What’s your theme for 2019?

Rin Hamburgh tells the story of how she discovered theming, why it’s a revolutionary practice for business owners, and how you can apply its principles in your own work and life to make sure the new year is your best yet!

Back in November 2014, a word popped into my head. The word was Hope. It kept coming back to me in all sorts of ways – in things I was reading, in conversations I was having. As we headed towards Christmas, I decided that perhaps the following year would be filled with hopes and dreams come true. It was a nice thought.

Sure enough, in 2015 my partner finally passed his driving test and got a promotion. We sold our flat and had an offer accepted on a house. And, most importantly, I fell pregnant and gave birth to two beautiful baby girls. I also tested out a little idea I’d had about using junior freelance writers to help me increase my capacity at work.

As I sat in the hospital with my newborn twins in November 2015, another word popped into my head: Peace. Crazy! How would 2016 be peaceful with not one but two babies around?? Not to mention a house move. I didn’t know then that I’d also be a single mum before January was out, and that I’d launch my new business in the August of that year.

And yet despite 2016 being an absolute whirlwind – with an awful lot of challenges, I’ll admit – somehow a sense of peace did seem to cover the whole year. I held onto that word like a mantra during those sleepless nights, endless hours of breastfeeding, and difficult conversations with lawyers about maintenance and visitation rights.

Knowing how the previous year really had been filled with hope somehow allowed me to believe that peace could maintain me through this one.

The power of theming

I won’t bore you with all the details of the subsequent years – though I can tell you that 2017 was a year of Opportunity and 2018 has had two words, Growth and Balance – but I will tell you why this isn’t an example of me losing it from lack of sleep or too many G&Ts!

In fact, although I honestly had no idea at the time, theming your year is something of a recent trend.

It’s a technique that Mike Vardy, productivity strategist, speaker and author of The Productivityist Playbook talked about in an interview in Forbes last year. Vardy has three words, which he picks in August because he likes to start his year in September.

He says: “It’s nice to have that consistency throughout the year, that you just have to think about these three words as opposed to some massive resolution, or vision statement, or mission statement…

“It keeps me on track, and it allows me to make a quick gut check and look back at the Mike Vardy – who in August decided on those three words – as opposed to trusting what Mike Vardy in the moment might want to do, because Mike Vardy in the moment sometimes isn’t the smartest guy.”

How to pick and use theme words

While Vardy picks his theme words, mine just seem to arrive one day out of the blue. I’ve started to look out for them now but I try not to direct them because, though I don’t quite understand how, they seem to come from outside of me and be almost predictive in their nature. But you could also be very deliberate about choosing and setting your words.

You might want to take yourself off one day and spend some time quietly reflecting on next year and what you want to change or achieve. Do some journaling or free writing, without too much of a focus in mind other than the upcoming year in general.

Perhaps take some magazines along and tear out images or phrases that jump out at you. If you’re someone who enjoys meditation, yoga or some other form of mental, physical or emotional relaxation then by all means, bring that into your reflection time.

The point is to find something that resonates with you. And there are no rules! It surprised me that I got two words for 2018 but it felt completely right that as I focused on growing my business I should put as much energy into maintaining balance in my life – investing in my children, my relationships, my health and so on. Sure enough, I’ve doubled my team and my turnover but I’ve also started taking weekends off and been on three holidays!

As for how you use your words, again I don’t think there should be any rules. Mine have often been a comfort that I’ve held onto when things have been tough. In 2017 the word Opportunity came with a real sense that I needed to be active in taking hold of those opportunities, which gave me courage to apply for the Entrepreneurial Spark programme and to hire my first employee.

This is what Mike Vardy had to say in his Forbes interviews:

“When I’m choosing the projects that I want to pursue, when I’m deciding what conferences I’m going to attend, when I look at what is going to take my attention away from my intentions that I already have or what things are going to fuel my intentions going forward, I can look at these three words. If it doesn’t hit two of those three words, if my goals or my projects or any new idea, I just cast it aside.”

 What does 2019 have in store for you?

This year, things have happened a little differently for me. In October a picture popped into my head, instead of a word. A picture of a bean seedling just poking it’s head above the soil, all fresh and green and bursting with life. I wondered what it might mean, but pushed it to the back of my mind. After all, I don’t get my theme word until November and I’m something of a traditionalist!

And sure enough, on the first Monday in November as I was driving the girls to nursery and contemplating that very inspiring picture of a bean seedling, it arrived. Breakthrough! That would be my word for 2019.

Already I can see how it is going to play out – we’ve just won our biggest ever project, which will be kicking off in the new year, I’ve invested in a coaching programme to help me navigate the changes in my life and career, and we’re applying to go back into the Natwest Accelerator Programme.

I know that having a positive word doesn’t guarantee that everything will go the way I want it to. But given how important mindset is to success, I’m glad that I have such an exciting word to hold on to.

What about you? Have you got a word for next year? If not, it’s time to do some digging!

How to Balance Business and Babies

How to balance business and babies

This fab blog was written by writer, sponsor and fellow ‘Freelance Mum’ Rin Hamburgh (who writes from the heart and is a big fan of being freelance). Thank you for your brilliant blog Rin.

No one can prepare you for the realities of being a parent, can they? No matter how much research you’ve done, no matter how many friends you’ve watched go through the sleepless nights and the teething terrors, it just doesn’t hit home properly until you get there for yourself. And when you’re trying to run a business at the same time, it’s even more intense.

I was a freelance journalist and copywriter when the twins were born and didn’t really take much in the way of maternity leave. In fact, I remember taking a call from a client while I was in hospital, and writing a feature for the Guardian while balancing my laptop on a Pampers box and expressing for the girls’ next feed!

That’s the great thing about us freelance mums – we’re pretty hard core. But there’s no doubt that balancing business and babies (of any age) is a real challenge. So are there any tips and tricks that can make the process easier? Definitely. Here’s what I’ve learned in my freelance mum journey.

Set realistic expectations

Both with your clients and with yourself. It’s no good promising the earth and then stressing yourself out or doing a poor job because you’ve overestimated how much you can actually achieve. It could be that you need to take on fewer clients or give longer lead time for when the work will be delivered. Remember to build in time for disasters and emergencies – trips to A&E or unexpected vomiting bugs will happen and will definitely disrupt your schedule.

Call in the troops

If you’re going to successfully balance motherhood and maintaining your business – even at a lower intensity than before the kids came along – you’ll need help. There are plenty of different paid childcare option from au pairs to nannies, nurseries and childminders. I got a nanny in for just four hours a week to start with, when the girls were 3-months-old. I felt comfortable knowing they were just in the other room if they needed me, but I could still crack on with work.

And then of course there’s family and friends. Why not try doing a swap with another mum in business, with you looking after all the kids one day and her taking over on another day? Or look at a combined childcare and co-working space like Caboodle. You may find that a combination of all of these works best for you. My two are almost three now and we do two full days at nursery and one full day with a nanny, which suits us all really well.

Delegate what you can

No one can do everything, it’s just not possible. And when you have little people to look after then it’s even more of a challenge. Think about the things you find most difficult, stressful or time consuming. Work out how much your time is worth and then see if it might be cheaper to get someone else to do one or two tasks.

This could be getting a cleaner so you can crack on with your admin instead of scrubbing floors, or outsourcing your admin to a VA so you can get more client hours in. Do the maths before you automatically dismiss the idea as too expensive. Just because you do something yourself, doesn’t mean it’s free. Time is money!

Find support and solidarity

Ok, so this is possibly a bit biased but honestly, the support you can find at something like Freelance Mum will be invaluable as you try and balance parenthood and business. Just knowing that you’re not alone will lift a huge weight from your shoulders and you’ll find a fresh sense of motivation and passion as you listen to other mums sharing the ups and downs of their journey. You’ll also get plenty of tips, referrals and even actual work from the other members, which will all help to boost your wellbeing as well as your business.

Do what works for you

When the twins were tiny, my mum was always berating me for not napping when they did. But for me, the process of getting a bit of work done was actually more of a draw for me. It gave me a sense of control over my life that was otherwise sorely lacking and was, I honestly believe, one of the things that kept me sane during those first few difficult months. It also boosted my self esteem no end.

That said, if napping is what will make you feel good – or cleaning, or binge-watching Netflix – then do it! Especially in the early stages, keeping sane should be your primary goal, for yourself, your children and your business (in that order).

Do you have any tips you’d add? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch on social – we’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And why not come along to one of our Bristol meetings?

With huge thanks to Super Funky Penguin for the photo.

5 reasons why being freelance is awesome

This fab blog was written by writer, sponsor and fellow ‘Freelance Mum’ Rin Hamburgh (who writes from the heart and is a big fan of being freelance). Thank you for your brillaint blog Rin.

 

I can’t believe it’s been over eight years since I went freelance. It was a pretty massive step for me at the time, as it likely is for most people. But I was newly single, about to turn 30 and just decided to go for it and make the leap.

These days, of course, I am employed again – albeit by my own company – and working with a fab team. But I still remember the joy of coming out of formal employment into the world of freelancing.

As we approach IPSE’s National Freelancers Day (and the corresponding Freelance Mum event, which I am super excited about!) I thought it would be good to celebrate the choice of 2 million people in the UK who have been courageous enough to go independent. Here are five reasons why being freelance is awesome:

You can do the work you love

When you’re freelance, you’re the boss. That means you can choose what projects you want to work on and which ones you would rather avoid. Ditto clients. Ok, so you have to make sure you can pay the bills, but if a project or a client isn’t worth the hassle then you can ditch them and use the time to find someone new without having to worry about whether you can justify it to the boss.

 

You can avoid rush hour traffic

When the morning commute is a stroll of just a few meters from your bedroom to your study, you save yourself an awful lot of stress. In fact, there are studies that show that a commute of more than 30 minutes negatively affects both your productivity and health, so avoiding your car is definitely one of the advantages of being freelance. Even if you do have an office to go do, as a freelancer you can probably choose your hours so you don’t hit the rush hour.

 

 

You can develop your skillset

As a freelancer you don’t just do the job your clients pay you to do. You’re also the HR director, the finance director, the IT director, the marketing director. You learn so much, including how to juggle your time and how to sell yourself and how to make strategic decisions. These skills are useful in and of themselves, and if you ever decide to go back into employed work you’ll find they add a lot to your CV.

 

You can work in your PJs

I’ve lost track of the number of client calls I’ve had while still snuggled up in my pyjamas (or dressing gown or slouchy ‘not fit for public viewing’ clothes). Assuming you’re having a voice call rather than a video one, it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss business without being suited and booted. You’ll save a fortune on your work wardrobe!

 

You can choose your own hours

Speaking of which, having a flexible schedule is useful in so many ways besides saving you time on your commute. It also means that you can work to your natural rhythms. If you’re a morning person you can get up and crack on straight away, or if you have a slump in the middle of the afternoon you can have a little rest. You can decide to take a sunny day off and make up for it in the evening or on a rainy weekend. As a freelancer, it’s your choice!

If you’re freelance and feeling the stress – because there are challenges too, of course – then hopefully this will remind you of why you made the decision to leave a full-time position. And if you’re still trying to decide if it’s for you, come along to a Freelance Mum event in Bristol to meet some amazing women who have been there and done that. And don’t forget to check out IPSE, who are there to help all independent professionals and self-employed people in the UK.

Imposter syndrome and how to deal with it

This fab blog was written by writer, sponsor and fellow ‘Freelance Mum’ Rin Hamburgh (who is 100% real and definitely not an imposter!). Thank you for your brillaint blog Rin.

Business owner? You? Don’t be ridiculous! You haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. You’re just making it up. There are hundreds of people out there that are far better than you. Any minute now people are going to discover that you’re a fraud.

Sound familiar? That’s the voice of Imposter Syndrome, and I’m sure most of us have heard it at some point in our lives. For some, it rarely goes away. And it can be exhausting.

But here’s the good news: even mega successful women like actress Emma Watson and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg have admitted to suffering from imposter syndrome. You’re not alone. And you don’t have to put up with it!

It took me ages to start referring to myself as the founder of a copywriting agency. It just sounded far too important when really I was just a busy mum doing my best with a few freelancers to help out with the workload. Even now that I’m building a team of employees I still have to fight the urge to justify myself, especially with big clients.

So what can you do to reduce or get rid of imposter syndrome altogether?

Don’t compare

I think it was former US president Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s also a big factor when it comes to imposter syndrome. The problem with comparison is that we compare people’s outside with our inside. So we see all these amazing business owners and think, “Crikey, they’re doing so much better than me!” But we forget that inside they’re probably feeling the same – and they’re looking at your outside and thinking you’re doing well too!

Let go of perfect

If you set the bar too high, you’re setting yourself up to fail. The truth is that no one gets it right all the time – not Deborah Meaden, not Richard Branson, not anyone you admire in the business world or anywhere else for that matter. So be realistic with yourself. As you do that, you will be able to act in a much more authentic way. You’ll start to feel like yourself again and so that sense of being a fraud will slowly start to disappear.

Talk about it

The thing about imposter syndrome is that it festers away in the dark. As soon as you bring it out into the light it’s much easier to deal with. Talking about how you feel will help you to see things for what they are. You could share your worries with a friend, find yourself a mentor or coach, even get some therapy if you think it could be useful. Personally, I’ve done all three in the last year and it’s had hugely positive results! You’ll also find plenty of support at Freelance Mum. Because we’re all in the same boat and we totally get it. And that’s invaluable.

Look how far you’ve come

While no one is suggesting you should live in the past, it is really important to stop every now and then and take a glance back at the road you’ve travelled. You may feel like an imposter, but if you think about where you were five years ago, or a year ago or even last month you’ll probably realise that you’ve already improved as a business person – and that means you’ll continue to do so. Remember that we’re all a work in progress.

Relish the compliments

It’s a very British habit to shrug off compliments or try to justify or explain them away. But people don’t generally bother to say nice things unless they mean it. So when a customer or client gives you a testimonial, don’t just see it as a useful marketing tool. Really absorb it and let it bolster your self-image.

Invest in training

It could be that the reason you’re feeling insecure is because there are areas of your business you don’t actually feel that confident about. You might be an excellent photographer but not really understand turnover and profit margins. Or maybe you’re a top notch designer but have no idea how to actually go about selling your services. If that’s the case, why not get some training? There are all sorts of workshops out there – online and face to face – some of which are free through organisations like Get Set For Growth. With a bit of extra knowledge under your belt, you’ll soon start to feel more confident.

Get some help

There’s nothing more stressful than slogging away at things you just aren’t any good at. And it’s ok to admit where your weaknesses are! We all have them. If you’re no good with numbers, get a book keeper. If thinking of interesting things to say on social media gets you all flustered, outsource it. By operating in your “zone of genius”, you’ll experience more confidence boosting wins – and the stuff you’re outsourcing will get done more efficiently and effectively too.

If you’re looking for a supportive network in which to grow your business and your confidence, come along to Freelance Mum in Bristol. We meet on the first Tuesday or every month at St Paul’s Church and on the last Friday at Windmill Hill City Farm. We’d love to see you there.

Professional voiceover artist & broadcaster, hosts Bristol’s 1st National Freelancers Day

Professional voiceover artist & broadcaster, hosts Bristol’s 1st National Freelancers Day

Bristol based voice-over artist and broadcaster Faye Dicker will be hosting a mini-festival celebrated the diversity of solo-preneurs as part of National Freelancers’ Day in June.

Faye, who is the founder of parent-friendly business organisation Freelance Mum, was asked by The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) to host the Bristol event, marking the first ‘day’ of its kind in the country outside of London.

Faye said: “IPSE have been sponsoring Freelance Mum since 2016 and they asked me if I would host National Freelancers’ Day in my home city.

“It’s the first time they’ve held fringe events outside of London so it’s an inaugural event for the city. It’s a really big occasion and celebrates the small but mighty and how much people – who can often feel invisible or hidden – are contributing to their local communities and economy. I’m really honoured IPSE asked Freelance Mum to host this event. It’s brilliant.”
Freelance Mum at The Farm to mark National Freelancers’ Day takes place at Windmill Hill City Farm in Bedminster, Bristol, on Thursday, June 28 from 10am to 3pm. The theme – to tie in with the World Cup – will be around teams and working together.

The morning session, from 10am to noon, sees the signature ‘Netwalk’ taking place through a marketplace of stalls, and a talk by Linda Davies-Carr, owner of bespoke coaching company The Master Fixer, on setting yourself up for success and getting ready to take the next step.

From noon until 1pm, entertainment will come from the newly-formed Business Choir in their first live performance – an organisation set up freelance parent Amy Box.

In-keeping with the World Cup theme, the afternoon session, from 1pm to 3pm, sees a guest panel discuss how to build your dream team. Speakers include media consultant and journalist Fiona Scott, LinkedIn expert and Front of Mind coach Greg Cooper, and entrepreneur and growth coach from Spotless Group Darren Clark. There will be a chance to put your questions to the panel.

National Freelancers’ Day also takes place at King’s Place, central London, where awards will include Freelancer of the Year and Ambassador of the Year. Faye is one of just four individuals shortlisted for the national Ambassador of the Year Title. 
Faye said: “It’s important to stress the Bristol event on June 28this open to anyone, not just freelance mums, so if you’re self-employed or freelance then you can come along. And even if you’re not, come along anyway and enjoy all the stalls.

“There will be a market place full of freelancers showcasing their wares, services and products, with everything from craft for children to accountants. It will be a real mix and will be both business to business and business to consumer, so it really has got a wide appeal. “It will have a lovely mini-festival vibe and will be a real celebration, so everyone is welcome to come along and enjoy it.”

Tickets are available for either session or the whole day. To book, and for more information.

With huge thanks to Fiona Scott Media Consultancy, for working together with Freelance Mum and writing this press release and Nicola Jane Photography for the image.

 

The importance of putting your prices up

It’s been four years since Freelance Mum launched. The initial pilot session was free, then we started charging a nominal fee of £5. Over the years there has been a slight increase but nothing that really reflected the level of input that actually goes into running an event. And believe me, quite literally hours go into every one – far more than you could probably imagine.

Freelance Mum Blog showcase

Freelance mums, dads and kids Netwalking in Bristol

As I write the prices have just increased from £9 for members and £12 for non-members, to £15 for members and £20 for non-members. Membership is £45 and includes a free entry to FM, a day pass to the Lido (worth £20) and a whole heap of member benefits.

Today I had my first complaint about the prices. Although I was sad the member didn’t feel they could afford to attend Freelance Mum any more and hope our paths cross again, it reinforced my decision.

We want Freelance Mum to be sustainable. We want Freelance Mum to be here for generations to come. We know Freelance Mum is unique – we are regularly recognised for our work and achievements. Just last week I was invited to the Women in West Business Awards. To celebrate 100 years since women got the vote, they drew up a list of the ‘100 most influential women in the West’ – and there I was, with my name on the list for my work with Freelance Mum!

What an honour, what an incredible recognition that the small but mighty Freelance Mum can make a difference to peoples lives every day. And 100 years since getting the vote, in our own Freelance Mum way, we’re carrying that mantle.

I digress – but it’s an important digression to make. Because above allowing parents in business to network, Freelance Mum shows the next generation that you can do the thing you love. To do that, though, there has to be an element of realism… and so, back to the prices.

At the moment Freelance Mum is very much a labour of love. Every penny that comes in goes straight into building our little community. In four years Freelance Mum hasn’t reached the tax threshold. And that isn’t sustainable. Unless we can make the model work, how can it possibly last? How can we possibly empower or be a good role model for the next generation?

I had a sobering conversation while doing my books recently and it boiled down to one thing – the prices HAVE to increase. And really, if you’re in business, is £15 or £20 a month too much to spend on your business? Not forgetting it is also business expense so tax deductible, and you don’t need to fork out for childcare because you can bring your children along!

So here’s what you’re getting when you come to Freelance Mum – I mean the actual nuts and bolts, not just the enormous sense of well being and the lovely ‘warm and fuzzies’ of belonging to such a fabulous group. Here’s the lowdown:

  • 2 x hours of facilitated networking
  • Guest speaker
  • A chance to showcase your business on the gubbins table
  • Bottomless Fair-trade tea & coffee
  • Locally made fresh cakes and brownies
  • Follow up support emails
  • Delegates contacts (where permission is granted)
  • A great location
  • Snacks for children
  • Craft for children
  • Free entry for children
  • Professionally photographed events – to capture the memories
  • Coverage and support on social media
  • Ongoing support in The Mothership

We remain by far one of the cheapest networking events in Bristol and we’re entirely unique as we include children. In fact because it’s unique I’m regularly told by one business coach that I should actually be charging a premium!

But I don’t because I get it. I’m a mum too, to two beautiful little girls who I adore. I know just how hard it is to run a business while looking after little people. Don’t forget, that this was born of my own need of trying to juggle my work as a voiceover artist around my children. I honestly feel your pain.

But not charging a sensible rate isn’t doing any one any favours. In fact, it’s does any one in a similar industry a disservice, because it undercuts them and gives others a false impression that the cheaper model is sustainable.

Which is why (after a great deal of thought and far too many apologies) the prices have finally been increased to reflect the hours of time that go into Freelance Mum. We want Freelance Mum to be here for generations to come, because doing the thing you love around bringing up children – well actually, that’s priceless.

Exhibitions – how to make your stall stand out

Make your business stand out from the crowd

A friend of mine recently posted a shout out on social media, asking whether anyone had any experience of having a stand at an exhibition and whether it was worth it. It was really interesting to see the responses. For some, it just wasn’t worth the time, money and effort. But others had stories of how it had gained them some great new business as well as exposure.

The truth is that there are many different factors that might influence your decision as to whether or not having a stall is worthwhile. How much will it cost? Are your target clients or customers going to be there? Do you have the time or capacity to man the stall for a whole day, bearing in mind that it’s a day away from your desk and your client work?

Personally I’m still wavering on some of the big events where I’d need to spend several hundred pounds on the space alone. But when I found out about the Freelance Mum National Freelancers Day event on 28 June – where stalls are just £25, or £20 for FM members – I jumped at the chance. Not only am I certain it will be loads of fun (how can in not be with Faye in charge?!) but at that price it’s the ideal opportunity to practice ‘stall craft’ and test out ideas that I may go on to use at future events.

Researching this blog post has been a fascinating experience. Because another thing I’ve realised is that the value you get out of exhibiting is as much about how much effort you put in as anything else. So here are some ways you can maximise your experience should decide to come along to Freelance Mum’s National Freelancers Day extravaganza or any other event.

Be strategic

What do you want to get out of the event? Do you want sign ups to your newsletter? Make sure you have a sign up sheet or a laptop where people can fill out their details. Are you hoping to make a splash on social media? Consider investing in an Instaframe (you’ve all seen the brilliant FM one!) and get everyone who visits your stall to use it and tag you in the post. By knowing in advance what you want to achieve from the day, you’ll also be better able to track how successful you’ve been rather than just guessing from how it ‘felt’.

Be visible

In a room full of businesses all hoping to gain people’s attention it’s important that your brand is instantly recognisable. Whether you go for a simple roller banner or invest a decent sized budget in kitting out your stand with the whole works, it’s definitely something you need to think carefully about. If at all possible, do use a graphic designer who can help you get the professional finish – we’ve got lots of lovely people in the Freelance Mum gang who can help!

Be inventive

The more outside the box your thinking, the more memorable you will be. You’ll also attract more people to your stand in the first place. I went to an event where local tech company Black Star had hired an ice cream machine and were giving away pitch black ice cream! And Faye was telling me about an accountancy firm who hired a beautician to give people mini manicures while they were chatting about their business finances. It’s worth noting that both of these companies are service based, proving you don’t need to be selling beautiful products to make getting a stall worth it!

Be memorable

Attracting people to your stand isn’t the end of the story. You want them to remember you when they walk away too. This might be because you had a really engaging video or animation playing, or everyone manning the stall was dressed head to toe in gold (well, you would remember that wouldn’t you?!). Also be sure that you have printed marketing material they can take away, whether that’s a brochure, flyer or even just a business card (you’ll need more than you think!) – something that will jog their memory when they’re clearing out their bag later and hopefully prompt them to get in touch.

Be proactive

You don’t have to wait for people to contact you after an event. If you’ve planned properly and made sure to collect contact details, you can get in touch with them. The key is to ensure you have their permission so you meet GDPR requirements (Cat Ainsworth from The Dot Project did a fab talk on this at FM this month, so she’s the person to ask for more details). Following up to say thank you for visiting the stall or perhaps offering a special discount is a great way to put yourself back in their mind and hopefully develop a relationship that will lead them to buy from or work with you in the future.

If your head is buzzing with ideas now (mine certainly is!) then why not put them into practice at the Freelance Mum National Freelancers Day event on Thursday 28 June from 10am to 4pm. You never know, you might just get the exhibiting bug!

Download the booking form, to book your stall.Stall Application Freelancers Day

This fab post has been written by Rin Hamburgh.

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 www.themasterfixer.com and pop over and say hello on social media.

Hugs

Linda x

CBeebies Presenter, Katy Ashworth, becomes ambassador to Bristol business, Freelance Mum

Cbeebies presenter, Katy Ashworth, has become ambassador to the Bristol networking group, Freelance Mum.

The ‘I Can Cook’ presenter and children’s entertainer, joined Freelance Mum earlier this year, when she guest spoke at their Brave, Bold and Bonkers event in March on International Women’s Day.

A freelancer and mum to Charlie (3) Katy is no stranger to the world of freelancing and motherhood,

It’s a real honour to be ambassador for Freelance Mum. As a busy freelance mum, I know how bonkers it is, juggling your career around children. Freelance Mum gives people a chance to connect with others in the same boat. It’s a real lifeline and great to be part of.”

Founder of Freelance Mum and voiceover artist, Faye Dicker said,

“I’m delighted Katy is joining us. From the moment we first spoke, we just clicked –  we shared the same understanding of freelancing and motherhood. When Katy guest spoke in March, she instantly connected with the group. She might be a celebrity, but she ‘gets it’, people relate to her world and her to ours. The mums and little ones all love her”.

Freelance Mum runs networking events in Bristol, which allow parents in business to network and crucially, bring their children. Born of Faye Dicker’s own need, after having children, Freelance Mum started as a blog and podcast in 2013, to help freelance parents connect. The networking events launched in July 2014, after realising there was a need for parents to meet face to face.

The group now meets twice a month at Windmill Hill City Farm and St Paul’s Church in Southville. Attracting up to 40 mums and their children, to each meeting.

Katy will be speaking at their third birthday party, on July 13th on ‘Why 3 is the magic number’.

  • Location: St Paul’s Church, Coronation Road, Southville, Bristol, BS3 1DG
  • Date: Tuesday 13th July, 10am – 12 noon
  • Tickets £7.50 + booking fee
  • Book on Eventbrite 

For more details, contact Faye Dicker on 07967 135163 or email faye@freelancemum.co.uk

View the event details on the Freelance Mum website.

Brave, Bold and Bonkers – Freelance Mum reflects

Brave, Bold and Bonkers – Freelance Mum reflects on International Women’s Day

It’s hard to believe that Brave, Bold and Bonkers was a week ago. The annual Freelance Mum celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) and showcase event, went with a bang! Every last minute of planning and preparation was worth it, to see the sense of unity and magic in the room, throughout the day.

It was the third year of Brave, Bold and Bonkers and it’s grown increasingly bigger every year. A little feature added here, a tweak there – until this year we took to a new venue, in the form of the previous HTV Television Studio, now known as Bath Road Studios.

Just changing the venue alone, gave it a sense of excitement – there’s something about holding a networking event in a broadcasting studio, which had an added twist. And from a personal point of view, felt like I was going 360 degrees, returning to the place I started out with HTV Drama Workshop at the age of 14.

With it, of course, came a few constraints – with no kitchen facilities, catering needed to be brought in. It was The Chocolate Bear Kitchen – a dab hand at pop up events, who rose to challenge of feeding 50 mums and children, keeping them fed and watered. And while HTV really was a bare studio and gave us a blank canvas to work with -it also required ‘dressing’ for the day.

Fortunately, we were armed! With March 8th firmly in the diary every year, ideas had been bubbling for some time. Including, getting a piece of graffiti commissioned especially for the day, but freelance parents, Graft. Between them they provided two pieces, which added colour and style to the venue – as well as reflecting the Freelance Mum values and Bristol vibe.

And while the event was called Brave, Bold and Bonkers – it turned out to be Brave, Bonkers and Bold with a last minute change to the running order. Just what every event organiser needs! Though, like all these things – it very much worked out for the best.  Three guest speakers, each one speaking on their given topic of Brave, Bold or Bonkers – and what it means to them in their chosen business.

As the day began, every one was given Freelance Mum tote goody bags, stuffed with goodies from sponsors IPSE and Redmaids High School, plus all sorts of lovelies from fellow freelance mums. Not to mention, cut out paper hot air balloons – a key part of the day.

The Icebreaker

Like all Freelance Mum events, the day began with an icebreaker – a chance to mix the group up and get chatting instantly. As the event was held in a Television Studio, it seemed only fitting for the theme to be headlines, with the group divided into 4 smaller groups and each given an envelope of real headlines. One brave, one bold and one bonkers (are you spotting a theme yet?) the task was to ditch one of the headlines, then write their own to read as a newsreader – complete with wig and glasses! The rest of us had to guess the fake headline.

Brave – Jacki Hill-Murphy

From there to the opening guest speaker – Brave, aka Adventuress, Jacki Hill-Murphy. I first met Jacki several years ago, when working at Radio Bristol. She stayed in my mind – with her incredible tales of retracing females explorers footsteps and film making/documenting their journeys. Well, it was hardly a tale that was going to blend into the background! From the off, Jacki’s story was brave – from making the decision to retrace the footsteps, to going out there and doing it, nothing has stopped her. Yet -like many inspirational speakers, modest with it. She brought her book with her to sign and a piranha fish – as every Brave guest speaker does.

Bonkers – Katy Ashworth

As Jacki reached the end of her talk, cbeebies Katy Ashworth casually walked into the studio, ready to begin her Bonkers talk. Every inch as lovely in real life as she on the television, Katy was totally at home at Freelance Mum. You almost had to pinch yourself to when you stopped and thought, it REALLY was a CBeebies presenter, joining us for the day. Well, I did anyway!

Katy came on my radar, in a Freelance Mum way, a couple of years ago at the opening of a local Play Barn. She’d only given birth a week or so prior to the event and was juggling those early days of motherhood, with a personal appearance. I can remember looking at her and thinking ‘I get it, I know your bonkers world’. So when a mutual friend of mine, said I must introduce you, I jumped at the chance. In fact, I’ll never forget when we first spoke and I asked her if she’d like to speak as ‘Bonkers’. We both had goose bumps as Katy explained she has wanted to tell her story of life as a freelance single mum, for some time and just how bonkers it is, juggling the pains of one thing, while putting on a huge smile and entertaining children.

Freelance Mum seemed like the perfect place for that story, with Katy’s incredibly honest, comical and down to earth style – she wore her heart on her sleeve and had us both laughing and crying. She was amazing.

Bold pledges

We were particularly blessed this year, as the IWD theme for the year was BeBoldForChange – echoing our own theme of Brave, Bold and Bonkers, it was easy to weave in. As Katy wrapped her talk, she held up her paper hot air balloon and wrote down her bold pledge ‘Create More Space’. Every one was asked to write down their bold pledge on their hot air balloon (we chose the hot air balloon, as something which can be seen from a great height and show the world your message. Also, in keeping with the Bold challenge, led by Artist Emmie Simpson).

The pledges were then pegged to the pink noticeboard, for every one to see – ready for our secret surprise at the end of day. Now, in the interests of transparency, I was approached by Teacher Boards to blog about their rainbow board prior to the event. When I think of all the products I’ve been asked to blog about over the years, it might seem an unusual one to feature – but I could see it would get used. Not just at home, where it could hung on the wall – but also at outside events. It seemed only fitting to use it at Brave, Bold and Bonkers – where the Freelance Mum trademark pink, stood bright for all to see and really lit up the studio. Not to mention, did a brilliant job of displaying a beautiful array of bold pledges. I was so pleased I was able to use as part of the event, every inch in keeping with the Freelance Mum impromptu style and fun way of approaching things.

Netwalking

Any regular attendee of Freelance Mum, will know every meeting has a signature netwalk. It’s a key part of every minute. There’s something about fresh air, that gives fresh thinking. Not to mention, it’s a darn sight easier to talk with children in their pushchair or scooter! We were blessed with the setting, right next to Arnos Vale Cemetery – a beautiful setting. As usual, the walk was divided into three sections, with the opportunity to talk to a new ‘buddy’ at each section and be given a new focus question. A great way to get conversation started.

 

 

Bold – Emmie Simpson

And while we were netwalking, there was a whole team of people beavering away – resetting the studio, ready for Emma’s Bold workshop and turning the hot air balloon bold pledges into carefully handwritten bold key rings. An important keepsake and reminder of the day.

Finally it was over to ‘Bold’ – aka, Artist Emmie Simpson. A familiar face at Freelance Mum and some who has really grown in the group. I can remember quite clearly chatting to Emmie for the first time, funnily enough on the netwalk – as we were passing the M-Shed. She told me she was an artist and that I might know her work – in fact, it was in the M-Shed. As I looked through the window and instantly recognised her pictures, I felt slightly star struck that I was actually talking to her!

Three years on and Emmie came to the fore at Brave, Bold and Bonkers – concluding the day with a beautiful interactive giant colouring in of her work. It was the iconic balloons over Bristol image, which was blown up into 6 A1 sheets. In turn, the attendees were divided into 6 groups and had half an hour to colour in their section. No pressure then!

Some chilled out music played in the background, while I surveyed the industriousness going on around me. Groups of women, coming together, cutting out magazines, making collages, borrowing glue, chatting away – united together. It was an incredible moment.

And as Emmie joined the pieces together, the microphone was passed around and for those who were happy to share their bold pledge, announced it to the group. When the final person shared their pledge, I revealed the key ring keepsakes, their pledges had been turned into (which in true Freelance Mum style, Emmie had got her boys making, in ready preparation for the event!).

The final moment of the day came, when the giant picture finally came together. I can’t tell you how nervous I was – waiting to see if it would stand up and actually work! It did – it really did work. The sense of unity in the room was amazing, for a group of people to see the fruits of their labour, many of whom hadn’t even met before. It felt like a fitting end to a perfect day.

To me, Brave, Bold and Bonkers is the showcase event for Freelance Mum. As an organiser, it almost felt like organising my own wedding – the level of detail that went into the day. Yet much like a wedding, it was worth every minute and the love you could feel in room – wow, if only you could bottle that vibe. There is no denying, there were times in the run up, I felt I must be brave, bold and bonkers to organise such an event – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Such a celebration of freelance mums, coming together, in a supportive environment, is an incredible occasion.

Thank you to our amazing supporters

With huge thanks to every one who helped Brave, Bold and Bonkers go smoothly – from putting up the chairs, to helping with parking duty, stuffing goody bags and stamping key rings. I couldn’t have done it without you. To sponsors IPSE and Redmaids High School, for working together to support freelancers and the next generation. To Teacher Boards, for the beautiful board for our bold pledges. Special thanks to freelance mum, Nicola Jane, for providing these lovely photos of the day and every Freelance Mum events.

Freelance Mum is runs networking events, designed to allow parents in business to network AND bring their children.