Last week, I experienced a Tuesday like no other as I spent the day working from an Epson EcoTank Perspex box office installation in the middle of Covent Garden as passers-by and the press observed me. I was in the box to highlight some stunning research Epson had done to support it’s Eco Tank range. The research looked at isolation and loneliness many freelancers often feel when working solo. 

Vicki Psarias

Epson Pop Up as Honest Mum works from Covent Garden

pop up office in Covent Garden with Epson

There are over 2 million freelancers currently in the UK with a prediction that by 2020 half of the workforce will be freelancing.

Honest Mum prints from an Epson EcoTank

While remote working and freelancing has its many benefits, we workers need support. Epson is doing its part with the launch of its pop-up co-working space in London’s Covent Garden, which doubles up as a retail outlet until the end of October – it really is worth a visit, go once and you won’t want to leave!

Visitors to the Pop-up can expect a collaborative and creative working space with free secure Wi-Fi, access to a kitchen for refreshments and, of course, unlimited printing. Epson is also running a series of really helpful daily, expert-led workshops at the pop-up, specifically designed for freelancers, bloggers, self-employed people, students and families. These will cover a wide range of useful subjects, from invoicing, branding and GDPR to family crafts. The workshops are open to anyone so go ahead and book yourself into a few – the full list is available here: http://epsonuk.eventbrite.com/.

A warm, Insta-worthy spot, I was honoured to speak about my life and career there, sharing my tips on making the most of freelance life during the day. I know you guys will love it.

Epson store

The Epson EcoTank Pop-up, is supporting gig workers, freelancers and bloggers by giving them a place to work for free – and the chance to connect with similar professionals.

Epson EcoTank Popup

Epson's EcoTank Pop Up unlimited printing at Epson's EcoTank Popup EcoTank Pop Up

Epson's Pop Up in Covent Garden

It’s a joy to work with Epson as they share my values – from contributing to the communities in which they operate, supporting freelancers and bloggers to making technologies and products that are ideal for independent and remote working and that are made in an eco-friendly way.

Perspex Epson EcoTank Pop Up office where Honest Mum works for the day

Epson’s recent research has found that a huge proportion of freelancers find their work lonely. Worryingly, about one in four (25%) experience depression and a fifth (21%) of the surveyed freelancers claimed they’d had suicidal thoughts as a result of isolated working conditions.

We bloggers are hugely susceptible to the impact of isolation and loneliness on mental health so I want to share what helps me as I did on the press day launch where I gave a speech to bloggers and the press.

bloggers

bloggers lunch

Below, I reflect on my day-to-day life, working from home from my kitchen table that I ‘hot desk’ with my family, sharing my own tips on how to implement self care for a more content and productive working life. 

Excitingly, you can also win a new Eco Tank ET-2650 printer worth £230 too!

………..

First up, for those new to the blog (hi), I’ll kick off sharing a little bit about myself. I was a multi award winning TV Director and Filmmaker pre kids (one of only 7% of women directors at the time, it’s now a dismal 4%) making short films, commercials, TV drama and docs and music videos- until I had my first son Oliver in 2010. I naively thought I could simply strap him onto my chest and take him on set with me once he was here. That he would seamlessly fit into my existing life and 12-15 hour days at work. How naive I was. The movies had lied to me. I suffered from a traumatic birth and emergency c-section, feeling rock-bottom for 10 long months before finding the courage to speak up and ask for help, and later, begin the process of returning back to work.

It was then, when I sought help from my GP and embarked on CBT with a psychologist, that I also started a new kind of therapy: blogging- and Honest Mum was born. I was one of the first bloggers in the UK at that point, and while I never anticipated blogging would become my career (I didn’t even know how that would be possible in those early days) and returned to directing fashion ads, before long, I pivoted into this democratic, empowering, creative digital space that made sense financially and also for my own wellbeing and that of my family’s. I could be with my son and work too.

By the time my second son, Alexander had arrived in 2012, I was a full time mumboss working remotely from home and flexibly too, and for the first time in history, without the need for a gatekeepers’ approval and commissions. It felt and still feels incredibly empowering. I simply wrote, would hit publish and connected with a like-minded audience which soon became a global audience. I was no longer relying on the BBC to green-light my projects, I’d become (albeit a far smaller version) of the BBC! I was in control of my career, typing away, baby soundly asleep on my chest LIVING THE WORK DREAM I NEVER KNEW WOULD EVER BE POSSIBLE IN MY LIFETIME.

Over the years, I’ve been told I’ve broken new ground with my digital work (that’s very kind) being the first blogger in the UK to represent an airline and I work across many divisions: all my passions from food, to fashion, the arts and beyond. Every job I had pre-blogging from directing to lecturing at universities and teaching English GCSE for a stint, have informed the work that I do today. The way I story-tell online.

I hope it shows how multi-faceted bloggers can be and what we can offer. I wrote my debut book Mumboss-The Honest Mum’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home last year- which became a bestseller on its release, and sees me giving everything I know away so that others, primarily mothers who are handed the short straw in the workforce, have the tools and know-how to create flexible careers around their families.

I want all freelancers to feel valued and also happy in their liberating careers.

Epson’s research was staggering.

Epson found that solo self-employed workers are now a vital element of the UK economy, contributing around 125-140 billion pounds to the economy.

They surveyed 1000 freelancers and found that 91% work from home with many seeking a better work/life balance (53%) and greater flexibility (62%) with some saying they found working in an office stressful (47%).

While some found freelancing liberating, a huge 48% admitted it was lonely and 46% found it isolating with lack of office ‘banter’ and not being part of a team contributing to their feelings.

25% said they’d experienced frequent periods of depression and worryingly, a fifth claimed they’d had suicidal thoughts. The impact of isolation and loneliness on mental health is widely recognised, including by mental health charity Mind.

It’s paramount to look after yourself when working solo, to prioritise yourself.

My Self-Care Tips for Freelancers

Honest Mum's self care tips

 

  1. Work hard, rest harder.

 

 

Despite the flexibility of freelance life (convenience, lower childcare costs and working remotely and at any time, there’s a downside to working this way, particularly the failure to switch off.   

The fact the internet never sleeps can mean you might not either and I know, I’ve been there.

Make sure you turn off that sleep-inhibiting blue light emitted from tech at least 60 minutes or more before bedtime, and take lots of exercise breaks during your day so you’re physically not just mentally tired by the time you go to bed. My smart watch alerts me to move every half an hour which helps.

I recently read in Bustle that taking a mental health day off when you need one is vital-a digital detox and chance to reconnect with nature and other people as so many of us feel we have too many mental and technical tabs endlessly open.  

 

  1. Connect with others in person as much as possible.

 

Freelance life means no chatter at the water filter, tea station/ lunch with colleagues or after-work drinks. There’s also no Christmas party and no automatic work-related social life.

Online connections while important and nourishing, can never compare to face to face connectivity (being able to read emotion, experiencing eye contact and being tactile). It is harder to decipher tone while texting/ online messaging too so make those ‘meets’ happen. Meeting in person helps build and cement relationships far quicker than online communication ever can.

Please know that if you fear networking, that you’re not alone.

Baroness Margaret McDonagh’s (General Secretary to the Labour Party between 98-2001) advice a few years ago has also stayed with me, Women aren’t good at networking and it’s crucial to push yourself to do this. To work on team building. It’s teams which achieve- never on your own. Sport stars still always thank the team which helped them be successful’.

It is vital to network in business, to find mentors, investors and be commissioned by others.

You become instantly more memorable and thus more employable when you meet those who can elevate your career, IN PERSON.

Online communication can only get you so far.

Fill your diary with IRL meetings and network as you are today. High fives everyone! Look at the month ahead and plan face-to-face meetings with people you’ve connected with on LinkedIn, FB or via email, anywhere frankly, as you have a greater chance of collaborations or a commission materialising from those meetings where you’re able to demonstrate how smart, passionate and committed you are in person. Equally, arrange meet-ups with fellow freelancers/business colleagues and like-minded friends too so you can discuss ideas, brainstorm and plan to pitch.

 

  1. Not sure where to start? Find a network:

 

Feeling isolated online is one of the reasons YouTuber Maggy Woodley and I set up The Creative Women’s Network with regular networking events hosted at hotels and restaurants for 30-50 women at a time, in an intimate closed-shop safe environment where like-minded women listen to guest speakers, can ask questions and network with ease. These events are complemented by an active private FB group where free members can chat, ask for advice, skill swap and share their work.

Many now collaborate with one another and have supported each other’s careers and the energy at our events is nothing short of magical. At the end of each meet-up, Maggy and I ask each member to stand and request something they are seeking from someone else in the group, followed by what they can offer in return e.g. I’m a fashion designer so can offer a bespoke dress in return for social media support to help grow my business. This was first introduced to me by my friend Jessica Huie MBE in our annual Passion Into Pounds events with The British Library, and many meaningful collaborations have been borne from this.

Try it with your own friends and colleagues.

 

  1. Practise self care when working from home:

 

Eat well, push yourself out of the door to communicate with others even if it’s just buying a paper from your local newsagents, do yoga at your desk, embark on some forest therapy (yes that’s a real thing, Google it)-go hug a tree (as I do with my kids) and make your office environment work for you. Get your home office set up so that you can work efficiently and effectively. Take the stress out of your work day by investing in technology that is reliable and works! Epson EcoTanks are a perfect example of this, three years’ worth of ink that you insert only ONCE, saving you an average of 90% on the cost of ink – the refill bottles that are used in an EcoTank printer hold the equivalent of 94 cartridges worth of ink.

They’re also hugely reliable and are perfect for families. Any parent will tell you that children come with a HUGE amount of admin with homework printouts and more needed by the day. When you set up your home office, get yourself organised with your laptop, EcoTank printer, your Google calendar and a wall calendar too (I need digital and paper not to miss anything). Reduce the worry so you can focus on your business.

 

  1. Fight the comparison paralysis

Stop comparing your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 101. It’s easy to fall for the social media lies/ best bits edit. First off, unfollow those who make you unhappy and curate your feeds with like-minded people who warm the cockles as we say up North. Do that IRL too. Start a gratitude diary you fill in nightly in a bid to enjoy the present and all that you have already which will stop you constantly pining for more. This will also elevate your mood and combat feelings of self-doubt.  If you’re suffering from anxiety, depression or feel suicidal, please reach out to family and friends. You can also speak to someone confidentially at charities Mind and The Samaritans. Don’t be afraid to say you’re not OK. CBT changed my life after a traumatic birth.

 

  1. Find your Tribe

Finally and most importantly, surround yourself with those who get you. People who want the best for you and who will be honest with you in your life and career. This support will always act as a foil when self-doubt and the imposter syndrome set in which they do for all of us. Repeat after me ‘I am enough’. ‘I am Beyonce’!

 

I’m happy to be giving away 1 Eco Tank Printer (RRP £230) you can win by entering below.

Epson EcoTank makes it easy for users to work from home by replacing cartridges with ink bottles. Even if you’ve stocked up on cartridges, it still takes time to replace a cartridge and can be quite messy. If you have a busy schedule, Epson’s EcoTank is an easy solution as it has an ultra-high-capacity ink tank system, which holds the equivalent of 94 cartridges worth of ink and can save you an average of 90% on the cost of ink.

EcoTanks are also ideal for families. Any parent will tell you that children come with a huge amount of admin with homework printouts, timetables and forms. EcoTank printers are reliable, great for the environment and helps to reduce the worry of running out of ink so that you can focus on what really matters.

The EcoTank 2650 with print, copy and scan features, provides a great choice for busy households. Being a fuss-free printer, it only takes three easy steps to set it up. It also features an LCD screen and SD card slot, making it easy to control without a PC. It connects to the Wi-Fi meaning you can send documents to print from smartphones and tablets and you can even email files from anywhere to have them printed.

Check out all the info about the printer: https://www.epson.co.uk/products/printers/inkjet-printers/for-home/et-2650

Enter below.

Ends October 16th 2018 at midnight.

UK only.

No cash alternative.

If the winner does not reply within 7 days of the email being sent, a new winner will be randomly selected.

Good luck!

This is a sponsored collaboration.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Promoted on Prize finderBritMumsLoquaxSuper Lucky UK Wins and Competition Database.

 

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My Freelancer Tips with Epson EcoTank + Competition - Honest Mum

 

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299 Responses

  1. zoe somerfield

    I would love a new printer but it’s something that gets pushed to the back of the list when purchasing anything new

    Reply
  2. Tina Deacon

    I’d love to win as it looks amazing so modern and easy to use, my so. Is studying Art at the moment and this printer would be such a great help for him

    Reply
  3. Corinne Fisher

    Fed up with cheap printers that give out quickly and spending a fortune on ink

    Reply
  4. Oli Marshall

    I work from home (nothing as exciting as your job :)) and it would be wonderful to have a modern and easy to use printer. Also, how many times did I need to print out my children’s homework, written stories etc. but remembering the “fuf” of using my printer, just made me postpone (code for not doing at all)! Oh, it would be wonderful!

    Reply
  5. Guy Nash

    The ink tank sounds great – it feels like I’m forever replacing ink cartridges and my children print quite a lot out for the school work etc.

    Reply
  6. Chevaune Stanley

    My old printer has the most expensive cartridges on the market, so between my daughters uni work and my admin work it costs us a small fortune, so please count us in x

    Reply
  7. Carly Belsey

    I would love to win to be able to print off my son’s homework, rather than having to do it at work and to print our gorgeous photos. Ive never had a printer, this would be a fabulous addition

    Reply
  8. Adrian Bold

    I would love to win this great prize as my current printer is extremely old and slow! Thanks for the competition.

    Reply
  9. Tracy B

    I’d love to win as my little treasures dropped slime in my printer! Don’t you just love kids! LOL

    Reply
  10. Teres sheldon

    I’d love to win this fab printer it’s compact efficient and reliable, which my printer at the moment isn’t, there’s nothing worse than it stopping half way through when you desperately need the documents your printing so frustrating

    Reply
  11. Kelly Hemmings

    I’ve been without a printer for a while now & it’s driving me mad. You don’t realise how much you use them until you don’t have one… & This looks like the bees knees of printers

    Reply
  12. Purmala Shrestha

    I want to win it because I need one printer in the house as I do not have it.

    Reply
  13. Stev Rigby

    Could not have come at a better time. My current Epsom printer is on the blink. It has been the printer that has lasted the longest and the easiest to set up and use. It needs replacing shortly and I would not go with another make.

    Reply
  14. Jo McPherson

    We have had our printer for years, and it’s falling apart piece by piece, this one looks fantastic

    Reply
  15. Mike Williams

    I have been a big fan of Epson printers for many years and would love to win this as my printer is getting old and with 4 of us in the house printing documents, architectural drawings and miscellaneous art projects, the printer sometimes struggles to keep up.

    Reply
  16. Deborah Hambleton

    I’m on a bit of a health kick and would use this for printing out recipes and making folders to keep me motivated

    Reply
  17. Phil Boyle

    I live in shared accommodation and share a printer . Frequently jammed, no paper & ink runs out.

    Reply
  18. Dawn Adams

    I need to update our printer, I have a hate hate relationship with our current one.

    Reply
  19. Donna Caldwell

    I’d love a printer with teenagers doing coursework and my little girls school project it would be a life saver

    Reply
  20. Anthea Holloway

    I would love to win a really good and efficient printer like this Epson printer and one that saves money on ink too. My present one is not very good and is very thirsty and expensive to run!

    Reply
  21. H.Y

    Need a printer big time, been so confused as to which one I should buy but this will be brill as I can put the money towards a laptop instead. Thanks

    Reply
  22. Paula Phillips

    I do a lot of printing for my hobbies and for my children so this should help to save me a lot of money and be easier to use.

    Reply
  23. Marie Rungapadiachy

    I would love to win as my eldest Daughter is currently doing her A-levels. Our current printer is not very good and we need a replacement so she can print out everything she needs for her work. To win this would be perfect as it is amazing.

    Reply
  24. Sandra Siddall

    I would love to win this awesome Epson printer because I like to print out the adult calming colouring pages and colour them as it really helps with my anxiety and my kids love to colour disney pages and cbeebies pages!

    Reply
  25. Helen Aiken

    I’d love to win as my printer is really old and I frequently have issues with it where it starts printing, gets half way through the page and then has to start all over. Oh, and of course it’s most normal for it to repeatedly do this when my daughter needs something printed for school (and as usual at the last minute).
    Additionally, this printer sounds great, especially with the cost saving on ink cartridges which can be made from using the refill bottles for this printer.

    Reply
  26. susan hoggett

    I don’t actually have a printer and it is so very inconvenient at times!

    Reply
  27. Sarah Ann

    I never realised how much I relied on a printer until my broke down! This would be perfect!

    Reply
  28. Amanda Gregory

    I have an home office and do loads of printing. This would be a fabulous due to its high capacity of ink. It would be good to make savings too.

    Reply
  29. Jo

    I would love to win this because my old printer drove me nuts – printing out blurry characters no matter how many times i did a self clean or anything else! It’s gone to the tip now, I miss a printer

    Reply
  30. Debbie W

    Our home office relies on a printer every day and there’s always something that needs printing for school too. Although if I won, I may put it aside for my daughter as a printer is on her very long list of uni wants/needs for next year.

    Reply
  31. Carolynn Woodland

    I want to win simply because our current Epson printer is ‘behaving badly’ mostly due to old age!

    Reply

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