Tales from the Hub – how brand photographer, Adele Williams, met with a brilliant band of women!

Business networking can feel scary. But everything changed for brand photographer Adele when she met a brilliant band of women who are making amazing things happen on zero sleep and an insurmountable amount of laundry!

 

Meet Adele Williams.

Hi, I’m Adèle, brand photography specialist and founder of SuperFunkyPenguin Photography. I co-host the North Somerset Hub with the absolutely lovely Amy Stevens from Anorak Cat. I love getting out and about in the woods with my children (usually foraging). My eldest Wildling and I are learning about mushroom foraging at the moment, which is a lot of fun. I also enjoy cooking and creating things (though “creating things” often gets translated as “fixing all the broken toys” these days).

 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

 

I wanted to be a robotics engineer when I was little – designing and making robots.  I did go into engineering and stuck it out for nearly 10 years, but it wasn’t the creative dream I’d had growing up. I ended up in the defence sector (not robotics) as a customer-facing engineering manager. The endless, pointless meetings-for-meetings-sake was soul destroying. On the other hand, I always knew I’d set up my own business – I just didn’t know what in. It took me years to work out that my calling was my favourite thing – Photography. And specifically: photographing people!

 

What came first- the baby or the business? What was your route to becoming a ‘freelance mum’?

 

The baby came first. I felt well and truly stuck in my engineering job, and wasn’t sure how on earth I’d be able to manage without the pay. My husband and I – newly married – were saving for a house when we found out I was pregnant (about a year earlier than we’d intended). I knew when I went on maternity leave that I wasn’t going back, and that somehow I’d have to find a new path. I’d thought that having a baby would close a lot of doors for me, but absolutely the opposite was true – doors opened that I didn’t even know existed.

I went along to events and groups that I’d never even known about, and my creative side, suppressed for so long, started to re-emerge. I kind of stumbled haphazardly into my photography business, not really believing that people would actually pay me to take photos. I then became the official FM photographer for the meet-ups at Windmill Hill City Farm because the existing photographer couldn’t make it to the meetings any more.

 

This was great because I could get out, meet other freelancer mums just like me, and bring my little one along too.  I’ve come a long way in the last 8 years, I’ve just moved in to a dedicated business premises, and I co-host the North Somerset FM hub. We’re still renting though!  But I wouldn’t trade that dream house-of-our-own for what I’ve built up for anything.

 

How does it make you feel, when you step into ‘work mode’?

 

I’m absolutely passionate about helping freelancers and small business owners to put themselves out there as the face of their business, and showcase what they actually do.  It’s something I struggled with in my own business for so long, and I know and understand the power of being visible. Usually when I’m chatting with a new client about what they do, I get a rush of ideas and inspiration. I can actually “see” the images that I’m going to take in my mind.

 

The shoot planning sessions are always great fun, creative and exciting. Every shoot day I still get nervous, even after all this time. Or perhaps it’s excitement? I prepare all my kit the night before so there’s no last minute stresses, and off I set with my shoot plan and a head full of ideas. I love looking at the space we’re using for the photoshoot, seeing how the light falls, the different locations around the space we can use, and working within that environment to create something unique and personal for my client.

 

It’s important to me to help my client feel comfortable, because this really comes across in the final photos. We chat and laugh and have fun with the shoot, so that their personalities shine through in their images. Having my camera in my hand feels like the most natural thing in the world.

 

 

Do you have any tips/advice, for anyone who starting up in business, when it comes to juggling business around motherhood?

 

I have so many tips I might write a book one day. They’ve all come from mistakes I’ve made in my own business, and learning the hard way how better to tackle things!  A big one for me was that I decided to run my business as a “proof of principle” initially, but I never set any parameters. What was the measure of success? This meant that my test phase went on for about 3 years instead of 3-6 months.

 

In the early stages I was still surrounded by people who were telling me that there was no money in photography, that it wasn’t a career, and that I needed to get a proper job, so it took a while to understand that I was on the right track, and to commit to it fully – charging my worth and treating it like the real business it is.

 

The work-life balance is always a struggle, but I’ve recently switched to dividing my business year up into 6 blocks (excluding school holidays) rather than trying to do it quarterly. This way, my business is closely aligned with life, and I can better plan for what’s actually going on. I do still do some low-level background work in the holidays, but client meetings and photoshoots only happen in the term time.

Does anyone?!!!

 

Ok, reality check aside, I do most of my work while Lilly is at school so we can hang out in the afternoons. It doesn’t always work but that’s the intention. I also do some work in the mornings during most school holidays (except part of summer & Xmas) and continue to go into my coworking space once a week.

 

I had to learn to ask for and expect / accept help – I have no attachment to being a one woman wonder!

 

What is your (not so secret) super power? How does it help/influence the way you work?

 

I’m a very logical creative thinker. This means I naturally visualise photoshoots – the kind of images and the flow of the shoot, but I can capture that in a logical sense and write it down as a shoot plan which I share with my clients, so they know what to expect.  I also have loads and loads of ideas, some usable, and some utterly bonkers.  This comes in really handy when things happen and the business needs to pivot or grow.

 

Hopes & dreams- what’s your vision for your business/future and how are you making steps to make it happen?

 

I think growth is different for everyone, and there’s so much hype out there about creating 6 and 7 figure businesses.  That kind of thing doesn’t enthuse or motivate me at all.  I want to continue to help business owners step up and be the face of their business, but I realise there are limitations to what I can achieve on my own.  I already work with the support of several other freelancers, but over the next couple of years I’d like to take on an in-house assistant and an apprentice photographer.  I’ve just taken the first step and moved out of my shared home office and into dedicated business premises.  A lot of things can be done virtually, but I know ultimately I need a little team around me in the same location.

 

Can you remember the first Freelance Mum meeting you went to?

 

My first FM meeting was as the stand-in photographer, and was June 2017. I was super nervous because I didn’t know anyone there, but I was also excited to be out and about doing something different. At that point it was a one-off, but I got invited back the next month… and never left!

 

Finally, how does it feel knowing you’re part of a group at Freelance Mum? 

 

Freelance Mum is a wonderfully supportive group of ladies who “get it”, who totally understand the very real juggle of kids, family, business and finding our own path and our own identity, which can so easily be swallowed up and lost in the whole being-a-mum thing.

 

I always thought I hated the prospect of “business networking” until I stumbled into the Freelance Mum fold. It’s networking at it’s best: getting to know people over time, and making genuine connections. The Freelance Mum community have shared my wins and my wobbles, and I’ll be forever grateful for this brilliant band of women who are making amazing things happen on zero sleep and with an insurmountable amount of laundry.

FOUNDER OF LEADING FREELANCE GROUP NAMED NATIONAL AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR

THE FOUNDER of the South West’s Freelance Mum community has been named Ambassador of the Year 2018 by IPSE – the Association of Independent Professionals and Self-Employed.

Faye Dicker, who lives with her family in Bristol was presented with her award at a ceremony in London last week on National Freelancers Day (June 28).
She said: “It was a crazy, wonderful day where Freelance Mum hosted the first official National Freelancers Day event outside of London – at Windmill Hill City Farm in Bedminster – and then I rushed to London to attend the award ceremony. I knew I’d been shortlisted for an award but had no idea I’d won. It was an amazing end to an amazing day.”

 

Professional voice-over artist and broadcaster Faye set up Freelance Mum four years ago after struggling with the demands of juggling parenthood with being self-employed. Today it has an on line and off line community supporting thousands of men and women – and is known as the leading parent-friendly business organisation in the area.

Faye said: “I set up Freelance Mum because both parenthood and running your own business, have similar demands – they can be isolating, demanding and yet hugely rewarding. However there wasn’t a support network combining both things.

“The number of self employed parents has doubled since 2008, in fact mums working for themselves now account for one in seven of all self-employed people in the UK. When you look at that stat – and take into account they are running a business around raising a family, it’s no wonder Freelance Mum is such an important network.”

Freelance Mum is a membership community and this was recognised at the national IPSE awards event. The Ambassador award celebrates the most proactive membership organisation, support group or knowledge hub within the IPSE organisation which campaigns for rights and recognition for freelancers across many sectors.

Freelance Mum officially celebrated its 4th birthday July 10th, with a workshop reflecting milestone moments in business.

The autumn term begins with ‘Back to Blog School’ on Tuesday September 11th with award winning blogger, Jo Middleton. Tickets from £15.

For more information about these events and Freelance Mum visit Freelance Mum Events Listing.

 

 

Images by Nicola Jane Photography and Nisha Haq Photography

Press release written by Fiona Scott Media Consultancy is run by a UK-based journalist with more than 20 years’ experience in the media – print, radio and television.

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.