This is a space for me to reflect on the business & share some of the ups + downs of being a Content Marketing freelancer in Edinburgh.
I’d also like to bring some of my personal life into these posts because I don’t think we can ever truly separate our work + home life. One will always affect the other. And, for me, freelancing is a way to enrich my home life + lead a happier non working life with greater flexibility. So, home life is really important to me.
The final reason is to embrace vulnerability. I believe it’s really important to share the highs + lows, it’s easy to put on a brave face and to pretend that everything is perfect all of the time. But, we all have our own stories and our own challenges in life. I’d like to be more transparent about my own challenges & show them alongside the positive!
Octobers Happy Moments
Oscar came to stay
I started with Rover, a new client
My new website launched
I’m feeling more at home in Linlithgow, Edinburgh (after moving here in the summer)
The autumn trees are simply stunning !
I am still recovering my profits, finances are tough
I’ve been really struggling with burnout
My kind of tiny home
I recently brought a small flat in Linlithgow, Edinburgh. I think of it as my tiny home. You know those little homes on wheels that are popular in the USA? The whole idea of tiny houses is to become debt free. Instead of needing to pay a mortgage every month you invest your money into a home on wheels which cuts costs and thus frees up more of your time to live rather than work.
More living less working, to me that sounds fantastic. But, the only issue with a tiny home is unless you can find somewhere you are allowed to legally pitch up, you need to be on the move all the time. And I didn’t like the sound of that! So, my little flat in Linlithgow is my, kind of tiny house, but with a small mortgage so I don’t have to leave & can live next to the gorgeous linlithgow loch.
The gorgeous Oscar!
A few months after I moved in, I discovered pet sitting. I never thought of it as a way to earn extra income, but I put a profile up on Rover and started getting some dogs to look after. After a few dogs came and went I met Oscar, literally the cutest dog ever. The kind of dog that when you look into his eyes his whole face lights up and his tail immediately starts wagging.
New client & website
I also started doing some outreach for Rover this month. Its how I found out about the pet sitting, they contacted me to see if I could help them with outreach for a link building campaign they are running. Very interesting client, great topic & a new challenge, so I’m really excited to be working with them for the next 6 months or so!
My new website also launched this month. https://amberfy.co.uk/ its been a really tough one getting this live! Rebranding is not for the faint hearted and it’s not my area of expertise. I really wanted a website with a more professional look and feel to it, which could attract larger clients & agency’s and I feel this has been achieved. I couldn’t have done it by myself, the name was given to me by a good friend who also interned for me a few months ago and I was supported by Digital Boost & an agency here in Edinburgh and feel hugely grateful to have worked with them on it.
Starting to feel like home
Linlithgow is feeling more like home now. I had this moment working in the Costa the other day where I finished up a meeting & then finished some work on a client campaign. And then one of the cafe staff started up a conversation and we had a nice little chat. And I just thought, wow, this is where I live! In Linlithgow! I moved here on pure intuition that this was right for me, all the way from the other side of the country, and day by day it’s starting to get better and better and I am starting to feel really at home here.
I am also really loving the autumn leaves at the moment. It’s been a while since I’ve seen autumn in the UK, because last year I was in New Zealand and the years before that Milan & Lisbon. So, I’ve been off travelling and not here in the UK to actually enjoy the beautiful autumn colours. They give me so much inspiration for my art, of which I’ve also been doing a lot of this month. Picture below is of the canal behind my flat and below that of the lake.
Recovering my energy & finances
So, the challenges are still my finances after the move and I’m still in recovery from the business blunder I made this year. Time and time again I have read about the effects of making more revenue only to lose profit because of costs going up. But, despite knowing about the dangers, it still happened to me!
I got some big orders in early in the year, my revenue hit over 10k per month, several months in a row, which was fantastic and helped me to buy the flat, but the costs to deliver the orders were huge and in the end this year is looking like my profit is going to be the same as last year, around £20K (Jan - Dec, not tax year).
My plan was always to scale a single service up, with the notion that it is easier to build systems and processes for a single service. Whilst I still believe that to be the case, the only issue is that it is very difficult to stay engaged on a scaled up single service, even with a team of people helping to deliver.
Scaling up just gave me lots more costs & burnout which I’ve been recovering from for the last three or four months. So, it’s not the best plan moving forward! I think it probably depends on the type of entrepreneur you are, clearly scaling a single service works for lots of companies.
But, since I am creative & sensitive & intuitive person, and I am more likely than others to get burnout. I need to adjust my business model accordingly, otherwise I will never be able to grow the business sustainably. I’d like to capitalise more on my creativity + need for expression! And channel that more into my business.
I decided several years ago that I only wanted to work part time, 4 hours work per day. And for the most part I’ve been doing that, but working less doesn’t always mean you don’t get burnout. It depends what you do in the rest of the time you are off work, and what you do in the time you are working.
So, to recover I’ve been having a lot more fun! Being creative, painting, playing my drums, doing up my flat, I started making bread and lots of jam from the apples in the back garden.
I want to spend some time reflecting on why the business I created City Calm worked so well in terms of my own joy & its growth. Not revenue! But in terms of it growing locally it did quite well and I never ran out of energy for it, I always had more, more, more to give. I want to reflect on that maybe there is some learning's I can apply to what I'm doing now!
I also want to get some opinions about the happy freelancer podcast. It’s a new podcast I want to launch next year, I’ve already recorded 11 episodes, but will probably have to go back to the drawing board on them since I’m new and rubbish at podcasting at the moment!!
At least I got over my fear of speaking into a mic recording them. I’d like podcasting to become a regular way for me to share my freelancing journey. I have a couple of friends in Edinburgh who want start freelancing so my first stop is to sit down with them and brainstorm the premise of the podcast & the episode list!
I’d also like to put some more thought into niching down. I have been wondering about it for a long, long time, and with Google’s recent announcements Re BERT: https://www.blog.google/products/search/search-language-understanding-bert/ about how they are improving search, becoming a topic expert is going to be very, very important.
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Content Marketing Freelancer @ Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)
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