• 4 Months of Freelance – Taking Time.

    I burnt out.

    Earlier this year my brain hit a max that I should have identified earlier but thems the learnings. In February I had a lot going on in life that I was going at head down and with the attitude of “onward through the fog” – not great.

    My job at the time was really stressful (a lot of which I’d put on myself) and my Mother was in the process of moving, all of which I was doing for her. The day her condo sold, I was on the phone with her and the lawyer about 20 times. Meanwhile in between at work I messed up in a large way on the project I was working on, and decided something had to give.

    So I started talking to people internally at that company to see if I could move to a different department, and externally by reaching out to coaches. I started talking to people in my life and questions about what freelance was like and how I was *feeling* about work.

    Then something amazing happened… I gained 3 clients even before I quit.

    Now, this lead to me taking on *much* more than I was able to handle at the time and I had to actually step back and re-evaluate things, but I felt I was onto something  change was happening.

    This is the first time I’ve been freelance full time and I’ve learned more in the last 4 months than I have in the last 4 years. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Knowing my income comes from me and what I do has held me accountable in ways I didn’t expect and has lit a fire under me that I’ve never felt before (and I think frankly needed).

    The beauty of freelance is YOU run your schedule, so these are the things I have taken the time to do.

    Taken time to learn.
    I’ve completed an update to HTML/CSS/JS that I felt *I* needed for years and finally had the time to take, it was incredibly helpful in piecing pieces that had become really fuzzy to me and now I feel confident again.

    I’ve also loved to be able to sit in on online webinars during the day – DURING THE DAY. Listening/watching webinars while I can work is awesome and just taking the hour to listen to the webinar, it’s great.

    Taken the time to help others.
    I’ve been amping up helping out around the city. I’ve been at TA at a good half a dozen workshops at Camp Tech now on various marketing disciplines from Adwords (Google Ads I know..), to Google Analytics and recently HTML/CSS.

    I also volunteer for Women and Color, just helping out at their events and pitching on whatever they need as they scale.

    Taken time to keep growing my network.
    At least once a week I have a meeting/coffee/drink with someone – friend or professionally, and if not I’ll attend an event to chat with people more.

    Something I never realized is networking is *just* talking to people.
    I’ve been paralyzed by the idea of networking being your pitch, but I just talk to people! Ask about them, they ask about you – you make new friends and I love working with my friends.

    Taken time to take care of my Mom. 
    We’ve spent a lot of time organizing her life, like I should have been doing before. Between her finances, and her health now she’s *almost* back on track and when I talk to her now I can hear her in a much better place than she was before too.

    Taken time for me.
    This summer was amazing.
    I was able to take a day and go to the beach, take a standup paddle boarding lesson at sunset, go to Palm Springs for a friends bachelorette, go to my first TedX event, work on my photography skills (like the wonderful sunset on this post, check out my Unsplash & Instagram for more), hang out with friends – I didn’t want summer to come to and end.

    I also have taken time to get a physical and get my own health up to date, something I’ve been *really* worried about for years. I’m not 100% healthy yet, but I’m on a plan now and pointed in the right direction.

    It hasn’t been all lollypops and rainbows as when I quit I told myself I was going to…

    1. Yoga
    2. Make the same $$ as I was making full time
    3. Have breakfast every day and have more time to cook
    4. Building consistency for my own discipline/schedule
    5. Explore more of the city I live in, take pictures
    6. Visit my friends more often, especially those who live outside the city
    7. Attend events outside of the city/country
    8. Update my website(s) – I am the model of the cobblers kids that have no shoes right now
    9. Blogging more (here I am! Stay tuned for my next one on why Twitter is my favourite social platform, controversial I know)  and taking a writing course (that’s next)
    10. And much more…

    I’m working towards achieving a balance of all of those, but I haven’t found good balance yet between taking care of myself and building this new business so I sprinkle in items from the list above as it evolves.

    I also ask my clients and everyone around me now how they balance their days too, it’s fascinating to hear how many people are working non-traditional schedules or doing additional “hustles” beyond their 9-5.

    How does your day look? Are there things you should be prioritizing more? Could you make a change to involve more of those?

    These are the questions I asked myself while having anxiety attacks at work and after making this change, those questions are much easier to navigate.

  • Inspired.

    I draw a lot on inspiration for working on the web and in my career from places outside the web.

    Mostly in other creative fields like music and acting and lately cooking.

    I have been a giant music fan my whole life but have zero musical talent. I wanted to audition for many things throughout my life but I was always shaking in highschool drama class. I can’t cook much more than using a microwave (but I’m learning!).

    I’ve spent hours watching Hollywood Reporter videos lately. They do these wonderful roundtables with accomplished actors, directors, showrunners and more. I really enjoyed this one particularly with showrunners including Ava DuVernay (‘Queen Sugar’), Ryan Murphy (‘Feud: Bette and Joan’/American Horror Story: Roanoke’), Noah Hawley (‘Fargo’/’Legion’), Lisa Joy (‘Westworld’), Jenji Kohan (‘Orange is the New Black’) and David E. Kelly (‘Big Little Lies’).

    That is a powerful table.

    Then, yesterday Dave Grohl, of Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Them Crooked Vultures, Probot (I could go on..) put out Play.

    A 23 minute video project, where he plays every instrument in it – each shot in 1 take and layered together later.
    He composed the track, memorized each part for the song, and then played all 7 instruments. Dave doesn’t read music, he has said this many times so he took this as a challenge to teach himself this 23 minute song – FOR EACH PART.

    But rather than listening to me ramble on, listen to Dave’s own words on Jimmy Kimmel about the project.

    I’m inspired.

    Watch these videos, or find something that inspires you, I’m off to watch Play again.

  • 5 Thoughts on Sigur Rós’ Route One. 

    I was working from home today and had a plan to not listen to any music. Well, after checking the internet streams late in the morning, found I just happened to be lucky enough to catch the lifestream of Sigur Rós’ Route One for quite a few hours and have some thoughts on it.
    For a little background… Sigur Rós recorded a Livestream today, on the summer solstice. The longest day of the year, they took all that sunshine and drove throughout Iceland to a soundtrack they created live.

    It was broadcast on local stations and streamed directly on YouTube to us, around the world. The route was along Iceland’s coastal ring road, a whopping 1332km journey and they took us along for the experience.

    5 thoughts on today’s experience…

    1. It was the best media to work to. My fire alarm went off twice and I almost jumped out of my skin but the mix of it all really reminded me of why I love to work to music on a day I had chosen to not put anything on.

    2. Most drivers in Iceland are very calm. There was the occasional speedster and at times folks would pass around the video car, but wow I’m impressed with Iceland’s patience and non-speedy drivers.

    3. It reminded me of Chemical Brothers, who create the BEST music videos in my opinion. It was very much like Star Guitar (below), but ambient.

    4. It was mesmerizing and being recorded LIVE by the group themselves. There was one part where they’re going through a tunnel and the music is going in and out, programmed to be perfectly set to the feeling.

    5. ICELAND IS GORGEOUS. Why this wasn’t a direct connection with the tourism board for the country is a marketing miss-step (maybe it was, indirectly?) but WOW Iceland kept taking my breath away. I would take so many pictures and it would take my Instagram for a year, easily.

    Some more amazing moments, others were sharing…

    What a Wonderful Experience.

    “In a day and age of instant gratification and everything moving so fast, we wanted to do the exact opposite,” Jónsi Birgisson.
    They caused some of those who experienced it to slow down which is the biggest part I took away from it. I find myself lately wanting to move faster, read faster, work faster and today was a lovely reset.
    Thank you Sigur Rós.
  • Radiohead are My Favourite Marketers.

    I remember being 16 years old, sitting in front of my boombox, legs crossed, waiting for Paranoid Android to be played on the radio with a finger on the record button ready to tape the new Radiohead single. Today it’s a bit different, now I use the internet, making recording and accessing much easier. Also not sure really where that boombox is anymore… When OK Computer was released I became a lifetime Radiohead fan and I’ve been fascinated with them since. The Bends is a great album, and we will never know why that guy is laying on the floor for the Just video (Send me your theories though!!!) but it was their 3rd album Ok Computer, that set them apart to me. Radiohead are My Favourite Marketers. 1 With Ok Computer, Radiohead put out Paranoid Android, (a 6+ minute single) at a time when everyone was releasing short pop songs. They paired it with a cartoon music video starring a guy in a toque with an R on it (which I also sat in front of Much Music waiting to tape that with a VHS) and was placed on heavy rotation in the growing ADD world of MTV. Marvin - Paranoid, not android

    On May 8th 2016 – Radiohead removed themselves from the internet.

    They pulled an internet cleanse.

    It was wonderful to watch and also shocked my SEO mind (what about their indexed pages!!) Radiohead Twitter They finally followed through with “how to disappear completely” by removing everything off their website. They purged their Twitter & Facebook of all posts & branding. YouTube + Google+ (yah, Google+) as well. They also sent out obscure physical letters that left their fans wondering, and a bit scared and its my favourite marketing move they’ve done yet.

    Radiohead existed before the internet

    They put out 6 studio albums with their record label and they ran that traditional model for years and gained a lot of popularity that way. They were selling out shows by their second album and by the time Ok Computer came out they were known world-wide so I think that afforded them access to run the marketing they now do. In Rainbows was the first album that went against the traditional model as they released it directly to their fans, online and on their own as their contact with their label was over. I paid $5.00 USD through their “pay what you want”, then bought the CD when it came out a few months later, and THEN even bought the vinyl as it came with extra pieces. From the success of In Rainbows, they continued with King of Limbs and again released the files directly to fans, completely on their own. This time you could package it with a limited edition vinyl that came with a newspaper – I bought it immediately. Their physical CD release did make many top 10 charts (as “charts” were still looked at) but the vinyl was the surprising part, it was named best-selling vinyl of that year. Radiohead Then last weekend they released their 9th studio album – A Moon Shaped Pool, again online. This time though with a label XL who Radiohead seem to have found some give/take with. There are 2 songs on Spotify, which Radiohead has been strictly against for years. They also released the video for Burn the Witch and Daydreaming on Youtube, another service that they’ve had strong opinions on. Also they have put these on their website and have been promoting the new album on their freshly cleaned out social media accounts.

    Radiohead have always had strong opinions.

    From deciding to make their tours as carbon-neutral as possible to Thom creating a “human sculpture of king canute” raise awareness about climate change, and many others including releasing their current album at a very interesting time in US politics which isn’t coincidence. Their strong opinions have shaped their career and more and more, the way they market themselves and I love and admire that about them I will continue to watch their marketing, and enjoy their music as they continue to market themselves in the constantly changing marketing waves. Radiohead-4
  • Rdio I’ll Miss You & Fav Albums of 2015.

    Music streaming service Rdio is shutting down for now, as it’s been acquired by Pandora. The whole adjustment has felt like a slow breakup to me. Slowly they’ve shut down pieces, including opening the Rdio app on my phone just to receive these sad messages and opening the app at work to finally be cutoff and not be able to play music… (more…)