Five ways to beat the dreaded freelance isolation zone

Posted on: February 9th, 2014

Welcome to guest writer, Marina Gask.

When I tell people I’m a freelance journalist and press consultant their response is either ‘You lucky thing, is it brilliant being your own boss?’ or “Don’t you find it a bit – well – lonely?”. To be honest, it’s yes to both.

The freedom to choose your own projects and not have to answer to anybody is a joy indeed. But there are times when you can feel isolated and find yourself climbing the walls. Here are a few ways to make sure you enjoy the freedom without wasting your day pining for human company and talking to the TV.

1. Know yourself
If you’ve previously spent years working in a busy office and thriving on human interaction, you’ll need to make sure you build some into your day. Take your laptop to the nearest friendly coffee bar and spend the morning there, or arrange to meet a friend for lunch, or schedule something fun for after a work meeting, or join local networking groups like Meetup (www.meetup.com) to find out about gatherings of likeminded people. Or have a work-free day every week to go out and do something fun – all day. Just because you can.

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A quick and effective way to boost your morale

Posted on: September 21st, 2013

From time to time, we freelancers and solopreneurs have to cope with stuff like losing a client, not winning a potential new project or poor cashflow due to accounts departments that are S-L-O-W to pay.

And, because we work on our own, we don’t have colleagues to turn to when things aren’t going smoothly.

Here’s what I do: I turn to my ‘Thank you, Carole’ list.

About three years ago, I decided that, every time I got a ‘thank you, great work’ type of message from a client, I would copy it into a Word document. I now have several pages of glowing compliments and, whenever I need a morale boost, I simply pull the document up on screen and have a read.

And you know what? It works!

Here are a few examples of the comments I’ve collected:

“Thanks so much for all your hard work on the copy – we really appreciated it.”

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Interruptions – the bane of the freelancer’s life

Posted on: July 8th, 2013

How often do you have days when you just can’t get started on the task in hand because of interruptions?

Here’s the schedule I had planned the other day:

Morning
Go swimming
Tailor my CV for a new business opportunity
Start on a new copywriting project
EAT LUNCH
Afternoon
Do emails
Continue with client project
Finish at 6pm
Attend live Facebook webinar with Mari Smith

And here’s the day I actually had:

Morning
Go swimming (so far so good)
New business opportunity phone call which turned into two further calls
Request for a quote for another new business opportunity and samples of my work
Did emails
ATE LUNCH
Afternoon
Tailored my CV for a new business opportunity
Virgin Cable man came to replace set box top
Received a phone call to fix a meeting and discuss new website/brochure/video script project
Finally started on a new copywriting project
Finished at 9pm
(Will listen to recording of Facebook webinar with Mari Smith another day)

10 ways to connect with others when you work on your own

Posted on: April 28th, 2013

I would guess that the majority of freelancers work from home and spend a large part of the day on their own, working away in splendid isolation. Does that sound like you?

Here are some ways you can avoid feeling lonely:

1. Get out and about

Once a week, make sure you arrange to meet a friend for coffee or for lunch. And, rather than spend all day in your home at your desk on your own, why not go and work in a café?

Office options for a freelancer: a guide

Posted on: February 4th, 2013

Welcome to guest writer, Peter Ames

Working from home is a cheap, flexible and comfortable option taken by many freelancers. You can spend the day close to your loved ones, there’s no commute and the best part is you don’t have to pay for a separate business property.

However there are drawbacks. A recent survey commissioned by Regus has shown how distractions can be all too tempting. Over half the respondents said dealing with family matters was the biggest distraction when working from home, which also shows how distinctions between work and home could begin to blur. If you have to spend all your workday dealing with family matters, you then could find yourself spending increasing amounts of ‘down-time’ staring at your work.

This is where office life can be great. It can boost your productivity and having a separate workspace could really your improve work/life balance as well. Even the dreaded commute could become an invaluable time in which you get into the mind-set for work, and allow you to wind down at the end of the day!

Why a pet is good for your business

Posted on: October 8th, 2012

Last week we got two five-month-old kittens (Charlie and Lola) that needed rehoming. Our place had seemed very empty since February when our cat, Daisy, died.

As freelancers, we tend to work for much of the week on our own, so having a pet can be a great companion. Daisy used to sit with me for most of the day as I worked in my office.

They are also a welcome source of distraction if you are having a bad day: any negatives thoughts are quickly dispelled after you’ve spent 20 minutes playing with a couple of kittens.

Pets are also good ice breakers. A friend of a friend is a freelance party planner and she takes her miniature dachshund to all her meetings. Clients love seeing little Walter.

And it’s not just freelancers who benefit from having a pet around the place. The owner of a small design studio I know brings her dog to the office every day. Everyone who works there agrees that having a labrador padding about the place is a great stress buster.

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