On my twenty-fifth birthday, May 18th 2018, I sat down at my kitchen counter to start my first day as a self-employed person. I had no idea what I was doing or if I’d make it a year before scuttling back sheepishly into an office block. But I hoped for the best, made coffee, and got to work.
I set-up my consulting business after I received several offers when I left my marketing job at a tech company. I negotiated and was able to juggle them as consulting projects. …
I’ve been thinking a lot this year about Taylor Swift. Now, this is a fairly new development.
For some of her fans, her evolution from country sweetheart to sequinned pop icon to her look what you made me do rebellion has tracked the course of their own lives too.
They’ve seen themselves and their heartbreaks and anxieties in her songwriting as well as the ebbs and flows of her persona.
Despite fitting the prime relating-to-Taylor generation (I was born in ‘93), I never really felt a connection with her music. …
I’ve always thought of myself as a writer. It’s just what I do — and what I’ve always done, really. I grew up sitting on my bedroom floor making magazines about animals of the world or writing stories on whatever my imagination had conjured up that day.
Despite feeling like a writer, I couldn’t help feeling the absence of something I’d always wanted to do: write a book of my own.
It was one of the few niggling things that I’d regret having not achieved if my time was suddenly up.
And making it a reality has been one of…
Freedom drives so much of what we do. We want the freedom to live the lives we dream of, create what we want to exist in the world, enjoy our bodies, and step up to be fully ourselves.
It also influences why we spend so much of our lives doing what we do: working.
The easy answer to why we work is to earn money to pay rent, feed ourselves, buy nice things, and save a bit too.
That’s why we all do it, right?
If we have money, we have the freedom to buy or rent our own home…
You can be given everything you’ve been dreaming of for years, all packaged up on a beautiful silver platter with a bow. And you’ll politely respond, thanks, but no thanks.
This can be without even realising that you’re sabotaging your success.
You might come up with some beautiful excuses, such as “I didn’t want it anyway” or “it’s too much work” or “it’s the wrong time”. Maybe there’s some truth to these, but mostly they’re BS.
The truth is that all too often we’re scared of the negative consequences of our success and would rather play small where it’s safe…
In my two years of working for myself, I’ve often thought back to my favourite quote from Derek Sivers:
“When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world.”
He adds: “Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself.”
With your business, how will you improve the world? How will you make your own utopia?
One of the privileges of reaching management level is that you call the shots about who you hire and where you spend money. …
Interviewer: “So, what’s your biggest flaw?”
Me: “Well, I’m actually a massive perfectionist. Which I guess is a bad thing really, but [reframe it as a positive]...”
That used to be me. I think a university mentor even told me to say it in interviews.
I fell into the trap of thinking that perfectionism could only be a good thing. That it meant you delivered kick-ass work every single time and didn’t stand for subpar work.
But the truth is: it can be a horrid, ugly, awful flaw. Just like other self-sabotages.
Yes, sometimes it means you can craft impeccably…
Here’s the thing: you can do whatever you want with your life.
Your life is yours to design and you can choose the ingredients: hustle, slowness, minimalism, adventure, family, wealth… whatever you want.
But the hard part is actually working out what you actually, truly, wholeheartedly want. The rest — including making it happen — is pretty easy in comparison.
“I was committed to living a creative life not in order to save the world, not as an act of protest, not to become famous, not to gain entrance to the canon, not to challenge the system, not to show the bastards, not to prove to my family that I was worthy, not as a form of deep therapeutic emotional catharsis . . . but simply because I liked it.”
— Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
“Measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures,” writes Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic, her exploration of the…
When you’re self-employed, it’s easy to put your success down to factors outside of your control: the economy, your clients, how much people pay for your area of expertise.
You might believe that because you’re a writer, you can’t be a six-figure earner.
You might think you’re too young, too short, too curly-haired, or too introverted to earn a lot (ok, they’re all my own examples, yours will vary.)
But the thing is, those assumptions are mostly bullshit.
One thing I’m confident of is this:
My earnings depend on one thing: how much I think I deserve.
On most days…