to blog about soon), is that I didn’t know what my values were before. I didn’t really have a fixed idea of what made me tick and drove me as a freelancer. Or rather, I didn’t conciously know. Sile prompted me to talk about why I love freelancing, and three words kept popping up:

    Freedom, Choice and Passion

    Essentially, I love freelancing because it gives me the freedom to choose to do what I’m passionate about – and I work best when I’m working with those that share those values. I also work best when I work in a way that adopts those values. I’m working on a client checklist, which I’ll share on the blog soon, which I hope will help me with this, and I’m also working on a little Canva poster to pop on my wall and remind me of those three little words.

    On a practical front, I now know what my weaknesses are and where I need to do a little more learning. I also know that I need to give myself a break. Everyone makes mistakes. EVERYONE. Yes, even Beyonce. I chatted to Sally Todd about it, and she told me this: “Every job or project you take on takes you one step closer to understanding what you want out of a career or job and ultimately it is an essential process in fine tuning your offering.” If going through that situation has led me to clarify what I’m doing now….maybe that’s ok.

    Your challenge (if you choose to accept it etc, etc)

    Here’s my challenge for you: Write down why you love freelancing. Write a blurb as if you were explaining it to someone else. Which words crop up the most? Those are your values.

    When I talked to Sile, I didn’t mention money once in this task, despite it being the main purpose of me inititally booking the session. Instead, I talked about how passionate I was about helping people, educating people about freelancing, giving people the option of being self-employed (choice) and having the freedom to pursure a career I truly love. Those are the things that drive me. What drives you?

    Oh, look….it’s me with no make up on camera

    p.s Like the photo? I had a little taster of a headshot photoshoot recently and, for a photo phobic person, loved the results (ALL THE FLATTERING LIGHTING). It’s by Jon Bradley Photography.

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    Want to break out of the corporate cycle, and enjoy the freedom of being a freelancer? Check out the Freelance Lifestyle E-Course!