March 3, 2021

Looking after your mental health when marketing yourself

About this episode...

Looking after your mental health when marketing yourself

Working solo and marketing yourself can bring up all sorts of fun emotions and it's easy to end up in a spiral.

Everybody's different and no-one can tell you what's best for you. You'll also likely have some of your own steps that you turn to when you need them.

I wanted to share some things that help me when I recognise I'm heading down a certain path. I use these to process my thoughts and remember the reality of a situation, rather than the made-up version I'm worrying about.

The important thing is to take time for yourself and have a few things you can come back to if you feel yourself drifting off course.

Read the full episode in the transcript tab.

Links to resources

Mind: www.mind.org.uk

Leapers: www.leapers.co

Being Freelance Community: www.facebook.com/groups/beingfreelance

Freelance Heroes: www.facebook.com/groups/freelanceheroes

Join me and lots of lovely introverts on

Instagram

Twitter

For more joyful marketing chat, behind the scenes shenanigans and dog-based memes.

Transcript of the Marketing Morsels podcast with Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor:

(00:05):

Hello, this is Lauren Taylor and welcome to episode 12 of marketing morsels. This week I wanted to talk to you about protecting your mental health as a freelancer. Now, working by yourself can bring up all sorts of fun emotions, feelings of comparison and inadequacy. And it's really easy to end up in a bit of a spiral. What I'm not going to do is patronise you and say this is what you should be doing to protect your mental health, because everybody's different. And you've probably got some of your own techniques anyway, but what I'm going to do is share some things that have helped me. Don't get me wrong, my brain is far from wrangled, but when I start and recognise that I'm heading down a certain path, I use these things to process what I'm thinking about and remind myself of the reality, rather than the made up version that I'm worrying about.

(00:54):

Let's start with comparison. This is a tricky one, especially if you're new to freelancing. You'll start to see really successful people and it's really important to remember not to compare yourself to them. And clearly that's easier said than done, but just remember that those people that you think you're not as good as, they are on a completely different path to you. They started from somewhere else, they're somewhere else now, and they're going to end up somewhere else. So comparing where you are right now against those people, it's not a fair comparison. I do have another episode where I talk more about comparison and how you can reframe it, but essentially think of these people as your heroes and your peers and your allies, not your competitors. The freelance world is a really warm, welcoming, supportive community.

(01:42):

If there are certain people that do make you feel bad about yourself because of the way you think of them, then unfollow them if you need to. But have a think about what you can learn from these people instead. If you like them and you can learn things from them and grow as part of that, then focus on that. And if you can't do those things from that person, maybe it is time to unfollow them and just get rid of that negative thought process. So I'm not going to get too deep into comparison this time. As I say, go listen to the other episode if you want to know more about that. OK, the next one, stop constantly checking for engagement. We've all been there. We've posted on social media and we're constantly hitting refresh because we want to know how many likes we've had, how many comments, who's seen it. That is not a healthy place to be.

(02:21):

Once you've posted the first hour or so of engagement is quite important, because if you get good engagement in that first hour, more people will then go on to see it. But we're not here to talk about that. The point is, when you post it, hang around for maybe half an hour to an hour. So when people comment, you can comment back and continue that conversation and building that relationship. But beyond that, you'll get notifications when somebody comments. And then if you want to see how many views it's had, come back maybe a couple of times a day. And then after that first spike of engagement, go off and do another task to take your mind off it. Otherwise, ending up in this spiral of refreshing, it's going to stop you from doing other stuff, which is going to make you feel even worse. Another important thing to remember here is to not attach your self-worth to how many views and likes and all that jazz that you get.

(03:07):

The point of sharing your content is to help other people. And doing that helps build your brand, helps people get to know you. But more people are seeing your stuff and taking notice than you think. There's going to be loads of people out there that are seeing it and thinking 'ooh, they look interesting', but don't actually engage with you. They might not like, they might not comment, but they're still reading it. They're still seeing it. Think about the way you might interact with other people that you follow. I'm sure there's loads of people that you follow that you are interested in, that you get useful stuff from, but you never actually like or comment. It doesn't diminish the impact that that person is having on you. So remember if a post doesn't get many likes or comments that's okay. People are still seeing it. Don't think you've got to delete it, or don't be disappointed. It's still serving its purpose just by existing.

(03:53):

Okay. Next one. Stick to the channels you enjoy. Now it can be really tempting with marketing to be on all of the channels and all of the places. But trying to do that, that's going to wipe you out. Just choose one or two channels that you actually enjoy using, you enjoy posting on and being a part of. And if you enjoy your channel, that's half the battle. Because if you don't enjoy it, you're never going to want to post on there. Which means you're never going to get out of it what you want. But if you enjoy it, you'll look forward to being a part of it and contributing. And that makes it much easier to show up and do your best work. And that will radiate, people feel it. And of course it is important that your audience do hang out on that channel, but don't get too hung up on that.

(04:38):

There's millions of people and all these different channels. If you show up, do it your way, you enjoy it and you share stuff that helps people, you will build your own little community regardless of the channel that you choose. Your people will find you. Okay, next one, get a buddy. Now I appreciate not everybody is going to be able to do this. But if you haven't yet, you will find somebody that you can buddy up with. It can be a fellow freelancer, it can be a friend. Find somebody you can have a regular chat with, maybe half an hour every week. Having somebody you can chat to and share things with and bounce ideas and thoughts off makes a big difference and can help you feel less isolated. And just having someone to have a laugh with. Being cooped up by yourself in a box can be pretty lonely.

(05:26):

And if you're an over-thinker your thoughts can spiral and spiral and spiral. Just having one person that you can trust to just run things by, sense-check your thoughts, just helps keep you grounded and stops your thoughts from taking control. Okay. Next. End each week with some reflection. If you're really busy it doesn't have to be long. It can just be 10 minutes at the end of each week. But it really helps to empty your brain at the end of the week and set a focus for the following week. Almost like a mini journal. Processing your week and getting your thoughts down on paper, thinking about the kinds of things you enjoyed, what went well and what you want to focus on and do more of the next week. It helps reset your brain. So you can chill out more when you're off without being distracted by these thoughts going around in your head.

(06:13):

It's a nice way to clear things out. So when you're winding down at the end of each week, just about 10 minutes or so in your schedule, get a cup of tea, shut down your computer and reflect on your week. It feels really good, kind of energising to take some time to wind down and enjoy your week in a happy, calm place. Next one. Be yourself. Now, I know, don't groan at me. I'm sure you're sick and tired of being told to be yourself. But when you decide how much of yourself you want to share, it can be really, really liberating. Half the battle with posting on social media is overthinking how you're going to come across and how you should write something to give the impression of the way you want to be seen. But actually, once you know how you want to be seen and what you want to be known for, it lifts that pressure of having to be something that you're not.

(07:05):

And you can write much more freely, because you're writing naturally what you would say. So it cuts out that overthinking, over-planning step because you're not having to think 'oh god, how do I write this?' You just start happily typing away or writing away as you would as you. But if you're worried about how much of yourself you should be sharing, how personally you should go with things, think of it more as personality rather than how much you should be sharing about your life. And how you can express your personality, your sense of humour, the things you love, the values that you stand for, things you care about. Think about how you can inject that into your marketing. And that's the liberating part, because you decide whether you share something, you decide, whether it feels right for you to do it. And if you're not sure, let it out in little stages, share a bit more of yourself and your personality each time and see how it feels.

(07:59):

And you'll be able to identify the things that sit right with you and the things that don't feel quite right. And then over time, you'll start to feel more comfortable sharing certain things or talking about certain topics. But you'll also identify things that you don't want to talk about because they're not right for you. So I know saying be yourself is a bit cringy, but as soon as you start and release your personality into your marketing, you'll start to feel the cloud lift and everything you do will feel a little more joyous because it's got your soul in it. Okay. The next one. Take some time to learn every week. Now again, I know a lot of you are going to be busy at the moment, so it doesn't have to be long. It can just be half an hour each week, but giving yourself time to learn just something little every week or whenever you can is really energising.

(08:44):

Quite often, if you're not learning it can feel like you're not keeping up. And that can spiral into thoughts of inadequacy, not feeling good enough. And none of those things are true, but learning and discovering all the time, and following your curiosity helps give you that little spark of joy. So dedicate time as often as you can to reading articles you've got bookmarked, reading newsletters you've got, listening to podcasts or books, taking some little courses. And I'm not talking massive groundbreaking stuff here. It doesn't even have to be business-related, whatever feeds your curiosity, give yourself time to embrace it each week. And as a happy side effect, it also gives you loads of stuff to talk about. If you're learning, you can be helping others learn too. And along your way, you'll come up with new ideas that you wouldn't have thought of. So have a think about a few things that you'd like to learn about or just spend some time doing each week that fills you with energy.

(09:39):

And then the last one. Join a community. The freelance community is the warmest, most welcoming, supportive, happy place. It's one of the things I love most about being a freelancer and discovering this world exists. Now there's a good chance that if you're already freelancing, you might've already found some great communities. But if you are new to freelancing or might be looking for somewhere new, there might be communities out there dedicated to your industry or your interests, but there's a community called Leapers, which is specifically for self-employed folk and supporting their mental health. And it's not just a community. They've got loads of really great resources on their website and then two that you might already be familiar with. But if not, again, they're filled with loads of lovely people. One is Being Freelance, the Being Freelance Community. And the other one is Freelance Heroes. But when you join a community and find one, or a few, that's filled with the kinds of people you want to hang out with, it's a really great place to ask questions if you get stuck.

(10:38):

Which will happen, you'll have a question that you end up endlessly Googling, or you might be looking for advice on something. These communities are a safe place where you can ask questions and you know that you're not going to be judged. And the admins and moderators do such a great job of maintaining the safe place because they want the members to enjoy being a part of it. And I say members, they're free communities. But again, like having a buddy, being a part of a community like this can help you feel less isolated and alone. And just seeing that other people are experiencing the same things as you, it can help you feel less stupid. When you have a question and you see that other people are asking the same question, quite often, you can think this is a daft question. I shouldn't be asking this, but that's a hundred percent not the case.

(11:27):

So find your community, have a look around, see which ones suit your vibe and join them. You can loiter for a bit if you like, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. And you're not under any pressure, just being in there helps you feel part of something. Okay. So that's everything for today. Whatever you choose to do for yourself to manage your mental health, you know what works well for you and what doesn't and everyone has good days and bad days. It's just important that on the bad days you've got your own methods of processing it and just know that you're not alone. There are people and places you can turn to. And if you are ever in need of anything more, I'm not going to go into anything deeper, I am not at all qualified for that sort of thing. But please ask for help if you need it. There's loads of really good free counselling you can get in your local area where you can get in touch with people like Mind. Or there are some cool counselling services now that you can do just by text if you're not ready to speak to someone face-to-face. Okay. Look after yourselves, take some time to support you and your mental health. Have a lovely week and I'll see you next time.

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