screenshot721I’m really excited to have freelance colour and style guru Emily Jayne Phillips on the blog today. A few months ago, I had a 1-2-1 style consultation with Emily over Skype, and I really couldn’t recommend it more. I was in a bit of a ‘wear all the baggy black clothing’ funk, and she persuaded me to dump the darks (not a flattering shade on my very pale, redheaded colouring), embrace buying new, bright pieces that fit my personality better and stop waiting until I lose three stone to treat myself. While it had a great impact on my external appearance, for me the biggest impact was on how I felt. Plus, I took FOUR bags of (mainly black, unflattering) clothes to the charity shop this week. Something of a miracle. 

Her online 1-2-1 consultations are going to available very soon, but if you’re in Birmingham you can also find details below of how to book a face-to-face appointment with her.

Tell us a bit about you

I’m Emily Jayne Phillips, I’m based in Birmingham, and I’m a freelance personal stylist/blogger/digital content/social media consultant!

How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?

I’ve been freelancing since 2009 (eek!)

I sort of fell into it to be honest – I fell completely out of love with my previous full time employed job (an IT recruitment consultant!) and had been dabbling in personal styling as a bit of a paying hobby (I had always loved fashion). Things came to a bit of a head at work and I decided to quit my job and launch my styling business properly.

I’ve always been a bit of a geek and loved blogs since Live Journal days. People realised that I knew a little about this social media stuff and started asking me to help them, so I took on a few contracts to supplement my income whilst setting up my styling business. I realised that I really enjoyed it and have continued to do digital content and social media work alongside styling.

Let’s talk about the start of your day – Are you an early riser, or a night owl?

Definitely a night owl! It takes a large mug of black coffee to get me out of bed every morning!

What time do you start work?

This varies depending on whether I have meetings or appointments, but where I can I try not to schedule meetings before 10:00am, and if I’m working from home I try to be sat at my desk by 9:30am most mornings. I just don’t really function properly before this time!

Do you work from home?

A lot of the time I work from home. However I also have a studio where I do my styling appointments, and occasionally if I start getting cabin fever or if I have gaps between meetings when I’m out and about I’ll get some work done in a coffee shop or in the Library of Birmingham.

What’s your working routine before you start work?

My other half brings me a coffee before he gets ready for work and wakes me up (I know, I’m a lucky girl! However if I’m up before him for a styling appointment etc. / meeting I make sure that I bring him a coffee!)

I then do a social media check from bed over coffee, and organise my inbox a little (deleting rubbish, taking note of important emails and *ing them, replying to anything that just needs a quick reply). Once the boyf is out of the house and gone to work I have some breakfast and write my to do list for the day.

Do you take a lunch break?

Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to keep going! I try and take a ‘proper’ lunch break when I’m working from home – stop work and catch up on blogs or even watch a little Neighbours! Every couple of weeks or so I’ll try and meet my best friend for lunch near where she works as it’s only a 15 minute or so walk away.

If I’m out at the studio or meetings etc. then it’s likely to be more of a ‘working’ lunch, I’ll still make sure I stop to eat, but also will probably check emails/social media/return phone calls etc.

How do you tend to spend your afternoons?

If I’m at home then I will have tried to get any ‘adminny’ tasks sorted in the morning, so the afternoon will be spent writing/creating content/working on projects whether its for myself or clients.

How do you motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?

To be honest I find the fact that when you’re a freelancer if you don’t work, you don’t get paid pretty motivating! A lot of people say ‘ooh I wouldn’t get any work done from home, I’d just watch daytime TV all day etc.’ but after a pretty short time doing that you’d find yourself with no home to work from!

I also feel incredibly grateful for the lifestyle I have – I love its’ flexibility, and the fact that I’m doing something that I love. Even the bad days aren’t that bad! Therefore I’m motivated to keep working as I really don’t want to have to go back to a ‘proper job’!

What time do you tend to sign off for the day?

This really varies – most of the time I’ll try to stop work at around 7pm ish so I can cook dinner and spend some time with the other half. However, if I have a deadline then it’s not been unknown for me to take a break for dinner, and then work into the early hours of the morning!

Also styling appointments can often be in the evening, and I often have events to attend that can go on till 10pm or later. I also work a lot of Saturdays/Sundays as these are the days that most people have free for appointments!

Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?

The freedom, the flexibility, the chance to do something I’m passionate about on my own terms, and the amazing people that I have met along the way.

LiFuOWjpAnd your least favourite thing about freelancing?

I think the only things I miss about a ‘proper job’ are knowing definitively how much you will be paid every month and when, and also the sense of community in an office. However I’ve sought to remedy these as best I can by aiming to have some long-term contracts that I have established good payment terms on so at least for these I know how much I’ll get every month and around when, and also I actively seek to be involved in communities with other freelancers who I can regularly meet up with or at least have a google hangout!

What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?

I have a convertible windows tablet/laptop thats handbag sized and does everything I need. As long as I have this, my iphone, wifi and access to a power outlet every 18 hours or so (the other great thing about my laptop? immense battery life) then I can work! I can cope without my camera if needed, but prefer to have it to hand.

Coffee/cake are optional extras but make work/life much better!

Where can we find you online?

The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?

Hard work, a passion for what I do, and a network of incredibly supportive people around me.