15 Minute Freelancer

93. Pressing pause?

February 03, 2023 Louise Shanahan Episode 93
15 Minute Freelancer
93. Pressing pause?
Show Notes Transcript

Did you know this podcast has been going for 2 years? That's a lot of freelancing chat.

In this episode, I share some thoughts about where the podcast is going in 2023 (spoiler in the title?). 

And in case you're pondering a similar conundrum about how to move forwards (or not) with a particular project, I'm sharing some questions to consider to help you decide when to quit/take a break/power on, along the following themes:

  • Enjoyment vs. value to others
  • Scaling back vs. quitting altogether
  • Sunk costs vs. maintaining momentum
  • Filling up your creativity cup
  • Keeping the goal the goal!

Thanks to everyone who has supported the podcast so far. Until next time (whenever or wherever that is), happy freelancing!

Stay in touch!

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Welcome to 15 Minute Freelancer, your snack-size guide to being your own boss and building a business that works for you. I'm your host, Louise Shanahan. I'm a freelance health copywriter and on this podcast, I take you behind the scenes, so you can borrow from what's worked and what hasn't as you grow your own freelance business. We'll also have some practical tips and tactics from special guests along the way, so you can skip a few steps on your own freelancing journey. So without further ado, let's get started with today's episode. If you enjoy it, hit follow so you don't miss the next one.

Louise: Hello, and welcome to another solo episode. I think this is actually my first solo episode of 2023, so if you're new around here, hello, welcome, and if you've been here before, well, hello again. 

I see lots of people celebrating their business birthdays in January, which I think shows just how common it is for people to kick off the new year by finally taking the big leap and starting their own business. If that's you, and you are just dipping your toe in the freelancing world for the first time, or maybe you're coming back to it, and you're thinking, yes, 2023 is the year I will finally make this business happen. I'm excited for you and I want you to know that yes, you can do this. You're not alone, there are loads of lovely freelancers out there who will help you get going. And if you ever feel a bit stuck, well, there are like 90 episodes of this podcast that might answer some of your questions. We've got tips and suggestions about things like pricing, proposals, finding clients, marketing yourself, managing your time, scaling up all of that. And there are solo episodes like this, where I share some of the stuff that's worked for me and things that are going on behind the scenes in my business. And there are also a fair few interviews with some quite brilliant guests who have very generously shared their experiences and expertise to help others grow their businesses. So you're definitely not alone. 

Today, I wanted to share some current thoughts about the podcast, and let you know where it's going or where it might be going in future. If you cast your mind back, if you've been here from the beginning, I started 15 Minute Freelancer back in January 2021 during one of the COVID-19 lockdowns really just as a bit of fun, a distraction from what was happening, a project to keep me occupied when I couldn't do much else. It was a way to connect with other people when we were all feeling a bit isolated. And I also saw a lot of advice out there at the time for freelancers that I didn't always agree with and I felt I had a perspective to share, ideas, suggestions that might be useful for other people. I know that when I first started out, and in fact still now, I've really benefited from other more experienced freelancers sharing their experiences, and I wanted to kind of pass on the baton. That's not to say that I've got everything all figured out, but I certainly felt like I had something to share that might help other freelancers. 

Now, two years on, 93 episodes and about 25,000 downloads later, here we are. I never imagined that it would play out like this and I'm so grateful for everyone who has listened to the episodes, who's maybe shared their favourite episode, has cheered me on and sent messages. There really is no better feeling than getting a message from someone saying, hey, I listened to your podcast, I wasn't sure about freelancing, but I listened to an episode and I've made the leap. Or something you said on one of your episodes helped me solve a difficult client situation, or raise my rates, or whatever. It's amazing to hear those things. And I really didn't expect that when I started it, so thank you so much for those messages. And of course, a huge thanks to all the guests who have joined me along the way. 

I didn't launch the podcast because I wanted to be a podcaster. I wanted to help people grow their businesses and realise that it's absolutely possible to make very good money doing what you love. Building a business that works for you and your life and your family and your circumstances. And I've worked very hard to make each episode as valuable as possible and I hope that you have found it valuable. With expert assistance of course from my amazing podcast editor, Charles Commins and my VA, Mary Cummings. Huge shout-out and a huge thanks to both of them. 

But as any of you who runs a podcast or a newsletter or anything like that will know it is quite a lot of work to create new content every single week. It does take time away from other projects. And you know, I find myself increasingly wanting to talk about other non-freelancing topics and maybe feeling called to explore new things. And I think if you're a creative person, and or, someone with that entrepreneurial fire within you, you probably recognise that constant curiosity and excitement about all the new ideas that you want to follow. And of course, the world has changed over the last two years, you know, I'm not quite the social hermit I was back then. 

So when I look ahead at what I want to do with this podcast in 2023, I'm thinking am I still able to put the same energy into this each week? Do I still have things that I want to say, you know, the freelancing community is very well served now, which is amazing. There are gazillions of communities, podcasts, magazines, courses, YouTube channels, you name it. And while I do believe there's always room for a variety of voices and perspectives, you do also want to feel like you have something you want to add to the conversation rather than just adding to the noise. You know, side projects only work if you feel that spark of creativity and excitement and I don't ever want to be in a position where I'm kind of churning it out, because I made some promise to do it every week. And at the moment, I'm kind of feeling that spark of excitement for other things. And I want to make more space for those things. 

So I thought I would share some of my thought process here, both so that you know what's changing and why, and also because it might help you if you're in a similar situation. I mean, let's not overthink this, okay, it’s a podcast, I know that, it's not a marriage, it's not a million-pound business. It's just a podcast. But that's the thing, when you put so much energy into things, it does become a big part of your life. So anyway, if you're pondering a similar conundrum, maybe these questions will help you too. 

So here's what I'm asking myself. Am I still enjoying this? Do I still have ideas that I want to share and topics that I want to talk about? Is it realistic to continue doing this on a weekly basis? And if not, how do I scale it back to make it more manageable? Does that still feel valuable to listeners and fulfilling for me? If I want to continue, what does that look like? And if it doesn't feel like continuing is going to hit the spot, does that mean it's time to stop completely, or just take a break and let the creativity cup fill up elsewhere? 

There's also a sense of sunk costs with this kind of thing. I don't want to lose the momentum that's been built up over the last two years, and the sort of expectation that's been established. And maybe you’ve felt like that when you've been committed to something for a long time. So while people still tell me they find this useful, I don't want to leave people in the lurch. And if you're ever in this situation, you know, I will say this to you too, you have to figure out what's right for you and your own specific circumstances. There's the investment of time and money to on a practical level, you know, it might just be a 15-minute episode, but it does take quite a bit of preparation, and planning. And you know, organising the interviews, thinking about what I want to be sharing on each episode, never mind all the editing, and sharing and all of that. And there are expenses that come with that too. 

So to feel like I'm doing this properly, in inverted commas, I mean, if the goal is to help as many people as possible, then I would really want to be putting in more effort into promoting it, and sharing it on different platforms. If the goal is to turn this into a profitable business in its own right, which I see lots of people doing, so I know that it's possible, then again, I would need to really double down and make that happen rather than just keep it ticking along. So those are decisions that will need to be made. And while there are opportunities to make money from podcasts, that hasn't really been a focus for me so far. It probably has led to more client work. But again, going back to the question of what's the goal, what is the point? If I wanted to find more clients, then there are probably more direct effective ways to do that. And I don't like half assing things, so it's important to think about what is the goal and is what I'm doing the best way to achieve that goal. 

When I think about where to go next, I can't really justify spending the same amount of time and money on creating weekly episodes, so I've been considering a few options. The first being obviously just put out episodes less often, it's not that big of a deal, maybe fortnightly or monthly, maybe I could switch to putting out episodes and seasons, which a lot of people do, where maybe I have eight or 10 episodes that go out a couple of times a year. Or maybe I could find sponsorship to cover the costs and free up more time to focus on the podcast. Maybe I could partner with someone else or partner with a publication to create more space and time to work on this and help more freelancers. Or maybe I look at options to generate some income around the podcast, perhaps with courses or community or something like that. The thing is, each of these options feels like it would need more time and energy than I currently feel like I can commit. So I'm still kind of pondering that, I haven't landed on a decision yet. 

All that's to say, a very long-winded way of saying, that I'm pressing pause for now, there won't be any new episodes for a while. I may write some newsletters now and then because you know, I will have some opinions to share. So if you're on the substack list, you'll stay in the loop there. Otherwise, I will see you on LinkedIn as always and I'm always open to being a guest on other people's podcasts so you'll maybe see me pop up elsewhere too. I'm always here to answer your questions if you need it.

So that's where things are right now. I don't want to spend too much more time talking about this, I just didn't want to kind of disappear from your feed. I don't really know what the plan will be. But I just wanted to let you know that we'll be taking a wee break for now. And of course, this is also a message for you too. If you're feeling like you need some rest. If you're tired, if you're feeling pulled towards something new and exciting. If you feel like something you're doing isn't quite the right fit anymore. That's totally fine. It's normal, you evolve, your business evolves, it's okay to quit or take a break. It's okay to press pause, and not be sure if or when you’ll hit play again. 

I would love to know what you think, does any of this resonate with you? 

Otherwise, this is me signing off for now. Again, thank you so much for joining me it has honestly been so much fun to create these episodes. And I've enjoyed all of these different conversations so much. And I kind of feel obliged to say that if this has helped you in any way and you feel compelled to buy me a coffee to show your appreciation, then there is always the Ko-fi link in the show notes, but don't feel obliged of course. In any case, thank you again for all your support and friendship. Please come and say hi on the socials, and until next time, whenever or wherever that is, happy freelancing. 


If you've enjoyed this episode of 15 Minute Freelancer, please consider leaving a review or sharing it with a freelance friend. Hit subscribe or follow so you don't miss the next one and remember, you get even more bonus content when you sign up for the 15 Minute Freelancer newsletter. All the links are in the show notes and at 15minutefreelancer.com Thanks and until next time, happy freelancing.