Where my freelancer journey began

Let’s start a little further back, New Year’s Day 2017. I’d been umming and ahing about whether to do a yoga teacher training or not. I love yoga, it changed my life so much, but I was already signed up to do my Personal Training Course which would be every Saturday until April, if I took this teacher training I had my eye on, I’d have to leave my job at the end of March to be able to do it, as my hours at my job wouldn’t have accommodated the course. I knew I could do some freelance translation work, but I didn’t have any other income. I’m not sure what clicked for me on that day but I decided I would just do it, so I applied. My mum, who is my biggest supporter and the person I go to for advice, wasn’t entirely sure it was the right decision. I had a flat to pay for in London, bills to pay, a course to pay for, and how was I sure I’d make any money? Well I definitely wasn’t sure, but what I knew in my heart was that I couldn’t work in an office anymore, working for someone else wasn’t my jam and I have realised that client relations and project management wasn’t the job for me.

So that landed me at my last day at my old job last year at the end of March, I was a little sad to go, but I had two days before the start of my yoga teacher training AND two days of PT exams to get through, so I went straight from work into revision mode, exams and then my first day of my YTT. I was lucky in that I got some good work through translation as well as blogging over April and May, and I went into my first two months as self employed making a decent amount of money. I got my first class at a studio as a fitness instructor and never really looked back.

This brings me to today, I’m sat on the Northern Line going back home, it’s 2pm, I’ve taught two classes so far today, I’ve had a PT client and am teaching a corporate yoga class this evening. My schedule is full. I feel a little tired. Am I happy? Yes, most certainly. Did I make the right decision? 100%. I know freelance isn’t for everybody, managing your own time is hard, but I love what I do and I enjoy running my own schedule, so for me it’s perfect. However there have been some ups and downs, it’s not been easy. I know I am still a newbie, but I want to share with you what I have learned over the past year.

Make a Plan

My mum made me write out a business plan for how much money I would need to make per month, and where that money would come from. It significantly helped me to focus, and I felt more stable with a plan. I am not a business person, business isn’t my forte, I am lucky that both my parents are self employed, as is my aunt, my step mum and several of my friends. If you’re not fortunate enough to have that, then find someone who is freelance and seek advice from them. You are not alone in this, there are loads of us out there! I would also try and have some money set back, even just a few grand in case things don’t quite go to plan.

Delegate

As I am not into businessy stuff, I’m also not a numbers person and I never bothered with bookkeeping or doing my own taxes. I pay for someone to do it. If you live in London, seek someone outside of London (both my bookkeeper and accountant are in Devon) as it’s significantly cheaper. I know that it would stress me out so much, take too much time, and be a waste of my energy to do it myself. Delegation is the key to every business, and you are a business, remember, you are not alone.

Allow For Transition Time

It takes time to get used to your new way of living, so be patient. I went through some ups and downs, a friend and fellow freelancer calls this the 5 stages of grieving for your old job. I felt an amalgamation of fear, happiness, joy, sadness, confusion and eventually it just mellowed into my new normal.

At First Say Yes A Lot

I know we are trying to learn how to say no, but as a new freelancer who may not have stable clients and a steady income, say yes to things. Just say yes. Do the stuff nobody else wants to do, be willing and be ready, if like me you’re a fitness instructor/PT/yoga teacher, take cover at the last minute, be willing to go the extra mile, because not many people are and trust me people notice this and it will pay off.

Network

The word ‘network’ used to freak me out. It made me think of those business parties you’d see on TV shows, people in suits making small talk and exchanging business cards. That is not networking. Networking is just being friendly, talking to people, being open, trusting in the universe that natural connections will occur, sometimes from the people you least expect. When you are a freelancer and you work for yourself, you are your brand, every person you meet could be a job for you, I actually got a job through a guy I once snogged in a night club, I’m not even joking, it happens (and it wasn’t because I snogged him, I want to make that clear!). Essentially be nice, be yourself, don’t be a dick to people, and the right things will come your way.

Be Prepared

This one is big. If you’re a PT or someone who works with their body, injury is your worst nightmare. The same goes for if you’re ill. We don’t get sick pay like everyone else. I twisted my ankle and had to take a week off work, I was lucky that I could get my classes covered and that I could take Some translation work, so I didn’t miss out, but if the fitness stuff was my only source of income, I’d have been worried. So make sure you get insured and try and have a back up plan. Be prepared for holidays to be blissful but also to be stressful, whether it’s because you have no income for a week, or because you run a business and your employees might not be able to leave you alone. It’s not the same as just putting your OOO on, sending your handover, and forgetting about work for a week.

Finally, it’s worth taking the risk

If there is one takeaway from this past year, it’s this: just fucking do it. That risk I took one year ago when I left my secure, safe job, has paid off. I have made so many huge leaps and bounds, am making about £10k more per year as a freelancer, and have never felt more like myself than I do right now. I’m finally figuring out what I want from life, what I want to achieve, what foot print I want to leave behind when I’m gone and how I want to help shape the future, it’s pretty big. This wouldn’t have been possible without taking that leap. Your leap of faith might not be leaving your job, you could love your job! I don’t think everyone has to be self employed at all, but I do think everyone has a purpose in life and sometimes you have to risk something to find what that is!

Thank you so much for reading as always guys! Are any of you considering going freelance? What are your barriers? I’d love to talk more about it!

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day across the globe, a chance to really celebrate everything it is to be female and empowered. A few different blog post ideas crossed my mind, but the one that seemed to stick and be most relevant was to share with you the things I would say to a much younger Hannah to help her on her quest to greatness and goddessyness. Most of these aren’t gender specific and if you’re a guy reading this wanting to embrace his inner god then welcome and enjoy, but these next 5 tips are things I have learnt along the way that should enable you to become the best and most empowered you you have ever been and to ignite your inner goddess. So without further ado, let’s go!

1. Love Yourself

Seems simple and it’s very on-trend right now, but self love, self acceptance and self compassion are paramount to you becoming the goddess you truly are. If you don’t love yourself, if you don’t put your health and well-being first, then how can you expect to direct your energy into your passion projects and building the life you dream of? Self love is different for everyone but when it gets down to it, it’s fighting that voice in your head that tells you you aren’t good enough, that says you’re too this and too that, and accepting all facets of your body and your mind and soul.

2. Say No to Shit You Don’t Want To Do

Another toughie. Us girls are good at saying yes. We’re so scared to hurt/offend that we don’t even think about saying no, even if it’s something that you really don’t want to do. If you don’t want to do it, if it’s going to make you tired, if it’s going to take you away from something else you’d rather be doing, say no. You don’t have to insult the person you’re saying no to, you don’t even have to apologise for it. Bottom line is we need to say no more, and get comfortable doing it.

3. Stop Competing with Other Women

We’re raised to compete. We’re raised to be the best. We’re raised to covet that guy’s attention, because back in ye olde times women were a powerful pawn in a family, and so it made financial sense to have to vie for a guy’s attention. Luckily, we don’t need to do that shit anymore, because our society is a little less twisted. So stop comparing yourself to that other girl you know, understand that a rose and a tulip really can’t be compared because they’re different flowers, know that they’re both beautiful and magical in their own way, and support the women around you, because I swear to goddess the only way this planet is going to survive is if we support our fellow girl gang.

4. Get Rid of Toxic People In Your Life

There’s a saying that you are the collective energy of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Now think about those 5 people. Are they people whose energy you love? Do they reflect the life you want to create? Or are they draining your energy a little? Do they make you feel shit about yourself? If it’s the latter, perhaps remove them from your life. And I know how hard this is. I’ve recently stopped talking to an old friend, because we simply drained each-other. It was kind of a mutual decision and it still feels sad, but I feel much better off not having that energy in my life, and I’m sure they do too. And that’s not to say we won’t end up being friendly again in the future, but for now, for whatever reason, it just isn’t working.

This can be a hard pill to swallow because again, we’re hardwired to worry about what people think too much, and we’d never want to hurt someone we care about, but it comes back to point number one. Do you love yourself? If you do, you have to make those tough decisions sometimes.

5. Start Manifesting What You Want

Some of you may read this and think what the hell is manifesting? Well, in short, manifestation is the bringing to life of something, making it real and true, and known to the world. I am currently manifesting a really big thing in my life, and when I said I am manifesting it, I mean I am putting out into the world that this thing is going to happen, and by doing this I am 100% certain it will come to fruition. There are lots of different ways of manifesting things, and if you want to know more there are loads of articles on Google, or perhaps I can even write a blog post about manifesting things? But look up manifestation as well as the Law of Attraction and start implementing that shit.

So there you have it, my five top things I wish I’d been able to tell my younger self, and five things that I truly believe will allow you to grow higher and stronger. Do you have any tips? Have you started implementing any of these? Let me know in a comment below

It’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week right now and so I decided I’d share my story with you. It’s not dramatic, or extreme, I was never clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder, I’ve never been anything other than a normal, healthy weight, but I do believe I had disordered eating, and it was probably more recently than I like to admit.

Snapseed

What Is An Eating Disorder?

Before I begin, let’s define what an eating disorder is. When we hear the words ‘eating disorder’ our minds usually jump straight to anorexia or bulimia, something reserved just for those who are hospitalised because they’re so sick that their bodies can’t function anymore. Yet according to the NHS’s website, an eating disorder is categorised as ‘having an unhealthy relationship with food’ or ‘being obsessed with your body shape or weight’. Thinking about these two definitions, it opens up the moniker to a lot more people than you’d think. I wonder how many of you reading this HAVEN’T gone through a period in life where you’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food, aka feeling guilty about eating something, having a binge, eating a severely reduced number of calories to change your body shape etc? And how many of you haven’t at one point been obsessed with how your body looks. And let me say there’s a difference between wanting to lose weight to be healthy, and wanting to lose weight because we’ve been told by society that a size 8 is healthy and if you’re a size 12 with even just a millimetre of extra flesh on your tummy that you’re not healthy.

My Eating Disorder Story

So keeping this in mind, I’ll come back to me, just for a short while. I’ve always been a tall person, and have varied around a size 10/12 my whole life. The main issues probably started when I was about 14, and at first it was just general teenagery, cutting out pictures from magazines of Lily Donaldson and bluetacking them to my wall, wishing I could look like her (and the fact I call this general teenagery is a problem in itself). Until I went on the pill at age 17 I had always been very thin, so when I started taking it I gained a little bit of weight, but I was for sure still totally healthy. I’m not entirely sure what triggered it but this is when the problem really started. I began to hate my body. I was discovering sex, I was at that awkward age where I wasn’t quite an adult but I also wasn’t really a young teenager anymore, all my peers were just as body conscious as me, Gossip Girl was a brand new TV show and Blake Lively and Leighton Meester were prefect and slim and that’s what everyone wanted to be, perfect and slim.

I don’t remember my first binge, but I would end up eating so much pizza/chocolate/sweets that I would get to the point where I felt horrifically nauseous and would have to stick my fingers down my throat to get it all out. It was a combination of feeling ill and not wanting that obscene amount of food being digested by my body. This would follow by vowing not to eat breakfast the next morning, taking these ridiculous açai tablets from Holland and Barrett that I thought would make me not hungry and literally putting a few drops of milk into a bowl with some cereal crumbs and leaving it on the side so that my mum would think I’d had breakfast.

Things seemed to hit an all time low at uni, I remember trying on a pair of flared yoga pants in Abercrombie & Fitch and being so horrified at what I saw in the mirror that I cried in the changing rooms. How on earth did the way I look make me cry?! How is it okay that we have a culture that made this a thing? The thing is this stayed with me into recent years. In 2016 before I found yoga, the amount of times I’d go and look in the mirror in my work toilets to see how my abs were looking is totally absurd. Counting calories was absurd. Berating myself for having too much chocolate was absurd. Making myself throw up for fear of getting fat was absurd. But I know I’m not the only one. The fact that I’m writing this article just proves that it’s still very much an issue. And maybe your eating disorder hasn’t characterised itself as sticking your fingers down your throat, but I can be certain in thinking that about 80% of people (and I say people because I know this is an issue for guys too) have had or still have some kind of complex with the food they eat or with the way their body looks. Some days those thoughts still creep in telling me I’m not good enough, but I’m happy to say that for the most part they’re no more.

Hating Your Body Isn’t Normal

You think Slimming World and Weight Watchers is good and healthy? You’re wrong. You think counting calories and dieting in any way is all good? If you’re doing it to lose weight or tone up or whatever (unless you’ve been specifically asked by your doctor to do so) because you’re unhappy with your body and you think being smaller will answer all your problems then in my opinion your relationship with food is in some way disordered. Do you think cave men and cave women used to have to count calories? Do you think neanderthalean women used to pull at their fat in front of a mirror? No. Because there’s a lot more to life than how we look and making ourselves feel guilty for not looking like people who are stuck on the front of magazine covers. We’ve got lost. And it’s not one person’s fault, it’s an amalgamation of the media, big companies feeding on our insecurities to make money and social media making us think life will be better if we look this way or if we look that way and magazines labelled ‘health’ magazines only putting pictures of scantily clad size 8 women on their covers. Sure, aim for health, aim for a body that works at its optimum and keeps you healthy, happy and safe, but do not think that being a size or being a certain weight means you’re not good or whole or any less of a human being than that ‘skinny girl’ on TV.

It makes me so fucking sad to think that there are people out there who are unhappy with their bodies. Covering up at the beach because they’re so self conscious of their tummy rolls. When did we decide that tummy rolls are a bad thing? Why do we think being slim is a goal? I can’t answer that for you. But what I can say is that whatever your body looks like right now it’s incredible. Perfection is fucking boring and not even worth your time pursuing because FUN FACT you will NEVER EVER be perfect so what’s even the point? Save yourself some pain and some time and start to just look in the mirror, and tell yourself that you’re beautiful and that you love yourself. Exercise because it makes you feel good and because you want to be that cool grandma when you’re 70 who still goes for walks and can run after her grandkids in the garden. Eat food that you know will make you feel good physically and eat something that makes your brain feel good every once in a while. Don’t restrict, live in abundance. Spread the feeling around. Teach your children to love themselves. This is how we eliminate eating disorders. This is how we make sure that no other teenager looks at herself in the mirror and hates what she sees.

As many of you will know, I have a chronic knee injury, my knee is slowly getting stronger and stronger, but as I can’t train in the way that I used to (lots of high impact, running and plyometrics), over the last three years I have changed the way I train a lot, and part of my rehab for my knee has been to take up spinning classes. Before I moved to London I wasn’t too into them, but since coming to London and realising that the spin scene here is AMAZING, I am now becoming a spin addict!

On Thursday I attended an event to celebrate the opening of the new Another Space studio in Bank, in collaboration with Figleaves. We did a spin class with Olivia, one of my favourite Another Space teachers and oh my god it was as awesome as ever! The more I go to spin the more I love it, and my knee surgeon has been really happy with the strength progression in the muscles and tendons surrounding my knee.

I was lucky enough to be able to try out the Figleaves Anita Sports Bra, and as someone who kind of assumed I could get away with wearing yoga sports bras (little to no support) to spin, I have now realised I need to switch up my game and make sure I wear a correctly supportive and well fitted sports bra when I go to spin classes. Whilst spin is technically low impact on your joints, when you are up out of the seat a lot (like you are in classes at Another Space), you do end up with a slight high impact movement, not for the joints as the resistance of the pedals removes any real impact, but for your upper body, particularly if you do choreography in your classes that requires a lot of fast upper body movement.

So Why Should You Wear a Well Supported Bra?

Our breasts are formed of fatty tissue, and are supported by fragile ligaments, when we undergo high impact activity, the ligaments that hold our breasts in place are put under tension, causing them to stretch, due to the formation of ligaments, when they get stretched, they don’t return to their original length, and remain stretched. This, along with back pain, is one of the reasons why it’s important to keep those breasts in place with an adequate sports bra.

A survey carried out Herriot-Watt University last year showed that even breasts sized 34A need extra support during sport, this same study found evidence that wearing a sports bra can reduce breast movement by 56%!

Wearing my new Figleaves Anita Sports Bra I definitely felt more supported and I have made a vow to myself to wear a proper fitting sports bra from now on whenever I go to my spin classes! If you haven’t checked Figleaves out, you need to! I think the bras they provide are so pretty and stylish, which is super uncommon for those bras with higher support, they have SO MANY designs and colours on offer, and they go all the way up to a 54E! So there will literally be something for everyone on there, it’s truly amazing that they cater to such a wide variety of women, as opposed to just going up to a D cup like many brands that sell a sports bra (or even worse just having S, M or L as an option).

Make sure you check out Figleaves’ sports bra collection here, and if you fancy trying a spin class, make sure you go to Another Space, their new studio in Bank is so nice, the changing rooms are HUGE and you are provided with fresh towels, cleats for when you spin (so you don’t even need to bring trainers), Cowshed products in the showers (if you haven’t used this stuff before you’re in for a treat) as well as GHDs and everything else you could want whilst getting ready! Check Another Space’s webpage here.

Mercury is currently retrograding or ‘in retrograde’, you might have possibly noticed that things in life right now don’t seem to be going so well, you’re more likely to smash your phone up, you’re more likely to lose your keys and waking up has been really bloody hard. Some people (including myself) believe that this has a lot to do with the little planet named Mercury and the fact that it’s doing this thing called ‘retrograding’. I would knowingly nod whenever I hear how over the past few weeks, a friend’s life has just been a little bit ‘shit’, and say ‘well you know Mercury is totally messing with us’ and in all likelihood they would knowingly nod back. But if anyone asked me ‘What does Mercury being in retrograde actually mean?’ or ‘why does Mercury being in retrograde cause so much distruction?’ I’d be unable to answer. And this annoyed me, so I fixed it, and now I’m sharing it with you, because I’m nice like that.

What Does ‘Mercury in Retrograde’ Mean?

When Mercury is in retrograde, it means that the planet looks like it has started to reverse its orbit around the sun and move backwards. It hasn’t in fact done this at all, it’s an optical illusion that makes it look this way to use on Earth. This YouTube video I found was super helpful so I thought it was better for me to share the video as opposed to trying to poorly explain it myself.

I genuinely found this video so useful and informative, as it explains exactly what ‘retrograding’ is. But the question still remains… why does it affect us so much (or at least seem to?)

Why Does Mercury Being in Retrograde Mess Up So Many Thing?

People say things like ‘never get your hair cut when mercury is in retrograde’ or ‘don’t get a tattoo when mercury is retrograding’ but why?!

There is no scientific proof that this effs up our lives, but, I think many people can agree, there is some kind of correlation, and things have been going a little bit weird around my life over the past few weeks, and I’ve heard friends say the same, the question still begs, why?

In astrology, Mercury is the planet of communication, and day to day expression. Mercury is known for being unemotional, it is inquisitive, analytical and it rules how we categorise our thoughts. When Mercury is retrograding, astrologers believe that these things the planet gives us, start to shut down a little, communication isn’t quite so simple, it’s harder to express yourself, and as a result, things get misinterpreted and life in general just starts to get a bit funky.

What Do We Do About It?

Well unfortunately, because the Earth is going to keep on turning, and it will keep orbiting the sun, as will Mercury, Mercury retrograding is an inevitability we have to deal with. I truly believe as human beings start to become more in tune with themselves and with the universe around them, things such as astrology will start to play a bigger role in our lives. So, when Mercury is in retrograde (like it is now until the 23rd December *GULP*), what can we do reduce its effects?

The first thing is to just accept it, if you believe in this phenomenon then just accept it for what it is, and just be more diligent with your communication, be more patient with yourself and with others, and take more time when making decisions about certain things, understanding that maybe you’re not quite so clear headed as usual.

I hope that was helpful! Lots of love x