What does it mean to be freelance?
In the ever-changing world of being self employed, what does it mean to be freelance? Here’s a day in the life and my three killer freelance pearls of wisdom ….
As I freelance in Leeds a couple of days a week alongside other projects, my other days are spent sifting through the good ol’ Keep Real stuff. ‘To-Do’ lists, planning/doing workshops, running pop ups and more. We completed the ‘Heading Out’ live music show on mental health awareness week earlier this year…so what does the rest of the year look like?
I use the ‘Notebook‘ app on my phone, which allows me to keep a record of all the thoughts in my head, and compartmentalise them into sections of my work. Mine are ‘Keep Real’, ‘Freelance’, ‘Personal’, ‘Events’ and ‘Writing’. The app also allows me not just to tap away some bullet points, but to voice record, take images, draw or attach documents into each category.
8:30am is a lie-in, and I relish in it. As soon as I am out of bed, the kettle is on, the tea is about to brew and I flip open my laptop to check through emails, check instagram and our socials.
8:30-9:30am: In the Keep Real category lies a sea of swirling thoughts. The next stage of the business is to focus on events for 2020. The last month was spent redesigning the website, doing the social media schedule and completing the photoshoot.
10:00am: I take a scheduled call from a mental health professional to talk through our individual plans and how we can look at working together on Keep Real. I write down some notes and follow up on email.
10:45am: I whip out the filofax. Yeah…that’s right. Without it, I would probably crumble into the dust of sporadic thoughts, half remembered dates and made up meetings. If I put all the things I do in my google calendar, I will 100% forget. There’s just no two ways about it. I grab it from my bag and check my notes of the day, and look at the week ahead.
11:00am: Look over initial concepts for 2020, web testing and updates on content. Will new designs reflect the the web design for the relaunch on World Mental Health Day? How can service users navigate with ease? How do we best advertise/promote our events next year? As I am not a digital wizard, testing and content takes time. I pop the kettle on for another brew.
1:00pm: Lunch. I try take a break from my laptop, but I end up moving my lunch to the side of the laptop and scroll mindlessly through the internet. Take a look at trends and the news. Is there anything I can schedule in for Keep Real’s feed? If things catch my eye, I retweet or share.
1:30pm–3pm: Social media scheduling always comes on a Monday. I plan out the weeks content and make sure our ‘Real Stories, Real People’ blog post goes up on the Tuesday which happens every week. I create the posts, add graphics, navigate automatic posting times (yuck). I also plan for the months ahead, any national days that are important to highlight, what events needs promoting the most.
3:00-4:00pm: 3pm means brew o’clock. I try take a break here. Sometimes I find it difficult to switch off, so I try take a moment while the kettle is boiling. Most of the time, it’s for my brain to simmer away with what’s bothering me the most. Today, it’s grant applications. I’ve submitted…so the waiting game begins. As I wait for a brew.
4:00pm-5ish: Writing and/or designing. I’ve been trying to write more and more about mental health as well as designing for upcoming Keep Real products in the store. At the moment, I’m sketching out ideas for the second installation of the Keep Real Colouring Book. It’s a whopper of a design project personally, as only in the last month I have acquired a graphics tablet.
(Yes…all the design work so far in my Artist journey has been pen/paper and scanning my work in.)
So what tips do I have as a freelancer?
- Don’t turn the TV on: Oh how tempting it is to watch Sky Movies or an old episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Today is a day of work…not distraction. Try write out your key goals for the day. Stick to them if you can.
- Find your flow: I work best in the mornings, especially with trying to keep on top of my emails. If I get things done in the morning, I feel more productive and in my flow creatively. Especially as a creative myself, I can’t force design work or writing. Quick and gratifying tasks are best done in the morning for me. Find your flow what works best for you when you start your day.
- Relish the ride: I am still trying to follow this myself. Freelancing comes with it’s set of trials and tribulations. Work and finding work, isn’t always linear. You do however, find that hunger and drive to go on. My favourite quote I go back to is by my favey woman Patti Smith, “Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.”