self employed

How to Deal with Being Sick When Self-Employed

By Shandos Cleaver

When you're self-employed, there's no such thing as sick days, with a team back in the office able to help out with your duties while you're home in bed.  You've got work to deliver to clients, appointments to keep, your own expectations to live up to.  It's easy to think that you don't have time to be sick.  

So, what can you do to decrease your likelihood of falling ill?  And what can you do when do you fall sick?

1. Eat Well

It can be tempting when you're working at home to not stop for lunch, or just snack on what's in the fridge.  However, you'll feel a lot better if you stop and eat a proper lunch, whether it's a simple sandwich or salad at home, or something nice at a local cafe.  Don’t also feel at networking drinks that you have to hold a glass of wine or beer, or eat the deep-fried canapés. You can just stick to sparkling water and eat the dinner you’ve planned to cook at home.

2. Keep Fit

Make sure you regularly find time to exercise.  On days when I do some exercise in the morning, I find that I feel more energetic and optimistic.  It doesn't have to be much (in fact a big training session will drain me); my favourite tool at the moment is the Quick Fit 7 Minute fitness app.  Other options include yoga, heading out for a brisk walk, or even meditating.

3. Switch Off

It's easy to work all day, every day when your workplace is at home.  In particular, if you receive work emails to your personal email address and have social media account notifications popping up, it's hard to switch off.  Make sure you have a break from work most days.  Whether it's stopping each evening at 5pm or having a long lunch during the middle of the day (possibly also a class at the gym?), make some time for yourself away from work.  If necessary, also have a digital-free day once a week.

4. Take Some Time Out

If you're coming down with something, you can usually sense it in advance, from feeling drained and unmotivated.  If you feel like this, it's probably better for you to spend some time relaxing, such as by spending the morning in bed or chilling out over some TV, rather than pushing yourself to keep going.  I know that this is often enough to make me perk back up and not come down with a proper sickness.

5. Know What's Important

If you do come down sick, it's important that you know what’s important and what isn't.  Go through your schedule and make note of the important items (such as those with deadlines that can't budge) versus items that can be delayed until another day or another week, or cancelled completely.  If you were planning to go to a free networking event, you could probably skip it unless it's vital that you meet up with people there.  You probably also wouldn’t make the most of such events!

6. Have Some Flexibility

If you're fully booked out, it's harder to take it easy while you're sick and relax until you get back on your feet.  Keep some space in your schedule for some nice to do type tasks.  For instance, most days I plan to take my dog for a walk at the local park, but I know he won't mind if we skip a day.  Alternatively, have some more low-key work that you can switch to when you're not feeling well (such as social media follow-up), or if you’re a blogger have some pre-written posts that are ready to go so you keep to your publishing schedule.

7. Work When You're At Your Best

Most people have an optimum time of the day for working, whether it's early in the morning, in the middle of the day or late at night.  Does this remain the same when you're sick, or does it change (such as feeling worse in the morning when you have a head cold and have just gotten up)?  Know when you're likely to feel your best, and try to get your important tasks ticked off then.

8. Don't Do Too Much Too Soon

When you're starting to feel better, by all means catch up on things that have been delayed, but don't start doing too much again too soon, especially over-working to make up for the loss time.  This will increase the chance that you'll fall sick again, as you won't fully recover.  Take it easy for a few days as possible, and remind yourself that you no one is ever perfect and gets everything done!

Shandos Cleaver is a freelance writer and consultant, who recently put aside a successful IT career to launch Travelnuity, an online travel magazine for the savvy traveller. The website’s mission is to provide ingenious tips to stretch people’s travel budgets. She also regularly writes on business and IT-related topics, plus in the past has been featured in publications as diverse as Australian Geographic Outdoor, Australian Traveller, inthemix.com.au and Lip Mag. 

Connect with Shandos via Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.  Visit the Travelnuity website, or follow it on Facebook or Twitter.  

Photo Credit: Gratisography

5 self-care tools that will give you blogging super powers

By Sarah Magdalena Love

Consistently providing inspiring high-quality content can be a huge challenge, especially if you are just starting out. If I am honest, it took me a while to really understand that taking care of myself is time very well spend, especially in the most stressful times. 

Self-care is about so much more than staying hydrated and doing the odd yoga class – it can help you stay spiritually grounded, it connects you to the big Why of your work and it supports you in staying true to your message.

Here are the my five favourite tools I recommend for people who are full of ideas, but are sometimes (like me) running low on creative energy: 

Find a meditation practice that works for you

If I had to name one thing that changed my life for the better, it would definitely be meditation. It gives me clarity, strengthens my vision and keeps me on track. Many of us quit when we dip our toes into a practice that just isn`t right for us because it starts to feel like a burden before it can become a positive habit. But the truth is that you don`t have to sit in silence for an hour every morning – there are countless short, guided meditations that are really easy to integrate into your life.

Look around for a teacher that really inspires you, maybe even find something tailored to creatives and entrepreneurs. If in any way possible, I would also recommend creating a dedicated meditation space. If you have somewhere beautiful and cozy to sit down with a tea and a vision board, getting out of bed and being a little creative firework will become so much easier. 

Integrate movement into your day

We all know that yoga is awesome and that maybe starting to run regularly would make us feel better, but we rarely have the time to make all those “shoulds” happen. 

Taking tiny breaks to shake it out can make a huge difference to your work though – try using the 7 fitness app for a full body workout in seven minutes, bonus points if you listen to “Flawless” by Beyonce. 

I also stream yoga videos online because I want to stay inspired through new practices, but I often don`t find the time to go to a studio class. 

Create a life worth writing about and make your desk THE place to be

Constantly running through routines and feeling stuck in life does naturally reflect in our writing. Even fancy studies show that it`s super important to regularly take breaks from all social media, do something completely different, to go see a new place and go on an adventure in nature. The best ideas always come to us when we stop trying to make them happen. Currently I am trying to go and explore a new neighbourhood every other week, but I also love visiting quiet, peaceful libraries with actual paper books and no WIFI. 

To make sure my return is creative and productive, I treat myself to fresh flowers and have an aromatherapy burner with lemon and geranium oil on my desk. I really do love my space and I make keeping it clear and lovely a priority, even on the wildest deadline. 

Celebrate Monday morning like it’s your birthday

I try to sit down towards the end of the week and make a priority plan for the next week, that way I don`t wake up on Monday feeling overwhelmed and unsure about what to do next. I also don`t schedule any fixed appointments before noon on Mondays, because I love to start the week super mindfully with a hot bath, a nice book and a second breakfast in the garden. I think the added chill totally pays off because I am able to carry it through my week and work with more focus. 

Say no with love

It’s cool to say yes to life, snacks and naps, but sometimes you have to get better at saying no when you need to in order to take care of yourself. Clearing your calendar of dreaded items creates space for new creative adventures that will transform into fuel for your blog. I also use unroll.me to clear my inboxes from anything that doesn`t positively contribute to my life or business because life is too short to waste even 30 seconds a day to delete unwanted emails. 

I totally believe you can do this!

Sarah Magdalena Love is a holistic life coach, a digital strategist for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs, a yoga teacher and a writer. She lives in Berlin with her little dog Orlando and offers Wordpress design & setup programs that include 1:1 coaching and tons of inspiration. 

Connect with Sarah on her blog, her Facebook page, on Instagram and on Twitter.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Fall in love with marketing

By Ange Hammond

Love and Marketing. These two words so very rarely go together, so much so that I bet you’re even cringing at the very thought of it. So often marketing is seen as a chore for us, like doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. And yet, this activity is so vital for our business or our blog and believe it or not, we can love it, we can use it to connect with so many like-minded people and it can be enjoyable. 

For me, I never used to like marketing; in fact I dreaded the thought of it. Back when I studied my Bachelor of International Business many, many moons ago, there were some interesting, really engaging subjects that I signed up for, such as Modern History of South East Asia. I loved learning about the world and how countries have evolved and how they now engage in business. My degree was fascinating for the most part. And then there were the subjects that I was less enthusiastic about, the ones that were compulsory in first and second year… yep, those subjects were all based around marketing. 

I could say it was the lecturers; perhaps they could have made it more interesting for me, perhaps I didn’t give the subjects enough of a chance; whatever it was, I just wasn’t into it. All of those marketing theories and case studies about how big corporations took the world by storm with their well-placed and highly researched strategies… yep, still doesn’t do much for me. 

So what was it about marketing that really didn’t interest me? I can now see that it stemmed from a belief that marketing equaled a desire to make lots of money and a manipulation of consumers to achieve this desire. That’s what came across during those tedious university lectures. It just felt wrong to me back then… that it wasn’t coming from a good, wholesome place and because of that, it wasn’t something that was worth investing time into. 

Fast-forward seven years and in 2009 I took the trusting leap of faith and left behind the world of working for others and started up my own little business. 

And wouldn’t you know it, marketing stepped back into my life in full swing. All of a sudden I was putting my business plan together, needing to dive into the 4 P’s of marketing and I was overcome with dread. Marketing and I didn’t get along in those first few months of business. We were like acquaintances who kind of liked each other but not enough to invite around for dinner, and by no means were we anywhere close to becoming besties. 

That very same year I also trained to be a yoga teacher and it was during those days spent at the training that my teachers became my unknowing business mentors. A lot of the principles behind teaching yoga so easily translated into the world of marketing. We don’t teach yoga for the money; we teach it to assist our students to de-stress from their busy days, to calm their thoughts and help connect themselves with their body, breath and spirit. They’re the reasons why we teach yoga; they’re the ‘why’ behind doing what we do.

Be authentic, always have your students in mind when sequencing a class and always teach for the love of helping and supporting others. Money will come but it’s not the main focus. Yep, the same can be applied to marketing.

Our intentions behind doing what we do can make all the difference between loving an activity, or dreading it. With marketing, leave behind the intention of making money and focus on the ‘why’. Why do you offer the services that you do? 

I bet it’s ultimately because you want to help people in some way, improve their lives, on some level, whether it is related to health, lifestyle or relationships. Whatever the ‘why’, tap into that wholesome intention and let it shine through your marketing. 

Every time you post on Facebook, take a moment to check in with the intention behind it. Are you wanting to connect with your like-minded peers, clients and interested followers? Or are you hoping to sell more of your products or services? Ask yourself these same questions for all marketing activities you engage with: social media, your email newsletters, your website content, everything.

The more our intention shifts from money to connection, to helping our community, the more we can come to like and even LOVE marketing ourselves and our services. There’s no need to shy away from marketing; embrace it with confidence and do it with a genuine knowingness that it’s coming from a good place. Your community will see that too and before too long, you’ll notice that your followers will increase at a rate never seen before… but again, this isn’t the main intention, just the reward for being authentic.

These days I use my scheduled marketing time to contemplate, to think about what knowledge, insights and news would be of most benefit for my community. 

I am generous with my advice, knowing that it will help at least one of my followers. And I actually enjoy this time. The little gems of ideas that come to me for my blog posts and Instagram images excite me and I know that it’s time well spent. 

Yep, marketing and I now meet up on a regular basis, sometimes for a flat white, and other times we’ll sit on the couch and chat for hours. She’s pretty cool like that.

Ange Hammond is an inspired web designer at Resonant Imagery, creating beautifully vibrant and easy-to-navigate websites. She loves working with other conscious entrepreneurs who want to be positive influences in their community. She moonlights as a yoga teacher, specialising in gentle hatha flows. She is the author of Conscious Online Marketing, available on Amazon as an e-book and hard copy book. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.