Is there such a thing as ‘healthy freelancing’?
Harvey Morton, IPSE Young Freelancer of the Year 2018, calls for microbusinesses and solopreneurs to assess their work life balance.
Named Young Freelancer of the Year 2018, Harvey Morton understands the pressures of working for yourself only too well. At the helm of Harvey Morton Digital, Harvey has overseen the evolution of his business from an IT support service firm to an agency that works across social media management, website design, influencer marketing and media production – while still at university.
Harvey’s award-winning year included a focus on students, both still attending and leaving university. Speaking at Freelancing for Students event at Leeds Arts University, Harvey offered advice to students, and also enjoyed a starring role on the ‘Being Freelance Podcast’. Awarded the Inspirational Student Award for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship by Sheffield Hallam University, Harvey has had an outstanding year.
Yet Harvey recognises that he is also in the perfect position to highlight the alternative reality of freelancing. Having learnt a lot about himself over the last 12 months, Harvey has dramatically changed his idea of what success is.
Harvey says,” I used to look at people on social media who I thought had it all together, and were doing really well. I found I always wanted to be further along with my freelance career than what I was. A few years ago, I had a blip where I really struggled, I nearly quit. I was so miserable and I felt inadequate but I picked myself up and carried on. I used to feel down when browsing on Instagram, seeing everyone's highlights, especially if I was having a bad day however social media sites only offer a snapshot of what’s actually going on.”
Discussing the issue of real downtime, Harvey has experienced burnout on a number of occasions and feels the toll that working for yourself has on your mental health – but it’s not often discussed.
The fear of taking time off and losing your customer base is a very real fear for many freelancers, while clients don’t always respect boundaries or allow reasonable response rates.
Harvey calls for a change to the freelancing lifestyle and urges both freelancers to make one simple alteration – to stop replying instantly to emails.
Through taking a healthier approach to responding, freelancers can create a different environment in which to work. By setting more realistic expectations for clients, the freelancer can begin to reshape the relationship and claw back a more meaningful work/life balance.
Are you able to support Harvey and spread the word? For such clear thoughts on the pressures of freelancing on mental health and with 1 in 7 people in the UK freelancing, is this something your title could help promote?
Notes to editor:
Watch Harvey Morton win IPSE Young Freelancer of the Year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5-4K-p5CxE
IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, is the voice of the UK’s self-employed population who make up one in seven people working today. IPSE make sure freelancers, interim managers, consultants and contractors are represented to Government. By producing insightful, hard-hitting research and effective policy campaigns, IPSE fight to create a better environment for the self-employed to run their businesses and ultimately, ensure our economy remains one of the most flexible in the world.
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