Freelancing isn't easy but Sarah Townsend (she/her) has an endless supply of tips to help, whether you're brand new, haven't taken the plunge yet or have been freelancing for decades.
We chat about imposter syndrome, authenticity, burnout and book writing, among so many other topics in this super interesting episode.
As a freelance copywriter for more than 20 years, Sarah Townsend helps purpose-led
businesses discover the power of persuasive copy.
In 2020, she published Survival Skills for Freelancers, to help business owners around the
globe tackle the day-to-day challenges of self-employment.
Described as “better than a business coach, the Amazon #1 bestseller busts the myths about being your own boss to help you ace self-employment without burnout. It distills 20 years of experience – plus quotes from over 100 freelancers – into 200 unputdownable pages.
Since then, Sarah has combined her copywriting work with delivering mentoring, training and
events to help the self-employed community tackle the ups and downs of freelance life.
Survival Skills for Freelancers: https://amzn.to/2Y1z1cw
Copywriting website: https://www.sarahtownsendeditorial.co.uk
SSFF website: https://survivalskillsforfreelancers.com
I hang out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexisbushnell/
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialMediaForHumans
Join the club to learn more about ethical and effective social media marketing: https://socialmediaforhumans.club/
Voice over by Hawke Wood: https://www.spotlight.com/3490-9081-8844
[Hawke] Hello and welcome to Social Media for Humans. The podcast that empowers you to do social differently. Your host, Alexis Bushnell and her guests discuss their experience of social media as business owners, users and, ultimately, humans. With insights and advice to help you find an effective and ethical strategy that works for you. Grab yourself a drink, and join the conversation. [Lex] Hello hello, I am here with fabulous Sarah! Do introduce yourself, tell us who you are. [Sarah] I'm Sarah Townsend, I've been a freelance marketing copywriter for 22 years, and that means I help businesses to communicate clearly about what it is they do and what makes them special, what makes them stand out etc... and at the start of last year I published a book, Survival Skills for Freelancers, which is a guide to self-employment, written in a very heart on your sleeve, very kind of tell it like it is, chat with a friend type supportive, reassuring kind of tone and yes, it's kind of turned my life upside down a little bit - Okay, so my first question then really is what inspired you to write the book - I got to the stage where I felt like for the first sort of 10 years of working for myself I was really rubbish at running my own business because I think I just thought oh, being a freelancer, that means you get to work where you like, when you like, and how you like, you get to be the boss, which I love because I'm a control freak perfectionist, and you get to make all the decisions and actually quite quickly you realize that that's not the case at all, so it's really easy to jump off the treadmill of employment and kind of find yourself with lots and lots of mini bosses instead of one main boss, and they're all dictating the way you work, and that's not the path to success, the path to success involves saying no quite a lot, realizing what you will and won't do, getting super clear on value that you bring to the table, and really learning to set solid boundaries and achieve a better work life balance, because freelance life is supposed to be fun as well as rewarding, and when you're letting your boss, let your clients become your bosses and stipulate the hours you work and the rates they pay etc etc it's not fun, so yeah I just thought okay, it's time for me to sort of give something back to the freelance community, it's been good to me all these years and when I very first started out as a freelancer I was like a 20 something year old woman, and I left my job because I got pregnant with my daughter who's now 22 and when I first started I couldn't find any books that actually spoke to me as a 20 something year old woman trying to start a business, and yeah I just kind of wanted to create that book that I wish I'd had when I first started out, or even 10 years down the line frankly - Yeah that's really nice because I do, it is so true and I am still in that place where I am like trying to find that balance and practicing saying no because it is it's a whole other skill, like being freelance, managing your clients and managing the business side of stuff is a whole separate thing, and I think it's so common for people to be like I'm gonna go freelance, I need the space or the time I've got, I can't work at nine to five for whatever reason, - I do so it's gonna be fine, but actually there's a whole heap of other stuff that you have to suddenly become good at - Yeah exactly, and that's what of the freedom and the flexibility of freelance life and we think okay, well I've got this special skill that I want to share with the world, I want to make money doing the thing I love, that's kind of what it boils down to isn't it, and then it's really common to actually get to the end of your first week and go yeah, hang on, I thought I was going to be spending my day editing or designing or illustrating or whatever the heck it is, but actually I've only spent maybe 40 50 60 percent of my time doing that, and all this other time is spent finding the clients marketing the business, doing your invoices, chasing your payments, doing proposals all that stuff that we really don't enjoy doing, like even fixing your computer, and you know, we're not experts at those things are we, so when you're spending a lot of time doing the stuff that A) you don't enjoy, B) you're not good at, and C) that doesn't make you money, ideally you want to ship out as much of that stuff as you possibly can so you can have a freelance life that's a lot more fun and fulfilling - Yeah, yeah, and it is that because there are just so many different skills, and it is all the stuff that you don't think about, and that tends to be the thing that when in the freelance groups on Facebook and everywhere, that tends to be the thing that people are like I can't do this because I'm not an accountant, and I'm not a PR expert, and I can't do marketing, and I'm not this, that and the other, and it's so sad because there is so much support out there that is available, as well did you find, then, because you said you wanted to give back to the freelance community, did you find that you found a lot of like support and advice and sort of guidance generally in the earlier days - Frankly no not at all, and the reason being that, when I first started out this was 1999, so there was no social media, there were no support groups, there was no being freelance or freelance heroes or whatever it is you go onto on Facebook or slack or whatever, none of these groups existed, so I very much felt that I had gone from this busy, buzzy agency environment that I loved, let's chat let's banter, and then suddenly I was stuck in this office at the top of my house, with nobody but the cat for company, and it just drove me up the wall, I found it so so difficult, I found it so isolating, and really I only found a lot of the communities when I was in the process of writing the book, because for me the community is really key to freelance success and self-employed success in general, so it's all about kind of leaning into that community, finding community festival and then kind of leaning into it, but also giving generously, so not joining these groups with the aim of oh, you know, what can I get, how much can I kind of shout about my business and get clients, that's not what it's all about, it's all about putting yourself out there, being generous, supportive, kind, warm, friendly, welcoming, approachable, all those good things, and when you can do all those good things and you can kind of gradually like, build up your value as someone who people want to work with, and someone who's great at their job kind of almost as a side issue, isn't it, because first and foremost I always say people don't choose to work with you because you're the best at what you do, they actually choose to work with you because they like you, you make the process of working on whatever project easy for them, you've got their back, support them, you know, you make the process fun and enjoyable and we all get a lot more out of life when we can make work enjoyable, so yeah it was really about, the first chapter is all about going solo doesn't mean going it alone, because struggling with isolation, most especially during the recent months like when, even if you weren't self-employed you were in a lot of cases stuck working from home on your own, no experience of working from home, no experience of how to stay focused and productive, and to avoid distractions and all this sort of thing, so for me it was about wanting to stress that throughout the first chapter, but not just that but to build in the importance of the community throughout the book, so to begin with it sort of it tells a bit of my story for kind of context and then it goes into kind of the fundamentals of freelancing, the strengths you need and the things that will help you on the way, things like productivity, focus, motivation, the kind of skills, and then it goes into what I consider to be the eight myths of freelance life, and it busts those myths, so I wanted to build in like the voice of freelancers throughout the book, and I've got quotes and advice and many case studies literally woven throughout the book, so at the end of every myth there's quotes from freelancers in all sorts of different fields, all sorts of different levels of experience, and that's why it's important, I think, I didn't have it - Yeah yeah and I certainly found myself was that in joining those communities, in those freelance communities, you kind of have to unlearn that attitude of if somebody else is doing the same thing as me they are competition - Yeah and a lot ofthe time people will choose to work with you just because of who you are, it's not about your voices, or what you offer, or testimonials, or whatever else, yeah, they just, they like you as a person, you click, kind of like dating, you know, you just - Much like dating hopefully you don't get paid for dating yeah, and it is, so I found it quite difficult to kind of unlearn that - And I think other people do too, because it is sort of, on social media when you're promoting yourself, there is that element of I need to appear different from a, quote, competition - I need toexplain and make it clear why people would want to work with me over that person, and even though that might be a lot about how you personally do it and your personal experiences with it and that kind of thing, there is still that, I need to stand out, this is when you join those actual groups to support other freelancers and to get support yourself there is, you have to kind of let that go and just be like yeah, look, we're all just trying to figure it out, we're all at the same sort of mess - That's so true thinks when you're in those groups you still, the idea is to get remembered, isn't it, and you stand out by being you, and I think, certainly when I started as a freelancer as I say, I wasa 20-something-year-old woman, I didn't know, I mean I'd worked for nine years when I first got started, because I didn't go to university, didn't want to, and I tell that story at the start of the book, but I had business experience and I think I thought oh god, I've got to be like this business person, and just naturally, I mean I can be organized and I'm like crazy driven to the point of being obsessive, but I still don't consider myself to be, I mean I'm a business person, I'm running a business, my business is now a limited company, I'm back registered blah blah blah, but it's all about being true to who you are, because for the first 10 years or whatever would literally mask any traits of myself, and believe me I've got a lot of them, a lot of my quirks and a lot of my things that I thought that's not acceptable in business you know, I'm very direct sometimes and I've now just embraced them and I've embraced them in kind of recent years and I've found that I've had much better relationships with clients because I'm being completely myself, and they might kind of go oh yeah, you know she could be a bit quirky sometimes, but actually I think that's part of why they enjoy working with me, so yeah I think as you say it is perhaps a little bit of unlearning that, because you're not trying to stand out and kind of go oh hey, hey, pick me, pick me, but at the same time there needs to be something about you that makes you memorable and if you are being authentically you I think that's that's how you do it - Yeah yeah, and I think then you're also you're remembered by the right people as well, because you stand out, people who really want to work with you because of what how you do it, which is really important, and this is another thing I think a lot of people struggle with is this, and certainly is something that I come up against with clients when I'm talking to them about their social media posts is that, I have to be everything to everybody, I can help everybody, you know I can provide something to everybody, and it is really difficult to explain, like you need to be specific, but you can't help everybody and that's - Yeah true so true, I talk a lot about the sort of community of a competition things, you know the hashtag on Instagram, I think it's so so important because certainly to begin with if I, well for starters I didn't do any networking for the first like 10 years of my business, god knows how I managed to kind of get so many clients, it was all word of mouth, I got lucky early on, and then got lots of word-of-mouth kind of referrals, but to begin with I didn't do any networking, and when I did start if I went into the room and someone went oh there's another copywriter here, she's over there, I'd be thinking oh, I want to avoid that person, you know, she might, you know, she might kind of get ideas from me and steal my ideas or whatever, which is a really uncharitable way of looking at it, but it's kind of traditional isn't it we think that people who do the same job as us as the competition, and to actually act with a little bit of caution around them, but actually I have a a WhatsApp group with six or seven other copywriters, and we are the biggest cheerleaders for one another, we've become, we started off the WhatsApp group at the start of Covid, and we have a weekly call as well, and when we get work that we don't think is the right fit with us we'll share it among the group, we're talking about collaborating on a big project at the moment, and we support one another through thick and thin, like personal and professional issues, and actually without that support, those are the people who understand what you're going through more than anyone else, because they face the same challenges as you do on the regular, you know they literally, they understand better than anybody so if you're shying away from those connections you're missing out - Yeah yeah, you really that the general freelance groups are really useful and I do think there is a lot of value in joining them, but I also think that it is so incredibly important to have a community of people who are doing something that is basically the same as what you're doing for that exact reason, they know what the specific struggles of that line of work is, so for me marketing Twitter has just, especially over this past couple of years, has just been amazing because of the community of people just being like oh my god, this client wants me to do this, this is ludicrous, how am I supposed to explain this very basic thing that everybody in marketing understands to them, because people they get it, they're all dealing with the same stuff, having clients ask the same questions and the same stuff coming up, and it is so useful to have that to not just to vent to, but also to be inspired by and to see like how other people are dealing with it, people deal with things in different ways, and it is really helpful to have that variety of like oh, I've tried speaking to my client in this way and it didn't get through to them, but somebody else like, a totally different way of phrasing it that really just clicks with that person and you can use that and be like oh yes, now they get it - I don't think it's - Just like we just used - There are some marketing Twitter chats as well, but yeah marketing Twitter is just like a hashtag that everybody vents on, it's brilliant -Iwondered if it was like content club UK and being freelance heroes hour and that kind of thing, and it just had a certain time of day that people chatted, but no interesting - it is it's really a global hashtag, do you think Twitter chats are great, love a Twitter chat, but it can be really difficult, especially if you're trying to catch a global audience, because you can't choose a time that is suitable for everybody, literally impossible, - Yeah yeah, speaking ofTwitter chats, are there any that you really enjoy - Yeah there are, I love content club UK, I love is it freelance chat, the one that's five o'clock on a, I can't remember, I can't remember the time, because I haven't been for so damn long, but it almost gets to the stage where you just, you're almost ashamed to go oh, I haven't seen you all for a while, but I love those chats, also I've been to the freelance heroes one a couple, a few times, but that's on in the evening and because I'm single parent and I get half my time with my son, my daughter's already left home, my son's now 18, like my time in my evenings is really precious, so eight o'clock in a midweek is quite difficult for me to go to, but when I do muck into the chats I find them all brilliant, it's the answers to the questions are so thought provoking, I've done like the hosting for freelance chat content club UK and freelance heroes, and also one for the ITI, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, and I just find it, it's just full-on frantic honestly, because I tried to like all the comments, I tried to, I tried to respond to so much, I tried to retweet so much, got to the end of one of them and it was like you've been banned for literally I didn't even know this was the thing, I wasn't allowed to comment on anything for like 24 hours afterwards, that was a while ago, hasn't happened since, how about you Twitter chats on my personal Twitter than on my work Twitter, and I'm not people that, you have a lot of it is because they tend to be, I think because they tend to be during work hours and I try, unsuccessfully a lot of the time, but I try to work within set hours and then be not on my work accounts for the rest of the time, so it feels difficult for me to sort of fit in a Twitter chat a lot of the time it's like well it's, I'm on work time, I need to be doing this client work, I've got to get through this to-do list, and then outside of my sort of work time I try to avoid using work socials because I have a little bit of workaholism in me I do so if like, I'm the kind of person who if I hop on to a Twitter chat in an evening to discuss marketing with people or something, I will I will end up doing some work afterwards, you know I'll be like oh, I'm so inspired, I'm gonna do something - Yeah. You have an addictive personality by any chance - Yes yes, I do, yes, to do with, I think in a lot of cases creative people find this particularly, because we love what we do, and for us in some ways it's easy, so that kind of sparks one problem, which is people don't know what to charge because they're kind of like well, how come I'm getting paid such good money for doing this thing that, you know is just second nature to me, but also it does mean that we get on a roll and we're following the creative energy, and then we don't want to stop, so it's not always this kind of overwhelm and stress that leads to overwhelm, that leads to burnout, that's not necessarily caused by our clients driving us into the ground, it's quite often driving ourselves can you relate to that - Yes, that is definitely myexperience - Yeah I am, and I do put a lot of pressure on myselfas well - Oh yeah have to try really hard to even, if I'm watching tv or something in the evening, to not just open up a content calendar and be like oh, here's an idea, because I am just terrible for it, I really am, I've had to implement, I've started using Notion recently, well actually not that recently now, like six months or so ago, and my entire life is in it, so now if I have an idea I put it in my to-do list, I'm just like client name, this is the idea and then it's there for when I come back to it the next day or whatever - Goodfor you implement things like that, certainly for me, it has been really difficult because I found, especially the first couple of years, that I was freelanced I just worked 24/7, basically I worked weekends, and I would be like, I would shut the computer down like the desktop and be like right, I'll go and have dinner and then I'll relax ,and I'd come up after dinner and be like okay, I'm gonna put some YouTube on put some Netflix on, whatever, and then I just sit there and work while I was watching - Don'tyou find that phrase "I'm just" like really insidious, is that the right word, I don't know, mental block for a second, but I find that I just kind of, I'm always saying it to my partner, like he doesn't live with me but he's with me like quite a bit of the time, and when we're together in the evenings I'll just kind of go oh, I just wanted to copy this review into a social post, and I'll go I'm just doing this, I'm just doing this and it's just like, it gets, it kind of just escalates and means that I end up spending, I have real impulse control issues with Instagram and social, I just I think I'll leave my phone, I'll leave it on the side, and and we'll go like sit down and watch a film or something, like 10 minutes later I'm picking it up and checking it again, it's not good, I have to really have a stern word with myself - Yeah yeah, those "I'm just" tasks always add up as well, because you do tend to find, I certainly do, that like it's oh, there is just this, literally, it's going to take me five minutes, and it will, but it will then lead on to something else, and then it's just this constant cycle of oh well, I've done that so I'll just do this other thing, and I'll just fix that thing, and I'll just get that prepared, and three hours later you've been working and you're just like this was supposed to be resttime - Yeah, oh we sound very similar, and I do think with sort of creatives, like you're saying like that is what leads to burnout, it is that, also because you enjoy it and that like well, I enjoy it so it's okay to do it in my down time, I don't need rest time away from work because I enjoy my work, and it's like yes, but also no, you do actually need a break it turns out, ironically, that's the reason that I said I would never write a book because I mean, I used to have people say to me oh, you need to write, like Andy Maslin, brilliant author, said to me once you should write a book about copywriting, there's a real shortage of books by female copywriters out there, and I was like no, no, I'll never write a book because I write for a living, so I spend all my day writing, why would I want to spend my same my spare time doing the same thing because I'm already obsessed enough about it, and then when I got the idea of doing the book it was like January 2020 and it was published the paperback it actually launched on national freelancers day last year, the 18th of June, so January to June, and it only kind of took me two months to write it because the only way I know, because of my very neurodiverse brain, the only way I know is to just completely hyper focus on the task, to the exclusion of everything else, relationships, you name it, time off, so ironically the book is subtitled tried and tested tips help you ace self-employment without burnout, how I didn't end up burning out after living on adrenaline for that many months is just beyond me do you have any tips then for people writing, because I feel like a lot of people are heading towards like book writing as one of their sort of passive income streams, so do you have any sort of tips or advice - Yeah I don't think you'regoing to make you really do not, people keep saying to me yeah, since I published the book I just thought I'd write the book, publish the book, and then go back to the day job so I'd be full-time copywriting again, and that just hasn't happened, so since last June I've done over 50 live events including Q&A's, webinars, workshops for professional bodies, for enterprise nation, for university students, I've also done close to or slightly over 50 podcast interviews, none of the podcast interviews pay of course, it's just kind of another opportunity to spread the word about the kind of message of how important it is for self-employed people to take responsibility for their own mental health and well-being, because we don't have like someone in our team who's kind of representing for us, who we can go to when we're having a bad kind of mental health day, or you're really struggling with anything, we have to do that for ourselves, so all this stuff that I've had a chance to do is all helping me to spread the word, and that's great, but it is also tricky to to get the balance right between juggling the paid work and the free stuff, and actually you know in terms of sales you really don't make a lot of money at all, so to give an idea the cover price for this is 14.95, I think I make 6.26 a copy, and then you have to pay tax on it, so, yeah, but one tip that somebody gave me early doors was get your cover designed really early on, because it helps you keep focused, so I sort of pulled it off and I had it in front of me so I could always see it in the corner of my eye, and it helped to keep me motivated because it makes it feel real, and when I started I didn't know the first thing, I obviously knew how to write because I've been doing it for nearly 30 years, but I didn't know anything about the self-publishing process, so ISBN's and barcodes and Nielsen and KDP and ACX and so I picked maybe half a dozen people I knew who had gone through the process and I said look, can I pick your brains in exchange for if you need copywriting advice for an hour, I'm more than happy to help, and the advice that those people gave me was absolutely invaluable, I couldn't have done it without that kind of initial, these are the things that I would keep in mind and whatever, so yeah talk to the people who've been there and done that, and really be prepared for, well, in all honesty it's more of a learning vertical than a learning curve, I started off with a lever arch file, I've not used a lever arch file since I was employed, but I got a lever arch file, and I just kept reading things, and snipping things, and printing things out, and I ended up with a file about this thick within six weeks of starting to do my research of all the things I wanted to include, and it all coming together, and it's challenging, but if you've got this, if you've, it's just like anything with your business, isn't it, you need to know your purpose, why are you doing it, who do you want to help, what's kind of your, I guess, your like your elevator pitch for the book, what's the reason why you're writing it, and if you keep that in mind you won't go far wrong there helped you to stay, to keep that sort of reason and that why at the front of your mind - It did, as I say I kind of became obsessed with it, so I very much felt like I had the energy behind me, so when I got the idea, I got very quickly from the idea to actually starting to write it, and structure it, and whatever, and pull together my little team of cheerleaders who were going to test read it and this sort of thing, and I found that I just went with the energy, which is I'm good in life if I go with the energy, I'm either like a hundred percent like 100 miles an hour, or I'm like parked up on bricks on the driveway, there's no middle ground with me, so if I stick with going with the energy then I'm usually pretty good - Yeah that's good, because I do think, and a lot of it is going to come down to sort of book writing, is knowing how your own brain works isn't it, it was so difficult, because I know quite a few people who are trying to write books at the minute, or they're in the process of writing books, and they want to self-publish and stuff, and they're all so different about it, you know some of them are like you and they're like I'm just gonna power through, I'm just gonna, I've got the inspiration, I've got the motivation, I'm gonna do it all right now, and some of them are more like I'm gonna write one chapter at a time, and I have a plan for it and it'sall organized I'm and then other people are just sort of very ad hoc, and like I've written a lot over the past three days and then I've not written anything for three months, it's so fascinating to see like how different people sort of manage it and do it, and I think it comes across as well in the the text, because I do think, and I think that's a good thing, because I do think we like a variety of of books out there from different perspectives, and like you say there's not a lot of books from female copywriters, it makes a difference to have not just those different viewpoints, but to have those different experiences of writing the book as well and I think they're all equally valid, I think it's a question, as you say, is knowing your own mind, and it's knowing what works for you, and the same goes for when you are self-employed, it is kind of tuning into what you need to get through the day and be your most productive, and your best self, but you know it's that kind of, if you know for me like I start my day, three times a week I start my day with a swim, and those days where I've got up early and I've gone for a swim, and I've done my exercise, I walk to my gym, I have a swim, and then I walk home and then just crack on for the rest of the day, and those days I'm super super productive, and focused, and organized, and I feel like I'm on it, because I know that helps me, so yeah that might mean that I'm starting work half an hour later, but those are still my best, most productive days, and it's the same with if you know that actually you need to take a break at lunch, you get a major energy slump, you need to go out and take the dog for a walk, or get out on your bike or whatever it is for you, when you listen to those things, and you tune into them, and you actually design your day or build your week around those strengths and those things that are important to you, that's when you can do your best work, but you going back to the ways of writing a book I know a lot of people who are like I'm gonna write 500 words a day, whereas to me that's kind of, I would start writing the 500 words, and then I'd be like I'm not going to stop just because I've got to 500, I have to keep smashing on because I'm in the zone, and I will write for hours and hours, and forget to take a break, this is why so much of the stuff I talk about in the book is about, as much of it as anything is reminding myself, like, I have to sometimes read my own chapter, particularly the one about imposter syndrome, I had to run a panel about imposter syndrome and I was having imposter syndrome about running a panel about imposter syndrome, go figure - That is so common, though I do think imposter syndrome is one of the things that comes up all the time with literally everybody, people I know personally, people I know through my membership, people like in my own life, it's just everywhere, it really is rampant, and I think it's so ironic that we're all sat about thinking that everybody else is going to find out that we're a fraud, while everybody else is busy thinking that they're a fraud - It's excellent, it's actually really reassuring though, don't you think, when you actually, when you realize that everybody is feeling the same, and everybody's got the same sort of human, I can't think of the word, fragility or whatever, that's not the right word but you know what I mean, - Yeah yeah, no, it's true, I think we do forget that everybody else is human as well, and everybody else is in their own head going oh my god, everybody is going to find this out about me oh no, everybody's going to think this, everybody's going to see that I'm disorganized, they're going to see that I'm this, that, the other, but like everybody else is in their own head thinking the same thing, nobody is playing - Exactly, and I think actually I was talking about earlier on, about kind of just being you, like quirks and all, because the more you are genuinely, completely you, the less you're gonna feel that oh my go,d I'm gonna get found out, because you're already being all the you that you can be, so yeah it's quite a good coping mechanism for imposter syndrome, I think that's a good thing, - I do think as well having, like having those communities, and speaking to other people who are freelance as well, who are inevitably in the same situation and feeling the same way as a rule, because I do think when you sort of hop into a group, or a Twitter chat or wherever, and you see somebody else is like I'm supposed to be giving a talk on imposter syndrome, and I haven't imposter syndrome about it, you see not just that post where you're like oh, it's not just me, but all the comments who are like yeah, yeah, I have no advice but yes I know what you mean, and I think that makes a massive difference, just to feel like you're not alone and it's like, it's not just you that feels that way, it's actually just common experience, that, there's so much power in kind of creating that normality, because actually if you were working in an office and you had the kind of the self-doubt, and the wobbles, and the fear of failure because you've been asked to do a presentation, for example you just chat with your colleagues at the coffee point, and you'd go oh my god, I've got to do this thing, I'm absolutely bricking it, you know, I don't know, I've never done anything like this before, and your colleagues would just go oh yeah, geez, I had to do something just like that last month, but it went really well and this is, you know, you'll be fine, you've got this, and then you'd kind of go oh, okay you would just, yeah, I think you just remember that everybody feels like that, but when we're on our own, and we're not talking, particularly if we don't feel we have that community, and we don't feel that we've got that support around us, then yeah, you are more likely to feel god, I'm the only person dealing with this, and therefore I must be abnormal, and of course we're not - Yeah yeah, and I do think own head as well if you're not joining in with communities, you don't have that external support to voice that, to hear it back as well, to hear yourself saying these things, because I do think as well that can be really helpful, to just voice something, and then you hear yourself say it and you think that just makes no sense at all, what, that's silly - I'm very much a talk to think person, so sometimes something will be out of my mouth, and I'll go shit, do I think that, okay now that makes sense, so yeah I think, particularly if you're a talk to think person rather than a think to talk, yeah, oh something you just said really triggered something, and I was gonna, anyway forgotten, it'll come back, - Actually on the sort of think to talk thing I used to think that I was the other way, I would think rather than talk, and now I'll realize that actually I am very much, I think better when I talk, yeah, so I send my friends so many voice notes now, while literally I just start with I'm just trying to figure out what I think about this, and then I just scramble about like, wherever my brain goes, by the end of it I'm like right, okay, this is what I think, and this is how I want to deal with it - I am all over voice notes honestly, I literally, I'll get an enquiry through Twitter, and then I'll find the person on LinkedIn so I can convert the conversation from Twitter to LinkedIn, so I can do it all in voice notes because Twitter, as per, is late getting, you know joining the band wagon with the voice notes, but yeah, the quicker it can do that, the better, but I just think they're amazing, just a game changer, totally, oh that thing, yeah, I know what I was going to say was I think quite often when you're feeling those wobbly feelings, I think that's actually the time that you should avoid social media quite often, because I think social tends to amplify what you're thinking, so if you're having a really great day, where you're feeling confident, you're feeling invincible you're smashing all your deadlines, you're thinking yeah, okay, I've got this then yeah, great, go on to social and do your interacting and do your social thing, but don't go on there when you're thinking oh god, I'm having a really crap day, I really feel down on myself, the negative self-talk's kicked in, I'm just not feeling good about this, or I messed this up, or whatever, then I think actually that's the time to stay the hell off social because however you're feeling, when you go on there, if you're having those down days and you're looking at what other people are doing, all that does is it just serves to kind of amplify those bad, negative, draggy, feelings, and you kind of feel worse about yourself than before, because that's when you do compare yourself to other people and oh god, you know that person seems outwardly to be doing the same job as me, but obviously they're doing it much better than I am, whereas when you're feeling confident, chances are you might even think oh just drop the a DM and leave them a voice mail and see how they're getting on, and then you remember that they're human as well - Yeah, no, I agree I agree, and I think that it's really easy to, if you're having one of those days where like everything is going wrong and your negative self-talk is really like on full volume, and you pop on social media and start scrolling, and you see posts that usually you would be celebrating with people, that you'll be like yes, you're amazing, you did this, I'm so proud of you, yeah, but because where your brain's at that comparison kicks in, and you're like oh no, they've succeeded at this, I'll never succeed, ever, and it does, it gives, it almost gives you permission to keep beating yourself up, so when you think it is important to have to be able to give yourself a break in those moments, sort of, not sort of go on social media to try and get that validation and to be cheered up by social media, I mean that said I do think it is important to have some group somewhere where you can go and say like I am having a really bad day, this has gone wrong, and that people will just go that's really rubbish, I'm sorry, what can we do to help because at the same time as like it isn't great to just hop on social media and start comparing, I do think that sort of keeping it to yourself and isolating yourself can make it worse as well so you need to have that balance of, like, these are the people I go to on my rough days, when I need x, y, and z, but if I'm having a good day and I'm feeling fine, I can scroll social media and celebrate with everybody else, and that's that's great too really good for that, to begin with I would always kind of put the posts out there like like many other people do, the kind of edited highlights, and the kind of oh yeah, you know I've had a really good day today, I've had a bit of a success, I'm going to share my win, whereas actually last week I posted a reel of some lavender fields which were absolutely no relevance to work whatsoever, and I just said like I'm really struggling at the moment, I'd had two really bad mental health days, and was really finding everything difficult, felt like I had nothing to say, nothing to contribute, so I was just kind of like I'm gonna just put this out here, and actually in response to that the number of positive comments and supportive comments, whereas if I'd held that in nobody would have known, and therefore they can't say the supportive things, so actually I think by doing that, and kind of making it almost, you're giving other people permission to say yeah, you know, this isn't so great, it's not all unicorns and rainbows is it, like we have these challenges, and we get through them together, so super important to be you, you know again it comes down to that being authentically you I suppose, good and bad, say actually, that kind of brings us full circle to just being yourself, because it is, a lot of people feel that they can't put the bad stuff out, quote bad stuff, you know the difficult stuff out there, and the other thing I find is that if people have had a period of time where they're like, they haven't posted anything because they've been feeling rough, or whatever, that then in itself creates this block where they're like oh, I've not posted anything, now I have to come up with some incredible comeback posts that then delays your comeback post because you, there is no perfect comeback post, whereas if you allow yourself to post the irrelevant I'm just having a really shit time at the minute post, it stops that because you've already put something out there, people know you've not got that, created this sort of big comeback post thing, that you've got to create, you know, you just, it's just quite normal and it allows people to connect with you on that more human, personal level the book, I discovered while I was researching and writing it that it's called a vulnerability loop, I didn't know that was a thing, but if you're having a conversation with someone and you say oh yeah, you know I really struggle with this sometimes, that's actually giving them permission to share something quite personal in response, and that's actually how you build trust and connection in relationships, and you'll notice a lot of people who are really good at doing that and like, as I say to begin with, I would always hide those things, and I'd never dream of talking about anything like my mental health, or anxiety, or anything like that, and it's not just in the past couple of years, I'd say maybe in the past five years I've gotten much better at talking about it, and it's amazing actually the number of people who kind of go oh yeah, god, yeah, me too, thanks for sharing, that makes it, again it kind of comes back to that normalizing it, almost, and yeah, I just think it's helpful to be genuinely you, and if you can share things that you think other people won't necessarily get, you might be surprised how many people do - Yeah yeah, that is so true, because there are so many people who we assume that everybody else has got it together, and then when you put up a post that is like I'm struggling, and those people who you're like but they've got it together, are in your comments going god, oh, I I've really been feeling this this past week, I have just not, this is going wrong, and they said I'm dealing with this, and you're suddenly like these people are human too, they are they actually have stuff going on as well, - It's just such a nice way to, kind of strengthen a relationship, because you know business is all about relationships, nothing else, all relationships - Yeah, that's true, it's true, well it's been really lovely chatting to you, if people would like to build a relationship with you on social media where can they find you - I'm probably most activeon LinkedIn Day on Instagram, you can find me on LinkedIn, I think you're going to share the links too - Iwill put all the links in the show notes - And ifanybody wants any more information about kind of what I do as a copywriter, or about survival skills for freelancers, best way to find that is to go to survivalskillsforfreelancers.com, that has a link to the book in kindle, paperback, and Audible for audiobook format, I'll get there in the end, and it also links to my copywriting website, it has my social media links, and it links to email as well, so that's probably the easiest, survivalskillsforfreelancers.com - Verygood, thank you very much for being here. [Hawke] If you want more regular reminders to find your own way to use social media, follow Alexis on your social platform of choice. All the links will be in the show notes. Until next time, be a human.