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How To Reduce Stress as a Freelancer

5 ways to reduce stress as a freelancer

April is Stress Awareness Month so it seemed an apt time to reach out and chat about ways I manage to reduce the stresses I encounter as a freelancer.

I’ve said on many occasions how much I love working freelance and being my own boss: I firmly believe that my decision to leave full time employment to pursue a freelance career was, and still is one of the best decisions I ever made – but that doesn’t mean it is a stress-free option.

Working for yourself brings with it so many positives (freedom, flexibility, control, being your own boss, no commute & loads more!) but it also means absolute responsibility – you are the make or break of your business. It brings with it endless admin, accounts, marketing/PR and social media jobs to be done…instead of holding down just one role, you find yourself suddenly donning many hats, and that of course can be stressful.

Over the years I have found various ways to help reduce these stresses and strains – little ways to lighten the load and keep some semblance of order and sanity to your working life.

This topic has never been more relevant for me as I am currently 33 weeks pregnant and so I have been working on reducing my stress levels recently. My tired pregnant body needs as stress free an existence as possible and of course my priority is keeping myself well and the baby safe, if you too can feel your stress levels mounting then I hope these tips can help.

Here are my top five ways to reduce stress as a freelancer:

  1. USE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE – There are absolutely loads of different accounting software out there for freelancers: I would recommend Wave or QuickBooks as being especially easy to use, cheap/free and reliable. Using this software has massively reduced my stress and now means my accounting is no longer a headache. I use the software to categorise outgoings, create/send and log invoices, access income statements and record receipts for business related costs. All this means that at the end of the Tax Year I have instant access to organised accounts making my Tax Return much more straightforward. Head to QuickBooks’ accounting software page to find out more.
  2. USE EMAIL FILTERS – This might be an obvious one to most freelancers, but my most used mode of communication in business is via email – which means my inbox is constantly full and attacking it can be a hugely overwhelming task. Since applying filters to my emails they have been so much easier to tackle. I filter sales emails into one folder, bills into another etc – which means I can access and clear different types of email depending on priority/need and what time scale I have for admin each day.
  3. GET A DROPBOX ACCOUNT – Having a Dropbox account has been such a godsend for my freelance life – I pay just a few pounds per month for unlimited storage and it means I can confidently store all my vital images and documents for work without the worry of losing them or needing to constantly back up. It also means I can access them from any computer/device with my login, anywhere in the world, and I can share any of the files with clients, collaborators and employees when necessary.
  4. ASK FOR HELP/OUTSOURCE – This is a big one for me… it took me a long time to bite the bullet and hire an extra pair of hands, but it is so worth it. Whether you’re drowning in admin, or have no idea where to start when it comes to social media – there will be someone perfect out there that you could hire to lend a hand. It needn’t be for very long – it’s amazing what an expert in social media or someone purely focused on your admin can achieve in just a couple of hours per week. Being able to delegate jobs so that I can focus more on the creative/design side of my business has definitely reduced my stress levels dramatically.
  5. SCHEDULE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA – We all know that keeping up with the social media promotion and interaction for your business can be a full time commitment in itself. I know I’m not alone when I say that social media overwhelms me, and I easily get lost in it, wasting valuable working time and reducing productivity. For me, hiring someone to devise a social media strategy and help me to implement it has been fantastic. The biggest change I made was learning to schedule a large proportion of my social media posts. This means I no longer post infrequently just when I remember to, but instead I schedule in a variety of posts, across all platforms at key times of day – which has seen me reach a wider audience much more consistently. Between me and my social media manager we can set aside time each week to schedule in posts, and then I can concentrate on the creative side of my work – designing my prints, and just dip in and out of social media – replying to comments, keeping track of interactions etc. The social media schedulers I would recommend include BUFFER, GRUM and SOCIAL OOMPH – check them out, they will change your social media life!

What methods do you use to reduce the stress of working as a freelancer? I’d love to know!

Bye for now,

Tabitha x

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A little update…Top Drawer SS17 & hobnobbing with celebs!

Hi Guys,

I’ve been super busy and haven’t managed a blog update for a while – so I thought it was high time I filled you in on what’s been happening here at TM HQ…

Last week I headed to Olympia in London to return to Top Drawer for their SS17 trade show.

 

 

 

 

Top Drawer – Adventures in Design for Creative Retailers 

It was a brilliant few days – it was so nice to chat to loads of potential and current trade clients, as well as tons of other fabulously creative retailers. Anyone who has ever been to Top Drawer before will know that it can be a bit of a whirlwind experience, absolutely exhausting (especially when you’re a preggo like me!) but totally worth it!

I was blessed with lots of orders, commissions and bespoke commissions – which means you’ll be seeing 25 new prints between now and baby Cross’ arrival in May – no rest for this pregnant lady!

Excitingly, this season’s Top Drawer turned out to be a star studded one too – with the lovely Rick Stein visiting my stand and admiring my brand new Padstow print. It was really brilliant to chat to him, as I have admired his cookery programmes and restaurants for many years…coincidentally I had posted a personalised Padstow print to him just the day before Top Drawer, and he was chuffed to learn one would be winging its way to his flagship restaurant The Seafood Restaurant within a few days.

Padstow, Cornwall

As well as Mr Stein I also had a visit from Anthea Turner who showed lots of interest in my work and very kindly said “These are really beautiful, well done!”…I may have blushed just a little bit…and had a little pregnancy-related hormonal cry on the way home!

So folks, I’ll be giving the autumn/winter Top Drawer a miss in September as I’ll be knee deep in nappies, bottles and baby grows, but I’ll be back at Top Drawer in January 2018, so I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, make sure you sign up to my mailing list so that you don’t miss my updates, and give me a follow on my social media platforms too!

Tabitha x

@tabithamaryuk on Twitter

Tabitha Mary on Facebook

@tabithamaryuk on Instagram

Tabitha Mary on Pinterest

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Launching my #SummerSale & expanding my ranges…

Launching TODAY…
FOR ONE WEEK ONLY!!
20% Off EVERYTHING on my website when you use the code HAPPYDAYS16 at the checkout

Now that’s what I call a #SummerSale 🙂
(code expires 7th July)

Summer-Sale
Tabitha Mary Summer Sale

It’s been a manic few weeks here at TM HQ…

I’ve been super-busy with events and sales – from the Castle Quay Weekender, to the Bedford High Street Showcase: it’s been awesome to get out and about locally, interacting with customers and seeing their responses to my new prints, magnets and tea towels.

There’s such a great community vibe at events in Bedford, these two events in particular were filled with many great designers and a hugely supportive public who help to keep small (but mighty!) independent businesses like myself afloat. #lovebedford

High street showcase Bedford tabitha mary
Tabitha Mary at The High Street Showcase, Bedford

New prints on the horizon…
I’ve started lots of research into popular UK landmarks, tourist spots, architecture, holiday destinations, castles, historical houses, Points of Interest and natural beauty – my ambition is to expand my print collection to ensure I’m utilising the most popular locations for my customers. Watch this space for works in progress, and also please do send me any ideas you might have…I’ll be running polls over on my Twitter page as well as asking opinions across my other social platforms.

The hope is to have hugely expanded my range in time for Christmas and the Top Drawer event, where I’ll be in the “spotted” section! So, do be sure to check back for all your Christmas shopping needs… 🙂

Get your thinking caps on lovely people – I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas…!

Tabitha Mary Poll on Twitter
Keep an eye out for polls like this one on my Twitter feed…

NOTH Make, Do & Meet…

As a seller for Not On The High Street – I was recently invited down to London (to an awesome venue called The Brewrey) for NOTHS’ annual Make, Do & Meet event – where I got to meet lots of fellow creatives (who also sell at NOTHS), catch up with the gorgeous Beds/Bucks/Herts sellers group, as well as be truly inspired to make my little corner of Not On The High Street as brilliant as possible. It was such a fun day…

NOTH Make, Do & Meet event 2016
Fun times at the NOTH Make, Do & Meet event

NOTHS 2

New look on my website…

My time at the NOTH Make, Do & Meet day really inspired me to give the photography on my website a proper overhaul – it was long overdue, and although hard work (I worked some 12 hour days!) I’m so chuffed with the finished result, and love the fresh, modern vibes my product photos now have.

Head over to my website to see them all, but for now here’s a little peek…

Tabitha Mary new product photos
A little selection of some of the new product photography on my website…

Wedding season is upon us…

With the wedding season now in full swing, don’t forget my bespoke wedding commission service, which is available in two styles (see The Chantry and St Bartholomew’s, Wigginton prints below).

I can also personalise my St Bartholomew’s, Wigginton church print with names, dates and wedding colour schemes for other couples tying the knot in this beautiful church.

wedding commission by Tabitha Mary
Style 1 – The Chantry
St Bartholomew's Church, Wigginton
Style 2 for wedding commissions

And finally… 

My next event is the Bedford River Festival on the 16th-17th July…do pop down to this fun riverside extravaganza and check out my prints, magnets and tea towels…I look forward to seeing you all there!

Bye for now & happy shopping in the summer sale, enjoy lovely people!
TM x

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SAVE THE DATE!

Following on from my previous post about my collaboration with the Pavilion at the Park I am super excited to announce a Save the Date for our launch event!

Pavilion Save the Date-01A celebratory evening will be held on                  22nd May between 6-7pm @The Pavilion.

Followed by the Pavilion’s supper club as usual. 

The event will see the Pavilion celebrating the 1st anniversary of the opening of The Window at the Park and also the launch of an exhibition by myself and limited edition prints will be available of the Pavilion and the Kiosk.

If you are interested in attending then please drop me an email and i’ll arrange an official invite to be sent to you. To also attend supper club will require booking in advance.

Any questions just shout! TM x