How Kat Loughrey found freedom through freelance and moved overseas

We’ve been consistently impressed and inspired by the incredible stories of the Freedom Creators community. This week, we’re excited to introduce you to Kat Loughrey — our own community and social media Peep who only a year and a half ago said goodbye to her stressful corporate job in Australia and hello to starting her own freelancing business in Berlin.

She admits that she has faced her fair share of challenges along the way, but with each one has come an opportunity to learn and grow. Learn more about Kat’s Freedom Creator story below!

How and why did you get into freelancing?

In 2014, I was working in a very busy digital team within the sporting industry. I was burnt out from the long hours, my killer commute across town, and generally feeling dissatisfied with the 9-to-5 life. I felt I had much more to offer the world and was seeking adventure.

For several years, I was The Fetch Melbourne’s city curator and thoroughly enjoyed the insight into startups, tech and freelancing this provided me. I knew I wanted to live overseas again (I lived in Japan after university) and over time, my role with The Fetch helped give me the push I needed.

By August 2014, over a glass of wine with The Fetch founder Kate Kendall, I decided that it was time to take the leap. Six weeks later, I was on a flight to Amsterdam for the music conference, Amsterdam Dance Event, to begin this journey!

What’s been your proudest personal moment so far?

There have been moments at each stage where I’ve been immensely proud of myself. Packing up my life of nine years in Melbourne in less than six weeks was tough and exhausting, yet exhilarating and empowering. By the time I got on that plane to leave Australia, I couldn’t believe what I had just done!

Finally landing in Berlin, there’s a real sense of achievement of what I’ve completed here in the last year and a half: going through the visa process, finding somewhere to live, setting up my business, learning to work remotely, starting Berlin’s Freelance Friday, running my own social media meetup and making new friends and connections.

Being invited to speak at several events this year has been amazing too — and has helped me realize how much I enjoy public speaking. I still have “pinch-myself” moments and I’m sure there’s still more to come as I continue to work through my goals list.

How do you stay motivated and productive when flying solo?

Staying motivated and managing my time effectively as a freelancer has been a big learning curve. I’m always looking for ways to improve.

I’m a total introvert and need a quiet space to focus, so I love to work from home. However, I’ve found that I do need to balance that with time at a coworking space or cafe for more human interaction. I also get a real energy boost from attending regular meetups. Plus, they’re something to look forward to at the end of the day.

In addition to the local community of freelancers I’ve met, the CloudPeeps community has been a great support for me and made me realize I’m not alone on this journey. I’m also a big fan of Slack communities to boost my moral during the day: I’d be lost without Buffer, NomadList, FreelanceLift and Berlin Startup Slack Group!

Taking regular breaks to explore the city, catch-up over coffee with friends, or enjoy the amazing nightlife here all keep me balanced and remind me why I’m in Berlin.

What’s the hardest part about being an indie worker?

Realizing that the initial step of leaving my own country was actually the easiest part! Since leaving the corporate world, pushing through any self-doubt and standing by my prices and services, even when I really need more clients, has been a regular challenge but one that I feel I’m getting stronger with over time.

“Always follow your gut and try to avoid fear-based decision-making during the tough times.”

Managing all of my own admin (+ taxes in a new country) is not much fun and one that I’d love to completely outsource (eventually). Lastly, one that many freelancers and entrepreneurs can relate to, learning to take breaks and not feel guilty for them!

What advice would you have for others taking the leap?

At all stages of the leap, try to be super organized and learn as much as you can on anything you need to know. Always follow your gut and try to avoid fear-based decision-making during the tough times.

Stay as healthy (physically and mentally) as possible, as there is no one else to carry the slack, and build strong routines that benefit you and your goals on a long term basis. I highly recommend also surrounding yourself with people that are driven like you as they will help push you and also will understand why you can’t make that social thing because you’re focused on your goals. Every freelancer’s journey is unique too, so for your own sake, avoid ‘compare, despair’ with others. I love this quote on this exact point:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~ Steve Furnick

And of course, never forget why you chose this path in the first place. That should be a great motivator!

Where can we find you?

You can connect with me through my CloudPeeps profile!

If you’d like to share your Freedom Creator story, follow the above question format then submit it to the publication for review. 👊