You can’t give what you don’t have. In the field of psychotherapy, it seems paradoxical for a counselor to offer comfort and support to clients if he or she does not have tranquility within.
This is not a problem for Karin Brauner Hollman, a self-employed psychotherapeutic counselor and a freelance languages tutor based in Brighton and Hove, England.
Being her own boss allows Karin to work quietly and independently, without the pressure of conforming to requirements and preferences of a company or institution.
Her inner peace becomes a beacon of light to clients, many of whom are seeking guidance amid abandonment, relationship problems, life transitions, depression, bereavement, anxiety, and stress.
Though Karin has been working freelance since 2005, she became a full-fledged self-employed counsellor in 2013 a nd began offering freelance language tutoring services last year.
Karin tells Inspired Space how she keeps a peaceful yet productive work routine in her office. She also offers advice for aspiring freelancers before they decide to quit the rat race for good.
Inspired Space: What made you decide to be a freelancer?
Karin: My dad has had his own business (electrical engineering) since I was little, and this has been an example for me. I was always going to go into freelancing/entrepreneuring as I like the freedom to do things my way, within ethical, moral and professional boundaries of course, without the bureaucracies that can come from working in a company with a boss. Also, with the way things have gone in the NHS and the counselling professions, it is easier to find work independently, and market myself as a Private Practitioner (alongside a part time PAYE job while I reach my earning and professional goals). With the tutoring side of things it’s a similar thing, but it might be a possibility to do part time work in a school if it comes up.
IS: How difficult was it to start a career as a freelancer?
Karin: I think I am still in the midst of it, and always learning and adding skills, tools as a practitioner and advertising/marketing tools both online and locally. It is a steep learning curve but the benefits are great and am hoping to see even more benefits as time goes on! Four years is still the beginning stages of my freelance career in counselling, and one year is even more so for my tutoring career! Ask me again in 5 years, let’s see what has changed!
IS: What are the most challenging parts of being a freelancer?
Karin: I work from home, so my office is at home. This means I need to balance even more work and life – having time for self-care, for disconnecting from work and the admin it requires…
IS: What are the most rewarding parts of being a freelancer?
Karin: I get to set my own schedule, how much I want to earn, how much I want to do, and I enjoy it. Admin work is never really work, because I enjoy doing it and know the benefits I will reap from it – either from learning new things when writing a blog or attending a CPD event, or from engaging with people online and locally.
IS: Tell us about your work routine and how you keep yourself productive when working at home.
Karin: I have set a schedule for things I need to do for advertising and marketing online, I’ve split things into one or two things to do daily, the main bulk will be on Mondays and Thursdays, which are my busiest freelancing days. The rest of the days it’s just re-posting the blog, for example or adding more posts to postify. With counselling, sometimes there are cancellations and rescheduling so every week is different, but I try to keep to the same availability times each week.
IS: Tell us about your Inspired Space.
Karin: I love my office, especially since I moved furniture around. I have a DAB radio that I play on low just to keep me focused. I have everything I need in here – my laptop and a desk for it and for students when I teach, I have bought a laminator which is a highly satisfying task (try it! you’ll see!), I have all my books in here and a comfy sofa chair that I can sit and work from. My kitchen is not far away if I ever need a tea top-up or a snack.
IS: What advice can you give aspiring freelancers who are planning to take the big leap?
Karin: I would say, go for it, but don’t leave your day job until you are financially secure – I know others might say take the leap and the universe will conspire and sort you out…but the universe doesn’t pay the bills at the end of the month, does it! I am still working part-time at my care job which I enjoy doing, but hope that in the next few years I will be able to live from the counseling and tutoring business. Make a list of your goals for your business and put them on a wall where you can see them. Pick one or two that are manageable and get them down to the point that they become a natural part of your days/weeks. One thing at a time or you’ll get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing and with nothing!
Karin also advises learning as much as one can about marketing, advertising, and what websites work best depending on the products or services offered by the freelancer. She herself networked with a few entrepreneurs online who shares their experiences and tips to help one another in their endeavors. Learn more about Karin and what she does on her website, blog, and Facebook page.
How did Karin’s freelancing story inspire you? Tell us on the comment section below!