Every Friday, The Freelance Lifestyle finds out a little bit more about other freelancers. This week, it’s the lovely Gemma Press from London
Tell us a bit about you!
Hi! I’m Gemma and I’m a freelance writer living and working in London. I also dabble in social media and ecommerce. I spend most of my days writing blog posts, web copy and social media content or teaching brands how to do this for themselves. I also run my own online jewellery shop, GEMAJewellery.com.
How long have you been freelancing, and why did you start?
I’ve been freelancing for just over a year now. I started because I discovered I could! I didn’t really know a lot about self-employment before I started my first job in online editorial & social media after university and as soon as I figured out I could write and tweet for a living, on my own terms, it was really all I wanted to do.
Let’s talk about the start of your day – Are you an early riser, or a night owl?
When I started working for myself I was really strict. I thought I needed to be up and ready, sat at my desk for 9am every day, like ‘normal’ people. Over time I’ve relaxed a little (with the help of my penchant for lie ins!) and just make sure I’m up in good time according to what I’ve got on that day.
Do you work from home?
Yep. I commandeered our dining room table a while back but I’m hoping for a home office when we move as I think it’ll really help me to switch off in the evenings – I’ve been known to slink back to my desk after tea if an idea pops in to my head..
What’s your working routine before you start work?
I usually ease myself in gently with a bit of E News (The Kardashians is my guilty pleasure!), yoga or a walk. I’ll have breakfast at my desk and no doubt I’ll have already had my fill of social media scrolling in bed so from there so I just get stuck in. I’ll try to avoid my e-mails for about an hour, just so I can check in on my client’s social channels and blog comments before dealing with new projects and questions.
Do you take a lunch break?
I’ll usually check e-mails, my client’s social channels or edit one of my own blog posts while I eat my lunch at my desk (some form of grain-y salad or something avocado-rich) but then I’ll make sure I take a half an hour walk at some point in the afternoon when I start to lag. I’m conscious that downgrading from commuting for 3 hours/day to working from home means I’m a lot less active (!) so I try to eat healthily and get out as much as possible.
How do you tend to spend your afternoons?
My afternoons are usually spent on bigger tasks like writing blog posts and newsletters for clients, editing press releases or organising new social media campaigns. I’ve recently started running monthly social media workshops for startups and new businesses so I’ll try to squeeze in a bit of planning for that or I’ll actually be presenting the workshop or working on the ebook to go alongside it.
How do you get motivated? Do you have any particular techniques?
Enjoying my life and work is a really big motivator. When I get a bit lazy or lost on the ASOS new in page / BuzzFeed for too long I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to do this and so I shouldn’t waste time. I try not to take for granted that my work is so flexible.
What time do you tend to sign off for the day?
Usually around 6pm when my boyfriend comes home from his job. When my boyfriend is out of town I really miss this little end of the day indicator and tend to carry on working till around 8pm without realising or until I get hungry for tea!
Tell us – what’s your favourite thing about freelancing?
Being a bit more selective about the projects I take on is brilliant as I’ve really been able to hone in on my experience and passion for fashion, beauty, travel, food and new business.
Also the extra time. Not having to commute / work to someone else’s schedule has left me more time to work on my own projects like my fashion and food blogs and growing my very own jewellery business – something I would not have had the time or confidence to do before I started working for myself.
And your least favourite thing about freelancing?
I’m sure I’ll sound like a broken record but, payment. It’s really sad that some companies think it’s okay to pay freelancers late and it can sometimes impact on my attitude towards my career-choice. That is my ONE negative though – otherwise I love love love it.
What tools/apps/gadgets/things could you not live without as a freelancer?
I rely heavily on my reach-out-and-touch it notebooks and diary and would be lost without Post It notes. I also use the Reminders app on my iPhone to remind me to publish posts at certain times and Citymapper is a huge help when I’m trying to get around London for client meetings quickly. Also Canva – it’s free and great for re-sizing pictures, creating Facebook / Twitter banners and quick blog images with text.
Where can we find you online?
The Big Question – What’s the secret to your success?
I think if you want to be successful working for yourself you have to be a go-getter. I’m constantly striving to be better at what I do and seeking out new opportunities. Plus I make the most of the life this kind of working has allowed me, which I think makes me successful but in a different way.
Thanks Gemma! Gemma is running a social media for startups workshop for freelancers looking to get their services online too.