It’s no secret my life has been rocky over the past few years with domestic violence, homelessness, health issues and being a single parent.
What I have kept secret is that the past few months have been less than ideal. I don’t want to go into full details about all of it but it has rocked me and been a lot to process. I am terrible at asking for help. I like being the strong person in the room, the one who has overcome my obstacles and can help everyone else with whatever they need. Unfortunately, we can’t be that person all the time. Life throws curveballs and recently, it felt like my world was falling apart again but I have an amazing support network and somehow always manage to have the right people come into my life at the right time.
I have learnt so many lessons over the past few years, especially some coping strategies for when life doesn’t go as planned, as well as things to do to get back on track.
1.) Ask for help
I am hopeless at this. I keep everything inside until I am at breaking point. I struggle to ask, yet whenever I do I am inundated with the help I need.
Be clear about what help you need, be open to offers, trust your gut about who is offering the help and why (while most people are genuine, there are some who help because they want something in return) and be someone who helps others where possible.
Reach out to your community and ask for help.
I harp on about this a lot because it makes such a huge difference. With my current circumstances, I have found a few lessons I can be grateful for and the generosity of total strangers and my close family brought me to tears. No matter what the circumstances are, there is always something you can learn/an opportunity you can find or something good that can come from it.
3.) Take care of yourself
Another element I have not always been fantastic at and as a result, I have ended up in the hospital twice because I was paralysed in excruciating pain. And by excruciating, I mean, if you check the pain scale doctors use an 8 is childbirth, at 10 you pass out not because of blood loss but because the pain is so intense. Very few people ever experience this level of pain. I hit a 10 due to pain in my spine, I lost the function of my legs, went numb and battled to get better. I have had a cancer scare, struggled with mental health issues at some points in my life, my weight has gone up and down, the list goes on.
Often, when life is hard, we put ourselves last and everything else becomes harder, we get more stressed and end up taking longer to get back on our feet.
Take care of yourself by:
– Eating healthy. Don’t succumb to take away or junk food. Eat nutritious food and make sure you eat properly.
– Drink enough water. When you are dehydrated your body suffers and your mind can’t think as clearly. Drinking 2L or more a day will have a huge impact on your body and mind.
– Look and feel good. Get showered, get dressed fully, wear nice underwear, do your hair and makeup. These things might seem superficial, but so many people neglect this when they get stressed or depressed. Take care of yourself and how you look, it will give you a boost of confidence.
– Do something you love. Do a dance class, go out to dinner, hang out with friends, continue your hobby, read a book, whatever it is, do something you love!
4.) Pick an affirmation or quote
When I was homeless, robbed, broke and had left my abusive marriage, there were 3 quotes which helped me cope:
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” ~ Carl Jung
“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” ~ I can’t find the specific source, it was anon for me.
“Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.” ~ Seneca
I often repeated these to myself, especially the first one. My life and how it turns out is up to me. I am what I choose to become, what is happening in my life does not define me.
Find some quotes or affirmations that speak to you.
5.) Boost your confidence
When things aren’t going right, our confidence and sense of self-worth takes a hit. Think about what gives you a confidence boost and do it. If you need some ideas check out 20 ways to increase your confidence.
6.) Be Proactive
What can you do to take control of the situation and improve your life instead of letting your current situation control you? Work out a plan of action then follow through with it. You may need to tweak it as you go along but if you do nothing, things will either get worse or not change at all. Neither of those are good options. You can make the change you need.
What tips would you add?
I had the privilege of chatting with Bek from Unashamedly Creative, through her group Freelance Jungle (which you should join if you are a freelancer!). We discussed knowing and charging your worth, how I did it going from homeless to CEO, but surprisingly we also covered mental health as a freelancer and how depression has impacted my business.
It was a live interview, so I may have waffled in some parts, but you can check the recording out for yourself here. Also, I personally want to thank all those who asked questions, especially Mark. He asked some pretty brave stuff, especially about depression at the end of the recording and I am so grateful he did because mental health needs more awareness and the stigma needs to go. I am totally open in my response, how even as recently as 6 months ago I saw a psychologist and do whenever I feel the need, how I have been suicidal, right down to having the details planned a few years ago.
I do a lot of interviews, I talk a lot about my experience, but this interview is possibly one of my favourites, ever. It covers my love of creating a lifestyle for yourself, charging your worth, tips to back yourself, run your freelance business as well as domestic violence, homelessness and especially mental health.
Some of the key points, in my opinion, are below:
Why I got into freelancing
I left an abusive marriage, ended up homeless with my daughters, both of whom had learning disorders requiring extensive (and expensive) treatment. I fell into freelancing because a 9 to 5 job wasn’t possible in my situation. I had to support my daughters and myself. Freelancing provided flexible options both financially and with my lifestyle. This enabled me to afford the treatment for my daughters along with be there to provide extra assistance as needed and now they are above average when the original prognosis was they’d need help with tutoring etc for life.
Freelancing also enabled me to leave an abusive relationship and start over. It’s given me the lifestyle I love, I met my partner because of it and while it has it’s ups and downs, I can’t imagine ever not freelancing in some way, shape or form.
Where does my drive and motivation come from?
My daughters have been my motivation and the desire to improve our lives as well as ensure no one else goes through what we did are my drive for everything I do.
How do you price freelancing work?
I did research and checked what the going rates in my industry were then charged accordingly. I have more information on charging as a freelancer here.
I also shared a little formula to work out your ‘hourly’ rate. I cannot remember where I originally saw it and this isn’t verbatim, but you get the idea.
1.) Work out how much you want to earn a year. E.g. $100,000.
2.) Add superannuation, tax, business expenses such as site hosting, insurance, design, advertising, courses and events you want to participate in, self-care etc. This likely brings your $100,000 up to $150,000.
3.) Work out how many days you will be working, it’s not 365! Start with the 365 days in a year. Remove weekends (104 days), public holidays (11 in Australia), holidays (20 days if going for the 4-week standard) and sick leave (10 days is standard, however, all more if needed). This brings you down to 220 days.
4.) Work out how many hours a day you can actually work. Most mums I know have school hours only, this means 5.5 hours max (after school drop off and pick up) or 1,210 hours a year for the 220 days they can work.
5.) Divide $150,000 by 1,210 hours and you get $123.96 per hour. Let’s round that up to $125
6.) Charge accordingly! If you charge $200 for an article which takes you 1 hour to write, you are in front and that is great. If you are charging $200 for an article which takes you 3 hours to write, you are behind. However, if your goal is less or you can work more hours this changes.
Don’t charge hourly!
While I have just stepped you through a formula to charge hourly, I don’t recommend charging hourly. I create tailored packages which take into account how long I think it will take, cost of outsourcing aspects of a project if needed and a buffer in case things go wrong. On the odd occasion, I charge hourly and the above exercise is great for knowing what you need to be earning per day, per project etc.
How do you get over mental blocks of charging what you are worth and clients objections?
The capacity to charge what you are worth comes down to confidence (as well as skills, qualifications and experience to back it up). Work out why you lack confidence then formulate ways to increase your confidence levels. I have 20 tips for confidence here. One of my favourites is the superhero pose. If I am about to send a quote I feel nervous about, I stand tall, legs apart, hands on hips, shoulders back, take a few deep breaths, remind myself I am worth it then hit send. These body movements send confidence signals to my brain, automatically increasing confidence.
Next, if they want to work with you, they will pay your rates. Do not apologise, say sorry or use the word just. Be factual, back yourself and be clear on what you will and won’t do.
RUN!!!! If your gut is screaming at you that a client will be painful (especially if they want a discount/won’t pay your rates), run like the wind! Hightail it out of there. You are worth more!
What if you have a lean month and are super tempted to take lower rates?
I’ve been there. I was homeless, remember? You don’t get leaner than that! I have found every time I discounted my rates, I was not valued and the client was more work than they were worth.
Start saving asap. Take a percentage from each client and put it straight into savings. This way, when you have a lean month, you have savings to back yourself.
Be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. I have found (and read in numerous psychology/human behaviour books), about how our mind works, the conscious with the subconscious. If you have a scarcity mindset and are fearful of not getting more income, your mind will only look for low income and will create what you fear. If you have an abundance mindset, telling yourself you have more than enough, your mind looks for better opportunities. This doesn’t mean you won’t get pitched crap, you will. You will be of the mindset you don’t need it and open yourself to what you really want.
Also, keep in mind, if you take on the lean clients, then when you get pitched a good client, you may not have the capacity to take on the work you truly deserve and get the income you want.
If you have a lean month, take care of the clients you have. Hustle like crazy, pitch everywhere possible, network, get involved in groups and provide value (don’t just pitch yourself), go to events, pitch online to anywhere you hear of or find looking for freelancers. If you have 5 hours a day and no clients, you have 5 hours to pitch! Be proactive when times are lean and focus on your goals.
There is so much more
We covered tips on leaving an abusive/unhealthy relationship. I have how to get the money to leave an abusive relationship here.
We discuss mental health, I share some of my Borderline Personality Disorder experience and what helps here.
I have articles on domestic violence (the scourge we are enabling covers a chunk of my personal experience, how to rebuild after leaving an abusive relationship and more on homelessness here.
I have business and marketing resources here.
I am open about my experiences in all areas of my life from mental health through to business, so feel free to ask me anything either in the comments below or via email (admin @ kylietravers.com.au) or via social (Facebook is the best platform to reach me).
I also offer one on one mentoring, do freelance writing, speaking at events and for groups, plus more if you want any of those services too. You can find them on my homepage or in the menu.