Mutterings and utterings of a budding novelist

Posts tagged “LOA

Surviving – Year One as a Freelancer.

Every morning, without fail, my phone bleeps all manner of notifications – most annoyingly of course are the numerous alarms in place to get me out of my pit. But one particular chime is for that app ‘Timehop’ with the funny looking dinosaur. And before I get up, I usually have a quick scan through it – and it usually drags up memories of this time last year when I had just been made redundant and was frantically job searching.

And yes, that was a scary time. Applying for job after job and watching my bank balance slowly dwindle away. All my years of reinforcing my strong beliefs of Law of Attraction and Positivity was being put to the ultimate test, and my god was it a lifeline!

As I’ve said before I decided finally in February this year to give up looking for employment and employ myself. And why not! I had basically the same pc I had at my old work (modded slightly better) and people were already asking me for work.

So I threw the application forms and CVs from my sight and started putting together my own company. And Phoenix Designs was born! Named after a storyline I’d had outlined for years (19 books in total!!). I sat down and wrote out a plan for self-employment.

Year One was simple – ‘Survive.’
Somehow I knew I would be ok if I worked my ass to the bone and kept a positive outlook, and looking back now I can be proud of myself for getting this far. From working out Daily routines which constantly changed and evolved, to trying out new programs that would aid productivity, to enlisting the help of friends – old and new to get me through. There are far too many to list here who have helped me, but my family know how supportive they’ve been, and how grateful I am. My friends too – driving me around when I needed it (Kev), showing me the ropes (Dan), as well as countless others supporting me have been invaluable. Even my little flat mate Wendy has been amazing, not only for helping me out with rent on the odd occasion I wasn’t paid on time (and never complaining once!), to simply giving me the human interaction that is lacking from a job you do from home. I don’t think her or her boyfriend Steve know how much it means just to say hello to them and break the cabin fever.

Also my fantastic pal Annette – giving me personal coaching and calming my fears etc has been incredible. Reiki healing, EFT, meditation, hypnotism. as well as simply being an amazing friend has proven invaluable and I’m not sure I would have made it through the year without her help.

Those closest to me know how hard I’ve work this year, often easily putting in 20hr days across a week. But I never seem to have any problems sleeping from the second my head hits the pillow. I never seem to need much sleep which is always a bonus.

So I guess now, it’s time to figure out the journey from here for the next year. Obviously my own projects have taken a hit this year, I’ve barely written or illustrated anything. Even my reading has been completely pushed to almost nil (Sharon Van Orman! I promise I’m still on with your book!!! :D). So next year I’ll be dedicating a portion of each day to these tasks as they are still part of my dream and should be nurtured accordingly.

Could I go back to working in an office or studio? Probably not now. It used to take me two hours to get to work and another two home. Now my workplace is roughly three feet from my bed. I also love making up my own rules and systems, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and knowing full well that I have full responsibility when it comes to customer satisfaction.

And so, what can I tell you I’ve learned? What tips can I give to help anyone else starting out this way? I guess I should be careful what I say, as some veteran designers may disagree with me. But you know what? Screw them. This is my blog and I’ll tap out these tips as I see fit.

1. Think in terms of ‘Time’ not ‘Money’.
This is something that took me quite a while to figure out. Time is now your currency. So instead of thinking you’ll charge £x for a project, think how long it will take of (uninterrupted (I’ll get to this) work to complete and charge accordingly to a set (immovable) rate of something like £15 or £20 per hour. If you work for a company who pay a set amount for a piece of work, then make sure that this also fits into the time/pay system.
One other thing to be aware of too – now you work at home, many people will assume to do jack shit all day except watch Jeremy Kyle and thus are ok to pick them up, wait for a package, relieve their boredom on their day off etc. Now I’m not saying not to do these things; after all, you’re a freelancer and can work when you please! Just be aware that doing these things cost you time, and in essence money. Give your time with care.

2. Forget your website at the start, get work first.
This may sound like a catch-22, because you need people to know who are in order to get work. But this was advice I was given when I was starting out and it was true! You can spend forever perfecting and crafting the ultimate website to draw customers, only to wait…..and wait……for nothing. Even in today’s world of online dominated culture, nothing does more for advertising than word-of-mouth. Your freelance might cough and splutter for a while whilst you get started, but once you’re rolling then you can spend time on your online presence. If you must, a quick Twitter and Facebook account at the start will be just as effective. In fact! These are probably a must as you connect them to your personal profile letting all your friends and family know what you do. There’s an awesome book for mastering social media called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook which I insist you get! 😀

3. Find your own Routine and Systems,
To date now I have had three revised daily routines stuck to the side of my pc, which I continue to change as time goes by. An 8 hour day is a short amount of time to cram in emailing, ordering, calling, messaging, invoicing, eating, financing, and of course – actually working! So getting a routine sorted is paramount in succeeding.

4. Using to-do lists and programs to aid productivity.
It took a while to find a program or combination of programs to feel right in helping to get things done. I’d say Evernote is great but I found myself barely using it. And the same story is with a lot of other programs. In the end I settled on using a combination of Asana for all my main to-do lists and Wunderlist for everything else (money owed, money earned, amends received etc). Asana is great and I have it running constantly on my laptop at the side. If a project comes in you can log it into the site and work out what day you can do it. Then when that day arrives it automatically populates the day’s tasks with the project. Simple yet awesome.

5. Exercise to maintain energy.
Again this comes as almost a paradox as how can you burn energy to get more of it? Bizarrely it’s true though. Now I’m no gym freak or anything like that, but I do have my kinect set up in the living room and do my best to do an hour’s exercise a day. I notice on days I don’t do any exercise I get lethargic a lot earlier. So get out of the chair and do a little exercise.

6. Get out.
Since my desk in my home it’s easy to be stuck in all day and not get some fresh air. I’m fortunate to live beside the sea and a lake which makes my lunchtime breaks a lot more peaceful. Of course if it’s hammering down with rain I won’t go out at all! Ha!

7. Clearing your mind.
This seems to be the biggest cause of procrastination ever, and it’s made even worse when such vast amounts of information is at our fingertips. All day your mind could be buzzing with a million thoughts – I wonder what I’ll have for tea? Who was the lead role in Flash Gordon? I wonder how Aunt Bertha’s 90th party went on. How were the pyramids built? Does Kim Kardashian’s arse have it’s own Twitter account? Before you know it, google is opened, searches are made, Facebook is delved into, 15 things you never knew about Made in Chelsea is read, leading into an endless line of humourous Youtube videos, and shit!! Four hours have passed! What the hell happened?! Even worse, you can barely remember a thing you’ve just looked at?!
Then of course you begin kicking yourself over it, promising tomorrow you’ll do better. Then the cycle repeats.
So the key is to remove this chatter from your mind so you can focus on more important things – like earning a living. But how do you do it?
Well personally I use the first hour of my day to quickly scan what I need to – get out my social network cravings before my brower locks out Facebook for the day (using a Firefox add-on called Leechblock). Then before I exercise I’ll do fifteen minutes of meditation. If you’ve never done it you’ll be surprised how just fifteen minutes of sitting in silence can calm the mind. Try to remove all distractions too. Having an xbox or tv in the room is just asking for trouble.
This is now where I’ll sound like a hypocrite! Sometimes if I’m doing a mundane piece of work, I’ll put on a film (one that I’ve either already seen, or one I don’t have to pay much attention to (so something action packed is out!) as I find the ‘moving wallpaper’ easier to work to.
Also something minimalistic to listen to works wonders too. Spotify has plenty of focus related playlists.

8. Communication.
I think this is one area I excelled at from the start. I guess in today’s society, online scamming and corporate cold-heartedness have made many customers wary. If you can talk to them as a real person and get your emails and phone calls clear and upbeat, then client’s will realise you’re an actual human being, rather than a faceless set of templated responses. I’ve realised that a informal email to a client works better than a stiff multi-syllable worded one. You’ll come across as far more trustworthy and have their interests rather than their payment as the main priority.
Obviously don’t go overboard with this as some clients will see you as a walkover. Keep a level of professionalism and dignity. It helps if you get across you’ve been doing this for years – subconsciously people believe if you’ve been around a while, you obviously know exactly what you’re doing and will be thus less likely to be played like a buffoon.

9. Get your finances in order.
It’s hard to get this right after a long time of having a set wage paid directly into your account. But you’re in the thick of it now. Invoices, chasing payments, dealing with clients who refuse to pay, working out taxes and self-assessments – it’s a complete pain in the arse, and also very rewarding. I’m no expert in this area so I can’t give out any real advice – except this. Log and note down absolutely everything. Receipts, invoices and expenditure. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.

10……….you know……screw it! Ignore everything I said.
Take what you will from what I said above, but everyone’s situation is different. I think the best advice I can give is to dive in head first and make your own systems and way of working. If it doesn’t seem to work, then change it until it does. There will be a lot of trial and error but that’s how we grow and evolve. If you’re struggling for work, hammer everywhere you can online and offline. I was doing facebook cover photos on FiveSquids and contests on Freelancer. It all helps. And if you only put out work you’d be happy using yourself – you can’t fail to have clients drawn to you.

11. Never Give Up!
This goes without saying. Some days you may be riding the highest clouds, the next you may be wondering if you’ll even make it through the day. Nobody said it’d be easy, but once you’ve made it you’ll be so happy you did. Just remember, bad times come and go. And if in that particular moment of strife you’re still alive, then you’re able to change the future. Just focus on the present, and do what you need to. Be the inspiration to others and show the haters you won’t ever back down.

And so, on that note, I’ll get back to my day’s task at hand. 😀
Here’s to 2015!
And if you’re still reading this, thank you so much. It’s very much appreciated. Have a fantastic New Year!

Much love!

 

Ken xx

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Ditch the New Year’s Resolutions!

Well, it’s that time of year! Parents of hyperactive kids are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief, santa is already flying off around the world and gorging himself on mince pies and sherry, and taxi drivers are ramping up their rates to ‘Tarif ‘WTF” for all the yuletime revellers.

But once the last piece of turkey has been chomped, and every male in every household is snoozing away to the Queen’s speech, another tradition begins to rear it’s ugly head; the dreaded New Year’s Resolution. Now if you’ve been with my blog for a while you’ll remember I grumbled about these last year, for the exact same reason I’m going to moan about them now.

They simply don’t work.

Ok, that’s a bit harsh. I’m betting quite a few escape through the net and are eventually cemented into truth by the invidual who made them. But on the whole, they fail, and they do so because they put too much pressure on the person who happily declared them. Lifestyle changes do not happen in one single night. They take persistance and determination over time, and gradually become habits. If you have a resolution to lose weight, completely changing your diet and exercise regime overnight and attempting to stick with it puts massive stress and pressure on you and eventually you return to your original way of living.

I believe by making well thought out goals, whatever time of year, you can ease into whatever you wish to accomplish. So if you want to lose weight, you should write this goal down now, think how you’re going to achieve this, and then take small steps towards it. As J.B. Glossinger always says, if you work towards a goal by just 1% a day, you can transform yourself steadily, and you’ll find the transition much, much easier. As the saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.

A lot of people are beaten down by life. They are on one knee, looking on as the rest of the world jog or sprint past them, wondering (sometimes in jealousy) how they’ve got the strength and luck to muster on. Some are even flat on their face, refusing to go on. The hard truth is, nobody can help you up and onwards, nobody can carry you in their arms and rush you forward like some knight in shining armour.

You have to do this for yourself. Only you hold the key.

Look up, look ahead. What’s in front of you? What does the finish line look like? These are your goals, and they can only be set by you. The problem is most people don’t even know what they are running towards, what their goals are in life. Most see the finish line as death, hoping they get there intact peacefully. And it’s over before they even have chance to wonder what the hell they did with their time on this Earth.

So carry on looking forward, ignore everyone else, for their goals will not match your own. Create the goals, and see them along the path. Get up – somehow, any way you can, grit your teeth, and start stepping forward. Even if it’s just a small shuffle at first. Before you know it, you’ll get momentum going, and suddenly you’ll see your legs begin to run, faster and faster, sweeping you towards a life you’ve always dreamed of.

And not the ticking of the clock, nor the changing of the year can ever halt it.

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS, AND NEVER GIVE UP!

EVER!

XX

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Living a Synchronised Life

We’ve all heard the saying ‘Everything happens for a reason’, whenever inevitable changes or obstacles occur in our lives. It’s a saying that helps many of us push on, safe in the knowledge that the Universe (or God, or whatever term you prefer to use) is pushing us down a better path.

But what most people fail to understand is that this term has a dual meaning. ‘Everything happens for a reason’ could also signify something you did in the past that led a ’cause and effect’ situation in your life. Yes, it did happen for a reason, and that reason is because of something you did.

Anyone who has a bit of knowledge about LOA (Law Of Attraction) will understand that self-talk is a truly powerful thing. Whatever thoughts you feed your mind gear up your conscious and subconscious mind into preparing and expecting these things to happen. Tell yourself that ‘you’ll never be happy’ and your mind will find ways into making that happen. Tell yourself ‘you’ll never find a significant other’ and your mind and ego will go out of it’s way to avoid people. It’s a vicious circle, and only you can break it. As Will Smith once said ‘He who says he can, and he who says he can’t, are both usually right.’

Many will argue the effectiveness of affirmations – the repeated thinking or speaking of positive phrases in order to drag your mind away from the negative self-talk. But I can only go off my own experiences and what I’ve seen in others who use them. They really do work and they actually help you to open your eyes, and remove the dark mist that clouds your vision.

By using affirmations, you build up faith for the future, believing good things can and will happen to you, and that the Universe is actually conspiring to bring you towards the life you desire. By having faith in the future, we can let it go from our thoughts and concentrate on the present.

Speakers like Bob Proctor often tell us to live in the present, and be truly living in the here and now. They tell us to be fully aware of how we’re feeling at any given time, and experience this very moment in its entirety. By living in the now, and armed with affirmations spoken until they’ve been drilled into us, our minds – conscious and subconscious will begin to look out for for messages, clues and opportunities in order to bring us to what we want. Once you start to see these, you’ll notice synchronicities happening – remarkable coincidences that seem to amaze you.

For instance, many years ago I always dreamed of becoming an author, whilst working at a pub. A girl came to work there and we ended up chatting and later she told me her mother was a published children’s author. She introduced me to her mother who ended up helping me publish my own book. This may seem quite simple and you may say ‘well if you wanted to be a author you would have found a way eventually’ and that’s the absolute truth! Because I spoke about it often to people, and had passion in it, people hear and pick up on these things. If I didn’t have passion, didn’t believe it could happen, I would never have spoken about it, and this girl would never have mentioned her mother.

Another example – I sometimes buy a magazine about writing and in one issue was an article about the Harper Collins website called Authonomy, a site where aspiring authors put their work to be critiqued by their peers. If a book gets enough positive reviews it ends up on the desks of Harper Collins themselves for possible publishing. Thinking it would be a good idea I placed my novel ‘Fallen Tears’ (which can be read for free on this site!) on there. Immediately (as the magazine warned) many authors messaged me requesting me to review their book. Only one person reviewed mine straight away. Obviously I was inclined to review theirs in return. That person is now my good friend Sammy who I know owe a great deal for getting my Creative Covers site (www.ccovers.co.uk) set up, as it was her own publishing company that gave me the opportunity to create many book covers. She is also my future co-author for our online blog novel ‘Bloodline Saga’.

I truly believe that the more you grasp this concept, you’ll notice more parts of your life slotting together, clicking and connecting into place; cementing a web of fortune that will pull you into a life of happiness and fulfillment.

If you do start to use affirmations remember to use them in the present tense, because if you use future tenses, then your desire will always be in the future, and thus never come! So a great example is ‘I am so happy and grateful now that I…. (your desire)’. Gratitude reinforces the energies around your desire, so you should always be grateful for what you want.’

So keep smiling, keep believing, and keep telling yourself great things can and will happen to you – right now, and sooner or later you’ll notice things in your life begin to shift. Don’t resist the changes, go along with them, take whatever opportunities are placed before you and accept that great things are always possible.

Remember life is a journey, not a destination.

Good things happen to happy people, not the other way around.

So enjoy every moment as if it’s your last. 🙂

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Better Than Life and Accepting Change

Can you remember that old episode of Red Dwarf called ‘Better Than Life’? The one where where the crew acquire the computer game that promises a dream interactive life? Well if you can’t, the crew get plugged into the game ‘Matrix’ style and begin experiencing a world where their deepest desires and dreams are fulfilled.

Whilst Lister and Cat go around living like kings, eating cavier-covered vindaloo, having a mermaid for a girlfriend, and playing endless golf, Rimmer uses this new experience to imagine himself a life as he’s always wanted – being a top Admiral. But then things go wrong, Rimmer’s mind cannot accept the fact he’s happy, and suddenly imagines himself in complete misery and depression, spiralling worse and worse, out of control.

Betterthanlife

Bizarrely only years later, I realise just how true to actual life that episode was! Ok maybe not the mermaid girlfriend part, but the part where we create our own misery or happiness. And like Rimmer, many people cannot accept that they can, or deserve to be happy. They sabotage their own lives and blame other people and their environment for their unhappiness. But in truth there’s no winning lucky hand to dealt at birth that will gurantee a perfect life. There are so many tales of rags to riches (and indeed riches to rags!) that show anything is possible. Whatever we want in life we can have, all it takes is a firm belief it can be ours, the acceptance that we deserve it, and the desire to chase it down no matter what. Too many people get knocked down once and stay down. But a quick look at successful people will reveal most didn’t have an easy ride. People like Richard Branson, and Steve Jobs struggled more than you’d think – but their determination won out in the end.

An awesome book on this is Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’ – a very old book that’s pretty much the holy grail of success literature. Even better – it’s in the public domain so it can be downloaded free!

But of course, life does throw some obstacles and changes in our lives, temporarily dragging us into unhappiness. It’s inevitable and rather than make things difficult for us, it provides fresh challenges, new opportunities and experiences for us – keeping life interesting, no matter how traumatic or upsetting they may be.

Most people close in my life are aware that me and my girfriend Wendy broke up a few months ago. We simply ended up living as friends. But rather than see it as a time of drama and pain, I’m proud we were able to discuss it properly and accept that things had changed between us. We live now as flat mates, happy in each other’s company and friendship. I think people find this very strange and weird – as it’s not the norm. But if the norm is to hate each other, never speak, and create divisions in all our friendships, then I’m happy to be weird! Life’s too short to waste time creating dramas that have no positive impact on our future lives. Life is meant to be loved, so let go of anger, forgive those who hurt us (they only hurt themselves in the long run), smile, laugh, be pleased to meet everyone you come across, and roll with the punches.

Take a look at life, hold your head high, look it straight in the eye, and say with a smile, “Bring it on, whatever you throw at me, I can take it!”

 

 


A Billion of You.

The post might earn me some grief but I don’t care. Bring it on. 😀 It’s my beliefs so like it or lump it.

It’s now a decade this year since I graduated from uni and decided that animation wasn’t for me, believing that a life of writing and illustrating was. I feel that whilst I could have probably moved further in this calling by now, I’m still proud of myself for sticking with it and pushing forward. But maybe I wonder if I could have done any better.

Over the years I’ve read many, many books on personal development, philosophy, and a few on meta physics and quantum physics. Now I’m not claiming to be an expert! Far from it! But after a while you tend to read things that click into place for you and just feel right. So here’s my views.

I think the majority of us are constantly looking for way to improve our lives and live in hope of a better future, whilst being fully focused on the negative aspects we’re living through. We’re all wondering how long it will take to get to our dream life.

Yet most of us aren’t aware that our dream life already exists. And that another ‘us’ is living it. With each choice and decision we make in life, a fork in the road appears, we divide, and one of you moves down one path, and another moves down the other.

These decisions happen constantly, big and small, from deciding where in the world to live, right down to where our eyes move at any particular time. These parrallel lives move onwards almost independent of each other splitting off into further decisions each certain they are the only true one. But how does this help us create our perfect life? After all, we can’t forsee each decision and where it will take us.

Let’s make an example. We’ll call him Smithy! Now Smithy is sixteen years old. He’s finished school and is deciding where to go in life. Should he go to college? Go straight in to work? Or just become a homeless hobo? Straight away there are decisions taking place. One of these Smithys decides he wants to go to college. The life splits and this Smithy (we’ll call him Smithy 1) goes on believing he is the true Smithy. Smithy 2 who gets a job and goes straight into work believes he is the true Smithy also, as does the third hobo Smithy 3.

So life goes on and Smithy 1 goes to college, then university, gets a high paid job, eventually building his own company and living in luxury.

Smithy 2 works in low paid jobs in the rest of his life, struglling to get through each day.

Smithy 3 becomes part of the dregs of society.

But it doesn’t end there. Further decisions down each path alters the futures of each Smithy, drastically changing each. Smithy 1 at some points decides to take a huge risk, splitting off into Smithy 1.2. Smithy 1.2 loses everything and becomes on a par with Smithy 3 – living in the gutter.

Smithy 2 decides to take a job abroad, splitting into Smithy 2.2 and gets spotted by a talent scout – eventually becoming a A-star actor.

Smithy 3 takes a different route on his daily journey through the slums and divides into Smithy 3.2. He finds a discarded lottery ticket and bingo! He’s up where Smithy 1 was!

Now imagine if these decisions happen all the time, every single second, altering and dividing our lives into an unlimited amount of Smithys, split futher by the decisions of every one else on the planet. It’s truly mind-bending. But gives us hope that things can improve if we allow them to.

And we do that by be aware and living in the now. Buddha says “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” As well as “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

So by this thinking if we concentrate on now, and be open to a better life, then we automatically allow our subconcious to be aware of signs, opportunities and people that will help us get there. For example if you go through life believing all men (or women) are horrible, then your mind will automatically ignore the nice men (or women), making them almost invisible to you whilst attracting you to only the badboys (or bad girls). Once you start believing that things can be different, the enormous amount of changes taking place every single second will propel your life in the correct direction. Through this way you can acquire the dream parrallel life, rather than settling for a mundane one.

Being aware will also tune you into your other parallel lives, gaining knowledge of how they got to that dream life.

By this way of thinking we should also be respectful of everyone we meet, regardless of their appearance, status, or beliefs. Because you can be certain in another life you have both switched roles based on the descisions you have both made. The prince becomes the pauper.

I wonder how Animation Ken got on? He could be writing this exact post on a private beach wondering how Writer Ken got on.

One thing is certain, I won’t stop until I’m sat in the same place he is.

So keep smiling, be happy, and live in the belief that there are billion of you, experiencing life in every way possible.

You can follow any path you set your mind to. 🙂

Just allow it. 🙂

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