• Jenny Stallard

"Most of all, we need to learn from stormier times"

Updated: 5 days ago

As a writer and coach, I see the metaphors and analogies everywhere I go. From ‘Why freelancing is like dating’ to how our gardens can be like our freelance businesses.

And as Storm Eunice raged in the UK, it was no different. The storm which rages reminds me of the ways self-employed life challenges us, and the ways we can prepare for it, weather it, and survive it. There is also something to be said for what the storms, when they come, can teach us.

Knowing when the storm is coming

With the current weather, we knew things were going to happen. There were warnings, closures, posts about only travelling if essential. With freelancing, it can be the same – someone might give us notice on a project, or we might see a business we work with beginning to fail, financially, for example.

There can be the signs that a storm is coming from a complaint, or a negative review – or we might, as some will have surely done, be oblivious to the signs and not seen the storm on its approach.

We can’t be experts in the ‘freelance weather’ – but we can keep our eye out for the early warning signs of a freelance storm…

Battening down the hatches

The message was clear from Thursday 17th February… don’t travel, stay home if you can, tie things down, secure large objects. Batten down the hatches! When we know a storm is coming, we can plan, secure, and make ready. It’s the same with a self-employed storm. If we see that a lean period of work is coming, perhaps the end of a well-paid contract, we should save, and plan for the leaner times. (Yes, I know, easy to say! It’s something I’m learning more and more, though). We can make sure we have what we need around us in case a storm hits – our community, our resources. From an external hard drive to a contact who can help with that complaint.

Sitting the storm out

That will be many of us tonight – at home, ‘staying cosy’. For some, it will be about moving elsewhere, if homes are damaged. We must try and ride the storm out, once we’ve done the ‘hatch battening’. We hunker down, we semi-hibernate. But it can also be a time to do things we’ve been putting off. When the freelance storm hits, and it feels like we might never see the other side, we can do the things that we don’t normally get around to. Just like many will perhaps be doing DIY or ‘indoor jobs’ while the winds whistle outside, the self-employed can do ‘DIY’ such as looking at social media profiles, learning something new, building up your offering or (yawn, I know), expenses or accounts.

When the storm has passed…

For many of us, the storm will depend on which ‘region’ we work in – some will have a stormier time than others, and see the high winds, the flying debris, more often. Those people may, just like those who live in countries prone to hurricane, perhaps have stronger coping tendencies and systems in place.

For those who aren’t used to the storms, it can be a shock when one first hits.

Wherever we freelance, there will be storms. But we also need to remember that the storm will move on – that’s what storms do. In the self-employed life – which can feel a bit like the eye of a storm itself! – we need to remember that the bad days will pass. The challenging times we weather will change. Positive days will come. It may not seem like it when you’re in the middle of the raging storm but think back to a time when it happened before, and focus on what you did to get through last time.

Because most of all, we need to learn from the stormy times. We need to see what worked for us, what strengthened us and what helped us find a new way forward when one was blocked by a fallen tree…

Coaching is one of the ways I can help you survive your own self-employed storms. From working out what you need to survive and thrive, to building up your defences for future storms. Find out more at www.freelancefeels.com/coaching

17 views0 comments