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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

My first three months of Freelancing



After months of, deliberating and overthinking I finally made the decision to go part time in my job to focus more on my blogging career. This blog started from my sofa, and what began as a fun hobby to share my journey to body confidence become so much more than that, it has actually become a my job. Within the first two years of blogging I began my journey into the fashion industry somewhere I never dreamed I would work, because lets be realistic the fashion industry isn't usually the place for folks like me.  It didn't happen overnight but as I became more active on my blog I began getting approached to model and review plus size lines for brands, and people started to take an interest in what I had to say.

I learnt so much from the plus size community, about the true lack of representation of plus size women in the media and it encouraged me to speak out on the subject on my social media channels. This blog has given me such wonderful, unbelievable opportunities ones that I never imagined I would get. Writing for magazines, modelling, presenting, radio, TV My biggest achievement to date saw me become the first ever UK plus size fashion columnist for world renowned magazine Marie Claire and I did this all whilst working my full time job. 

In the early days of blogging weekends would involve dragging poor Dan out to shoot me in my latest outfit, and afternoons would be spent  writing up my posts. Monday mornings on the tube would be when I would answer emails, and plan my evenings of events and after work would attend said events, easy peasy lemon squeezy, life was good. For a while it worked perfectly, blogging slotted into my life and just worked. But after time, when my work load increased, and I started to find myself with more deadlines, more emails, more work and the balance started to tip.

 All of my annual leave was taken on my blogging jobs, which of course was amazing that I was getting jobs but equally exhausting especially when it didn't leave me much room for down time. People think that blogging is this easy, fun, no real work kinda job, when actually so much work goes into it, the planning, photography, the negotiations, meetings, shooting, writing, it all takes time. I tried to ignore the tiredness and stress of juggling the jobs because for the first time in years I was actually earning a good wage, I was was getting myself out of debt (well except for my ginormous student load, but yeh, lets just forget about that one) Having a routine, working with great people and enjoying my role was what kept me working two jobs and for a while I balanced the two so well.

Then there was a shift, and I felt it, I started to become exhausted with working 9-5, commuting and doing everything else on top, I barely saw my friends, my diary would be blocked out, I was overworked, unorganised and unhappy. My mental health was in the pits and my anxiety about letting people down was crippling. To add to this I thought it would also be a good idea to plan our wedding during the busiest, perhaps most successful time in my career, glutton for punishment, that's me! Christ, was it tough, weddings are tough in general but doing that and everything else was intense. Everyone started to say to me, 'Cal you are doing so much maybe it's time to go part time at work.'  But I was scared, I was scared about losing the wage that helped get me out of debt, that enabled Dan and I to finally travel the world like we always dreamed we would. It also meant that we could have the most perfect wedding, payed for entirely by ourselves with no help from anyone (something that was really important to me) I wanted all of those things, and in order to get them I had to work hard. I was scared of relinquishing control, I was scared that going part time wouldn't work out, that I would be back to square one, living off of savings or credit cards.

These are things that we are scared to admit to people, that we are scared to make big changes to our life, we are scared of failure. I was, I still am. I am scared that blogging just won't work out, that all my hopes and dreams on this career will just crumble and I will be back to square one. But I decided to strop letting fear rule me, and me rule the fear, use it to drive me to succeed, to make me work extra hard on those two days I am now a freelancer. 

Yes it is hard but when does success ever come easy, we have to work for the things we want in life right? So, we are three months in and so far so good. Having two days to work from home has meant more time for breakfast meetings to network and meet brands, time to actually go to the day events that I would miss due to being in work. It has giving me time to focus and develop what I want from this industry, helped me be focus on my goals. But most importantly it has given me a chance to introduce some balance into my life, to enjoy time with my husband, to see my friends, to focus on my health. When it's all said and done, money comes and goes, careers change but your health and happiness is the most important thing and that is what I am focusing on now, wish me luck. 

Photo taken at my first blogger campaign this year with Dorothy Perkins Curve

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