Life as a Freelancer - Struggles and Solutions

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Of course life as a freelancer is exactly as you would expect. Just as challenging, just as rewarding. Freelancing for me is a dream. Its hours of uninterrupted time alone to work on what I love, to focus or wander around eating toast as I need to, not worrying about what anyone thinks but just pouring myself into my dream. 

But also, every day can come with a crisis of some sort. What am I doing, how am I doing, am I good enough, am I doing enough, am I focusing on the right things, the list is endless...

Here are some things that keep me grounded while also keeping me organised and happy. 

Bullet Journaling

This is something I'd heard about ages ago that seemed very much not for me at the time. I came across bullet journaling through blogging and assumed it was all about calligraphy (which I'm crap at) and scrap booking (which isn't my thing) - but it's so not. It's a life saver. It's sitting in front of me right now and it's my whole work life in one place, I rely on this little book for everything. It's a way of tracking what I need to do, what I have done, and when I need to get stuff done by... but it's also a way for me to track my progress, my success, what works, what doesn't, and it's a way for me to look back and see how far I've come. Mine is just writing, no decoration, but I prefer a minimalist sort of set up anyway.

Here's what helped me understand what bullet journaling is really about.

Here's what convinced me to give it a try and showed me what tools I would work best for me.

And here's what helped me find extra stuff to add into it like a mood tracker, etc...

Podcasts and Audio Books

I thought I would miss working around people more than I actually do. I'm fairly social and talkative, but I'm definitely a lazy conversationalist and an introvert - so working on my own suits me really well. Having said that though, Adam has told me more than once that I need to get out of the house because I'm turning into a hermit. A happy compromise for me has been podcasts and audio books - they keep me engaged with something other than my own thoughts, and help keep me company during all that admin that I'd otherwise procrastinate on for weeks at a time. Here are my top podcasts and a few audio book series I've loved:

The Lively Show. From the Heart. My Dad Wrote a Porno. Hashtag Authentic.

The Rivers of London. An African Love Story. Mistress of the Art of Death. David Attenborough - Life on Air. Flavia de Luce.

Spreadsheets

Organising gets me super excited - I feel like I should say that's lame but I'm also fairly positive that everyone loves a well organised system so here's mine: I use google drive for all of my spreadsheets (they're google spreadsheets) and I have one for every kind of client, from photography work to video editing, influencing and then I even separate by industry. I also have a separate folder for each client in which I keep my contracts, invoices, notes, etc... I try to keep nothing on my laptop because the footage and programs I work with tend to be really bulky, so anything that causes my work to slow down causes my stress levels to rise! Conclusion: hooray for cloud based organisation!

Postcards

I just got these through, but I thought they would turn out to be a fun way of getting the people I meet to be interested in my work. They're bigger than a business card so harder to lose, they're also portable examples of my portfolio and what services I offer as a freelancer, and people are more likely to use them as book marks or decorations for their desk.

Work Space

I've tried to work in several different places around my flat, my neighbourhood... the world... and none of them really compare to my desk. I kind of think of my work as a piece of my heart, and getting my desk ready, organising my bullet journal, having nice things around me all day every day... it feels kind of like a weird sort of nesting. But it's an important process for me to take ownership of my work, to make it my own and it kind of gives me confidence - putting time into the enjoyment of the process of working has helped me feel better about the time that I have to spend at my desk, when I'm not out shooting.

Work Wife

Or wives. For me I have one work wife, which is a funny kind of truism because we now occasionally talk to each other about work as if we are actually husband and wife. Tania and I get together a few times a week to work together, and when we're not working together we're messaging back and forth, proofreading each others work, chatting about day rates and project rates, talking clients and collaborations, checking up on each others to-do lists, etc... freelancing, especially in an industry where there are few rules, it can be really tough! How much to charge, finding someone's email, getting an introduction... I also have chats full of the most inspiring ladies on Instagram and WhatsApp where we just talk about work, money, life balance, all that stuff. Being connected to people who are doing something similar to you is so, so important.

Exercise

One of the first things I did when I found myself in a position to set my own schedule was invest more time in my body. I've always known that I'm better when I'm physically active, my head is clearer, I have more confidence, I sleep better, the list goes on. But I HATE the gym, I feel like a hamster on a wheel. I'm also bad at exercising on my own because I'm so good at coming up with excuses and things that I "should" be doing. I knew I would never exercise if it were just up to me, so I started using a personal trainer! Honestly it's not at all what I thought it would be. The first few weeks my body ached like crazy, and now it still aches, but in a good way! I work better when I have someone other than myself to feel accountable to, and it actually just feels like fun games for adults. Every session is something different and I really look forward to it twice a week.

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