I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew Amy and were going to become firm friends, the moment we realised our mutual love for Sarah from Yes&Yes. In the twelve months that Amy and I worked together I would imagine that we spoke of Sarah at least once a day, either sharing her pearls of wisdom or trying to work out how we could become her bffs!
Forward a year later and here we are, Amy and I still talking about how much we love her, not just for her blogging style and ethics but because Sarah represents all that is wonderful about blogging, creating a positive and engaging platform where people flock to. Sarah will always wear a blogging crown as far as I am concerned.
So, i’ve set the scene, imagine the joy when after sending Sarah and email about interviewing her, she only went and said yes! I can confirm that I screamed, not delicately, but loud and proud! Here it is!
Emma: Your blog is an inspiration for so many people, where do you find your inspiration and which are your go to blogs?
Oh, gosh. Thank you so much! Just like most people, I find my inspiration in the everyday – conversations with friends, epiphanies that I have through my own life experiences, movies, art, books, museums.
Emma: Although you are hugely successful now, what would you say were the hardest elements of going freelance?
Girl, you flatter me. I’m pretty professionally conservative (is that a thing?) so I didn’t go 100% freelance till I
a) had some ongoing clients
b) had a nice portfolio filled with satisfied customers
c) had a lot of glowing testimonials
d) had a nice financial cushion
I think the hardest thing about going freelance has been getting people to take me/my work seriously. (It probably doesn’t help that I create products like a calendar with photos of my cat dressed in literary-themed costumes.)
When I tell people I’m a blogger, I usually have to follow that with “Yes, that’s a thing.” But once they engage me in conversation and I explain how I make my money and how I help small businesses and entrepreneurs they usually stop the internal eye rolling.
Emma: If you knew 5 years ago what you know now, what advice would you give yourself?
Stop being so resistant to Twitter!
Emma: If you could recommend the best books, blogs or advice online, other than your blog, for women what would they be?
Emma: You talk in depth about the joy of saying ‘Yes’ but do you also believe in the power of saying no, if so how do you do it in a positive way?
I definitely believe in the power of saying no! I’m extreeeeeemely protective of my time and space, so I turn down lots of invitations to product launches and ‘I want to pick your brain’ coffee dates.
In those situations, I usually say something like “I try to save my coffee dates for my boyfriend or my clients – do you have a few quick questions I can answer?” or I’ll tweet a link to the new product if I think it’s something my readers would like – no need to drive across town and spend a Friday night being pitched when I could be drinking cocktails around a fire pit with my friends!
Emma: You come across as very self assured, in the nicest way, do you believe in the ‘fake it til you make it’ or do you think its ok to let people see that you are self-conscious?
This is such a good question – and thank you so much! We’ve all got insecurities and hang ups – such is life. And (I would hope) we’ve all got areas of our life in which we feel quite confident.
I’m not 100% sure where I stand on the ‘fake it till you make it’ approach. There’s a lot of wisdom in acting happy because you want to feel happy. But if you’re struggling with real, deep-seated issues pretending those things don’t exist isn’t getting you any closer to confidence and stability.
Ultimately, I think there’s a lot of power in being vulnerable and open about our struggles; it’s a lot easier to connect and relate to someone who shares the same hang ups as you. I think it’s possible to walk that line – being open about your struggles without bringing everyone down and also writing/talking about the things you do that you know you’re great at.
Emma: If you had to choose your favourite blog post on Yes & Yes what would it be and why?
It sounds really crazy, but one of my favorite blog posts is a True Story interview I did with a woman whose father is in prison on child pornography charges.
In the comments, an anonymous reader wrote “My uncle is in prison for child pornography as well. … It has been so, so hard on me and my family. I have felt so very alone in this struggle, and reading that someone else is in a remarkably similar situation feels oddly comforting. So thank you ‘Jennifer’ for sharing your story. Please know that you’re not alone either.”
This sort of comment is the entire reason that I started the True Story interview series. We’ve all got weird stuff that we think no one can relate to and we’ve all got preconceived ideas about the ‘kind of person’ who experiences x,y, and z. In reality, we’re never alone in our struggles and the person we marginalize is probably not that different from us.
Emma: If you could give those of us leaping into freelance 3 pieces of priceless advice what would they be?
* Build up a healthy portfolio before you leave your day job
* If possible, find clients who will put your services on retainer
* Gather testimonials and don’t be shy about sharing them
So there you have it, eight questions, eight wonderfully insightful answers. When I started blogging I wasn’t entirely sure where it would lead me or even what I wanted from it, having women who are flying their flag high and proud for all to see reminds me that I too have a flag to fly!
As well as writing Yes & Yes, Sarah also shares her business acumen and snippets of invaluable advice over on Sarah Von Bargen. If you, like me are not branching out on your own, then you need to read these three posts immediately!
- An insanely basic business plan for your start up business
- 6 tricks to stay healthy whilst staring at a screen all day
- How to toot your own horn without being annoying
Huge thank you to Sarah, for taking the time to chat with me, and for creating a corner of the internet that I simply adore, and being the first of my Inspired Interview series!