Traveling, learning and running your own business

I’ve been travelling for two and a half months now, and it’s been full of amazing and also challenging times. From wanting to fly home when I got to Australia, to swimming with turtles in Bali, to now drinking 19p beers in Vietnam… I feel very lucky being able to do this and still work on the side, and I wanted to share for anyone who is looking to take the plunge in to freelancing (or do what I’m doing) what has worked for me over the last couple of months.

I am by no means an expert and still learning through every project and client I take on; however these are a few things that I do/tell myself to make sure that I can still make the most of the experience whilst also staying focused with work.

  1. It’s not easy, so don’t expect it to be: There are a lot of perks to freelancing. I can choose when I want to work and it’s not got in the way of my travels yet, but when I do work it does always feel like I’m climbing an endless mountain and I’m no where near the top yet. Traveling on my own means self-doubt does creep in and not having friends and family to bounce ideas off does make it hard at times. It is still work and I’m trying to build myself financially too, which like any job – takes time.
  2. Know your limits: Nothing productive happens when you’re too tired and burnt out, and contrary to popular belief, travelling isn’t sitting on a beach all day (although I wish it was sometimes). You are constantly moving from hostel to hostel, sight seeing, sitting in airports and of course, the nightlife can really take it out of you, especially if you love 19p beers like me… If I have a project due or a call with a client early in the morning, I’ll stay in or I’ll come home early. It doesn’t make any difference to the experience and means I can still be on the ball and do my job.
  3. Do an online course: Setting aside a couple of hours a week to do an online course on inbound marketing, or something else to broaden your skill set will keep you feeling on the ball and not stale with ideas. I went through a phase in Bali where I didn’t do any of this; I really struggled to get back in to the groove when it came to speaking with clients and pitching my services. If a course doesn’t interest you then read, stay up to date with current affairs and make sure you are constantly learning about your trade.
  4. Quality over quantity: Only pick the projects you a) like the sound of, b) pay well in comparison to your skill level and c) you get along well with the client. I’ve made mistakes previously of taking on work that wasn’t exciting because I thought having more work on would add to my productivity, when in fact it did the complete opposite. I would rather earn less on projects that I get excited about than dedicating my travel time to working on things or with clients that motivate me.
  5. See the positive in rejection: When I worked in recruitment, rejection never bothered me. It was very much so water off a ducks back and moving on immediately. As a freelancer, a part of me feels personally attacked if a client rejects my proposal and goes with another freelancer. It immediately makes me question everything I’ve done and admittedly, that’s not a productive way to be. I think it’s completely normal and reading a lot about how to handle these situations makes me see each rejection as a learning, and probably a blessing in disguise.


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