Running A Freelance Business With Anna Considine
Today’s interview is with an online creative that I have been following since early 2017. Anna has been a motivating and inspiring example in the way I want to run my own business, so I thought it would be incredibly interesting to get a bit of in-depth information about her process. From mental health to the freelancing lifestyle, she has shown me the importance of authenticity and perseverance when it comes to achieving your goals.
1) How has your mental health affected they way you approach your job/ career?
Before becoming ill with psychosis in 2017, my job came ahead of my mental health and never the other way round… Fast-forward two years, and I’ve had to set clear boundaries for myself and for my clients too. When I answered client emails at any time of the day, my clients expected me to answer emails at any time of the day – but now I let them know I’m only reachable from 10 until 5.30, their expectations have followed suit. I’m also extremely transparent about having had a psychotic episode; I talk about it prominently on my blog and social media, and make sure to let them know if I’m having a rough time too. It’s been nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be, and means I very rarely have a rough patch mental health-wise as a result!
2) What do you like and dislike about being a freelancer?
I love my freedom; being able to schedule my time as suits me is empowering – client project deadlines allowing of course! My work is so varied that it’s rare for me to feel bored, as working with different clients all the time means no one day, week or month is the same. The hardest part is feeling financially unstable, but the flip side of this is that there is no limit to what I can earn, but a typical job is dependent on a set income with only bonuses and pay rises that are out of your control.
3) During a particularly stressful week what do you find to be the best way to recharge and to realign your mental health?
I try and make sure I sort out my sleep hygiene as best I can; we talk a lot about not having screens at bedtime but less obvious steps, like turning off or dimming the lights as the evening draws on, helps my body to switch off when I need to. I also try and do a little exercise, without beating myself up if I can’t do as much as I normally would; a little bit has always been better than nothing for me.
4) What would you want other new freelancers to know about the process, whether good or bad?
I would say that you are so much more capable than you think you are, and don’t let self-doubt hold you back. I thought I knew nothing about finances, sales, taxes and plenty more, and assumed I never would. Nearly three years on I’m supporting myself comfortably and have learned more about business and myself than I ever thought I could – and I wouldn’t change any of the challenges along the way!
5) Do you have any advice for when you go through slumps with your creativity or motivation?
Be very, very kind to yourself. As we progress forwards we realise that there is a pattern to our slumps, and the more we have, the more confirmation there is that they end. These happen to everyone and can mean there’s something you need to change – maybe time off, maybe switching your social content, maybe pivoting your business – or can just be a natural part of creativity. You are not a machine, and nor should you be.
6) How do you balance the pressures of social media with your personal goals and image offline?
Working with clients’ social media, and running my own, has shown me that there is only so much reality to what we see online. I’m also a huge believer in a gratitude mindset; when I couldn’t afford to move out, I was grateful I had a home I could stay in while my business grew; now I’m not making millions, but I’m so thankful that I get to support myself. My happiness is defined by me, and not by what I think others are experiencing online.
7) At this point in your freelance journey, is there anything you would have done differently when starting out?
I would have reached out to fellow freelancers much sooner. I now work and recently became part of the team of a co-working space that has led me to some of the best friends I’ve ever had, who all understand the struggles of being self-employed. It can be a lonely road, but finding communities on and offline makes it feel like there are others walking by your side.
8) How do you maintain your motivation when you feel like your journey isn’t going according to plan?
For me, it’s always been about weathering the storm. I knew I loved what I do, so when things were tight I trusted that if I got my head down and did whatever I could to keep going, I’d find my way. My dad has always told me that if you do the right things, the right things will happen, and I’ve never found it to be more true while working for myself!