The quickest and easiest way to stay on track in 2018

Setting your ‘theme’ for 2018 – with love from The Unicorn Factory

Sometimes it feels really difficult and overwhelming to stay on track throughout the year. The unexpected happens. Things take longer than we thought. We have crappy days. And on the flip side we get distracted by new ideas to explore and exciting things to try.

So how can we stay on track through all these ups and downs in a way that doesn’t require hours of planning every week? What can we do that is helpful without being overwhelming? What will fit in with everything else going on so we don’t give up before we’ve even started?

Welcome to the world of THEMES!

For the past three years I’ve chosen a theme. It’s a word that will support me in staying on track with my goals throughout the year. It is something that keeps me headed in the direction of the experiences I really want to have in life.

And it is something I can use in the most crazy moments when I feel like I’m completely off track. It takes no time and requires nothing other than a thought.

In December or early January I set aside a tiny bit of “me” time to reflect on where I want to head this coming year (and let’s face it, half an hour of peace can feel like total bliss in the middle of the festive craziness). During that time I pick a word to keep me on track that I can use in any moment throughout the year.

I first discovered the idea of themes thanks to Jeannine Yoder. Every year she runs a Holiday Challenge for current and aspiring coaches, including a Power of Themes call in January. After that first year I was hooked!

My very first theme was TRUST. And it turned out to be a crazy year where learning how to listen to myself and trust myself meant I just about made it through in one piece. We found out we were pregnant ten days before our wedding, and completed the sale of our first house six days after our daughter was born. In between that I was holding down the day job, working on my fledgling coaching business and completing the Mentor Masterclass programme. There was always too much going on. It was tough.

My year of TRUST was a first step in learning to let go of what others thought of me. Learning to trust myself to know where to push myself, and where I had to say “no” for the sake of my sanity and my health.

One of my favourite things about my first year of having a theme was learning not to beat myself up so much. I didn’t perfectly live my theme. In fact there were plenty of times that if I’d really been in a place of TRUST I would have done things very differently. My theme wasn’t about being perfectly TRUSTING of myself and others, it was more about being aware of when I wasn’t. Seeing the differences between my current situation and where I wanted to be, and seeing it as an opportunity to practice thinking in a different way to help me get there. It was a year of learning how to make different choices.

TRUST was massively challenging but also hugely rewarding. Not that your theme has to be something difficult to overcome. I know people who have chosen themes like BEAUTY, FUN and DELICIOUS… you theme can be all about the good stuff too!

The next year was INTENTION. Setting that theme felt very different to the year before. TRUST felt big and complicated. INTENTION felt straightforward and easy. Being aware of my INTENTIONS in all the different things I would do.

I discovered that INTENTION was another layer on top on TRUST. I set that theme when my little girl was less than two months old and I was having a really tough time. Although I’d spent the best part of the year learning to trust myself as a person, becoming a mother was the biggest challenge of my life. My theme that year was a lot about trusting my intentions, instincts and intuition as a mother, and it did really help me through to the other side of quite a dark time.

Although it shifted my thinking in ways that will support me for the rest of my life, by January 2017 I was ready for some fun!

And that was when BOLD came up for me. I was excited. I imagined it was going to be a big year. Putting myself out there and being visible. Making plenty of noise.

How can BOLD be anything else?

It turns out there’s so much more to BOLD than meets the eye. And I have loved it!!!

BOLD can be quiet. BOLD can be private. BOLD is about not having to explain or justify yourself for not showing up in the way people expect you to. BOLD can be about taking invisible actions and learning that you don’t need the world to validate what is important to you, or approve of your choices and priorities.

BOLD isn’t always loud. BOLD isn’t always visible. BOLD isn’t always about being the centre of attention.

BOLD has taught me how to be unapologetically me.

BOLD has been my best year yet!

Themes can be a rollercoaster ride sometimes, but it’s one I wouldn’t swap for the world. Every one of my themes has brought me closer to living the life I want to live, and achieving my goals in a way that makes that possible. Saying that, none of my themes have quite done it in the way I expected.

What will your THEME be for 2018?

If you like the idea of setting your own theme I’ve shared an audio guide on Soundcloud  to use along with the 2018 Theme Worksheet.

And if you’d like a monthly prompts throughout to explore your theme further you can sign up for those over at

Once I’ve set my theme for 2018 I’ll be sharing it over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter– I would love to hear about your theme and why you chose it by using the hashtag #shiftyourexperience and tagging me in your post.

I can’t wait to share this experience with you in 2018!

Helen x

Huge thanks to Helen for such a fab guest blog and fellow Freelance Mum friend. Love this piece and can’t wait to get ‘theme setting’. Special thanks to our talented photographer, Nicola Jane, for capturing such lovely photos shared here. Love Freelance Mum X


Freelance and flexbile working – making it work around family life

Freelance & flexible work, fitting in around family

Guest blog by Holly Tucker, the woman behind notonthehighstreet and UK Ambassador to Creative Small Businesses

I’m hugely passionate about flexible and freelance working. I started when Harry was just three months old, so my workload had to exist around my life and family. Luckily for me, I was able to follow my dream of creating my own business whilst being a new mum – and I’m not saying it was easy! But it was hugely rewarding.

For many new mums, working in this way is not an option. There are hundreds of thousands of incredibly skilled, talented women (and men!) out there, who will go above and beyond for work and projects that can fit around their families. It seems incredulous to me that businesses aren’t waking up to this yet.

To try and help turn the tables, I recently became an ambassador for Digital Mums, as part of their #WorkThatWorks and #CleanUpTheFWord campaigns. ‘Flexible working’ seems to sometimes feel as if you are giving less than perhaps a permanent member of staff, or maybe it’s just the negative stigmas attached to it. #WorkThatWorks is strong and positive, and just by saying those words, you’re reminded of something we all forget from time to time; work should ‘work’ within your life. I just love the whole concept and hope it helps to really change the landscape for mums.

I read an interesting study by People Per Hour recently, which said that 40% of the US workforce will be freelance by 2020, which is just incredible. We’re seeing the biggest change in the working world in over 100 years, when we shifted from an agricultural to an industrial economy. So many people are tired of the traditional 9-5, and want to take life into their own hands. Technology has advanced so much that it allows us to do this, ‘the office’ is wherever you are! Many of the jobs we do today didn’t even exist 10 years ago, because we’re evolving with these changes

Freelance Mum Blog showcase

Freelance mums, dads and kids Netwalking in Bristol

Included in these new jobs are the thousands of makers, creators and small business owners that I’ve championed, mentored and worked with over the last 15 years. I created Holly & Co to be a destination for this remarkable group, to find colourful advice, inspiration and support. Because I know that this path can sometimes be a bit difficult and lonely, it’s my mission to unite these amazing individuals, because I believe that we’re stronger together.

I feel so ecstatic about the prospect of a more freelance world, and all of the talent, colour and uniqueness it will bring. I can’t wait to see more people take a deep breath, be brave, and live their own ‘Good Life’! Bring on 2020!

12 ideas to manage your business and your time without losing your mind

12 ideas to manage your business and your time without losing your mind

A guest blog from our fab sponsor, Linda Davies-Carr, aka The Master Fixer

As a busy mum of 5 ( 2 girls of my own and 3 bonus boys) who always worked as a full time freelancer I have learned the hard way how to find more time in my day.  Whilst there is no easy answers, or quick fixes (sorry there really aren’t)

I am proud to sponsor Freelance Mum and whilst I don’t always manage to get to the meetings I think what Faye does is fab and the Evening Sessions last week was lovely.

So to help and support all you FM members I’d love to share with you my time busting ideas to help you manage your time and your business without losing your mind!This is what have I learned in 2017 –  here’s my top 12 business takeaways for all you business owners 🤔

1. Be crystal clear on your goals and make sure they are written down.

2. Everyone needs a business coach – whether it’s paid, unpaid or a straight talking mate – everyone needs accountability and some straight talking!

3. You need to know your numbers – if you don’t know your numbers you won’t be managing your business. What gets measured get managed!

4. Manage your pipeline – you need to know who next week’s, next month’s customers are. You need to create new customers flowing into your business.

5. Be flexible and supportive – but don’t be a pushover.

6. Time management – it’s YOUR time, but it’s your mind that manages it. So learn how to develop MIND MANAGEMENT and you’ll find the time. You know we all have the same 24 hours in the day, so be conscious what you spend it on. If you’re not sure then complete a work day audit. If you don’t know how drop me a line and I’ll send you a checklist.

7. Work harder ON your business than you work IN your business. No one has the time – so you have to make a conscious decision to carve out the time. Refrain how you think about it. It’s not admin – its business development.

8. Ask and ask again for testimonials. Never stop asking 🙂

9. Give it away over and over again – it will serve you and your business.

10. Do what you do best and outsource the rest – my favourite and my “go to” classic advice. If you think you can’t afford it, my guidance would be you can’t afford not to.

11. Mindset – your confidence will come from your mindset, so mind your mind. Download a free app, seek help, but take action.

12. Surround yourself with an epic team of people and friends. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most amount of time with – so choose carefully.


If you’re serious about adopting a rock-solid mindset that will help you generate more sales, and lead you to new levels of monthly income, look out for a brilliant affordable coaching membership community (for less than the cost of 2 coffees a week):  The Straight Talking Collective launching in January 2018 with brilliant offers for Freelance Mum Members. Faye will have a link to share with you all soon.

In the meantime please check out my website for lots of free resources and useful information and pop over and say hello on social media.


Linda x