It’s the first of September whoohoo! The beginning of my favourite season; hibernation!

As exciting as the summer days and evenings are, I find myself knackered not even half way through the summer. Between planning trips and maxing out on that evening sunlight, I definitely tend to burn the candle on both ends!

Whereas heading into the cooler winter months, the flame is flickering bright at one end only 🙂

In saying that, I did indeed max out the final week of summer by taking it off and spending it with family and friends. You can probably tell I’m a big fan of taking those much needed breaks for your head and body. There’s a strong sense of hustle culture within the freelance community, working crazy hours and taking on as many clients as possible.

It doesn’t have to be like that, and even though it might take you longer to achieve those income or client goals, I think those breaks are worth it in order to achieve that life balance!

I had said that on my week off I’d rise with the birds and tick off a few website tasks before I head off adventuring.

I did yaaaaaaa.

If you’re going to switch off, you might as well switch off 110%.

On Sunday evening I didn’t have that dreaded fear for the week ahead hanging over me; if anything I was eager to get back into the swing of things. Between my client work and business coaching commitments to get through, I was looking forward to starting a new season feeling refreshed and renewed.

My Sunday evening might have also been spent napping because I did a 3 hour hike up Keeper Hill in Tipperary, absolute scenes and I’d highly recommend!

Those feelings might also be down to the fact that I just bought myself a little van! Things have been up in the air for most people these last few months, and it’s been difficult to plan ahead.

CaN’T mAkE PlAnS, you say?!! Maria trembled.

With many encouraging words from friends and family about what to do and where to go, I decided staycationing is indeed the way forward for now. I’m undertaking a new pursuit; Project Do Up The Van, to travel around Ireland and adventure over the next few months.

It might not look at all like what I’d planned for this year, but it’s still pursuing that digital nomad dream and seeing new parts of this beautiful island 🙂

No doubt these travels and traversing will make for some interesting Ambles and ramblings down the line!

Gal’s first car-van (:

Two weeks ago I mentioned that I was doing up the website, as you can see nothing’s changed but there’s plenty going on behind the scenes (i.e., lots of writing and rewriting of copy on google docs!).

I’ll have a lovely opt-in offer along with new pictures and obviously copy, and a completely new layout too. I’m also getting to the stage of the “done is better than perfect” feeling, because it’s the kind of thing I could be tweaking forever. I just need to get it out there at this stage!

I was recently going through all the various systems I need to have in place in order for work to run smoothly, and maintain some kind of steady schedule. When I wrote everything down, with little to-do’s beside each of them I was kind of blown away….

Sometimes I think why do I bother!

So I can travel in a van whenever I want and get my work done early in the morning if needs be, that’s why 😉

When I’m not writing lists I’m (trying..) rollerblading with friends! On the beach, because, you know, falling and all that 😉

These were the systems I compiled, and am working my way through. This ensures the clients I take on in the future are exactly the type I want to work with, while producing the best content marketing results for them:

  • Find client work;
  • Onboard clients;
  • Do the client work;
  • Get paid;
  • Write/design website and maintain it;
  • Create personal content;
  • Market said content;
  • Find a social media platform (or 2…) to distribute that material on;
  • Keep in touch with clients and take client calls;
  • Accounting;
  • Reach out to other writers for the chats and advice;
  • Think about how to develop your writing business (become an agency? Travel and work simultaneously? Become a consultant or writing coach? Open up your own writer’s cafe?!).

The list is endless. And then figuring out how to juggle all of this while actually living a life outside of work?!

It is difficult, but you can make it easier by having clear and strict systems in place.

My number one tip based on all of this is know your service offering, and don’t accept work outside of that offering. (Something I am learning and trying to develop since starting the business coaching.)

Then work outward from that service. If your clients are all in a similar niche, you’ll find it easier moving from project to project because they all require similar types of content.

Also, a clear service means you can keep monthly retainer clients so you know exactly what’s expected of you each month and how much moolah is coming into your bank account.

If I could start all over again though, I wouldn’t change anything because the more industries and businesses you get involved with the more you can tease out your favourites, as well as discover your strengths and weaknesses.

Yes systems are great, but spinning your wheels (and hopefully not burning out toooo badly!) are a great way to learn what NOT to do.

Rather than always trying to get it right the first time.

The next important step is recognising when those plates are spinning and you’re feeling overwhelmed. That’s when you reach out for help.

While said wheels and plates are in motion, it might also help to go and bathe in a forest for a while. Hug a tree even! Or scream, screaming helps too (:

Help might come in the form of a costly investment, but that investment will definitely pay off when you’re put on the right path, you’re clear-headed and know what freelance work suits you.

Creating a daily schedule will further progress your career. Remember, it’s not the big end goal that will bring the biggest reward, but the 1% you put in everyday that compounds over time.

When I was reading back over this piece to edit it, I had in the meantime read an email from James Clear (“Atomic Habits” author), about this phenomenon called the Pareto Principle! This is also called the “accumulative advantage”; what begins as a small advantage gets bigger over time.

You can read the article on his website here.

My final productivity tip is if you think a piece of content is going to take 1 hour, give yourself 2 and a half, trust me!

You’ll need the extra time for all those cups of tea & coffee, or dog walks!

This week’s freelance tool is Convertkit, which is an email marketing software tool and also features landing page and website sign up forms to convert those visitors into leads.

If I’m talking gibberish, then definitely look into email marketing for your website because that’s the one channel you can depend on to reach your audience.

I’m currently using Convertkit to develop my email list and am designing a sign-up form for my website restructuring. Hopefully the next time you’re reading one of these blog posts, you’ll see the slick pop-up form and join me in the emailing adventures too!

(Saying this out loud to hold me accountable!)

The new website’s guna be lookin’ as slick as this doggo!

Even though Machiavelli might have been a more controversial political philosopher, I do enjoy this quote from his book The Prince: “He who has relied on Fortune less has maintained his position best“. At the end of the day, it’s not about how many possessions we own or what people think of us, but instead focus on how we can better ourselves as people and be innately happy.

What can you do today to put a smile on someone’s face?