At one spot between Satara and Tshokwane we stumbled upon a journey of 11 giraffes. It was an unusually big gathering of the ‘langnekke’ – it was such a beautiful sighting.
I could hear how they pulled the leaves from the trees and chew it and as the twigs snapped back towards the tree, it made a loud noise in the silence that surrounded us.
Stick your neck out like a giraffe for opportunities
So, like the giraffe who towers above the African canopy and can see predators coming from far away, I have my eyes set on a few opportunities for 2021. This year, where it stands in the shadow of the year that was, I dare you to stick your neck out just a little and see the opportunities just waiting for you.
Don’t hesitate to grab opportunities with both hands! Don’t be skaam.
I never thought I’d work from home with a couple of rugrats,
needy cat and nanny whose phone drives me up the walls. I thought I’d share 5
hard truths of having a home office – because you know it is so much fun not
having to drive out to an office.
The snacks you buy for your office is for sharing – by everyone.
Just because you bought snacks to help you get through the irritations and
times of working from home it doesn’t mean your husband won’t guilt-trip you
into sharing your precious stash.
Being called one million times an hour is really fun when it
comes from your toddler. To make it even more fun you may be asked multiple times
a day where sissy is or being told that the cat is naughty.
That cat you adopted and love so damn much is a needy little
bugger that will obstruct your view everything. He also bites when moved.
You automatically become the school runner. Your time is
real flexible, so when you quickly (30 mins or more at a time) need to drop off
and pick up kids at school it definitely will not impact your work. Who doesn’t
want to get out of the house at exactly 11.45 right when you are in the middle
of trying to save a client from the end of the world?
It’s not so OK for you to want to continue working after the
nanny leaves. You’ve been sitting all day not being interrupted by a toddler
testing boundaries or a nanny who doesn’t understand that her ringtone and
conversations can travel from one story of the house to the next – since there
are no walls or doors.
I mean really, how can you not finish your work between schoolruns, being asked where sissy is, the cat that blacks out your view, hearing all about your nanny’s life and phone calls from clients?
So, before you say that OH YOU ARE SO LUCKY, think twice
because I might just be hiding a lit fuse.
I wish I had 2 seconds to rub together… seriously, just 2 seconds to myself. My husband was in hospital for a week.
If I was a stay at home mom it would be my sole job to look after the kids and cook – so it probably wouldn’t have impacted me as much. I’m not a stay at home mom, I work full time and have clients that expect services and deliverables. I can’t say I’ll do it tomorrow as if it’s nothing, if I don’t deliver my clients’ bread and butter getsaffected and then I might lose my client.
I probably haven’t slept more than 4 hours a day (since husband got admitted) and none of those hours were continuous. I haven’t been able to sit and work when the kids are off to bed because I am just so tired.
Getting up for 2 kids all hours of the night and then having to sit and wait for the nanny that arrives late every morning has me climbing up the walls. Every day she is late I am late and to me being late is the absolute end of the world. I get anxious and angry plus then add the tiredness and I’m a red hot fire that needs to contain itself.
Don’t get me wrong, I love working from home and not sitting in traffic to Sandton every day. However, I wish I could sit and work anywhere in my house without a toddler trying to get in on the laptop action by screaming like an absolute terror.
I can moan if I want to, because it’s hard to have a career/business and still be a parent when your co-parent isn’t around.
Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.
I love to get to know my clients but sometimes they are on the other side of the world or a 5 hour plane ride far in an amazing location. This is when I get creative… Last week I wrote website content for a hotel on an island and I had a beautiful cocktail and coconut pieces – and photos of the hotel – to inspire me.
How did I become a freelancer?
When people first hear that I was responsible for managing
an ecommerce site with a 40 to 60 million turnover per year the first question
is always – why did you leave? The long answer is, when you aren’t happy and
you put in a lot of effort in making other people lots of money and you don’t
see enough return on investment – is it really worth staying?
I wanted more from life than sitting and wishing I wasn’t at
the office, never receiving a thank you for overshooting my targets and a
manager that was a complete bully that I had shouting matches with on a regular
The first few months wasn’t easy. I had to find clients and
make sure that I still paid the bills, but once it clicked everything just fell
What else do I do?
I don’t just sit and write content! I build websites, manage
social media pages and also assist with marketing for some of my clients. Oh,
and I go out when the sun shines to have a coffee or lunch – and get to go on
holiday whenever I want.
Sometimes I will take on design work, but only for my
existing clients. In a previous life I was a designer too – can you belief
How do I get clients?
Hard work, marketing and referrals.
Do I have processes?
Yes I do, I’m very disciplined. I don’t just sit at my desk
and twiddle thumbs. Each day has a plan of work that I would like to complete
and each brief or work piece has a plan behind it.
My content writing process
Content/page planning & keyword research (if
it’s a website)
Switch off from the world and write
Send to client
Who are my clients?
If I told you I would have to find a place to hide your
Am I hiring?
No. I already have an accomplice or two and we work together
Goals for the year
Increase client base
Make more money
Go somewhere awesome
Follow your dreams
If you want to run your own business or work for yourself, take a chance on yourself and go for it.
This year is so close to the end I can almost smell Christmas cake!
It was a BIG year for us. First learning that our surrogate is expecting our baby and then finally holding the little ting-ting. Lexa became a big sister! We also found Sandton at the SPCA last year December and he finally moved in all the way from Polokwane mid-January. I got to go to Reunion Island with Lexa, my hubby, my mom (who got her first off-Africa passport stamp) and dad – and had a blast. It wasn’t all good news unfortunately… My mom got diagnosed with blood cancer a month or 2 after our big island adventure – but she is still undergoing treatment and doing OK with my dad right by her side as always.
“At Christmas, all roads lead home.” – Marjorie Holmes
My gift guide picks for women bosses/boss babes
This year I’m making a simple picking of some of my favourite things that range from affordable to scandalous. I’m a Boss and I know what I’d want 🙂
“Smile and Slay.
You have to slay it in life or life will slay you.”
― Janna Cachola
Help her take care of herself
Not all gifts have to be expensive, but sometimes the more affordable gifts will become favourites. It’s not a secret that I love Matsimela products and that my house is stocked to the rafters with everything from fizz balls to hand creams from them.
Get the boss babe in your life this hand & nail repair cream because it fits right into one of her car’s cup holders – always ready for her to take care of her hands.
Everyone needs a little something-something to help them relax – especially if you are out there making business happen. This Stoneglow candle from The Whimsical Whippet is one of my absolute favourite things with its delicate notes of oolong tea, infused with bergamot and mandarin, are lightly combined with bamboo, lemongrass and bittersweet neroli.
Bling her up with something personal, but not too girly!
I love wearing letter jewellery, it makes a statement “It says I am who I am and I love it!”. I wear an S on my right ring finger that I bought from Lovisa a couple of years ago but I won’t mind adding an S to my neck 🙂 Hallo Jane has a nice little disk with cut-out letter and its not too expensive.
A pen to get contracts signed
I believe in rocking up to meetings with a good pen, scrap that, a great pen. There is something about holding a pen that won’t let you down and looks like it cost more than R20… (It is true what they say about spending money to make money.) Best pens in the world since I got my first one in primary school is PARKER. There is nothing wrong with choosing a Parker Jotter or Parker IM, but… once you’ve held an uber premium Parker you will want one for your business meetings too.
A sweet for my sweet 🙂
Get her a new bottle of her favourite fragrance or the one she’s been lusting after. I would highly recommend Olympea, it is feminine, but still strong. This is actually what hubby got for me for Xmas…
A great business bag!
As a business woman I like to have impressive bags and shoes that attract attention – telling people that this woman has it made and they should be doing business with her. The bags that I would like to add to my arsenal are all made in South Africa and they are gorgeous!
This black and tan business bag from Wild Leather Co is amazing! They do have it in a selection of other colours, but… I love this 2 tone.
I can see clearly now…
The essential gift for every working woman that spends hours and hours on her laptop… My eyesight is perfect but next year I am going to get blue-blocker lenses and I will need frames that look amazing. This is what I’m looking at in terms of colour and style – this pair is from SNOB Milano. The best part is, it is also available with blue lenses if you don’t want reading glasses!
By the way the SNOB Milano Optical Collection has a magnetic flatlens clip-on feature! Reading to sunnies with 1 frame and an extra set of dark lenses is all you/she’ll need.
Sometimes you want to just drop the kid/s off to school and get home to your work but then you realise that the robot is out and you will take minimum 40 minutes to get home if you dared trying… Plus you know that you urgently need to do something for a client so you hop onto your phone and search for coffee shops with WiFi and then find a gem that you have always just ran right past.
I popped into Brewtown in Lonehill and ordered a coffee and cookie, asked for the WiFi password and got right down to work. The first time I wasn’t too adventurous and didn’t set up my photo as I was in a tizz.
The second time however I went for the mocha latte with extra chocolate… and it was sweet as chocolate. I spent about a R100 for 4 hours as I had a meeting there – it included a coffee, toasted sandwich, can of LiquiFruit and coke.
“Don’t shrink your dreams. Super-size your courage and abilities.” – Karen Salmansohn
You know when you know that a lead that came through would be a waste of time to meet with and you do it anyway – but hate yourself for doing it? That’s how I felt last week.
I have met the person before and his previous partner and I wasn’t too keen on doing business with them because I had an “off feeling” about them. They aren’t “skelm” but something is just not right.
If I can’t read you 100%, then you must be hiding something – and that is exactly what happened.
During my meeting they asked a lot of questions like “why are my services so expensive” and “can’t I just train the woman sitting across from me” and I said well, if you want me to train someone my hourly rate is x. The expression on this guy’s face because I wanted to charge for my time was quite a shock – especially since I know what they rake in a month.
When I walked out I knew that I didn’t want to pursue this client because I trust my gut. Later that night I got a notification that they removed me from the Facebook page I set up for them a few years ago… and I knew that I was right.
Their plan definitely was to get free services and string me along with the promise of a project. Unfortunately, well the gamble didn’t pay off.
On another topic…
I also went to Melrose Arch for an event and bumped into my ex-manager, the bully. Well, I didn’t bump into her, more like spotted her and kept my distance because I felt the anger rising the minute I realised it was her. Plus I had hot coffee in my hand and I like not being in jail.
I love that my hard work directly influences my income. When you deliver great services and your clients are happy they will refer you. I have landed another client this week in Cape Town and have an amazing new client at a resort in East Africa!
So if you don’t know it by now, I am a freelance writer, social media manager and website manager – and I love what I do!
This year will also be the first year I have to declare freelance income to SARS in a loooooong time. Luckily I have actually kept my books in order.
I love working from home. I don’t have to put on make-up or take a shower until I am ready or delivered some urgent work to a client. Sometimes however, the hooligan who is now entering her terrible two’s literally behaves and screams like a hooligan. It drives me insane.
This is me hard at work and showing off my obsession with the Jozi skyline.
Last week I got to spend the day at BASECAMP Johannesburg in Linden – away from the usual home office noise that include the hooligan and Thursday grass cutting in the complex.
When you walk in, you don’t feel like it is one of those dingy offices with no personality – aikona! It has a definite industrial/Scandi feel to it. You can definitely feel that business is serious for those calling it their permanent office base (nogals with their name on their desks).
I don’t know why, but each time I go out of the office for a meeting one of my clients have an emergency. It’s like they can sense that I will be muting my phone – because I haven’t had anyone call me all week with any issues (other than the 2 days I literally stopped at the meeting venues).
It’s strange to think that I last worked at an office more than a year ago. I sometimes miss the coffee times or the long walk to Woolworths on the other side of Sandton City. I miss my colleagues even if all of them have moved on to other companies. I miss joking around and slacking off the days that I didn’t feel like working.
… don’t get me wrong, I still slack off some days to go have a coffee or indulge in a day of shopping – but what’s the fun in sneaking around from yourself?
So anyway, just because I mentioned the 2 days of meetings I want to show you something from my cupboard that I like to wear out… on my feet and arm 🙂
I don’t like doing personal posts. I jealously guard over my privacy – and I’ve been like that since forever. Sometimes I will have too much Afrikoa chocolate and feel “more optimistic” and then write a post that gives glimpses into my life.
It has been a year since I left the corporate world. When I was part of that world I didn’t realise just how much it affected my well-being. Now, reflecting back on that I was blinded by my drive to succeed and chase numbers.
This week I bought cups, plates and a sweetie dish for my office. I also stocked my office cupboard with snacks. Last month I dyed my hair pink – something that my corporate contract didn’t allow for. I’ve made my home work space the creative space that I need to be happy – and I get to spend the whole day with my cats. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot more time working, but I choose the hours that I’m more productive and have time to do the things that I love.
I have to admit, it’s not always roses when you work from home. A teething toddler who has the nasty habit of howling at the top of her lungs after each nap makes for interesting times. Or husband coming home early and literally waltzing by like a tornado with a flurry of words… The worst however is when you get sick, there is nobody to call or stand in for you – it is all on you.