Here's why I started #AFreelancersLife: To highlight different freelancers from all sorts of backgrounds and pick their brains about what they do and how they do it. Check out all previously featured freelancers right here. If you would like to be featured just drop me a line and let me know! Today's post features Hannah, a lawyer-turned-copywriter (wait what?) who 3 years ago decided to go after what she really loves: traveling. Today, she's location-independent and full of savvy advice for everyone who needs that certain kick in the butt. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm with us, Hannah!
How long have you been a freelancer and what exactly is it that you do?
I started my business about 3 years ago and I’m a copywriter. That means I write websites, emails, social media posts, ads, you name it on behalf of another person or business. I also consult and coach people on how to write like they mean it, make room for authenticity in their brand and create communication that connects and builds trust.
How does your typical work day look like, if there is one at all?
Really, in my life, every day is completely different and I love it. Since I travel the world like a maniac, I tend to wake up in a lot of different places, but I do have a routine of sorts that I like to stick to: In the morning I do my journaling (not in a “Dear Diary” type of way, more like gratitude and setting a positive tone for the day ahead). Ideally followed by yoga and meditation. From there on, I really don’t know what to tell you. Sometimes I hectically dive into work, putting out fires or desperately trying to meet overly ambitious deadlines. But then other days I go furniture shopping or decide to paint my nails while I chat on the phone for an hour and a half. Sometimes I get up at 6am and hit the hay around 11pm, and other days I’m up until 4am, crawling out of bed at 11.30am because I had to finish a sales page (or go out on a random Wednesday).
What does your freelancing work entail regarding activities and duties?
Mostly… I write. And then I read. And then I go write again. ;) Other than the actual writing part, I talk to people on Skype a lot (clients or team members mostly), I do research (this is sort of a lie because by now I’ll have my assistant do most of it, so let’s say “I read through her research”) and I also spend a lot of time on course creation and some other strategic shiz. Another important thing to me is that I see self-care, pampering myself, going for a swim or spending my afternoon on a beach somewhere as part of my “work”. Sure, it’s not like the sales page is writing itself while I’m snoozing off in the sand, but it does help me keep my sanity and recharge my batteries so that I can actually function and deliver when the deadlines move closer and I simply HAVE to. What I mean is that “work” and “free time” are really hard for me to separate… it’s all a big blur so I’m not even trying.
What has been your biggest highlight so far as a freelancer?
Becoming location independent! That was always my biggest dream. From seriously early on in my life, I had ALWAYS felt the calling to travel and see the world. There’s nothing more exciting to me than getting off a plane (being ON them makes me freaking anxious ironically) and exploring a new culture, a foreign language, FOOD, people and whatnot. It’s my favorite thing to do and I live for that shit. Location independence was and still is the biggest highlight of not just my career but my entire life.
How does your previous education and experience tie in with your current freelancer work – was it necessary and if so, what exactly did you do?
In my previous life, I was a lawyer. It makes me giggle when I think about it now and it seriously feels like a lifetime ago. So I guess it’s safe to say my Master’s degree in law was not exactly “necessary” to start my own copywriting business and travel the world… ;) But hey: It didn’t hurt either. So no regrets, right?
Do you sometimes have motivational lows, and if so, what do you do to get out of your low?
OF COURSE I have motivational lows and everyone who doesn’t is either on some kind of substance or simply lying. But let’s focus on what to do about them instead. The most important thing is to NOT beat yourself up about it. You’re human, it’s normal, it happens to all of us. So just go and do something fun or relaxing. Read a book, watch Game of Thrones or go to the animal shelter and walk a cute dog. Whatever floats your boat, but the point is to allow yourself to experience both highs and lows... to go with the flow instead of fighting or resisting it.
IF however, your motivational low has been going on for quite a while and just transformed into sheer resistance/procrastination and you really need to get your ass in gear, then you gotta get proactive with it. Do something that energizes you and kicks your butt. Or if shit is hitting the fan and you NEED to function right now, just remind yourself of WHY you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. To me, the shift towards the “WHY” (as in: who am I serving with this, what is the impact I’m making, what is the bigger picture vision that I’m moving closer to, step-by-step and so on) always puts things in perspective and gives you a boost of motivation. Especially if the task at hand is…. well, let’s say not your favorite :)
Example: Instead of thinking “Why the hell do I have to format this blogpost on WordPress, it’s so annoying and it takes forever!”, you can remind yourself of your WHY and then think something like this “I’ll format this blog post and then hundreds of people can read it. They’ll learn ____ and it’ll make them feel so much more confident and awesome that they’re totally gonna do _____ and achieve epic results. Plus I get to share my important message with the world and inspire others to greatness!” Feel the difference?
What do you love about being a freelancer? What do you hate?
Erm… what’s not to love? No, seriously I love everything about it. My life has improved 5000000% and I couldn’t be more happy with running my own business.
But, let me give you a reality check:
- Yes, I do work crazy hours sometimes (read: most of the time).
- No, I don’t really know where my money is going to come from each month (I do have a slight idea though, so I can work with that).
- Yes, it’s scary to put myself out there… every single time.
- No, I don’t own a yacht and 2 Bentleys (yet).... I’m totally flying business class though!
- Yes, I have wonderful dream clients and I absolutely love what I do.
- No, I don’t feel like this every day, some clients are a pain in my ass and I, too, have days where I just wanna stay in bed.
- Yes, there’s a lot of work, a lot of pressure, a lot of responsibility and a lot of uncertainty involved in running my own business.
- But NO WAY IN HELL would I ever have it any other way.
How do you structure your day: When are you taking breaks, when are you working, when are doing which tasks in particular?
I wish I had an answer for you… No, I seriously do because that would mean that I actually structure my days, which I don’t. Sure, I stick to my morning routine but that’s about it. Maybe a little structure wouldn’t hurt, but honestly I tend to feel rather restricted by it. Plus with my crazy traveling adventures, it’s quite impossible to structure my days anyway. I’d rather inspire you a little bit and tell you (roughly) what I’ve been up to since November 2014: Mexico, Bali, Los Angeles, Toronto, Dominican Republic, Toronto, Los Angeles, UK, Austria, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, New Zealand, Los Angeles, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain, Miami, Costa Rica, Austria, Thailand, Austria, Costa Rica, Colombia… I probably forgot something, but I can’t even blame myself at this point.
Which are your favorite 3 websites and/or apps you’re using on a regular basis regarding your freelance work?
Can I do books instead? I’m old-school like that… Or actually, I can do a mix of both:
F.Lux - This is an app I only started using recently… it makes your screen look orange when it gets late so that you’re not all impacted by that evil blue screen light which supposedly makes you sleep worse than orange light. Don’t ask me why or how, I’m not a freaking scientist! But since I had to work so many late hours the last couple weeks, I figured I might as well give it a try! Whether it works or not, once your screen turns slightly orange, you’ll notice that you should probably stop working, so if anything… it’s a great reminder for me :)
The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield - hands down the best book for anyone who wants to accomplish anything creative. And by that, again, I mean CREATE something. Whether it’s a book, a business or a workout routine, this book helps you battle and conquer Resistance and is the ultimate kick in the butt to get things done - in an inspired way!
thesaurus.com - neither a book, nor an app, this website is a life saver for any writer - especially online! Most words are used to death and everybody talks about the same shit… why not use a Thesaurus to switch things up a little bit? Makes your life easier and your writing more interesting, so that’s a win-win right there!
Tell us about an exciting project of yours.
I’m launching a course very soon (fingers crossed) that’s all about writing with personality. It’ll teach how to access “your unique voice” and write with authenticity and realness. Many people struggle with translating their unique personality into the written word and whatever they do comes out kinda stiff and lame. I get a lot of emails from people who run a business online or simply write blogs who feel like whatever they put onto a piece of paper/Google Doc/whatever doesn’t sound like their authentic self, but some weird, castrated, stuck-up version instead. And I can simply help with that. I’ll be teaching super practical writing techniques in a fun way that’s easy to implement and I’m super excited to see how it goes!
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