In my last blog I wrote about how I’m embracing collaborative working with other freelancers in order to get more done & offer a better service to my clients. The thing that has struck me while talking to my network of colleagues & fellow freelancers is just how tough the last year has been on solo-workers. The beauty of freelance work is the freedom it allows us; to work where & when we choose, to network & collaborate with a wide variety of colleague & clients who share our interests & drive. But this year has really challenged the working dream!
Humans by nature are sociable creatures so it’s frightening to think about the long-term impact that this forced isolation will have on society as a whole. This most recent lockdown is taking its toll on everyone with large numbers of people going several days at a time without human connection. This is no good for our wellbeing.
I think it’s totally understandable to not be feeling at the top of your game right now. There’s a lot going on, and it gets even harder if you’re trying to home-school too whilst keeping an income rolling in. Support for self-employed people has been minimal, and for those newly self-employed due to losing their jobs it’s non-existent, so the pressure for peak productivity is high!
As freelancers we’re used to working on our own iniative and self-motivating but after almost a year of isolation in stressful, uncertain times with constantly changing rules, even the most stoic character would feel the effects. A lot of fellow freelancers I talk to are finding increasingly that they’re feeling the cumulative effects of the last few months on their wellbeing. I’m having weekly conversations with my network about fighting feelings of frustration, loneliness, low-motivation and uncertainty. And it’s not just a couple of people – it’s EVERYONE I talk to.
So I had an idea. My network is full of interesting, funny, warm and wonderful people so why not make some connections & offer these people the chance to cheer each other up! It’s easy to think you’re the only one feeling the struggle if no-one else is talking about it. So I’m introducing ‘Freelancer Fridays’ as a chance for fellow lone-workers to connect with their peers and give a little moral support for the crazy times we’re all living in.
The event is a monthly, informal zoom meet-up for anyone who wants to chat with fellow freelancers about the joys of home-working, home-schooling, finding motivation or new clients in a pandemic & anything else that springs to mind. Use it as a networking opportunity, or just a way to see some smiling faces & take 40 mins out of your day for a wellbeing boost.
If you want to join in send me a message to email@example.com and I’ll sign you up!
The aim is to run them the last Friday of every month, from 2pm but keep an eye on Caffeina Socials for any extra updates!
Happy January folks!
Over Christmas, I'll admit I not only got to rest, but I managed to switch off to such a degree I actually got to reflect on things (a rarity when you are often working 60+ hours weeks every week). One of the things I was really reflecting on was the impact of the past year on those of us that aren't employed by others.
Running a business or being self employed is hard work. 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic seemed to push that to a whole new level, leaving people feeling completely isolated and unsupported and also adding a whole new raft of 'newly-unemployed-so-finding-myself-going-it-alone' freelancers.
When you’re running your own business you get used to mastering a lot of different skills all at once. While my first loves are coffee and education, in order to make my freelance career work I’ve had to pick up a raft of new, unrelated skills.
Any self-employed person will understand that there’s a lot of plates to keep spinning. Some of them will help pay the bills, some of them don’t, but they must be done nonetheless .
It’s a difficult balancing act to know where to expend your energy, which tasks require the most attention & in what order of priority. One of the wisest things a freelancer can do is recognise when it’s time to accept their own limitations and collaborate with an expert instead.
I am a firm believer in supporting fellow freelancers and am lucky enough to know a network of skilled professionals I can call on for collaborative working. Since Covid-19 has caused a dramatic reduction in face-to-face contact with colleagues or clients; this year I have decided that I will aim to fully embrace collaborative work with my fellow freelancers and where better to address it than here in the blog?
Throughout my working career it sometimes feels like I have signed as many NDA's (Non-Disclosure Agreements) as I've had hot coffee, so sometimes it can be really tough being a 'silent' member of the team. Plus - lets be real, how can you showcase your talent if you aren't allowed to reveal the work you're doing?
So, in the spirit of celebrating collaborative work I would like to introduce some extra members of the Caffeina team who have worked with me, lending their abilities, support & skills to the Caffeina cause. You'll also find some gorgeous pics of them on the 'Meet The Team' page here.
Brooke is the resident design guru. A qualified interior designer, she helps with café layouts and interior styling as well as branding & graphic design for clients.
Brooke is a fellow freelancer, running her own business Brooke Harmony Design and we’re grateful to have her to call on for design work and collaborations. She’s learned lots about coffee but still prefers tea & when she’s not glued to her computer, you’ll find her on a site visit or exploring the wilds of South-West England.
Certified word-nerd Jess is our go-to writer. She works on our blogs, articles for trade-publications and social media content. Before setting up her copywriting company Neon, Jess spent a few years working in the coffee industry, building her knowledge & sampling as many different coffees as she could get her hands on. Also a qualified teacher; Jess shares the Caffeina dedication to high quality coffee education & inclusivity.
When not busily typing away, Jess can be found at the beach with her dogs curled up with a good book.
Rachel is a coffee lover & barista based in South Wales and is lesson planner extraordinaire!
She has a biology degree & 15 years of secondary school teaching experience, so the coffee industry really doesn't scare her.
She is also mum to two young boys.
When not working or being mum, you'll usually find her enjoying (more) coffee, baking, travelling or blogging about any number of those things!
So, here I am introducing some members of the broader Caffeina team. The people that listen to my crazy ideas, encourage me to crack on, and support me with their skills so we can deliver the best possible outcome available to clients all around the world.
May 2021 be the year of collaboration, community, support and guidance and feel free to reach out if you want to join the team or just want a fellow freelancer to lean on!