Welcome to a regular series here at the Freelance Lifestyle, where we take a little peek into the daily life of a freelancer. This week, I’m excited that Emma Drew has given us an insight into her freelance life. I’ve been following Emma’s blog (previously known as From Aldi To Harrods, now EmmaDrew.info) this year and took her excellent free course on new ways to make money, and I love reading her monthly income reports!
My name is Emma Drew and I live in Cambridgeshire with my husband. I run a popular personal finance blog which helps others to make money, save money and live the life they want. Running the blog is now my full time job!
How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?
I have been freelancing or earning money online since I was 18, so that’s 10 years now. I started because I needed to supplement my income whilst at university, and heavily focused on it when I graduated into the recession.
Let’s talk about how you start your day – are you an early riser or night owl?
I’m an early riser. If I don’t get up early and start my day off by showering and getting ready to face the day then often I just can’t manage it! I get so much done in the morning whilst my husband sleeps, meaning there’s peace and quiet! I imagine many mums out there must feel the same about their kids!
As soon as it gets dark (in the afternoons in winter) then my brain switches off and I cannot be productive.
Do you have a morning routine before you start work?
I get up and shower immediately, then from there pretty much anything goes! Sometimes I get so engrossed in my work that I don’t stop to eat until lunch time, whereas other days I plan my day whilst I’m having breakfast.
How do you stay motivated? Do you have any techniques?
Staying motivated is my biggest challenge, and I do sometimes give in and just watch Netflix. I do a few things to help me. I look back at how far I’ve come – I actually do a monthly income report on my blog which is really great to look back on. I also look at how others in my niche are doing and get inspired by them. Other times all it takes is a 10 minute walk to get me back into the zone.
What time do you finish for the day?
I try to finish around 5 o’clock – finishing up what I’m doing then tidying up my office. I manage this about half of the time, and the rest of the time I am so passionate about my work that I often have to prise myself away. I do take a break most afternoons to have lunch away from my desk and go swimming or go for a walk.
What’s your favourite thing about freelancing?
I love the variety that every day brings. No two days are the same and I think that is really exciting! Being your own boss with unlimited earning potential is also amazing.
What’s the biggest challenge you find as a freelancer?
Keeping motivated is the biggest challenge I face. When I had a full time job I had to be in the office, but now I’m self-employed it can be really difficult to motivate myself to work when there are some awesome alternatives – like Netflix.
What tools/apps/gadgets could you not live without as a freelancer?
I love using tools and gadgets in my daily life, but when it comes to working I really can’t beat good old pen and paper. I have created a bullet journal to keep track of my daily tasks – there’s something so therapeutic about putting pen to paper and crossing things off a list.
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
Earlier this year I won Best Money Making Blog at the SHOMOs, which is a UK Money Blogger conference. I am passionate about helping others to make money, so this was a fantastic achievement for me, and it meant so much.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt about making money?
I’ve learned that when you work for yourself, the sky is the limit! It isn’t necessarily about working longer hours – longer hours doesn’t mean more money in your pocket. It is about thinking about ways to work smarter not harder, and generating a passive income.
What has made the biggest impact on your business, financially?
This year I have really nailed affiliate marketing, and I do really well from it. I also know the importance of diversifying your income, so I do a number of side hustles including matched betting, surveys and selling on eBay.
The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?
There’s no secret, just something that Pat Flynn said which resonated with me. Serve your customers (or your audience) and they will reward you. This has been so true in my business. As long as I am providing my readers with valuable stuff, they will be happy to keep coming back and to purchase products or services I recommend.