The importance of working on the business rather than in it

It’s an exciting time at FM HQ, as we’ve finally announced Freelance Mum Micro Business Retreat 2020!

We know just how hard the juggling act can be and why it’s important to take a step back out of life and gain perspective again. We firmly believe there is no better place for it, than at Tractors & Cream and with The Freelance Mum Micro Business Retreat, there is something for the whole family.







We take a look back over this brilliant blog from Rin Hamburgh as she looks at some of the best approaches, when it comes to working ON your business and how it can be of benefit all round.

The importance of working on the business rather than in it

If you had to break down your working week into hourly chunks, what proportion of them would be spent on working in the business versus working on the business. By that I mean, how much time do you spend doing the do – making your products, working with clients, sorting the admin – versus planning, strategising, clarifying your vision, setting goals.

Working on the business is vital but too often it gets pushed down the to do list as we frantically try to meet client deadlines and get orders shipped. All the while juggling the million and one other things we Freelance Mums have to do – the cooking, the washing, the cleaning, the ferrying of children to music and drama and football.

No wonder taking a break to plan where your business will be in five years feels like a luxury! But of course, it isn’t. In fact, without taking a step back and looking at the big picture, you’re likely to drift and either not achieve those goals you had back when you launched, or at the very least get there via a much longer and more complicated route than you need to.


How I learn to be more on and less in

Next month will be three years since I launched Rin Hamburgh & Co. Back when the first website went live in August 2016, I didn’t have a clue where it would all end up. I didn’t even call the business an agency, that’s how unsure I was of what I was doing!

The best thing that ever happened to me was chatting to the lovely Claire Stone, who I met at Freelance Mum, over a coffee one day and hearing all about the Entrepreneurial Spark programme. A business incubator with a focus on growing and developing the business leader not just the business itself. I applied that day.

It was the smartest business move I ever made. Previously I’d spent the majority of my time writing copy for my clients and editing the work of my small freelance team. Now suddenly I was being asked to explain my business model to my mentor. I was being challenged on whether I knew my numbers, not just now but for the future. I was pitching to a room full of strangers.

Why stepping back propels you forward

It was a huge challenge because it felt like a distraction when there was website copy to be written and blog posts to be proofread. But if I hadn’t stopped and looked at my numbers, for example, I wouldn’t have realised I could afford to bring on a part time assistant. If I hadn’t given some serious thought to my profit margins, I would still be underselling myself.

Today Rin Hamburgh & Co is a team of five with a six figure annual turn over. We’ve won a number of awards and been featured in Bristol 24-7 and the Bristol Post. We’ve worked with multinational clients and on five figure projects.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t taken time on a regular basis to stop, reflect on what we’ve been doing, look forward to where we’re going, adjust the vision, set goals, make plans and learn new skills to keep propelling us towards my dream business.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have to challenge myself pretty much daily to make space and time for working on rather than in the business. Thankfully we’re back on what is now called the NatWest Accelerator programme, so I’ve got a new mentor to be accountable to!

How to be more on and less in

As I’ve already mentioned, having a mentor or an accountability partner can be hugely beneficial. That might be a coach like our very own Karen Cook, it could be a fellow Freelance Mum who you meet up with regularly or someone else in your industry. There are also accountability or mastermind groups, where small groups of business owners come together to help and encourage each other on a regular basis.

Carving out ‘on the business’ time in your diary and guarding it ferociously is important too. I have two hours on a Friday that I call my reflection time, and I really notice the difference if I don’t do it.







You can also set aside a special day every now and then – perhaps once a quarter – where you can really focus on all of that big picture stuff. Because sometimes it takes a while before you can relax and get into the right headspace where you’re not worrying about what to cook the kids for dinner.

But don’t forget the value of working on your business with others, which can be incredibly encouraging and inspiring. And if you’re looking for an opportunity, check out the Freelance Mum Micro Retreat. What a perfect chance to reflect, learn, chat and have fun with a bunch of other mums in a similar position to you. Not to mention being surrounded by beautiful countryside like you will be at Tractors & Cream!

Whatever time you can squeeze out of your schedule to work on rather than in the business, you won’t regret it. Yes, you might not be earning money directly by working on your vision, your financial forecasts or your customer journeys. But you’ll be laying the foundation on which you can build a business that serves you and brings you exactly the kind of success you’re looking for.

How the school run can be good for your business

Voiceover Artist and Freelance Mum founder, Faye Dicker, on how the school run can be good for your business.

The chances are if you’re a ‘freelance parent’, the school run will fall to you. I know it does in my house. And although my husband is good at stepping in, as a ‘freelance mum’, the lion’s share falls to me.

Not that I begrudge it, I hasten to add – I want to make sure my girls are dropped off safe and sound. Once we have managed the almighty task, of actually leaving the house, I enjoy cycling them in.

Yet the reality is, when you’re doing the school run twice a day – it can bite a chunk into your day. If you’re lucky, you’ve got a window of time available from 9.15am – 3pm, to crack on with some work. More likely, it’s smaller.

And that can be hard. Especially when you’re trying to shoehorn work into every available working minute and maximize your productivity. It’s easy to feel resentful of the school bell ringing, meaning ‘pencils down’ for your business.

But doing the school run, can be good for your business – if you make it work for you.


Growing your network

We hear the term ‘networking’ all the time, I often think it gets overused and as a consequence forgotten it’s about your ‘network’ of people. It’s not just about ‘networking a room’. It’s unlikely (and probably not very appropriate) you’re going to start handing out your business cards, in the school playground.

But it doesn’t take much to get chatting to the mum you’re standing next to, find out a bit more about them and so on. Without even thinking about it, you’re naturally making connections, finding out a little about them and no doubt, you’ll start asking about you. With very little effort, you’re making connections and growing your network.


Wearing your brand

This one is a doddle. In fact, I see it more frequently in the playground all the time and think it looks ace – especially when little ones are proudly wearing a hoody with their parents business name on. I love how it’s very much a ‘family affair’ when it comes to branded hoodies at GemSec!

Children playing outside, wearing branded GemSec hoodies.

Even if your business doesn’t need a ‘uniform’, it’s very easy these days to have hoody or a T-shirt with your brand name on. The Freelance Mum bright pink T-shirts have become synonymous with Freelance Mum. On the days where I pick up the girls straight after Freelance Mum, wearing the bright pink FM top, I often get stopped and asked ‘are you the person who runs Freelance Mum’? Even if they don’t stop and ask, it’s your brand name they’re going to see and puts your business on their radar.

In fact, I even took it one step further and had the Freelance Mum logo put on my cargo bike, which resulted in gaining a new member! Don’t be shy. It’s your brand, tell the world, be proud.


Treat it as an opportunity to learn

Most freelance mums are time poor and juggling an ever-increasing to-do list. It can be hard, when at best we are just working in our business and not working on our business, to carve out time to actually stop and learn. Using the school run can be a great window of opportunity to download some podcasts, or audio books and take that time to stop and listen. I know it’s the approach Lucie Gray of Paper Aeroplane Creative has taken, she decided that if she was going to walk to school and back every day, that was a great opportunity to take the time to actually listen to some podcasts. Make your ‘commute’ work for you!



Sticking with the theme of maximizing your time, fitness is often something that can easily fall away. Yet we all know the physical AND mental benefits from exercising. You only have to speak to Lesely Waldron at Wild Country Woman, to hear about the benefits of exercising outdoors. I love the way my head always seems to work things out, after I’ve come back from a run.

The school run might not be quite the same as an hour of yoga, but it is getting you (and your kids) outdoors. And if you make a point of putting your trainers on, you can extend your school run, to an actual run, after you’ve dropped them off. You and your business will benefit, from that extra bit of fresh air and fitness.


Take a break

Whether you like it or not, the school run forces you to take a break. Although it can be frustrating having to stop, when you’re mid flow, it means you take a step back and take a break from things. Otherwise, time can run away with you and you don’t remember to stop! It’s far better to take a break from your work and come back fresh, than to keep going and grind to a halt.


Power Hour

I often look up at the clock and can’t believe how fast the day is going by. There are days, that despite the best intentions, you can feel as though nothing has been done. On those days, when there are more jobs than time, I give myself a ‘power hour’ between 2pm and 3pm, when I leave the house. One final hour to power through some jobs and work without stopping. It’s funny how a deadline, can actually make things happen!



It might not have been the structure you’d have chosen for yourself, but there’s nothing like the school run to enforce a bit of structure. I love the days when I step in, after drop off, make myself a hot drink and sit down to catch up with social media. It’s a window of time that’s for me and my business and gives real pleasure. With structure, it gives us something to work with, without it can be harder to be disciplined and create rules/ways of working.

The school run can be an interruption and it’s easy to think of it as a pain, but part of the joy of being a freelancer is actually being able to pick up your kids from school. The trick is, making the school run work for your business.


At Freelance Mum, we know how tricky it can be, juggling children around business – which is why we created child-friendly networking for mums in business. Why not try it for FREE and find out for yourself?


How to make the most of networking

From making sure you’re in the right group to working out your 60 second pitch, Rin Hamburgh looks at what she’s learned about making the most of networking since she first started doing it seven years ago.

Networking is something every business owner or self-employed person is likely to do at some point. And rightly so – it’s a great way to meet people, to get support and generate referrals and new business. But it can also take up a fair amount of time and money. So how do you make sure you’re getting the most value out of it?


Pick the right group

I started networking when I set up my first business in 2012. The first group I joined was a very supportive group of women who met monthly for lunch. This was exactly what I needed – non-threatening, encouraging, no suits and lots of self-employed people working as sole traders.

As I gained in confidence I started going to a fortnightly breakfast meeting where there were business owners – both men and women – with staff and budgets who were able to introduce me into bigger companies and help me grow.

When the twins arrived, these groups became either too expensive or difficult to get to. Freelance Mum was – and still is – an absolute godsend and I’ve now added BS5 Business, Babies and Booze to my networking mix because, well, doesn’t that just sound like the best idea?

The key is to choose groups that work for you in terms of cost, location, mix of people and so on. Ask yourself what you want to gain from it. Do you want to get support from other business owners like you? Or are you looking for introductions, in which case you need to check how well connected the other members are.


Bring the right marketing materials

A business card is an absolute must for networking (although I have to admit, I frequently forget mine!). This is especially important if you’ve got an unusual name that people might struggle to remember or might spell wrong and therefore not be able to look you up.

But you might also want to invest in flyers, brochures or other printed materials in order to give people you meet an instant insight into what you do. For a product based or visual business like photography, pictures really can be worth a thousand words.

And I love the 121 packs that my friends at Hullo Creative make; little folders containing a flyer, a logo sticker, one of their beautiful greetings cards, and a selection of business cards from other freelancers in their collective.





Prepare a pitch

Most networking groups will require you to do some sort of 60 second ‘elevator pitch’ where you tell people who you are, what you do and what you’re looking for. Even at Freelance Mum, which has a much more relaxed format, there’s an opportunity to introduce yourself during the Business Exchange segment at the end.

There are lots of different ways to structure a pitch. I’m currently on the Natwest Accelerator Programme and regularly have to pitch during our workshop and other events. The structure we’ve been taught there is Hook, Problem, Solution, Traction, Ask – there’s more about that in our blog post, How to write a 60 second elevator pitch.

But essentially you want to make sure that you summarise not only what you do but what that actually means for your customers or clients. For example, I don’t just say that we do copywriting. Instead I say that we “harness the power of words to drive significant business results.”

Spend time really honing your pitch and get comfortable with delivering it – make your other half listen to you or practice in the mirror. Because, whether you’re at a networking group or not, you never know when someone important is going to ask what you do. The right words might open the door to your next big thing.


Remember to ‘sell through the room’

Once you arrive at your chosen networking group, it might be tempting to try and sell your products and services to as many people as possible. But let’s face it, no one likes a pushy salesperson, do they?

Remember that networking is a long game – it’s about building relationships, letting people get to know you and starting to understand what their challenges and needs are too. It may be that your product or service is right for them but let that emerge naturally.

In fact, if you just sold to people within your group you really wouldn’t be making the most of your network. The trick is to ’sell through the room, not to the room’ – in other words, build those networking contacts into advocates who can speak about you to their networks and thereby widen your reach.

As an example, the lovely Zoe Whitman of But The Books, who I met at Freelance Mum, passed my details to her husband, who works at a big marketing agency. We ended up doing huge amounts of work with them, opening up a whole new market for us.


Remember to follow up

The majority of the value you’ll get from networking won’t actually happen in the meeting itself but afterwards. That’s why it’s important to follow up. If you’ve taken business cards, connect with those people on LinkedIn, follow their account on Instagram or like their business page on Facebook.

You may have identified people who you think will be a good fit for you, perhaps because you have complimentary businesses with the same target audience. For me as a copywriter this may be a graphic designer, web designer, even photographer. In this case, arrange a 121 so you can get to know each other better.

A lot of networking groups have online groups too, for example Freelance Mum’s Facebook group, The Mothership. Being active on these channels is an excellent way to keep in touch with people, especially if your group only meets monthly or if you struggle to make every meeting.

If you’re going to spend time and money on networking then make sure you get as much out of it as you can. That might take a little bit more time or money – for example to write that pitch or get flyers printed – but the return on your investment will make it well worth the effort.

If you want to brush up on your networking skills in a warm, family friendly environment, why not come along to Freelance Mum? Your first meeting is free! Find out when the next event is here.

What to look for in a workshop venue

Rin Hamburgh looks at the importance of finding the right setting when it comes to booking a workshop venue and some of the considerations for getting it right.

What to look for in a workshop venue

Where do you usually work? As a freelance mum, the chances are the your “office” is a dining room table, a patch of kitchen work surface, a lap tray on the sofa or even the front passenger seat of your car (just me??!).

Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have a dedicated study or even rent some space in a studio or co-working location so your desk doesn’t get cluttered with utility bills and Year 8 homework. But if your job involves running workshops then it’s unlikely you’ve got enough space. Which means you’re on the look out for the perfect venue.

So what makes the ideal workshop venue? Obviously we’re all going to have different requirements to suit our personal style and the type of event we’re running. But these are some of the factors you should be thinking about.


How many people are you expecting at your workshop? You want to make sure there’s plenty of room for all the activities you’re planning, especially if you’re going to have lots of resources or need people to break out into separate groups. But too big is no good either – you want to get a balance so that the room feels cosy and intimate and encourages good group dynamics.


There’s no right or wrong when it comes to location. You might want a city centre venue that’s easy to reach by public transport or a beautiful countryside space that helps people feel like they’re escaping the rat race for a few hours. Think about what your attendees will be looking for. Is there parking available on site or nearby? Is the venue easy to find or will you need to provide detailed instructions?


The basics of good heating, lighting and bathroom facilities should come as standard but what else might you need? A data projector and blank wall or whiteboard are often useful, or even an interactive whiteboard. If you’re going to be relying heavily on internet-based resources then it’s worth checking that there’s strong, reliable wifi. Depending on the length of your workshop you’ll want to provide refreshments – even if it is just tea and biscuits – so are there facilities for making these?


Everyone wants a freebie, right? Well, possibly. If you can secure your ideal venue with no cost attached then brilliant. But don’t be tempted to scrimp on the quality of a venue in order to save a few pounds. No one is going to recommend your workshop if they spend the morning freezing in a badly heated venue or couldn’t concentrate because of the bad smell drifting in from the fish shop next door!


This one is a bit harder to define and almost impossible to judge without a site visit. No matter how good a venue looks on paper, it’s only when you visit that you get a sense of the people running the place, of whether the quality matches the photos you’ve seen and so on. The right atmosphere is only partly made by you and your attendees – the venue has a part to play too.

Getting the venue right can be the difference between your workshop running smoothly and being a mess of intermittent internet, bad coffee and cramped conditions. Put in the time to do your research now and you won’t regret it when you’re getting glowing feedback from all your happy attendees.



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.