We believe in fairies

At Freelance Mum, we believe in fairies. Not just woodland ones, or the ones who put money under pillows, but the ‘real life’ ones who help bring people together. Which is why we’re on the look out for some more – to help ‘spread our wings’, you might say. Let me explain.

It was in 2014 that Freelance Mum was born. As many of you will know, it was born of my own need, of being a freelance voiceover artist, trying to juggle motherhood around children. I couldn’t find a place that allowed me to connect with fellow mums in business AND bring my children. And if it didn’t exist, then I’d just have to invent it.

 

So I ‘took a punt’, put the word out and invited as many people as I thought possible to try out the first netwalk. It was in Ashton Court and 15 ‘Freelance Mums’ turned up with their children – it was a hit.

 

The rest, as they say, is history. I went on to launch two meetings a month and the awesome on line community The Mothership, to help FMs feel connected in between meetings. The strength of the community has always been in both the online and offline offering. Having actual, ‘real life conversations’ at the meetings, as well as deepening them online, in between.

 

And like every one, the pandemic forced me to look at my own business model and accelerated my thinking. The digital coffee morning was introduced, the meetings were simplified to their original form of the netwalk and The Mothership prospered.

 

But if I’m honest, I mean really completely honest, my growth has been stunted by my own fear of ‘being too old for my business’. I mean – where did that come from? On one hand Freelance Mum feels like my calling, on the other I have always worried, that one day I might become too old for my own community. Talk about a complete contradiction!

 

It was a recent coffee with a friend who helped dispel that one. The look of horror – sadness, when I shared I was worried one day I’d become too old for my business, and she quite simply said ‘But Faye, you’ll be an elder of your own community. Who could know more about being a Freelance Mum than you?’.

 

And she’s right. Myth (or rather, fear) busted. If I can’t become an elder in my own community, then something has gone wrong! And now that that’s busted, it allows me to remember the vision of Freelance Mum again.

 

Bear with me, while I tell another story (and I will get back to the fairies soon, I promise) it was at a Freelance Mum coffee morning that a fab FM recommended the book The Natural Health Service, as part of the weekly ‘Espresso Shot’. She spoke with such conviction of the book that I had to buy it. And in turn, it’s crystalized my own thinking.

 

In very, very short, the author writes about the importance of connecting with nature – whatever that might look like for you. Walking, cold water swimming, going to the allotment – but just how much as human beings we need it. It underlines my own thinking, I have always believed that a ‘walk and a talk’ is so much better than just a talk. A case of ‘throw your problems in the air and see which ones fall down again’ – it’s much easier to find a clearer framework for thinking, when you’re walking outside. You suddenly have clarity again.

 

The netwalks are here to stay. But more importantly than that, we want more of them. I’d love to know there was a Freelance Mum hub, wherever some one needed one. And that with our support, new hubs could emerge and mini netwalks take place all over the country.

 

Which is where the fairies come in. You see, we want Freelance Mum Fairies, to help head up the walks. To be the FM host in their area. They’d get all the support and help from us at FM HQ, but they would be the FM Fairy, of where they live.

 

And in the same way that Freelance Mum members enjoy The Mothership in between meetings, they could also join our awesome online community.

 

Final story for this blog post (I promise) but I like to share my thinking. It was yesterday, I was hosting a Facebook Live with Adele Williams, from Super Funky Penguin. She gave her talk the brilliant title ‘Post Apocalyptic Hope for Freelancers’ and shared her story of how she went from nearly closing her business as a result of lockdown, to having a pivotal moment. As she spoke of the moments leading up to that realization she said ‘because it’s important you use your talents to add some value to the world’.

 

Freelance Mum might have been born of my own need, of juggling motherhood around business, but it’s through running Freelance Mum that’s made me realize my own talent is helping to connect people. And I believe that we can keep connecting people and keep making a difference, wherever they live.

 

So if you’re reading this and always wanted to try the Freelance Mum magic, then now is the time. Or perhaps you know of some one who would really benefit from the blanket of support that Freelance Mum offers – share this with them.

 

We’re on the look out for Freelance Mum Fairies, to host monthly netwalks, in whatever area of the country you live. Yes, there are finer details we need to suss out, but lets start with the baby steps. So if this is talking to you, then get in touch. Because I believe in fairies, who help bring people together. Lets keep sharing the Freelance Mum adventure together.

A big, but little change at Freelance Mum

Righty, it’s time to make a little announcement. It’s both ‘big and little’ all at the same time and one I have given a great deal of thought to.

Like most of you, I’ve spent most of this year, trying to make sure my business is Covid compliant and still brilliant bang for your buck. Who’d have thought it would have taken up so much head space?

My ‘why’ when I started Freelance Mum 6 years ago, was to support fellow ‘freelance mums’, juggling business around motherhood. It was born of my own need, being a freelance voiceover artist, juggling motherhood around a toddler and baby.

It was the most challenging time for me and I felt sure I couldn’t be alone. Which is why Freelance Mum was born; child-friendly networking for mums in business.

6 years on and that ‘why’ hasn’t changed. It very much feels like my calling, to support fellow ‘freelance mums’ (and for ‘freelance’, please feel free to insert whichever word you most identify with – sole trader, limited company, micro business, contractor – the point remains the same).

In it’s first guise, Freelance Mum was a series of podcasts, to try and ‘showcase and support’ fellow FMs. From there it became a ‘netwalk’ – a chance for us to meet up face to face. Guest speakers were introduced, venues were hired, The Mothership was launched and we established an amazing community both on and offline.

Along the way there have been sponsors, membership launched, awards, recognition above my wildest dreams, but above all of this the most epic and awesome army of fab Freelance Mums!

It’s amazing to think the last time we were all in a room together, was celebrating International Women’s Day. We were at Redmaids’ High Junior School – with our own event, Brave, Bold & Bonkers and not only that, with Rachel Mason leading us, we formed a bonkers choir and we sang Katie Perry’s ‘Roar’ – what a fitting song!

Anyway, the reason I’m reflecting on all this, is because it’s so good to see how far we have all come and shared this bonkers journey together. Freelance Mum has always been about getting to know the person behind the business and being the mother of all networking – which I still firmly believe it is.

Covid came, I began daily lockdown Facebook lives, the coffee morning was launched and we all pulled together. As restrictions eased, the netwalk was introduced again and we were able to actually see each other in real life!

And it was during those netwalks, it made me realize that actually, the simplicity of the netwalk was the future. Not just for Covid times – but going forward. There will still be special occasions (like hopefully Brave, Bold & Bonkers, National Freelancers Day and The Evening Sessions) when we can come together, under a roof, but for now netwalks are here to stay!

 

So back to the point of this message (and well done for reading this far, it really wasn’t meant to be so epic, but I think it’s important to understand the thinking) in terms of Freelance Mum membership and what it means to you – here’s what it gives you:

* • Our awesome online community The Mothership, packed with daily focus questions, expert advice and friendship
* • Weekly Facebook lives, with guest speakers and experts in their fields
* • Weekly coffee morning on Zoom
* • Two child-friendly netwalks a month, to support you and your business
* • Brave, Bold & Bonkers
* • National Freelancers Day
* • The Summer Evening Sessions
* • The Christmas Evening Sessions
* • February half term tree planting at Tractors & Cream

In addition to this, we are also piloting Transformation Tuesday next week and if this is a success it will stay.

Transformation Tuesday takes the format of a monthly Zoom call at 9:30am and then again at 2:00pm, to set a goal or decision for one thing you can work on that day, which will transform your business. We then check in at the end of the day, to see how you got on. Accountability and ‘frog eating’ Freelance Mum style!

So in terms of the change, like I said at the beginning, it really is both ‘big and little’.

We will continue to meet twice a month, but we’ll network without walls!

Thank you for reading this far and supporting my own small business, Freelance Mum – quite simply it wouldn’t be here without you. If you have any questions or comments please fire away.

 

Oops – I accidentally started a business!

“In that first week, I genuinely wasn’t intending for it to be a business. I just thought why not, I’m relaxing, I’m letting my mind being creative while I rest, before I can actually get back to some proper work and if I sell what I make, then that’s a bonus. And in that first week, I made back the costs that I spent and I made a profit!”

Amy Box, Box Designs

 

 

When vocal coach, Amy Box, decided to buy some polymer clay to relax in the evenings, she didn’t think it would lead to launching a new business!

In less than 2 months she’s already had 100 sales and is building a team. Faye Dicker finds out her secret to success.

Struggling to work out what clothes suit you? Tips on giving yourself a style makeover.

In the spare room wardrobe were things that I once loved, things that were quite big investment pieces at the time, things that were sentimental. Things that I was keeping hold of, in case my currently 9 year old daughter might love vintage, then one day perhaps when she’s 18 end up loving! Reasons that helped me part with them, I am so passionate now about these environmental causes and doing what we can. Actually, by keeping those clothes being unloved, under valued and unworn, they were not realising their true purpose. Me keeping them and not doing anything with them, is encouraging people to go out and buy them from you. So I just felt by releasing them and going to some one who would want it and use it and value it, that’s good for the planet.

Becky Barnes, Style Consultant

Feel like your clothes hate you? Want help finding your style? Join Stylist Becky Barnes, she has Faye Dicker and Laura Rawlings rummaging through their wardrobes!

 

Ward off the winter cold!

We do get a lot of colds and it’s actually not good for us, not to be exposed to these viruses. As kids have gone back to school… it’s not a case of not getting as many, as how we react to them and how you can overcome them.

Anna Mapson, Goodness Me Nutrition

 

In this weeks podcast, Faye Dicker and Laura Rawlings, speak to Anna Mapson from Goodness Me Nutrition. She shares how we can stay healthy this winter and if it’s possible to keep colds at bay!

 

 

A lesson in resilience

The best advice that I could offer is to try and keep the communication open, all the way through – even when it’s quite tricky, when they’re teenagers. Enabling them to be able to talk and be able to tell you anything, is really very important.

Headteacher, Mrs Lisa Brown, Redmaids’ High Junior School

In this weeks podcast, Faye Dicker and Laura Rawlings speak to Redmaids’ High Junior School, Headteacher – Mrs Lisa Brown. They talked about how we can teach our children to deal with set backs and the importance of resilience.

Survival Skills for Freelancers

“There are so many reasons why you need to say no – and I’m a very strong believer in ‘fit.’  Learning to say no and to trust your instinct, I believe are very closely linked…. I think this is a universal truth and I say this in the book, but the clients that quibble over cost…. Those clients end up being the absolute worse clients to work for.”

Sarah Townsend, Survival Skills for Freelancers

 

As we start a new term, Faye Dicker and Laura Rawlings are joined by Sarah Townsend, author of Survival Skills for Freelancers. She shares some of her experience of and know-how when it comes to freelancing – so you can ace self-employment without the burnout!

 

 

Escape to Book Island!

“My most important criteria is ‘Is this book meaningful and beautiful at the same time?’.  There are a lot of titles that don’t pass that test. There are lot of beautiful books out there, with stories that just don’t go anywhere. Then you can lots of beautiful stories with really bad illustrations. This criteria is really important and really helps me find the right books”.

Greet Pauwelijn, Book Island

In this weeks podcast, Faye Dicker and Laura Rawlings escape to Book Island! They find out from local publisher, Greet Pauwelijn, what makes a ‘Book Island book’ – as she handpicking award-winning picture books from around the world.

Back in business – carry on glamping!

“There’s so much guidance on line for so many businesses, no one specifically mentioned glamping, they talked about camping, they talked about caravans and hotels, but not glamping. We’re cleaning fully between guests, we don’t have to allow 72 hours between guests, or we would have had to have cancelled half our guests – every one still needs their holiday”.

Vicki Ivins-Jones, Tractors & Cream Glamping

 

Faye Dicker and Laura Rawlings, speak to Vicki Ivins-Jones from Tractors & Cream after they joyfully reopen their glamping site! Vicki spoke, from the midst of her open field, to share her experience on reopening for happy glampers!

Lord-Lieutenant Peaches Golding, on lockdown and BLM

“So I set out the next day, to write a message to the people of the city and I set out that some people think Colston is a saint, some people think he’s the devil incarnate. Because Bristol is interesting, we have me – the Queen’s representative as a black woman, you have an elected mayor as a black man, we have the most diverse group of magistrates in the UK, here in Bristol. We have black professional networks, we have all sorts of very interesting groups of people, but we also have poverty among black communities, which is greater than the white population. It’s not to say the white population doesn’t have problems, but it’s the layer, upon layer, of disadvantage that we have an opportunity to address”.

The Lord-Lieutenant of the City and County of Bristol, Mrs Peaches Golding OBE, Her Majesty’s representative in the City and County.

Faye Dicker and Laura Rawlings, speak to Lord-Lieutenant Peaches Golding, on the impact of Edward Colston’s statue coming down and how small businesses can make a difference to when it comes to BLM.