Freelance burnout – what it is and how to get out of it

Freelance burnout – what it is and how to get out of it

Are you suffering freelance burnout? Did you even know there was such a thing?

If you are feeling drained, de-motivated and would far rather lie on the sofa binge-watching Netflix all day than turn on your laptop, you may well be suffering freelance burnout.

Over the past few months, the surge in business coaching requests has been incredible!  And I’ve noticed a recurring theme running through many of these coaching sessions.

Freelance burnout!

The past 18 months has affected all of us.  From those of us who suddenly found our business crashing around our ears due to the lockdown to the other extreme of being so run off our feet, we didn’t know which way to turn. 

Whichever end of the scale you were on, we have all had to adjust our businesses in some way or the other and on many it has taken its toll.

Working for a company that makes the decisions and can put you on furlough in a downturn has its advantages in a scenario such as what we have been through.  Being a freelancer and having to take the full burden on your own is a huge stress to carry.

At the best of times working alone can take up more time than we expect which impacts on our social life with friends and family. Combine this with suddenly having to adapt your whole business to a wholly unexpected event and the demands can seem unbearable.

This is where freelance burnout comes in.

What is freelance burnout?

Freelance burnout is when we simply become exhausted and fed up with our work.  We lose our motivation and constantly feel distanced from what we used to enjoy.  The simplest of tasks seem to take forever and we would do anything to be able to stay hidden under the duvet than face another day sat at a desk.

We feel more isolated than ever and feel like we are steadily slipping into a black hole.

When you feel like you are falling into the black hole of freelance burnout, how do you crawl back out again?

How to get out of freelance burnout

woman suffering freelance burnout talking to someone on her mobile whilst crying

Talk to someone.

By sharing your feelings, you can realise you are not alone.  This person can bring a new perspective to your situation and help you see how you can tweak what you are doing to start to regain positivity and enjoyment.

As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved and is why I have suddenly become so busy of late.  So many have contacted me as they know and trust me to be a sounding board when they need it.

back view of a woman sat overlooking the sea whilst taking time out

Take time out

I promise you it will be far more productive to shut down for a week and have a clear break than trying to drag yourself through the motions each day.  Contact clients to postpone meetings and/or work.  Explain you have an unexpected situation that needs dealing with as a priority.  Set up an email autoresponder and change your voicemail.  And then shut off!  No checking emails ‘just in case’.  Things will wait and the world will keep turning.

woman's hands typing on laptop whilst reviewing her work

Review your work

Take a good hard look at what you are doing when returning to work.  Review your business goals.  Are you still on track or have you been side-tracked and now going down a route you don’t feel comfortable with?  If this is the case, go back to what you originally planned and adjust to get back on track.

woman thinking with notepad and pen

Review your clients

Are you working with clients that drain your energy and who you dread hearing from?  If yes, then ditch them!  When I first suggest this to my own clients, I get the instant response of ‘I can’t afford to’ or ‘they pay me too much to do that’.  But whenever they have taken my advice, they have instantly felt a weight lift from their shoulders which opens them up to attract new clients that they love working with.  It can be a difficult decision, but it can be a real game-changer.

an organised filing system

Get organised

A muddled workspace creates a muddled mind.  If your work is all over the place and you are jumping from one thing to another this is only going to cause stress.  Sort your work out.  Plan your future diary.  Use productivity tools such as CapsuleCRM to help you take back control and get organised. Prioritise your work and plan what you are going to focus on each day the night before – a simple but powerful tip!

a clean tidy workspace with white laptop on a clear desk

Sort your workspace

Following on from the point above, is your desk sinking under a pile of notepads, post-it notes and coffee cups?  Give it a declutter.  Go through drawers, pen pots and files and get rid of anything now defunct.  Give everything a good clean and add some finishing touches such as a favourite picture or new plant.  It’s amazing how a clean, fresh workspace can affect our mood.

the word outsource written on a piece of paper

Outsource

Have you got dragged down trying to do things you hate or take up too much of your valuable time?  Then outsource it.  Again, I can hear the retorts of ‘I can’t afford it’ but can you afford not to these things are contributing to your burnout and overall health?  Spend money wisely and it will ultimately reap rewards by making your workday more efficient and freeing up your time to work on attracting the perfect clients.

woman's hand writing in a diary to plan ahead

Plan ahead for YOU and avoid future freelance burnout

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can carry on working and will take a break when you need it.  We invariably fail to do this and think we will work just another week and then take a day off, which never happens.  Pre-book time off in your calendar and make sure you take this time out.  Pre-book a mini-break, a massage or lunch with friends.  Create an email to go to clients well in advance to inform them you will be away and to let them know of your cut off for any questions before you take the break.

So, there you have it.  If you are suffering freelance burnout, you are most certainly not alone.  It is a more common occurrence than many like to admit to.  Please don’t suffer alone.  Take that first step, admit you need help and use the tips above.

And of course, if I can help in any way, get in touch, and let me know.

Why You Need To Book A Date With Your Loved One

Why You Need To Book A Date With Your Loved One

When was the last time you had a date with your significant other?

Too often we get so wrapped up in our work we forget what we are doing it for.  In most cases, it is to build a stable future for ourselves and our loved ones, so why do we lose the importance of spending quality time with our loved ones whilst building our businesses?

I know I was guilty of this in years gone by.  My husband would suggest going out for a drink but I always had something to finish.  He would come into my office to have a coffee and a chat but I shunned him telling him he was interrupting me. He would say “let’s do something this weekend” but I was either buried in work or too tired to want to do anything but hide under a duvet.

Where was the sense in that?

I was directly sabotaging the very thing I was trying to achieve with my business!  I wanted to build a successful business that would give us both the income and time freedom to do what we wanted when we wanted.  It was right there, right then under my nose already but I couldn’t see it.

Does this sound familiar?

If it does, then stop.  Go book a date with your significant other.  If you live alone this may be a close friend or family member.  Give them the time they deserve.  Life is short.  We need to remember to enjoy the moments we have here and now and not be blinded by the bright lights of the future.

There is a powerful book called the Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle which is worth a read.  It changed my outlook completely.

Mr T and I now regularly have dates.  We book them ahead in the diary and don’t let anything get in the way.  These dates vary from a couple of nights away in a cottage somewhere to a simple afternoon walk with a picnic.  The important thing is that we spend quality time together with no interruptions.

And we must be doing something right as yesterday was our 31st wedding anniversary (yes, I was a child bride – not really).  And we celebrated with a tiny bbq and a bottle of fizz on the beach with family.  Just perfect.

Get your diary out now and book that date.

Who lies behind the mask (and do you care?)

Who lies behind the mask (and do you care?)

Should business coaches be qualified?

What do you think?

It never ceases to amaze me that every day new business ‘coaches’ pop up all over social media.  Where do they come from?  What experience do they have and more importantly, what results do they get?

Over the years I have had a few coaches come to me as a private client to find out how to grow their business.  I always ask my clients how they came to do what they are doing now.  All too often when I ask coaches what led them to their career choice it’s a case of they didn’t know what to do with their life, they had a chat with a friend down the pub who was in the same predicament, came up with an idea for them and was told “you’re really good at this. You should be a coach”.

Hmm!  Is that really enough?  In my book, far from it.

I spent years in the industry learning from the best.  I spend years in my professional career as a business consultant.  I spent 12 months undertaking my qualifications which included being escorted by an assessor to a number of my appointments with clients.  The assessor then followed up with these clients to ascertain what credible impact I had on their businesses.  (I’m proud to say that my assessor told me it was the first time he had learnt a lot from one of his students).

Many of these new ‘coaches’ I have discovered over the years have tried unsuccessfully to start and grow a business but find that they can make it up as they go along by setting up as a coach.  After all, it’s simple, isn’t it?

  • Set up and call yourself a coach. 
  • Do some clever marketing (fake it until you make it!)
  • Get some clients. 
  • Let them ask you questions. 
  • Go google the answer or search in forums. 
  • Copy the answer
  • Send to your clients and hey ho!  They will think you are marvellous!!

Little do people know who is really behind the mask.

But hang on!  What about the real-life experiences here?  What about when the answer you gave has been tried before but failed as there are so many variables with each and every client.  Experience over the years gives the knowledge to spot when one solution will work for one particular client and when that same solution could spell disaster for another.

Experience allows a coach to pick up on the unspoken signals that something other than what is being said is causing problems that are preventing the business from working.

In my opinion, there are now more ‘business coaches’ setting up each week than I’ve had hot dinners.  Anyone and everyone seem to think they can be a coach these days and set up whilst giving quite frankly dangerous advice at times.  I firmly believe a licencing structure should be put in place for anyone wishing to promote themselves as suitable to be a business coach, consultant or advisor.  I’m currently discussing this very subject with powers far higher than me about how to legislate business coaches.

But does it matter to you?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know below.

How Badly Do You Really Want Success

How Badly Do You Really Want Success

How many excuses have you made this month?

Harsh words coming up ladies.  Take a seat if you need to.

I have spoken with a number of ladies this month who haven’t completed tasks that have been set as part of their 1:1 coaching with me.  This has left me somewhat surprised as I always check their commitment at each call and never leave them without them being confident they can do what I have suggested.

But this month, I have had clients tell me they are going to leave it to the universe to tell them when the right time is to move forward.

Well here’s some breaking news. 

This is just a sad excuse for not getting out of your comfort zone and doing some work.  The universe wants you to get off your arses and sort your problems out yourself!!

Too many of you are using the universe scenario to stay in your comfort zones and not do any real money-making activity.  Yes, use visualisation (it works), work on your inner self (so important) but you must take physical action also.

The universe isn’t going to pay your bills and your comfort zone is going to get bloody well uncomfortable when you start to get final reminders through the post.

If you want success badly enough, you will find a way.  If you don’t, you will find an excuse.

It’s up to you to take responsibility for yourself and your success.

I can hear the offence taken by many of you already and if you don’t like my straight talking, I’m not going to apologise.  I don’t sugar coat things.  I tell you how it is.  Now it’s up to you.

How badly do you really want success?

Here’s an exercise for you to help you decide.

Take a seat, close your eyes and take the time to imagine the following scenarios:

Scenario 1

12 months from now, you have shied away from fully promoting yourself. You have no bookings and no income. You are no further forward with your business than you are today.

Your friends and family ask you how your business is going. You feel sick to the stomach. You regret that you didn’t plan and block out time to work properly in your business.  You regret you didn’t stay focused and just worked ad hoc over the last 12 months.

There is no money in the bank account and you know your partner is getting fed up of hearing the same story that next month you will have new clients. You know you won’t as you don’t really believe in yourself.

Scenario 2

12 months from now you are sat looking at your bank balance. You have a regular income that covers all your bills and provides for all those extra luxuries in life that you enjoy.

You open your emails and see a number of testimonies from happy clients and who say they are recommending you to everyone they know.  Oh, look!! Two new bookings have just popped up in your inbox!

Your partner asks you how your business is. You beam with pride and tell them you are treating them to a weekend away as you are doing so well.

Really sit and visualise both these scenarios. Which one do you want in 12 months? Number 2? Then focus on this. Bottle the feeling of scenario 2. Think this scenario through before you go to sleep at night and when you wake up every morning.

It’s your choice. If you want it badly enough, you will do what it takes.  You will take action.   You will plan.  You will get focused.  And you will do one thing every single day to take you closer to your goal.  You WON’T give up.

If you don’t really want it, you will make excuses.

It’s all up to you!

 

How To Deal With The “Grab A Coffee” Request

How To Deal With The “Grab A Coffee” Request

How often do you hear ‘let’s meet for a coffee and a chat’?

Now then, I am more than happy to give an initial free consultation to anyone who needs help.  We all need a helping hand at times.  But what rankles me are those that you have this chat with who then want to follow it up in more detail over a coffee.  They know you can help them but they don’t want to pay.

These people are those that I know personally and because of this connection, they seem to think they can use my services and not have to pay.  (The strange thing is that they never offer me free products or services that they sell).

I wrote an article ‘Can I Pick Your Brain’ a while ago now but thought it would be useful to come up with a few more answers to those who don’t value your time or expertise.

For those who think you are dumb and will fall for the coffee invite just for them to bombard you with questions.

“I would love to meet for coffee.  It would great to get away from the office and have a break from the business talk for an hour.”

People who are in the frame of mind that they want everything for free, usually don’t want to meet in their social time.

Say ‘how about we meet for a drink. You could pop over to (somewhere close to you as they usually also want you to go where it’s convenient for them) when I finish work on (insert day).  It would a lovely way to wind down after a busy day.”

Both these responses make it clear that you are NOT going to be talking business.  It’s quite satisfying when you hear the person on the other end stumbling for a response.

For those that have made it clear they want to pick your brains for nothing

Don’t be afraid of offending these people.  They aren’t worried about offending you.

“I’d love to take you up coffee but unfortunately coffee doesn’t pay my bills”

“I’ve never found that discussing business over coffee is the most effective way of giving advice.  I’d be more than happy to book you in for an appointment.  I’ll email you the details to get you booked in.” Then send them your paid booking link.  I promise you won’t hear from them again.

These two responses are more direct but very effective.

Alternatively, “I don’t have time for coffee but more than happy to book you an appointment in my office”.  This is slightly softer and keeps the channels of communication open.

An even more softly, softly catch-all answer would be “I’d love to but I’m currently snowed under”.

Ultimately, just be straight with them.

Tell them “If it’s a coffee and a chat I would love to meet up but being open and honest here, if you are just trying to use it as an excuse for free advice, I’ll be a tad offended”.  Now let them squirm with embarrassment.

And don’t feel guilty.  Remember, if you did all of these free coffee requests, your business would rapidly go downhill and your paying clients would get to hear and get pretty pissed off.

Your business.  Your rules.

And just for fun.  After initially writing this post, I was sent this which I think is just brilliant!

Do you have any responses you would like to share?  Leave them in the comments box below.

Is a home office really the best option for your business?

Is a home office really the best option for your business?

A HOME OFFICE VERSUS AN OFF-SITE OFFICE

Which office type is best for your business?

Every company or business establishment have their own office space where customers or potential clients visit them to conduct business. An office is a place where all professional matters are handled and any business transactions are conducted.  Having an office premise gives a professional image to a business and is preferable for many small business owners.However, some people find working at an office inconvenient whether from commuting time, restricted opening hours if the office is within a shared building etc.  Or, they may simply not be able to afford the premises.  Therefore, many small business owners decide to run their business from a home office.

How do you choose?

Working from Home

Home-based business owners set-up their home office where they handle all work-related tasks. In fact, most set-up their own home office where they can entertain clients and business associates at home. Many find this a convenient set-up since they can attend to their work while being able to still spend time with their family.

However, the accessibility of the comforts available within your home, it is easy to fall into the wrong idea that you are not working. Hence, you need to develop a sound level of self-discipline in order to separate business from pleasure and focus on what you need to do at work.

Which is better?

There are several considerations that one has to make before deciding whether to opt for a home office or an off-site office instead. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that one is the better option over the other. The best way for you to decide is to come up with a checklist of these pros and cons. Then, determine whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa.

Also, you need to consider your own attitude towards work. If you are the type of person who had to be constantly reminded and lacks the initiative to work on their own, then setting up a home office could be a devastating idea. Below are a list of pro’s and con’s that would help you come up with a decision.

Home office: Pro’s and Con’s

Pros:

  • You have more freedom of flexibility in terms of working hours.
  • You can reduce costs such as office rental, fuel usage (from driving to and from the office), and tax deductions.
  • It is convenient since you won’t have to dress up just to get to work. You can have your breakfast or spend time with your family and then conveniently check your email.

Cons:

  • If you’re the type who needs to get motivated to work, a home office might not be conducive to you getting your work done.
  • There are a lot of potential interruptions at home.
  • There are a lot of home office considerations to make such as securing all office equipment you need at home, office furniture, and some other operational needs.

 

Off-site office: Pro’s and Con’s

Pros:

  • The level of pressure and urgency motivates you to produce quality work.
  • The working environment is ideally designed to make working easier for you.
  • You have access to all of the equipment or tools you need to conduct your work.

Cons:

  • You have to commute from and to work daily. It becomes more difficult for those who live far from the office.
  • Dealing with other workers within the building can be difficult for some, especially with clashing interests and personalities.
  • The expense or renting the premises

 

The decision is now yours as to which is best for you and your business.  Whichever you choose, ensure you have everything you need to hand in your premises and make it a professional, yet comfortable place to work.