Reads: The Freelance Mum by Annie Ridout

For Joni, whose birth prompted me to change the way I work”

Annie’s dedication couldn’t be more spot on. Before starting a family I was all about my career, defined by a job title and the success I was meant to feel. Turns out that success may look rather different to what I thought all along. Having my daughter re-framed my thoughts on success and I’ve never wanted a better work-life balance more, even if that does mean less money.

A FLEXIBLE CAREER GUIDE FOR BETTER WORK-LIFE BALANCE

The Freelance Mum is well written and put together in really practical sections making is super easy to read. It’s smaller than you’d expect and fits perfectly in your bag so you can read it on the go or have a quick read during nap time.

While the book is a great guide, I don’t think it fully covers how to make the jump from full time work to freelance life or maybe how to balance the two while you make that transition?

Since The Freelance Mum was published Annie has launched multiple online courses and now runs 'The Robora' platform. I've taken two of the courses and found them practical and insightful.

I always associated freelancing with more creative roles like content creation, marketing and photography. Given that assumption some chapters in the book may be less helpful than others, social media being one of them. That said, I’ve noticed a lot of freelance accountants popping up in the Doing It For The Kids: Community and something like social media basics could be helpful for those that sit outside of the creative industry.

One section I feel I should know more about is SEO. It’s always felt like a bit of a black hole and something only agencies can master with their use of jargon and Google certificates. I’ve read loads about it but never really delved that deep into it. Annie’s SEO section is really insightful, she shares the tips and tricks that have worked for her and makes it a hell of a lot easier to understand and implement.

I particularly liked the advice on finding a space to work outside of the house, not necessarily setting up shop but looking at co-working spaces and coffee shops if needs be.  I tend to work from home and sometimes seeing the endless jobs that need doing make it difficult to concentrate on the task in hand. I find locking myself away in my office and closing the door on the washing helps though!  To me it’s important to set boundaries between home and work. With emails at the end of our phones and Instagram being work for some it’s all too easy to work all the hours while the kids are in bed or scroll on our phones in front of the TV (guilty!)

WOULD I LEND TO A FRIEND?

Annie is a freelancer and set up her website, The Early Hour  after her children were born so she’s more than qualified to hand out advice.  The Early Hour was inspired by Annie’s own experience with her little one’s early mornings and publishes at 5am. If you’re a long time sufferer or early morning syndrome then I’d highly recommend this hilarious blog ‘Help! My baby wakes up at 5am’ by guest contributor, Joel Defries. If you know, you know!

The Freelance Mum is a great reference if you’re thinking of taking the plunge or already doing your own thing and want some reassurance that you’re covering all bases.  It won’t tell you exactly how to make that jump but it’s refreshing to read Annie’s take on freelance life and have everything covered in one practical guide.