Show us a picture of your workspace and tell us about it.
My workspace changes often, depending on my circumstances and where I am in the world. It could be a cafe, a co-working space, a hotel room, or occasionally poolside. At the moment I’m back home in England staying with my parents, so my current workspace looks like this:
What kind of freelance work do you do, and what made you decide to do it?
I’m a freelance copywriter, so I craft content in the style and tone of voice that fit the specific brand. I work with various clients (but mostly within the travel industry), from luxury hotels and tour companies to expat groups and hostels.
When did you start freelancing, and what were the biggest changes you had to make?
I started freelancing nearly two years ago when I decided to quit my job and spend a year traveling, with the hopes of building up freelancing whilst I had more time on my hands. The biggest change is adapting your lifestyle because even though I can travel, I never really have “days off” like a 9-5 job, I’m always working on some kind of project, I’m always on call if clients need questions answered or a task done urgently. And also adapting to the instability that comes with full time freelancing, because it’s difficult to know from one month to the next how much you will be earning.
Is your freelance job a 9-to-5? How do you structure your time?
It depends on where my clients are based and what projects I have on at the time, as I may need to adapt my hours to suit a different time zone to where I am based. When I’m not traveling and I’m working from home, I quite often start work at around 10am or 11am and work until 3pm, then I will go for a walk to get out of the house, and often come back and work until I have dinner at 7pm. Sometimes, if I’m really really busy, I’ll then work after dinner until 10pm or 11pm.
When I’m traveling, I usually only take on non-time-specific projects and have to fit it around my plans for the day.
What do you enjoy the most about your new way of life?
I enjoy the potential freedom it has, I enjoy working for myself, and I love the fact that I’m finally doing something that I’m actually passionate about!
What do you find the hardest about the work you do or freelance life in general?
Again, the lack of stability is probably the biggest factor of freelancing that I struggle with, and sometimes self-motivation. When I work from home I find it very difficult to switch off, and end up spending too much time in the house!
What piece of work are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of some detailed expat guides that I’ve written in the past, and also some pieces that I wrote for a luxury travel company. The travel company had super high standards and were quite difficult to work for, but out of the team, my work was chosen as the benchmark and used for examples for what they wanted from other writers.
What measures do you take to ensure your physical and mental health don’t suffer?
Yeah, this has definitely been something that I’ve struggled with since coming home and freelancing. I make sure I go for a 30 – 60 minute walk every afternoon to get me out of the house, but I think I’m going to try and join a gym and go to some exercise classes, if I can find one that doesn’t require me to sign up for a year!
If you had another chance at going freelance would you have done anything differently (no matter how small)?
I probably would have set out some more specific goals to achieve, because I kind of work from project to project quite aimlessly at the moment and feel a sense of failure that I can’t quite place, which is probably because I never set myself any tangible goals.
What’s the most exciting space you’ve ever worked from?
I’ve had some pretty nice poolside spots before, and probably also when I was at my writers’ residency/internship in Koh Samui, Thailand. They had some lovely workspaces in the house that we shared, and the other residents always filled my days with fun and creativity.
What surprised you about freelance life?
To be honest, I’m surprised that I’ve actually managed to make decent money from it! I was very skeptical at first about coming home and continuing with freelancing. When I was in Asia, it was fine as the cost of living is much lower than England, but I didn’t think I’d be able to support myself when I came back!
What’s the best bit of your daily routine?
I still need to get myself into a daily routine really. I used to have a good one going where I’d exercise in the morning, write for my client in the afternoon and then work on my fictional projects some evenings and weekends. Right now, I’m just enjoying being back with my family and having a chat with them in the morning over a cup of tea.
What’s the worst bit of your daily routine?
That I haven’t really got back into a good one since I came home!
Do you miss anything about your previous lifestyle?
I miss the social aspect of working in an office, working from home can get pretty boring and lonely if no one else is around!
What’s one straight-talking piece of advice you’d give to someone who wanted to go freelance in your industry?
To be honest, there’s a lot of competition and it’s hard work to earn decent money. Everyone seems to be chasing that holy grail of being a digital nomad, seeing it as an easy way to make money and travel forever. The truth is, you have to be good at what you do, and you have to hustle, you have to work hard to make a decent wage out of it because so many people are trying to do it now and will accept low wages.
What’s the most interesting piece of work you’ve ever done?
Writing travel articles on unique destinations like a road trip on the Pamir Highway.
What’s your work-life balance like?
It’s not very good at the moment, to be honest, but I’ve fallen out of contact with most of my old friends here, and it’s a small town.
Do you get much time to relax/enjoy hobbies? And if so, what are they?
I could if I wanted to, but I’ve always been a workaholic! When I’m at home in the UK, I try and treat myself with little trips to Europe every few months.
What keeps you going when you get discouraged?
The support of my best friend.
Where can people find you online if they want to hire you?
At the moment you can contact me via my blog https://thegypsyhearttravels.com or via my email address firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/gypsyheartblog