There’s a thought-process I’ve discussed with a few people and every time I mention it, the women in my life seem to respond with ‘I can SO relate to this’,...
As someone who works from home for a living, I am privy to many ‘it must be so great to stay in your Pyjamas all day!’ comments. Firstly, that’s disgusting. When you go to sleep wrapped up like a burrito in a 14 tog covering, your Pyjamas are not the freshest of garments to start your working day in. Secondly, me and the DPD driver who works my ASOS parcels are on first name terms and it would be awkward for him to see me in my bed shorts.
So in order to quell the myth (or perhaps give those looking to become self-employed a little dip into the reality?) here’s a look inside what my typical day looks like as a freelance marketer. I wanted to write this out as it’s exactly the type of post I love to read (if you’ve written something similar please, please link it in the comments below!) so I hope it is interesting and not too mundane. I will also say straight up that if you want to be something more glamorous like a freelance blogger then I imagine your day would look a lot more fun and sociable! But here goes….
Part of the joy of having a Poochon puppy to call my own, means that I am now even more of an early riser than I used to be! I haven’t set an alarm in six months, preferring instead to be woken up with little hand (and occasionally face) licks from the side of the bed. Once the cleaning has commenced, I’m downstairs to let Bodie out into the garden and then quite often we’ll both get back onto a blanket on the sofa and Bodie will snooze while I browse Twitter and my emails for a few minutes. Here, I might send a few tweets, check in on my client Twitter accounts and also take a look at my ‘reading list’ – a very condensed Twitter list I’ve spent a good few months curating that has only the stuff I deem super interesting in.
This is one my personal freelance rules, that I shower, adorn make up (or some sort of BB cream) and clothes each day. I know. So contrary to popular belief. If you’ve ever had a surprise client FaceTime or Skype call then you will know that this is completely essential! Plus it’s nice to feel like a regular member of society and that I can pop to Tescos for milk if I need to. If I know I’m at home all day with no meetings then I’ll usually go for leggings and a big jumper/loose top or a casual dress in the summer. I find it helps if I’m comfy while I work, even if it’s not the most attractive of day wear! If I have meetings or it’s a Monday, where I work in one of my client’s offices then I try to make an effort and think about what I’ll wear the night before and make sure it’s ironed and ready to go. I then take Bodie out for a 30-45 minute walk down to our favourite field and woods. I’ve always been a bit of a walker and I find this helps me to start the day feeling fresh and alert, as well as giving me a chance to say hello to all my fellow doggy friends! Not the ones who don’t pick their dogs poo up though.
I’m such a breakfast person. One of my most horrible mornings happened in secondary school when I skipped breakfast and went straight to PE (trampolining). Having to spend an hour bouncing up and down with a stomach full of bile and spending the next lesson with my head between my legs was enough to make me realise that me and an empty stomach just do not go! I usually have toast or porridge or if I’m being really fancy (or had a Dominos the night before) then I’ll grill some turkey rashers or steak and have it with veg and tinned tomatoes. Next, I’ll read through emails and my Slack history and work on my to do list for the day, making sure there’s nothing missed from the day before.
My most productive period is the morning so I always try to dedicate a few hours to writing or more creative work. Much of my marketing work is based around content creation and marketing, so I’ll try to get into my writing groove early and not look at my emails or Slack for a few hours while I get going. Once I’ve written a few posts I’ll then always try and leave them for a day or two before proofreading, as I find it helps when picking up on typos.
When I said before that I was a breakfast person, I actually meant that I’m just a food person full stop. Lunch is usually leftovers or something from a batch that I’ve cooked up at the weekend as I don’t like to spend too long messing around in the kitchen during the week. Chilli, spag bol and chicken salad are always my go-to fridge favourites. While I eat, I usually watch a casual YouTube video, with Hannah Gale, Lydia Elise Millen and Zoella being my favourites.
This is always the toughest part of my day as after lunch I always seem to slump and have a lack of energy! So here I’ll usually work on strategy work or specific projects for my clients rather than content writing. This can be anything from planning a press campaign and speaking to journalists, through to conducting an SEO audit or reaching out to blogs for guest writing opportunities. If I have any social media work I’ll usually do this here as well as checking in on each of the channels on Tweetdeck and my phone to make sure I haven’t missed any tweets or mentions (I manage nine Twitter accounts and five Instagrams to give you an idea). I’ll also sometimes have a Skype call with a client or catch up over email on all the different things that are going on.
This is the slot where I begin to get my work-on back! So I’ll proofread some posts, upload them to the CMS and deal with emails and future planning for individual campaigns. I try to work on a specific task or client for two hours, to save switching around so this will usually determine what the afternoon looks like and no two afternoons are ever the same. That’s one of the things I love about being freelance and working with four or five different clients at a time. I’ll also use this time to speak to any partners that I’m working with for my clients, such as design agencies or third-party PPC companies to check that everything is on track and I’m up to date with the latest developments.
Given that it gets dark again around 6pm I try to stop at 5 and take Bodie out for another walk.. he helps by tugging on my sleeve if I forget. If my partner is coming straight home after work he’ll walk him and I’ll go to a class or do a workout out at home. I find that Instagram is a great place to find quick, high-intensity workouts that you can do at home so I put a Mixcloud playlist on and usually follow a circuit from Clean Eating Alice or Kayla Itsines.
After my workout I’ll have a quick shower or bath and then either cook or eat a lovely diner that’s been cooked for me. If I’m cooking, I like to put on a podcast or YouTube video to listen to – currently addicted to Serial of course! Then I’ll eat and catch up with my partner on his day. If I’ve been at home alone all day, this is the time where I don’t stop talking for an hour or let him get a word in edgeways!
If I’m honest, Monday-Wednesday evenings are usually spent working. Please don’t let this feel as horrific as it sounds. I actually enjoy my work and this also means that if I want to take some time out in the week to meet a friend for a coffee, go to an event or go into London for the afternoon then I can. Usually, we’ll put on a Netflix series (Bates Motel and The Walking Dead both current favs) and I’ll grab my laptop and finish off work, emails or the content I’m working on. Obviously if I have plans with a friend or my family then I won’t prioritise work over this but if I’m just at home, I feel like I’d rather be working than just sitting in front of the TV. Thursday and Friday evenings I tend to go out or catch up with friends so the work will stop around 6 to 7pm. Then at the weekend, I’ll usually spend either Saturday or Sunday daytime doing work or working on my own projects… like this blog!
I find it hard to stop at 10pm! Especially if I’ve got into a writing flow, which for some odd reason often happens around this time but I’ll always try to put my laptop away around 10pm. If I don’t and I carry on and then try to go to sleep I really struggle and can often lay awake for ages, so I always try to have at least an hour laptop-free before bed. At this point I’ll get ready for bed, double-cleansing my face and flossing first of course! Then I’ll stay up for a while chatting with my boyfriend or reading until I fall asleep.
So there you have it, a fairly routine, casual day in the office of Beth Gladstone marketing! Did it match up to your idea of ‘freelance’ work? Or are you scared away forever at the prospect of spending most of your day talking to someone who can’t talk back? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @bethgladstone
Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.
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