Rhiannon BallTell us a bit about you!

I’m Rhiannon and I’m a freelance writer, editor and teacher trainer for ELT materials. I’m currently located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but I work for companies in the UK and Brazil.

I’m currently working on a series of downloadable material for Business English teachers and also English for bus drivers.

I also love working in social projects and have created a series of material that combines ELT with citizenship for YL that I use in NGOs in low-income communities.

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

I’ve been freelancing since I moved to Brazil in 2011. Initially, I started because I didn’t have much choice while I was waiting for my permanent visa to come through. When it finally did, I got a job teaching English but I quickly got bored of just doing one job and soon started accepting freelance jobs again. When it got too much to juggle a full-time job and freelance assignments I gradually started reducing my teaching hours until I eventually went freelance again!

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

Both! I like to get up early – when I’m working for a UK-based company I prefer to work to GMT, which is a couple of hours ahead of Brazil depending on the time of year. However, sometimes I get so wrapped up in something I keep working until the early hours! I find I work best at the beginning and the end of the day, so sometimes I take a couple of hours off in between.

What time do you start work?

I’m usually at my desk for about 7:30am.

[themify_quote]I’m often out and about giving training sessions or visiting the social projects I’ve implemented at different NGOs here in Rio.”[/themify_quote]

Do you work from home?

Yes, I have my own little office in a separate room in my apartment, which is where I do most of my work. It works well because I don’t spend all of my time at home – I’m often out and about giving training sessions or visiting the social projects I’ve implemented at different NGOs here in Rio.

What’s your working routine before you start work?

I get up early and go for a run at the sports centre in front of my apartment, then take my sausage dog, Molly, out for a walk. I sit down at my desk at around 7:30am with a strong coffee and catch up on my Twitter feed, read whatever interesting articles grab my attention, then get down to work.

Do you take a lunch break?

Only if it’s a day when I’m out training or teaching. If I’m working from home I usually have lunch at my desk.

How do you tend to spend your afternoons?

It depends what projects I’m working on. I might be doing some proof reading, materials writing, preparing a training session or doing the accounts for a social project. If I’ve got a light schedule, I use the time to work on the children’s book I’m writing or update my materials blog.

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

I receive the Daily Quipple alerts every day – they send beautifully designed quotes that can be really uplifting if you’re having a bad day. If I’m having a day when I’m struggling creatively, I try not to beat myself up about it and take the afternoon off (if project deadlines allow it, of course). I’ll go to a coffee shop with my laptop or sit by the lake with a notebook. Getting some fresh air and being around other people, even if I’m not interacting with them, usually helps me to focus again and takes the pressure off of sitting in front of a blank document in my office.
I also tell myself that nothing’s set in stone. Our greatest ability is adaptation and if freelancing doesn’t work out, then I can always try something else and even if that something else doesn’t use my preferred skills set, then I know that I’ll take something away from it.

[themify_quote]Our greatest ability is adaptation and if freelancing doesn’t work out, then I can always try something else.”[/themify_quote]

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

The variety – nothing beats being able to dip your toes into different areas and projects without being tied down to a routine.

And your least favourite thing about freelancing?

No matter how many projects I’m working on or are in the pipeline, I always feel a little worried about where the next one will come from.

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

I still prefer a notebook and pen over everything else – I just can’t get the joy that comes with choosing beautiful stationary from a digital device. Nonetheless, my Moto G smart phone has changed the way I work, as has Google docs because I can jot down ideas even when I’m squashed on the underground!

Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @rhiannonball
ELT materials blog: rainydayelt.blogspot.com
Website: rhiannonsarah.com
Website (in Portuguese for clients in Brazil): simplifiedingles.com

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

Hard work – I used to regularly have a 3-hour commute that started at 5am and work 12-hour days as a freelance teacher and that installed a work ethic that is vital to being a freelancer. For me, the benefits are many, however I understand that to get those benefits I need to put in the hours and do everything I can to the best of my ability. I hope that shows in my work!

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