If you’ve often wondered how other people structure their freelancing lives and what on earth got them into running their own business in the first place, you’re in the right place for a good old snoop around.
This Friday, Corrina Gordon-Barnes of You Inspire Me shares her thoughts on being the “guardian angel of self-employment”, discussing how to make money doing what you love the most, please read on and get to know this weeks’ Freelancer Friday interviewee!
So, first of all, give us a mini bio and tell us something we won’t know about you!
Hey, I’m known as the “guardian angel of the self-employed” because my mission is to ensure that you’re not the world’s best kept secret and you know how to find clients and make money doing what you love.
I send out a free article every Wednesday to give you tips, strategies and inspiration for being profitably self-employed. (Sign up here!)
I teach two step-by-step online courses – Passion to Profit, and Blog for Clients – and host warm, friendly networking events for freelancers in central London.
Something you might not know? I don’t drink alcohol (haven’t done for 14 years) yet I’m always the first on any dance floor!
How long have you been running your business and what got you started?
I’ve been self-employed since 2004: first as an English tutor, then as a coach. I realised that if I didn’t learn how to market myself, I wouldn’t have enough clients to sustain myself and stay self-employed, so I learnt from the best business and marketing teachers, experimented, found what worked, and now I equip others with the know-how and support.
Did you launch straight into your business idea or did you spend time planning, training or even worrying before you got kicking?
I trained with CTI (the Coaches Training Institute) to become a certified coach and to begin with, I was helping my clients discover what they were passionate about. Then I noticed they were all hitting the same block: once they knew what they wanted to do, they didn’t know how to make money from it. I’d figured that bit out, so I then evolved into mentoring and teaching marketing and bringing them together with supportive, like-minded others.
Tell us about your typical working day – Are you an early bird or do you tend to work throughout the night?
I start with a morning walk and meditation. It’s important for me to get fresh air and start my day with a calm mind; when you run a business, you’re your own greatest asset so it’s important that self-care comes first. I can then get in a good solid work session – writing blogs, creating course content, planning marketing strategy, liaising with my team.
What’s your biggest challenge as a freelancer?
It’s easy for me to slip into being a workaholic, and I can get addicted to my iPhone. The best remedies I’ve found are meditation so that my mind gets still and I don’t seek constant stimulation, and also filling my life with non-business-related activities and people that engage me fully.
And what’s the best element of being your own boss?
The freedom to be completely authentic – nobody edits my words, there are very few rules. I get to be creative and innovative and share what’s true and real for me.
How do you manage a good work/life balance (or do you struggle with this at all)?
It’s been an ongoing challenge. I’ve found it’s important to have tech-free zones of time; I recently went on a 10-day training retreat that required me to be completely unplugged from the internet and my phone – which was very good for me. I don’t take my phone in the bedroom. When I’m following my own best practice, I check email and social media just twice a day. I also have a daily practice of inquiry (The Work of Byron Katie) and go to the gym most days; it’s important to keep my mind and body in great shape.
Where do you work from and do you co-work at all?
My home-office in Cambridge, and cafés in Cambridge, London and beyond. Thanks to my business being sustainable, plus good saving habits, my partner was able to leave her day job this year, so we’re figuring out our new routines for co-working. Exciting times!
Do you allow yourself a regular break for coffee, exercise or lunch?
Happily, I’ve become a gym addict so I’m there virtually every day for yoga, Body Combat, a swim, or another group class. I have software called RSI Guard installed on my computer which freezes my computer to give me regular breaks; that’s when I make myself the next cup of herbal tea (favourite: Pukka Peppermint & Licorice) and sit in the garden.
Are there any apps/tools/gadgets/people that you just couldn’t work without?
My team. There are 3 of them – Daniel, Jo and Madeleine – and we work so well together. Between them they take care of the tech stuff, the design stuff, and respond to emails from our community. Daniel’s down the road from me in Cambridge, Madeleine’s now in Portugal and Jo is in Bulgaria. It’s such a buzz to connect together as self-employed men and women, and to know we can communicate and synchronise across the world like this.
We would love to hear your thoughts on “networking” – do you go to any regular events or meet ups to meet other freelancers?
I host the You Inspire Me Community Meet-Ups in central London. It’s networking with a difference – people describe the events as unique and special because it’s an incredibly warm and supportive atmosphere, with lots of hugs and laughter and amazing connections. You’ll meet like-minded, like-hearted others who listen to you and encourage you and say, “You can do it!” and give you practical suggestions. I’ve seen lots of business contacts and collaborations happen as a result of attending these events. Tickets go quickly and you’d be most welcome; book here!
What essential advice would you give to anyone thinking of becoming a freelancer?
One of the most important characteristics to develop is what I call: joyful stamina. Success in business requires dedication, persistence and consistency so you’ve got to be in it for the long-haul and be prepared to stay the course. And do it joyfully! If you’re finding yourself hunched in front of your computer, feeling like you’re on a treadmill (and I’ve been there, so I speak from experience), then something has to change. What brings you joy? Make that your daily priority and it’ll make your working hours much more energised and effective, plus that sparkle in your eye will make you much more attractive to potential clients!
Anything else you would like to add or share?
It’s not called by-your-self-employment. You want to work independently but that doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself. Find buddies, allies, supporters and champions. Reach out, connect with others. You’ll be amazed by who wants to help you.
How can we find you online (and off!)?
Corrina Gordon-Barnes; You Inspire Me. Helping you find clients and make money doing the work you love.
Get free tips & inspiration: http://youinspireme.co.uk/free-stuff
YouTube (Quick Business Tips): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE6F2F6E6712E5E7C
You Inspire Me Community Meet-Ups – every 2 months in central London – get front of the queue here: http://youinspireme.co.uk/support-and-resources/community/
Thanks so much Corrina for taking part in our Freelancer Friday series, if you would like to put yourself (or somebody else worthy of being featured) forward, let’s talk!
If you would like to read the other Freelancer Friday interviews in this series, please have a nosey here.