Three months of chaos, change and living offline
Eighty one days ago, close to the hour of writing this, I opened an A3 envelope to find a card with 'YOU'RE HAVING A BABY' written in gigantic colourful letters on the front and a bundle of 'Good Luck' messages on the inside. My grin was wide enough to pull on my jaw muscles and my laughter was strong enough to push a few tears through my eyes.
I hugged every person in the bustling kitchen, packed the card in my suitcase, picked up a large bouquet of flowers and walked down the spiral stairs for the last time. As I came closer to the door, my heart became heavier - there were moments over the year where those people felt like family, and the walls felt like home.
Everything was about to change.
Oh, and to clear it up, I wasn't actually having a real baby. I was having a business.
Although, there have been many moments lately when I feel that the two are the same.
My suitcase, flowers and I walked to the station, where we were met with a bottle of Prosecco, a plastic champagne flute and a train ticket to Milton Keynes. It was my sister's birthday - and the perfect time to get back to my roots, just for the weekend.
Settled onto the sweaty, gum-stained carriages of Southern Rail, my travel companion popped the Prosecco bottle and we clinked our plastic glasses - like the classy folk we are.
"Cheers," he said, "to your last day of employment."
If my blog was a true reflection of my life, it would seem that I've had a very non-eventful three months. I've only written six posts since I plunged myself into this new life, and my last 'life catch up' post was published back in December.
There have been so many times that I've wanted to share something I've learned or simply open up about moments of vulnerability. My 'BLOG IDEAS' note in Evernote is filled with 56 titles.
But I've spent the last three months treading water: figuring out how to set up a company, building up my freelance client list and planning world domination with the City Girl Network team.
Honestly, it's been really fucking hard.
And worth every second.
Looking back, I like to think that I had fairly realistic expectations of how the first three months would play out: I knew I'd battle with self doubt, I knew that 'how to set up a business' would be my top search on google - closely followed by 'how to stay sane when things keep going wrong' and I knew that I'd love my friends and family more than ever before, because I've never needed unconditional support as badly as I do now.
The only expectation I had that was out of whack was believing I'd have time to take my blog to the 'next level'.
I barely had time to sleep.
But I missed this - writing a post, laying it out, getting whoever's around to read it (actually, that part makes me nervous) and throwing it out into the blogosphere, wondering who'll catch it.
I can't regret not posting much over the last 3 months - the offline world needed me more. However, whilst caught in my latest episode of intense stress (*ahem* yesterday), I realised that the one big thing that's always made things better is the one thing I've lost touch with: Pippa Says.
So, I've taken myself on as a client - in an attempt to stop making "I have no time" excuses.
We'll see how this goes.
Anyway, let me catch you up.
I'm travelling a lot over the next few months
In two days (that's Wednesday 19th April for those of you not reading this on the day of posting it), I'm flying to Berlin alone for 6 days. I'm going to see the Berlin Girls, so I won't be *alone* alone, but the travelling on my own part is a really big deal - for reasons I'll share closer to the time.
Then, 13 days after I get back, I'm going out there again for 3 days.
And not to hint anything too much, but you'll be seeing Berlin pop up a lot over the coming 18 months or so.
I'm taking 5 days off from freelancing and business running in June - but don't worry, I'll be bringing Pippa Says with me. I'll be staying in a quiet village on the Costa Brava, with a night in Valencia planned too.
Dodgy tan lines and Sangria: I can't wait.
a new city joining the city girl network
To be announced very soon.
my freelance books are full*
*for the next few months, anyway
Full disclosure here: I'm only freelancing up to 30 hours a week in order to work on my business. However, those hours filled up after just two months in the game. It feels surreal - social media freelancing is known to be a tough game - but I'm grateful to the clients who believed in me and took me on board.
The City Girl Network is growing fast
There's not much I can say on this right now, but the last 3 months have seen a string of amazing "we really are onto something" moments.
As things start to unfold, I'll be writing a lot more on my entrepreneurial journey - there's a lot to say, which I hope would help entrepreneurs who are early on in their journeys too.
I've started doing a lot more public speaking
Those of you following my online life may not know that I've done quite a bit of public speaking in the past. Up to now, it's been mostly compering at careers, writing and music events - with the occasional big talk at Brighton SEO or small talk at Brighton Digital Women thrown in the mix.
Despite the immediate fear moments before going on stage, I've always enjoyed the adrenalin rush of potentially humiliating myself in front of an audience of people. It's been a difficult thing to admit - something that I'll delve into more in a future blog post - but I've decided to embrace the truth and say 'yes' to more speaking opportunities.
I've also decided to be less rubbish about promoting these speaking events and make a page dedicated to it on my site. At the time of writing this, I've announced my talk at BelongCon and my compere slot at a Brighton Fashion Revolution Week panel, but there's a few more things to come (when I'm allowed to talk about it).
Little things that have happened that don't really need a heading
They also don't need a paragraph...
- I had a pretty dramatic* haircut from Yo (follow her on Instagram, pretty please).
*Ok, it was just a fringe. But, dramatic for me.
- I started doing little 30 second updates about my day* on Instagram Stories.
*An explanation as to why I'm doing that is on my 'BLOG IDEAS' Evernote list.
- Sofaya (City Girl Network COO) and I hosted a blogging workshop at the International Women's Day event in Brighton Dome.
- I was the compere for Brighton-based writing community, Bovine Cemetery's, 'All-Women's Night' in February.
- I've been working on Brighton Fashion Revolution Week happening at the end of April with the Brighton Girl and Revival Collective team.
If I've missed anything off, could you share it in the comments?
Why keep following Pippa Says?
As you can read from the I-hate-to-think-how-many-words-I-just-wrote spiel above, a lot's happened over the last few months - most of which, was kept hidden in the offline world.
But the next few months are set to be less "stuck at the office" and more "stuck at the airport" or, really, wherever I can find with wifi - and this time, you're coming with me.
So if you're curious about what it's actually like to start up a business and freelance your way to paying the bills - no sugar coating, no 'oh my god guys, I'm actually living the dream on a beach in *exotic location* and if you join my webinar I'll tell you how' statuses, just the real "sometimes it's really fucking hard" deal - then keep coming back as this blog is for you.