Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...

Taking on too much when freelancing…

My juggling skills should see me in a circus!

I know I’m no different to most busy, successful freelancers and entrepreneurs but should we really take advantage of every opportunity, continually expanding into new ideas and fields?

There are a good portion of freelancers that go solo because of the dangling carrot of an improved work/life balance. I’ve documented many times here that freedom from the constraints of a desk and a boss comes at a price. Yes, we can take time off when we want…to an extent. Some days I feel I’ve just swapped one boss for twenty!

Happy anniversary to me…

I’ve now been fully solo for a whole year this week. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined ‘pre-leap’ just what I’d be doing in 12 months time. I’ll tell you why:

  • My business has moved into markets I didn’t even fully understand 12 months ago
  • Opportunities for exposure or collaboration have appeared from obscure places, leading me to markets and contacts I would not consciously have come across
  • I’m ‘trying my hand’ at income strands and brands in totally different markets/industries than the business I launched, mainly because they interest me – and because I can!
  • I wasn’t expecting to be able to sustain my freelancing more than a few months when I left work (just until my savings ran out). To still be here a whole year later is wonderful but unexpected
  • I thought I’d take advantage of my improved work/life balance far more and that I’d often be found at home baking bread, or joining the ladies that lunch. I’ve done both of these once in 12 months
  • I didn’t think I’d enjoy working alone for the majority of my time, having always worked with others

Everything has changed – even me!

I’ve found a real thirst for what can only be described as ‘newness’. I thrive on not doing the same thing, day in, day out. I’ve always been someone who hates change, but I actually love not knowing precisely what I’ll be doing over the next 12 months.

Learning new things, when employed, used to make me nervous – I liked coming to work, knowing what I was doing and felt uncomfortable when something new was ever introduced in case I couldn’t do it. Now I learn something new practically every single day, and it’s addictive.

Now, however, I’m faced with a new problem. Crazy lady decision number one: I’ve signed up to so many things, taken on a whole raft of new brands and now I’m perfecting the freelancers’ circus act – keeping all the plates spinning at the same time.

The thirst I’ve developed for trying new things actually threatens to overwhelm me, as I fear I’m not giving my full attention to each individual concept. I’m promoting them for only a fraction of the time I should, and therefore, there’s no surprise that they’re only yielding a small return on any investment I made.

The obvious answer would be to employ help to manage all these strands and brands. Crazy lady decision number two: has seen me plough all my money into launching them in the first place, with little thought of sustaining any longevity to each premise.

Fate has stepped in…

I’ve met a wonderful lady this week who’s studying for a business coaching qualification, and who needed a guinea pig. Our first session saw me plead for help to find some time.

Meeting with the guru (as she shall be known from here)

One simple, but revolutionary idea she had revolved around looking at my business over 12 months, rather than planning no further than half-past one that day. Some brands of mine actually lend themselves easily to seasonal demand, therefore, these could be placed on a back-burner for periods of time, giving me space to focus on the remainder. Even then, instead of blindly pushing them all in the spare half-hour I get each day, she showed me how to use the same expanse of time to concentrate on just one.

She wasn’t teaching me how to suck eggs, yet this information seemed mind-blowing. Sometimes, you’re just too close to a problem to see the solution, and a fresh pair of eyes can be a godsend.

Perhaps I should start another brand…circus skills and plate-spinning – what do you think?

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Written by Editor on June 10, 2011 and filed in Featured, Frazzled Freelancer, Freelancers, Opinion ,

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