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Monday, 19 February 2018

6 TIPS FOR FREELANCERS/BUSINESS OWNERS

topshop stripe jeans
 White boots / Striped jeans / Shaggy coat / High neck top / 

Today I thought I’d write a topic with my tips and tricks if you’re freelance or if you work for yourself. I get an awful lot of emails asking me for blogging tips and tricks and quite a few about starting a business or, working for yourself. I wrote a blog post quite a while back about being a full time blogger, but I thought it would be nice to write down a few tips and tricks for any fellow business owners or freelancers out there.


Find someone in a similar position - First things first, try and find someone in a similar position to you, whether it’s through a Facebook group for local business owners, an alumni uni page for other people who run businesses or someone else in the industry. On bad days where you feel like ripping your hair out, it’s good to have a solid friend there, a friend you can call/voice note/email/text and mainly, trust. I have so many wonderful friends in my life and I’ve met them through work. I can text them and bounce ideas off them. I can go for coffee with them and talk to them about my problems. It’s really good to just work alongside someone in a similar situation. When I was at University, I felt like no-one else did the same thing as me, I then joined SPARK which was the entrepreneurial leg of the Univerity, it opened my eyes as I suddenly met all of these talented people running crazy businesses alongside their studies. It inspired me and motivated me.

Meet new people - 
We tend to be cocooned inside quite a lot when working from home, I know I am anyway. Some days, I love it and I never really feel lonely because if I’m not emailing people, I’ll be at meetings. I completely understand though that some people can get really lonely. My brother used to work from home alone and he was so lonely. I'm fortunate to have my Mum working alongside me in the office which definitely helps. I think it’s really important to still get out and meet people when you work for yourself. Of course, it depends what your job is, but even if you head out for a walk or a coffee once a week, it’ll clear your mind and banish that loneliness.
topshop denim

Get into a routine - 
I get quite a lot of tweets (@emshelx) asking how I remain motivated when I work for myself (read: my top motivation tips). I am naturally a motivated person anyway, but some days, it would be easy to just stay in bed all day and not even set an alarm. I think it’s really important to get into a routine. My routine was all over the place and if I’m honest, it was a bit of a mess. I’d find myself replying to emails all day, not getting any actual work done and then working away until 3am and then getting up crazy early. I couldn’t cope. I’ve now started turning my laptop off at 8pm, having downtime, going in the bath, watching some cr*p TV for my mind and then going to bed early so I can wake up early. I make sure I fit the gym in every day to break up my day too and it feels like more of a routine. I think having a structure in your day is so good. Set an hour timer and smash through your emails in an hour. Put your phone away and work on your priority list. I’m a big believer in to do lists so I find writing them really helps structure my day, often I will write them in time order so I literally plan my day hour by hour. It sounds crazy but it works. Read my to do list tips. 

Get a hobby away from work -
I think getting a hobby away from work is really important. When you run your own business or work for yourself, of course you become completely absorbed in it, every waking moment. For me, my hobby is going to the gym. I go to David Lloyd and feel incredible after putting my phone down for an hour and spinning all the tension away. Find something to do that you love and make sure it isn’t work. Whether it's the gym, walking to the shop, going for a coffee or listening to podcasts.

Separate your workspace from your home space - I find separating your workspace and home space is such an important one. I have an office in my house and I like to work in that and then when I go into my lounge for example, I feel relaxed and it doesn’t feel like I’m working. I used to work from my bed when I was a University and I wasn’t half as productive. Living in one room made me feel constantly stressed so if space is an issue, even if you set up your kitchen table as ‘an office’ in the day and then relax in your lounge on an evening, it feels good separating relaxing space and work space. It also means you’ll be in the frame of mind to work when you’re in the working space.

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Find somewhere you like working from - If working from home doesn’t suit you, (I know some people hate it) you could always work from a coffee shop or something similar. I often feel quite awkward in coffee shops because I end up spending so much money so I feel entitled to sit there and use their wifi, it is nice once in a while for a change of scenery though. When I lived in Canada it was the norm to spend all day working in a coffee shop but I feel like remote working is kinda new to the UK. I personally work from David Lloyd gyms quite often, it works out so well for me because it means I can go to my gym class, shower in the gorgeous changing rooms and then sit and work all day, without having to take extra time out of my day to drive home there and then. I already have my membership for the gym and David Lloyd membership means you can use any club, at any time. It means I don’t have to stop at motorway service stations and sit on my laptop in the car when I have urgent work to do or, when I’m working in different areas of the country. I can always find a David Lloyd nearby (they even have some in Europe) and they always have such lovely office spaces. It’s such a perk that with your gym membership you get free access to the high speed wifi and office space. I see people in there every single day working away, they have private office spaces, adults only spaces and then communal areas, I know so many people who have made friends in there too as they also run businesses. Renting an office space is expensive and with this you get your gym membership so it actually works out incredibly reasonable. One of my friends owns a beauty business and she works from David Lloyd every single day and then fits her workouts in-between working. If you are someone who struggles with structure, it’s also a really good way to get structure into your day. It feels as if you are waking up and ‘going to the office’ and you are almost forced to work harder in an environment like this because other people around you are working hard too.

Days off are allowed -
Last but not least, if you read my top tips for dealing with stress blog post, you’ll know I said that days off are completely allowed. Don’t beat yourself up for taking time off, it’s essential. You need a day off so you can rejuvenate, clear your mind, start fresh and not burn out. It’s tough because a day off usually = having to turn down work, but at least take your weekends off. I was in a situation where I was working 7 days a week, from 7am-2am and it was no good for my health. There is no point working so hard to make a living if you forget to make a life. Freelance life/running a business is fun, exhilarating and exciting but it can also be scary, stressful and nerve-wracking so please, be kind to yourself, take advice from others (a problem shared is a problem halved) and remember, sleep is important. If you burn out, you won’t be able to work hard or even enjoy your life. Success is measured in so many different ways and burning yourself out isn't a good way to do it.

Phew, so there we have it. I really hope you liked this blog post with my top tips for freelancers or business owners or if you just want to use these tips in your day to day life. Do leave a comment and let me know what you think about this topic and if you have any tips.

Lots of love, Em x

You might also like:

6 Ways To Feel Motivated/Inspired 

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