• Helen Colebrook

A Day in the Life of a Freelancer


How Did I get into Freelance Work?


I've spent most of my working life in HR and business advice roles. Back in October 2011, I was made redundant and decided to take my first steps into freelance work. Fortunately, I had 6 months' notice that my employment would be coming to an end, so I had plenty of time to make lots of contacts and set up my HR consultancy business. I wanted to feel more in control of my destiny and freelance work was the perfect way to make this a reality.


What does my Freelance work Involve?


In the early days I spent much of my time attending networking events, getting my website set up and finding people that might be able to point clients in my direction. Now I'm over seven years on, I am lucky enough to have an established client-base, with new businesses finding me through recommendation.


Each day is different, but I spend most of my time working from home, dealing with client work. This could be helping with recruitment, disciplinary processes, drafting employment contracts and advising on dismissals or redundancies. I also spend quite a lot of time driving to meetings and delivering training workshops.


Bullet Journal Calendar

Branching into New Areas


Over the last year or so, I have been fortunate enough to also pick up some freelance work for journaling and creative projects. I posted my first journaling pages online in February 2016 as a way of sharing my hobby, followed by launching my blog and YouTube channel. This has led to all kinds of unexpected adventures.


To be attracting freelance opportunities in the creative sector is a dream come true. However, it means I have to be very mindful of how I spend my time and careful planning is absolutely key to making sure that I continue to meet the expectations of my HR clients, whilst building up this new area of work.


Daily Plans

Typical Daily Routine


If I'm working from home, my daily routine tends to look something like this:

7.15am - wake up

7.30am - walk our dog

8.00am - coffee and review my plans for the day

8.20am - check my daughter gets off to college OK

8.30am - deal with any urgent HR queries/calls

9.30am - creative project work

11.30am - HR client queries

12.30pm - lunch

1.00pm - creative project work

2.30pm - HR client queries

4.00pm - complete any urgent work, either HR or creative

5.30pm - finish work for the day


I try to be disciplined and create chunks of time where I can focus on just one thing. I often do some creative work in the evenings and weekends too, as my HR work has a tendency to take over at the most awkward moments.


Alongside the normal daily tasks, there is all the invoicing, insurance and general business administration to take care of.



Developing my Creative Freelance Work


I have some really exciting journaling and creative projects coming up in 2019 that I want to give my absolute best to. This means that a lot of my planning is focused on giving these projects the time they deserve, along with dreaming up plans for how to take this work further.


If these projects are successful then I will gradually reduce the HR work that I take on, to enable me to grow the creative side of my freelance business. Trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance whilst carrying out two very different freelance roles will be my biggest challenge this year. It's never easy making big changes, but at the same time, I am having experiences that I never dreamt possible - more about those in future blog posts!


The Pros and Cons of Freelance Work


Pros:

- working from home

- building my own dream life

- benefiting financially from the hard work I put in

- being around when my family needs me

- having control of what work I choose to take on

- experiencing something new every day


Cons:

- less financial security than regular employment

- no colleagues to work with

- responsibility for making all of the decisions

- can be difficult to take time off

- switching off from work can be really difficult


Planning pages

Final Thoughts


My bullet journal has proved invaluable for planning out my tasks. The flexibility to use it for planning out any type of work, with as little or as much space as I need each day, is something which has kept me using this system consistently for so long.


I have been asked many times about the kind of work I do, so I hope you found it interesting to learn more about the person behind the blog and how I spend my days.


Supplies used:

Start Bay Notebooks - Travelers Notebook cover

Rhodia Goalbook




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