The Shift: Issue #12

How to survive the Covid storm when you’re a solopreneur; top tips for going freelance; online communities; Government comms jobs.

How do you feel about the prospect of a second lockdown?

Would you do it differently?

If money were no object, I’d move to the south of France with my freelance family and collaborate on some projects - host events, workshops, cooking, Aperitivo, massage, sunshine, walks, and learn French again. I spent far too much time on my own during the lockdown.

I enjoyed this article by Rosie Murray-west - Progress: how to survive the Covid storm when you’re a sole trader.  

Rosie talks about dealing with the mental health fallout from running a business alone during a pandemic.

Common problems:

  • Loneliness and isolation – having no one to bounce ideas off

  • Homeschooling at the same time as working – feeling exhausted physically and mentally

  • Working longer hours to try and compensate for the economic slowdown and minimise the impact on your business; doing overtime with no breaks.

Day bleeds into the night when you’re working online at home. It’s hard to switch off when everything you read, see and do feeds into your work. We’ve also been over-compensating with online meetings & events during the lockdown – Zoom fatigue.

She shares some useful tips on how to avoid burnout and keep yourself motivated when working remotely.

  • Connection – phone calls, virtual lunches/co-working sessions, doing product chats live on Instagram

  • Setting boundaries around your work/leisure time. I like the Pomodoro Technique, 25 mins on one task then a 5-min break

  • Working at a sustainable pace to avoid burnout – a solid six-hour day

  • Outsourcing work if you can afford to

  • Working with a mentor or business coach

  • Joining online networking groups

  • Journaling – having a brain dump at night, writing down what you’re worried about, grateful for, and celebrating any wins

  • Better self-care – exercise, nature, meditation, good food, sleep

I saw this piece come together on Lightbulb, an entrepreneur and press hangout. Interesting to see the behind the scenes process and how organic it is. Writer callout, case study pitches, printed article, likes, comments & shares. Things happen quickly and there are no PRs in the group. You can see what editors are looking for (Christmas gift guides!), find new markets and contacts to pitch to and do skill swaps. There’s a small fee to join and I think it’s well worth it. The group has around 2,000 members.

Other online communities worth checking out: Freelance HeroesBeing FreelanceLeapersHoxbyWork NotesFreelance FeelsNo 1 Freelance Media Women.

Meet Susan – here’s what remote working could do to you in 25 years 

Meet Susan – your future self if you don’t change your slovenly ways.

She was created by jobs discovery platform, DirectlyApply to show how remote workers could look in the next 25 years if we don’t change our working habits.  

Susan has terrible eyesight, red eyes and dark circles from staring at the screen all day, bad posture, and an overhanging belly from lack of exercise. She’s stressed out from not spending enough time talking to people and has wrinkles, thinning hair and pasty skin from lack of sunlight and vitamin D.

Pin her to the fridge or by your trainers as a stark warning to take care of yourself, including that eyebrow wax…

Creative Spotlight – Lisa Sweeting, Green Sense Events 

I spoke to Lisa Sweeting about quitting her full-time job to become a freelance events manager. She set up her company, Green Sense Events, during the lockdown and offers creative, bespoke, and sustainable event solutions. Read the full interview here.

🔗 the links

👩‍💻 COMMS JOBS – Comms Connect is a new scheme to help you find work across the government’s communication service. It’s for people who aren’t working or who have lost contracts due to Covid-19. You can register here and be notified when roles come up. It’s worth signing up for the newsletter – lots of tips on learning during lockdown. They are also asking for insights and resources you’ve found helpful during this time – email 

🎧 PODCAST – Courier mag has launched its second podcast, Courier Workshop, to explain key business topics to help you work better. Each episode takes a deep-dive into one essential concept and unpacks it – defining terms, sharing expert views, and useful tools. Workshop two explores tone of voice and how to create it for your brand. Listen here

💻 SURVEY – The NUJ is seeking support from freelancers in a legal challenge to the UK government against the exclusion of large numbers of freelance workers from the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the government’s failure to produce a coherent policy to ensure PAYE workers at publicly-funded employers can access support via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). 

The NUJ is looking for freelance evidence for the judicial review and can use named and anonymised quotes in their case. Take the survey here (live this week). 

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