The Brutally Honest Truth About Money Management as a Freelancer

electronic-payments-2570939_1920There was this freelancer. She had just spent Friday of the March Break in the big city with her 14-year-old daughter. They were about to head home and were at Starbucks buying their for-the-road drinks for the two-hour drive.

And her bank card didn’t work.

Probably some glitch or something. She used her credit card, paid for their drinks, and they went on their way. Saturday morning came and she walked to the drug store. She got to the cash register to pay for her purchase and you guessed it…

Her bank card didn’t work.

Now, there was a niggling. Something deep down inside that was telling her this wasn’t just some glitch. She left her purchase on the drug store counter and went home to call the bank.

You see, this woman had struggled with money off and on her whole life. And she had been on her own as a single mother for 13 years. She didn’t even make $10K in one of her early years as a freelancer.

Over those early years, she had her share of debt trails and being late with the rent. But she had gotten it together. Things were good. She lived in a nice rental home in a good neighbourhood.

But this past year had been a bit of a struggle. Too much on her financial plate. She let her tax payments slide. Worse, she had ignored those brown envelopes that come from the government.

And now she was paying the price.income-tax-491626_1920

You’ve probably guessed by now that this woman is me. And while most of you perhaps haven’t gotten yourself into deep doo doo with the government over your taxes, chances are there are many of you out there having a really rough time with money.

You are not alone.

Now, truth be told, things are pretty good in terms of money for me. I make a decent living these days and it gets better every year. But my expenses are also high and I didn’t grow up learning how to manage money AT ALL. I’m learning the hard way.

It has taken me three months to bounce back from having my bank account frozen by the government. And I take FULL responsibility for my situation. It’s not something I planned to have happen and it’s not something I wanted to have happen. Yet, I got myself into it, and I damn well got myself out of it.

That complete and utter lack of control over what was happening, over my money, was aSuperhero Shadow total wake-up call for me. I will NEVER EVER feel that helpless again.

I know as freelancers and entrepreneurs we all hear about how we need to manage our money well, even better than employed people. Make sure you put away savings. Make sure you put away money for taxes. Make sure you have a cushion for those months that don’t cough up enough work to pay the bills.

But seeing that written in an article on Forbes and hearing about someone’s actual real-life experience when they don’t do these things are totally different.

An article with facts is just too sterile, too detached. It’s only when we talk about our own experiences, the good and the bad, that we learn from each other and can help each other. It’s only when we do this that we remove the stigma and learn that we aren’t alone, that we all make mistakes, and that we can move on to a better life.

Which is why I am sharing this with you.

You are not alone.

Whether it’s the mound of debt you’re under, living off credit cards while you struggle to find more work that pays decently, the back taxes you owe in spades, or the thrift store winter coats you’re buying for your kids, the fact is there are people — freelancers — out there struggling with money.

After all, in the U.S., a whopping 60% of people do not have enough money in their savings to cover a $1,000 emergency expense. That’s nearly two-thirds of Americans!

In Canada, the average household savings rate (the amount of disposable income saved) is a mere 0.8%. Based on an average monthly disposable income of $2,273, that’s about $22 a month in savings. At that rate, it’ll take nearly 4 years to save up $1,000.

And those figures include people who work for an employer and get a regular paycheck!

As a freelancer, you don’t get a regular paycheck. You need not just a regular savings buffer, but also an I-didn’t-make-as-much-money-this-month buffer.

Listen, I’m lucky I’m a freelancer. When finances go south, I know I can hunt down some extra work and bring in some extra pay. And I did just that. I am now putting away those savings, paying down some debt, and paying my taxes!

I’m getting it together and then some. I plan to travel somewhere awesome next year with my kids. Aside from ensuring financial stability, that’s my big goal.

But most importantly, I have a whole new outlook on and a new level of respect for money. And all I can say to you is this…

Put money aside EVERY time you get paid.businesswoman holding coins putting in glass with using smartphone and calculator to calculate  concept saving money for finance accounting

If you already do this, that’s awesome. I am so happy you have your finances sorted. But I can’t be the only one whose finances have been a mess. So, if you are struggling, make a commitment to yourself. Put something away every single time pay comes in. It could be 20%, 10%, 5%, or it could be a flat $200. Just put something away!

Even $50 a month is a start. It will allow you to get into the habit of saving. Then you can increase it as you get used to doing it.

And split the money you put away evenly between savings and tax money. If you end up with more tax money than you need, consider that your bonus savings.

Regardless, you’ll find that after a few months, you’ll have a little nest-egg growing and you will feel SO relieved. Honestly, it might just be the best thing you ever do for yourself.

Because I can promise you this — financial instability is THE #1 worst kind of chronic stress you can have. You owe it to yourself to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. and if it already has, know this…

You are not alone.

I hope that if you have experience with financial struggle as a freelancer you will share it here with us, in the comments section. We can only help each other when we open up, and we can only do that when we feel we won’t be judged.

There is no judgement here, only support.

Cheers, Karen

Bringing “YOU” to Your Freelance Work

woman-865021_1920Hey everyone. So again, it’s been a little while since I last posted. Sorry about that.

But — aside from being crazy busy — I’ve been doing some soul searching. I have been trying to figure out what I want this blog to be about, what I want it to offer all of you. And honestly, articles and posts about how to get freelance jobs, deal with clients, and make more money at freelancing are a dome a dozen.

Of course, I’ve written posts like that, from my own perspective and experience, and that’s always valuable. But I want to give you more than that. I want this blog to inspire, to lift you all up in a unique way.

So here it goes, with this awesome topic…

How do you bring “YOU” to your freelance work?

We hear all about bringing yourself to your job. This is generally based on jobs where you work for someone else. But what about your freelance career? How do you bring yourself to the work you do everyday from your home office (or wherever it is you choose to work)?

Let’s be honest here. Most of us got into freelancing because we wanted to be our own boss. We wanted to control our career and our income. We wanted out of the 9-5 grind. And for many, we chose this path to earn the big $$.

But we have all learned that freelancing isn’t a cakewalk. It’s not easy finding quality clients. And dealing with the inconsistency of getting a paycheck? That can seriously keep a person up at night.

We get so lost in the day-to-day of just getting the work done, communicating with clients, and bringing in enough work to make ends meet each month that, well, the next thing we know, we’re just going through the motions.


We’re surviving.

Because freelancing can become a daily grind just as easily as a job working for someone else can. Have you reached the point yet where you have realized this, the point where you have questioned whether there is more than this?

I have.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t give up the freedom freelancing gives me for a steady 9-5 paycheck. Not now and I don’t expect I ever will.

But after 13 years, I feel like there must be more. More than writing articles and reports. More than writing someone else’s blog posts. More than researching sustainable shipping, weight loss, and managing finances. All of those niches are noble and worthy and they put money in my bank account. Great.

But there must be more than that. Right?

Full disclosure, I’m 45 and right in the midst of what I like to call my “midlife opportunity.” I have no doubt that is part of this whole “finding myself in my work” thing.

And I’ve been searching a LOT, particularly over the past couple of years. The result?maze-1804499_1920

This blog for one. My journey into screenwriting is another. But I have also FINALLY begun to figure out what really matters to me. You know, that thing that at the end of your life you’ll look back on and feel you did something meaningful?

More and more I want to help women from all walks of life have a better life. That is so important to me. Now, I am at a point where I’m figuring out how to best do that.

And I’ve learned this…

You can’t find “YOU” in your work until you figure out who “YOU” are.

In my 40s, I feel I am finally beginning to get a glimpse of who I am and who I can be, and I have to say I like what I see.

But I also know I have a long way to go.

I recently started listening to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast. This morning I listened to Marie Forleo’s Everything is “Figureoutable” and it hit the spot. Everything IS figureoutable.

As I figure out who I am, I am figuring out what I want to do in my work. I still write the articles and reports. I still write other people’s blog posts. I still research things like sustainable shipping, weight loss, and managing finances.

But at the same time, I am searching for work that means more to me. And I am drawingdandelion-4195782_1920 that work to me. Law of Attraction. I know it’s beginning to sound cliche, but I believe it works. I have been putting out there the vibe of work with meaning, work that helps lift women up and supports them.

And through one of my regular report-writing gigs, I met someone creating a membership website to do just that. I now find myself in the pivotal role of helping to define this site and what it will become. And it’s FUN! When the time comes, I’ll share the site URL with you.

It’s all about finding the meaning in our freelance work. To do that, you have to figure out what is meaningful to you. Then you have to put yourself out there. You have to ask the universe or your higher power for guidance. You have to take some risks.

I am not a “put yourself out there” kind of person. I want to be and I’m working on it, but for me even putting myself out there via this blog is big. It’s a great place to start. And since writing is my vehicle, I can put myself out there in my screenwriting. Plus, I’m writing a book on finding balance in life — something that is excruciatingly difficult for me — called Tightrope.

And all the while, I am looking for writing gigs that mean something to me, that are about more than paying the bills. They’re out there. I promise. But first, you have to know what’s meaningful for you.

The best way to figure that out? In the SILENCE and through the experience of others.

At least, that’s what works best for me. When I sit in the silence, when I let my mind rest from the busyness of work and life and just allow myself to be, that’s where the answers are.

The answers are in the silence.person-598312_1920

Listening to motivational podcasts and reading motivational books help steer me in the right direction and are invaluable. But in the end, the answers come in the silence. One of the many reasons I value my morning tea and quiet start to my day.

I invite you to try it. To slow down at least once a day, and perhaps on a day off for an entire morning or afternoon, and just be in the silence. Let your mind wander. Let the inspiration sink in. And don’t be afraid to ask the silence, the universe, or your higher power for a little guidance.

You will end up going in the right direction. You will begin to find “YOU.”

If you have been looking for “YOU” in your freelance work or if you can relate to this post in any way, please take the time to share in the comments section below. This is how we help each other, by participating in the conversation.

Now it’s your turn…


3 Things I Do When Things Go South

roller-coaster-2686502_1920Hey everyone! I will start by apologizing for not posting in a long time.

Sheesh, these past couple of months have been a ride!

I went through some of the most stressful weeks I had ever been through, all during one of the busiest times of the year for my family — dance competition season. Yes, my daughter is a competitive dancer and late March to early May is anyone’s guess as to the level of sanity of a dance mom.

In light of these past few weeks, I thought I would write a post on how I handle things when life goes to the dark side for a while. Hopefully, one or more of these will help you when you hit a rough spot during your life and/or freelance journey.

1. Step Back

Stepping back is good. Unfortunately, when things get really bad, instead of stepping hiding-1209131_1920back a little so I have a good view of the situation, I tend to withdraw deep into the shadows and hide there for a while. Hence the no blog posts for a few weeks.

No, this is not good, and I know that.

Part of trying to not go there again is to have this open conversation, something I think we don’t do enough of. I know for a fact that when I am struggling, I am damn good at hiding it behind a facade of “Hey, I’m totally fine. I’ve got all my shit together. How are you?”

And I doubt I am alone in that.

Do you have times when you are feeling awful or are going through a really bad time, whether that is with finances, family, or something else, and you put on your facade? You know it!

The key is to step back a LITTLE. Despite what I have said thus far, most of the time, I am good at doing that. I have gotten better at being able to assess things without running away from them or the world. And when I can do this, things get better faster.

When I do this, I can tap into my support network. I can find joy in the little things. And I can bounce back stronger than ever.

2. Let Myself Have a Crappy Day… Or Two

OK, even when I have it all together, or when I can step back a little without withdrawingwoman-2696408_1920 completely, I still have those days. You know the ones I’m talking about. You cannot people on those days. Most often, these days are also PMS days for me. Go figure. And I’m deep in the thicket of peri-menopause, so these days can be nasty.

Sometimes, during those “step back a little times,” I still need a day to hide away. Regardless of the reason for these days, when I feel down, tired, and just blah, I let myself feel it!

If I have client work that needs to be done ASAP, that can be tough. But if I need a day off and I have no pressing deadlines, you bet I’m taking it. Mental health day, here I come! One of the perks of being self-employed, yes?

I take this day and do what I want. I have a nap. I watch a movie or binge a TV show. I go to the coffee shop with my book. I indulge in junk food. I take myself to a movie or a drive to a lakeside town for the afternoon.

I let myself be how I need to be. No judgement. No scolding myself. Just acceptance and love.

Then it’s done and I can get on with life — and work.

3. Channel My Energy

This is perhaps the biggest thing I have learned to do over the past 10-15 years. I have meditation-1384758_1920learned to channel my energy. I have had plenty of times during my freelance career when things weren’t where I wanted them. In particular, finances were often a struggle.

And I became really good at NOT wallowing in my own darkness and self-pity.

Instead, I learned to channel my emotions into doing what I needed to do to get myself out of whatever situation I was in. Oh, I’ve got this one down!

You see, I don’t like complaining. Complaining has no place anywhere at anytime. You can either do something about the situation, in which case stop complaining and do what you need to do. OR you can’t do anything about the situation, in which case stop complaining and get on with life.

It’s one or the other, folks.

Besides, I know that wherever I end up in my life and my career, no matter what is going on, I am responsible for it. No one but me creates my life.

And I am creating the BEST life ever!

Now it’s your turn. I invite you to share how you deal with life and your freelance career when things go south. Post in the comments section below!

Cheers, Karen

7 Red Flags That You Are Being Scammed


We all would like the world to be filled with honest, wonderful people who always have the best intentions. Unfortunately, that isn’t reality. There are people out there who want to take advantage of others in various ways and that doesn’t end with freelancing.

There are people out there who want to take advantage of YOU as a freelancer.

In my 13+ years I have had my share of scammers who have come across my path. And yes, I am sad to say that in the beginning, when I didn’t know any better, I fell for one or two.  I am a very trusting person, and even now, I sometimes think maybe I should trust them even when the signs are there.

However, I did wise up over the years and I don’t fall for that shit anymore. And I can tell you there are certain red flags you should watch for as a freelancer when clients are trying to scam you:

1. They Don’t Have a History on the Platform

If you are on a freelance platform you can see the history of everyone else on that platform. Upwork is particularly good for this. You can see their feedback and ratings, how long they have been a member of Upwork, how much they have paid out for projects and how many projects they have posted and hired for, and even whether or not their payment method is verified.

If a client is new and doesn’t have any of this, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a scammer. They might truly be a new client. They might not have a history on the platform and they might be in the process of having their payment method verified. But you have to be wary. Particularly if any of these other red flags come up in conjunction with this one.

If you are working off platform, then you need to verify this client exists. Ask for their web address and references. Find out if they are on reputable sites, such as LinkedIn. Check out their internet presence and if you can’t find one or don’t feel good about it, don’t work with them.

2. They Want to Communicate Off the Platformicons-847262_640

All freelance platforms have their own method of communication. There will be a message board with live chat. There will be a way to upload files. There will be a way to make and accept payments.

Now, I have had plenty of clients who really do just prefer to use Skype because it’s more convenient for them. But the scammers out there will want that too. They will not want a history of your conversation on a platform they don’t plan to use. It’s safest if you communicate via the platform, but if you don’t, then at least be sure the client is reputable and has a history on the platform.

3. They Aren’t Willing to Pay a Deposit

If you are working on a platform, and it’s a good platform, they should have an escrow system. This will do when it comes to a deposit. Your client funds the escrow and you can rest assured the money is there. However, that might not work when it comes to all platforms or when you work on an hourly basis.

However, a good platform will guarantee your pay. So, if your client stiffs you, you’ll be paid all the same. The platform has safeguards in place, such as a method to live-track hours worked, to ensure your work and time are protected.

If you are working off a platform, then you must request a deposit. This is one of the primary reasons to do so. If you are dealing with a scammer, they won’t pay it. If they aren’t willing to pay the deposit, they won’t be paying you later. And since it’s common practice to request a deposit, if they aren’t a scammer and they don’t want to pay it, then too bad for them. They will lose a great service provider and they’ll have trouble finding another one.

4. They Offer a Rate of Pay that Is Too Good To Be Truepaper-3147856_640

When a client wants to do business with you and they have a big budget, but haven’t offered a specific rate of pay per word or article, this might not be a good thing. Particularly if you have to ask what the pay is. When you ask and they answer with what’s your rate and they automatically accept that rate without any question — red flag!

This is especially true when your rate is substantial. Essentially, they are willing to accept any rate because they’re never going to pay it. They just want to get you on board and they’ll tell you anything you want to hear. Yet, at the same time, these clients are very much sticklers for wanting work to be done right away and don’t seem flexible on that.

5. They Send Project Details in a Zipped Folder or File

If anyone ever tries to send you project details in a zipped folder, often times a .rar folder, run away! And definitely do NOT open the folder. If you do, you are just asking for malware to end up on your computer.

6. They Want You to Do a Test Job

No free samples. Period. Maybe at a discount, but not free. Most reputable clients will be perfectly willing to pay for the samples they order. Clients that don’t may just be looking for free work. You might think you’re only writing a single article, so how much can they benefit from that. But if they have 10 potential service providers writing samples on 10 different topics, next thing you know, they are making off with 10 articles and they never paid a cent. Yes, this happens.

7. They Won’t Sign a Contractconditions-624911_1920

Honestly, enough said. No signing, no work.

Most often, you will see more than one of these red flags with a single scammer. But even when you see them on their own, be on your guard. It could be a newbie client who is just learning the ropes. Although, to be honest, clients that don’t know the ropes should be dwindling in number as the freelance game continues to grow and dominate the working world.

Have you had experience with scammers or do you have questions? Feel free to use the comments section below to let us know!

Cheers, Karen


5 Reasons Email Marketing Is Gold for Your Freelance Business

email-us-1805514_1280Did you know that the return on investment for email marketing is $44 for every dollar spent?

That’s a return of 4,300%!

In the UK, this figure is more than £32 for every £1 spent. That is mighty impressive for a method of communication many people feel is outdated and going the way of the dinosaurs. But the truth is email is still very much alive and it is still the most popular form of electronic communication.

In 2018, there were 3.8 billion email users around the globe, a number that is expected to be as high as 4.4 billion by 2023. Compare that to the 3.2 billion social media users worldwide. Not only that, but in 2018 there were over 281 billion emails sent EVERY DAY! Yet in the same year, there were only 60 million messages sent via Facebook, 500 million tweets made, and 95 million photos uploaded to Instagram each day.

OK, so enough with the numbers already, right? But they are proof that email is a very effective form of marketing. So, how can you use it in your freelance business? Well, the idea behind email marketing is that you can build a list of subscribers who you can communicate with easily on a regular basis.

Yes, you can communicate with clients and potential clients in other ways, such as social media, but email is so much more effective. And here are five reasons why:

1. Relationshipsinternet-1028794_1920

Email is the most effective way to build relationships with leads and strengthen relationships with current clients. You can speak to them directly, give them valuable information and content on a consistent basis, and let them get to know you. It’s personal, it can be highly targeted, and it’s a tried and true method of communication.

2. You’re More Likely to Get Noticed

When you communicate via social media, your post might be seen and it might not. Not everyone has time to do more than skim their news feed on Facebook and on other forms of social media posts are lost in the massive waves of posts that happen every minute — if your leads/clients don’t catch it right away, they probably won’t.

But with email it’s different. It goes right to their inbox, something they check every single day, usually multiple times per day. Your email won’t get lost in the shuffle. And as long as you have a fabulous subject line and you have established a relationship with them, they will actually WANT to open your emails.

3. You Can Connect with Higher Paying Clients

I posted previously about the benefits of freelance platforms. And I stand by what I said that platforms have their place. But in that post I also said that you don’t want platforms to be your sole source of freelance work. After all, there are so many clients on those sites that don’t pay well and you really have to work hard to find the good ones.

Ultimately, you want the bulk of your clients to come from outside the platforms. Whether you advertise, promote your website and blog on sites like LinkedIn, query individual businesses, or get referrals for potential clients you want to capture these leads. And that is what your email list is for. You can add their email to your list — with their permission of course — and then you can connect with them anytime and in any way you want.

4. You Can Automate Itemail-3249062_1280

You’re busy — I know it. I know I’m busy. Every freelancer is busy. If we aren’t busy with work, we’re busy looking for new clients. And the last thing you have time for is sending out dozens of messages to the leads and clients you already have.

Yet, this is the most important thing you can do for your business.

Fortunately, with email marketing, you can set it and forget it. Yes, you can completely automate the process. You can have your welcome email series set up and automatically sent out every time you get a new lead. You can write your broadcast emails and schedule them to be sent on certain days and at certain times. You can target specific clients on your list and send them specific reminders and offers.

None of this will take a lot of time and it will keep you connected with each and every person on your list. It’s a win-win!

5. You Won’t Break the Bankmoney-2696219_1920

Email marketing is surprisingly inexpensive. You are saving time, personalizing your contact with your leads and clients, connecting with every one of them as needed and all for a few dollars a month. It’s really one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to manage your communication with leads and clients.

Really, email marketing should be a part of your overall marketing initiative. Am I saying social media or any other form of contact is unnecessary or should be ignored? Not at all! All the ways to connect with clients, leads, and consumers in general are valid and have their place. I’m just saying that email marketing is proven to get results and can be of great benefit to your freelance business.

Do you have experience with email marketing in your freelance business? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below!

Cheers, Karen

5 Barriers That Once Kept Me From Achieving Freelance Success

city-walls-164825_1920Perhaps that title should read “5 Things That Kept Me From Achieving The Freelance Success I Deserve.” But we’ll get to that. I’ve had a long, tiring, and stressful week. And although everything is fine, it got me thinking about what I have learned over the years as a freelancer.

In a nutshell? Even though I have achieved a great amount of success as a freelancer and even though I am growing my business and operating at a higher frequency in life than I ever have, I’ve learned that sometimes things take a slide backward.

But that’s OK.

Because it’s things like this that help us grow — IF we are open to that growth! We have to see that the opportunity for growth is there. We have to embrace it and run with it. And we have to stay away from these five things that WILL hold us back from success:

1. ComplacencyAdobeStock_39078138.jpeg

It’s so easy to get into a rut, to simply go through the motions. It’s so easy to take for granted the fact that just because you are in a good place, you will stay in that good place. And it’s easy to let your guard down, to get lazy. I certainly don’t think I speak for myself here.

And that is human nature. Don’t take action until something bad propels you to do so. When I was in high school, there was one pocket of the small city I lived in that was accessible by one road and one road only — and that road went across train tracks.

For years people talked about how an overpass should be built so that emergency vehicles could get through even if a train was running. But it wasn’t until someone died because that very scenario happened that action was taken.

One of my favorite quotes from the book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War sums it up nicely:

Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. That’s not stupidity or weakness, that’s just human nature.”

So, know that things will happen — or growth will stop happening — if you grow complacent. Your life is NOT immune to it.

2. Avoidance

It’s so easy to avoid things we don’t want to deal with. In fact, people often tend to do this. They don’t want to have a scary conversation. They don’t want to return calls and avoid answering the phone. They want to avoid confrontation at all costs. Or avoid dealing with their finances — which can mean complete business failure for the self-employed.

There is actually a term for this — avoidance coping. And it’s not a good thing.

Now, I used to avoid things a lot. I never really learned how to deal with a lot of things when I was growing up and I’ve learned the hard way. I rarely avoid things these days, and if I do, I don’t do it for long. I pull myself out of it and deal. Because here’s the thing:

  • It’s never as bad as you think it is.
  • It WILL get that bad if you avoid it.
  • You do NOT want to live with that dark cloud over you all the time.

So, face the things you need to face in life, the bad as well as the good.

3. Taking Your Eye Off the Prizewinner-1548239_1920

This can be at least partly due to complacency. It can also happen for a lot of other reasons, including the two I will discuss below. But if you want to achieve something, you can’t let yourself get distracted!

Over the holidays, I took a part-time job at our local bookstore. I realized that it really cut into my freelance work time too much. I’m still flex staff and rarely work there right now. I took the job to have something fun to do to get out of the house, but I there is no way I can commit to more than 5 or so hours a week, which means I will likely never do more than flex. I make way more money with my freelance career.

And I have BIG things planned as I grow my freelance business!

That is where my focus needs to be. I want to help my clients have awesome content and I want to help people — particularly women — succeed as freelancers. That is the prize — well one of two prizes I am focused on, the other being breaking into screenwriting.

What is your prize? Whatever it is, everything you do MUST be focused on it. If you take your eyes off that prize, you won’t reach it.

4. Getting Discouragedmetaphor-1209691_1920

Every one of us will experience failure — multiple times. And when that happens, when we make mistakes and fall down, it can be so easy to just give up. In fact, that’s what most people do, if they have the courage to even get started in the first place.

But all the most successful people out there, the ones who make it look effortless, they ALL failed so many times on their way to success. Check this out:

  • Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts TWICE! Speaking of mistakes, clearly they were wrong.
  • Walt Disney’s newspaper editor told him he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Clearly he was also wrong.
  • Sir Richard Branson has had numerous Virgin companies fail.
  • J.K Rowling’s first Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by 12 publishers before it found a home. I bet every one of them came to regret that decision.
  • Sylvester Stallone was rejected 1,500 times when he was trying to sell his Rocky script. It’s a good thing he never gave up!

So, never give up. I have never totally given up on my goals and dreams. But I sure have put off a lot of things because they didn’t start out well. Fortunately, I keep coming back. And what I have learned is that when I am feeling badly, for whatever reason, I just channel that energy into whatever I need to do to change it. So if you feel negative energy due to failure or fear or anything else…

Use that energy! Channel it! Knock it out of the park!

5. Not Believing

Another quote from World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War that is SO appropriate here is:

When I believe in my ability to do something, there is no such word as no.”

This has been a HUGE problem for me throughout my life. But no more. I am fighting against this horribly negative and limiting belief and I am changing it. I believe I can do whatever I want. The future I want is already there for me. I just have to take the action I need to take to reach it.

This is a fact!

Unfortunately, a lot of people lack confidence in themselves and what they can achieve — especially women. If this isn’t an issue for you, then yay! And if it is, then you are NOT alone. Just remember that if you don’t believe you can do something, you won’t do it. Period. Like Henry Ford said:

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.

So, believe that you CAN!!!

If you have had any experience with these barriers to success and you want to share, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Cheers, Karen

My Journey to Freelance N’ Freedom

fullsizeoutput_196c (1)Tired of the 9 to 5 and not at all feeling alive? This described me and what my life had come to at the end of 2017. It sounds so cliché, but I knew there had to be more for me to do out there.

After going through a horrible divorce in 2016, I knew it was time for a change. I did some research and quickly learned that there were thousands of men and women who were freelancing and running their own businesses while traveling the world at the same time.

Ever since my first experience studying in Spain in college, I have had the urge and passion to travel. While my Project Manager job at Harvard University offered excellent benefits and vacation, I felt that it was not for me. Why couldn’t I have the freedom to travel when I wanted and work from where I wanted like the thousands of other digital nomads that I had encountered in my search? I decided that I could and I would.

In the fall of 2017, I had had enough with the 9-5 office job, Harvard politics, Boston winters, and limited freedom to travel. I decided to start freelancing part-time and work one more year to save as much money as I could. In September of 2018, I left my job at Harvard and moved with my partner to Miami, Florida.

My journey inspired me to create my Virtual Project Management business. I went full-time on September 15th, 2018 and officially registered it as Freelance N’ Freedom. During my five years at Harvard, I was able to learn top-notch customer service skills, new project management skills, successfully run numerous conferences and events both local and international, and participate in the Harvard Mentoring program.

I also graduated with my Masters from Harvard in International Relations in May, 2018. Now, I primarily work with women entrepreneurs who have multiple businesses themselves. I support them in the areas of event planning, project/vendor management, creating and scheduling social media content, general administrative help, and doing research.

Since September, I myself have visited 6 new countries to add to my 54 countries total since I started traveling at age 19. It is my goal in 2019 to visit a new country every month, all while helping other women succeed in their businesses. While working for myself has been a challenge at times, it allows me to pursue my goals, while helping other women pursue theirs, which is very rewarding.

Freelance N’ Traveling

While social media and the internet may portray freelancing and traveling as all glamorous, I have found that this is far from the truth. Working and traveling is tough work! It requires organization, discipline, scheduling, balance, and budgeting. At the same time, it can also be amazing! Here are six tips to help you be able to live a successful freelance and nomadic life:

1. Try to plan as much as you can in the beginning

Start freelancing part-time if you can. When I worked at Harvard, I only worked 7-3 PM, so I was able to take on part-time freelancing jobs at night and on weekends while still working my full-time job. This enabled me to save money and also experience a taste of what it would be like freelancing before I quit my 9-5 and went full-time.

2. Travel to Central/South America or Asiafullsizeoutput_1e36

Starting out as a new freelancer is exciting, but also has its challenges. One of those challenges can be money. If you choose a cheaper location to live, such as Asia or South America, you can start ahead of the game by not having to worry too much about finances.

3. Speaking of finances, create a budget

As much of a pain as budgets are, when you are traveling with a new job and limited funds, it is important to know where your money is going. Do some research into a new city before you go to get an idea of food/lodging costs, transportation, activities, etc. This will save you time and money in the long run. I recommend reading How to Travel the World on $50 A Day by Matt Kepnes. There are lots of good budgeting and travel tips in there for each part of the world.

4. Setup a schedule for yourself

When I travel, but still have work to do, I try to get as much work done as I can before I leave for the new city. When I arrive in the city, I write out my schedule in my agenda so I know when I have calls, meetings, time to work, and time to explore.

What usually works for me is getting up early to work in the morning and then heading out in the afternoon to explore. I am also fortunate that most of my work is flexible as to when it is completed, so that is something to keep in mind when you are deciding what type of freelancing you want to pursue.

5. Don’t forget to take care of youfullsizeoutput_226b

Traveling can easily cause an imbalance in the way you eat, the amount of exercise you get, reflection, meditation, etc. Make sure you are walking or carve out time for exercise. It is exciting to try local foods in a new city, but make sure you are eating your fruits and vegetables too. This has been the hardest part of being a traveling freelancer for me.

6. Listen to your gut

Of all of the things I have learned traveling, this is the most important to me. Your gut always knows the way. I used my intuition for leaving an unhealthy relationship, leaving my 9-5 job, leaving situations that may not be safe in a new country, and many more circumstances. If it doesn’t feel right to you, it likely isn’t. Being a solo traveler teaches you to trust yourself and your instincts so don’t ignore them!

I hope some of these tips are helpful to those of you who are just starting your journey to being a nomadic freelancer. I am always open for questions, comments, advice, etc, so please do not hesitate to reach out to share your story or ask a question.

Safe and happy travels,


Instagram and Facebook are: @freelancenfreedom
Travel photos Instagram: @blondie_without_borders