25 August 2017

Day In The Life Of A Freelance Digital Media Manager

freelance social media manager, lifestyle blog, career blog, Hampshire social media

I'm going to let you in on a secret - the usual day of a digital media manager isn't very glamorous, for most of us anyway. I know that a lot of you have been thinking about going freelance for a while, and have asked what it's really like to be a freelance digital and social media manager. So I've decided to let you in on a day spent as a digital media manager - but you can't even take this as gospel because some days are a lot busier, and some days are spent on the couch thinking why have I got no work today??! (PS, you'll quickly learn there's always something to do, even if it's not client work you can spend that time on your own marketing). And also, I know a lot of people say this about their work days but literally no day is ever the same - all of the projects are different, and your schedule will largely vary on your clients.

6am - My alarm goes off. I hit snooze several times because we all do that, and I eventually get up at 6:30am. I get myself ready for the day, whilst checking my phone to reply to any social media messages and catch up on what's been going on. I try and check the news too, but Twitter usually tells me everything I need to hear.

6:45am - It's time to walk the dog, feed the dog, make sure the house bunny is happy and has everything he needs for the day. I grab some breakfast (the first thing I can find to eat on the go), down a glass of water and get set for the day. Whilst I do this, I usually post my first Instagram for the day - this is for my own business and blog.

7:30am - I log into my clients Instagam accounts to check activity and post their first post of the day. We calculate ultimate posting times and these are very similar across the board because my clients are mostly UK and European businesses, and have a similar audience. So I post their posts which I edit and write out earlier then save to drafts, reply to comments, interact with accounts I think would be great to involve in our community. By the time I've finished working on Instagram, it's time for a cup of tea or coffee. 

9am - My working day officially starts. I try to stick to a working day of 9-5 the majority of the time because as a freelancer you realise that it's too easy to either work too much, or allow yourself too much downtime. Plus, this sets a structure for my clients who know that I will respond between those hours. I check my emails, and start writing a list of everything I have to do today, and prioritise my tasks. I work with clients on either an hourly or daily basis, sometimes clients book out several days a week in which case that day will be spent on them, and sometimes they book a monthly hourly allocation of my time - this is the kind of day I will have today. I mainly work from my home office, however sometimes I pop into the creative studio to keep Heidi company whilst she's editing videos, or sometimes I work when I'm away - coffee by the seaside kind of morning? Now that's a morning I know I will enjoy. 

10:30am - I've just about got through the bulk of my emails and have a plan for the day. I start with Account #1 who need new graphics designed for their social media, an updated weekly schedule with new content, and website SEO management. I love creating graphics for social media - you can have so much fun with what you want to portray across and it's actually fun following brand guidelines just to see how far you can push them! They also need an end of month update on how the accounts are growing, so I need to think about my report. At the end of their hourly allocation, I send my clients what I have worked on and wait for their reply.

It's usually around this time I also try to squeeze in some blogging and self promotion - this is very important but gets left behind a lot of the time because like I keep saying, paying clients come first! Those bills ain't gonna pay themselves, ya know?

1:30pm - Lunch break! Usually I'm home for lunch to let the dog out, and eat freshly made grub rather than a stale sandwich or soggy salad. I have definitely cut down on my food spending since becoming freelance, and have been eating healthier. I have total control over what I eat and am not usually dictated by short lunch breaks, or someone telling me I have to work through lunch. So I take an hours break to spend time with the dog, eat my food, and have a little bit of a chill (ok, maybe a nap. I nap a lot).

2:30pm - I start on Account #2 for that day, who have just had a photoshoot with me so I now need to edit the photos and send to them for use on their website. I LOVE editing photos, it's literally like my downtime at work - choosing what photos are the best, correcting anything that needs correcting, playing around with black and white photography... This is one of my favourite parts of my day. Although editing 50 photos from about 400 can sometimes be daunting and take me a little while, I can this whilst listening to some of my favourite podcasts (Lore, and Unexplained are always on my iPhone) or a new playlist on Spotify. I also try and keep an eye on any urgent emails which come in throughout the day - and respond to the ones who really can't wait and need an answer ASAP.
It can be really difficult to keep on top of emails some days - my inbox is full of client mail and blogger projects, a few weeks ago after a short break I came back to hundreds of emails which I'm still getting through. Sorry everyone! But client and paid work will always take priority, which is why this year my blog has been a little quieter - I'm still figuring out a rhythm to get everything done and not drive myself crazy.

4:30pm - Photos are edited and sent! Boom! I now need to plan a photoshoot for later in the week for lifestyle brand photography. This requires planning, mood boarding, making sure I have everything I need so there's no last minute panic. I work closely with my client to make sure we capture their brand. At the same time, I'm planning several new client meetings for next week, and a social media training session with a local business.

5:30pm - I've logged off from my emails - not coming back until 9am tomorrow morning! Or so I say. I take some time to unwind, call my mum for a quick catch up and plan dinner. Cooking in the evening is my downtime - it relaxes me, gives me time away from the screen and it's also so social because I love having people over for dinner! This time, Heidi is coming over for dinner before we head off for a networking evening in our local community. Networking events are a great way to meet new clients, get your name out there, and meet likeminded business owners. Before she comes over, I walk the dog, feed the animals and make sure they're happy for another couple of hours. 

6:15pm - We eat dinner, have a catch up, and get prepped for the networking event. Post some Instastories or a gram if I have something fun to say! Check my client accounts.

7pm - We arrive at the networking event held in a local business centre, and immediately get involved in conversations getting to know people and their businesses. It's really exciting who you can meet, for example I found out that one of my favourite jewellery brands is actually working from a HQ 5 minutes away from where I live! Even if you live in a small town, you shouldn't ever dismiss local networking events because you never know who you may come across. These events usually last between 1-2 hours, in that time I have made some new connections and have a meeting scheduled with one of the business owners I met that evening.

9pm - Hot bath, comfy pjs, cup of tea, and GOT catch up. Post a last photo of the day on Instagram and check client accounts. So much for logging off at 5pm! Being a freelance social media manager means you're really working 24hrs a day because you just can't stay away from knowing what the accounts are doing. I fall asleep whilst watching Family Guy.

3am - Oh, what's that? 3am - the dog's by the back door asking to go out, for no reason at all. He just stands in the garden and I want to scream because tiredness is real right now. It's this late at night or early in the morning when my brain starts to think about the day ahead: I'm heading to one of my clients offices to spend the day with them showing them the progress on a new website and branding I'm developing. What will they think? I hope they like it. I settle back in bed and drift off with thoughts buzzing around my head. Big plans. Aspirations. Goals. And brilliant ideas for my clients.

6am: Good morning.

So here we go - this is what one of my days was genuinely like! Some days are a lot more quiet, and some days I work until the early hours of the morning to hit deadlines or work on urgent projects. And some days I simply take off to have a break, enjoy the sunshine, see friends and family. So I really cannot and will not complain about my business because it suits my lifestyle!

And weekends have become sacred. I used to work weekends all the time, but now I try and reserve these two days for relaxing, seeing loved ones, and having pj days when needed. It's great!

1 comment

  1. You work so damn hard and i admire everything you do. It's lovely to read something like this too as it shows the 'true' side of freelancing. x


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