Working remotely becomes more and more popular. There are predictions that within a couple of years half of the working force in the USA, Australia, India, and Europe will be working remotely.
The main advantage of being a freelancer is that it gives freedom. The parents can work from home while taking care of their kids; the digital nomads can work from anywhere while traveling around the world.
Freelancing gives the freedom that anyone needs to feel alive: the freedom to have the desired lifestyle, whatever it is.
But working remotely has its disadvantages or, let’s call it “challenges”. In The Zen Freelancer, I’m trying to talk openly about the pros and cons of being a freelancer. That’s why I started the “Freelance Tips With…” series where freelancers from all over the world share their experience and best advice.
Today you’ll meet Stephanie Riel, owner
Stephanie (on the image above; photo by Nikki Fanshaw) works with small to medium-sized businesses across the United States – she helps brands bring their story to life across different channels. Here’s what she shared in front of The Zen Freelancer…
Tell us a bit more about your personal brand – the RielDeal.
Pun intended! I’m
My personality tends to tell it as I see it. I strive to be transparent, authentic and energetic. I bring that to the client projects I work on.
Why did you decide to become a freelancer?
I started my business while in college to gain more marketing experience. After living the side hustle life for years, I decided to make my business my full-time focus and priority. I find I’m most passionate about partnering with businesses to bring their brand stories to life.
What was your job before that?
I have nearly a decade of experience in marketing and public relations. Most recently I was working in communications for a Fortune 500 corporation.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a freelancer?
One challenge I face is finding balance. Not only between all the business responsibilities I manage in a day – but the give and take of my personal life too. This is always a work in progress!
What’s the best advice you can give to the people who’re making their first freelancing steps?
You aren’t alone and you don’t have to do it alone. There are some amazing resources out there for freelancers – far more than when I started 10 years ago. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and connect with other freelancers in a similar industry – the companionship alone can help you and your business tremendously.
What would you say to the people who hate being trapped in their office from 9 to 5 but don’t see another option to make a living?
One of my personal mantras is that life is what you make it. So my first piece of advice would be to really take some time to reflect on things you enjoy. And ask yourself if there’s a way to monetize that.
Also – be realistic…. being in an office for a 9 to 5 gig can be rough. But, no matter what you’re doing for work – there are going to be hours you’re going to have to focus to get things done, collaborating with clients, etc. I’ve found that if you generally enjoy what you do – you don’t mind the hours of the work.
What’s the best part of being a freelancer according to you?
I love the flexibility. Travel is a personal passion of mine. Freelancing gives me the ability to work with clients from any location I choose. And the other best thing is choosing the projects I work on. That’s a game changer for me.
What advice would you give to the freelancers who’re struggling to find clients? What’s your secret to finding clients?
My top tip for a freelancer starting out is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Share what you’re doing with your friends, family – even other freelancers! Facebook Groups and LinkedIn have been incredible tools for me to grow my business.
Have your “pitch” for your services ready to go. I save mine in a note on my phone and can copy/paste to respond to requests easily!
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made as a freelancer?
Mistakes are part of life – and absolutely part of any business. One that stands out is keeping a lookout for red flags – from the start!
I truly love what I do and love working with entrepreneurs but it is important to pay attention to any red flags. Sometimes they show up before the contract is signed and could save you from a headache or an opportunity where you really don’t see a fit.
How do you stay focused?
If I am feeling like I’m losing my focus, I’ll get up and take a walk outside or around the house. Or I take a break and get a full workout in The jolt of physical activity really helps me stay in the zone!
What are your best time management practices?
I use a timer to track time for all my clients and projects.
How do you boost your productivity? And creativity?
Changing my scenery really helps me. Collaborating with other creatives really helps me too. Even just being at a coffee shop of a co-working space, that creative energy is contagious.
How does one of your best days look like?
This may sound cheesy but it’s true. Every day as a freelancer is a “best day” – I feel empowered, I’m so inspired with the work I’m doing and the clients I work with. Every day brings a new, fun challenge to tackle and I truly love it!
How do you stay zen?
I meditate and workout at least 4 times per week. A little HIIT cardio keeps stress away!
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