As a person who works alone, I need to actively look for inspiration. It seems that the term for people like me is ‘solopreneur’ and there are thousands of us out there. I must admit that when I worked in an office environment I was probably a lot less inspired than I am now as a freelancer whose desk varies from day-to-day. I was also weighed down by the sheer soul-destroying nature of my job. Since becoming a mum my ideas of what is important in life have certainly changed. I am much less motivated by personal gain and material possession (and to be honest I wasn’t that bothered about this in the first place) but more about contentment, achievements I have work hard on and experiences. I have a number of trips planned this year to Hamburg, Dublin and possibly Amsterdam and in all those places I will be looking for inspiration – about how people live their lives and what the culture is like, rather than just being a tourist.But one of my biggest sources of inspiration is being able to be inspired by the everyday world around me. On Friday I was heading home on the bus with a streaming cold with the intention of hunkering down at home until it was time to collect my son. But as I looked out of the windows of the bus I could see the most beautifully pink sunrise and the glitter of the snow so I hopped off the bus and walked around the Lakes (not on them) enjoying the sunrise, the cold air in my lungs and the almost ethereal light. I stopped in a cafe and had a ginger tea and did some of my morning work on my phone. I caught the bus home an hour later, refreshed and ready to tackle some work at home. I was energised and inspired rather than feeling lethargic and full of cold. I am lucky that I have the freedom to let myself be inspired this way.But right now my real source of inspiration are podcasts. I used to think that podcasts were just a recap of radio shows but after my good friend, Janet Murray, started a podcast and asked me on as a guest, a whole new world has opened up to me. Working as a creative in somewhat isolation, the podcasts I listen to give me an insight into the world of other creatives and I am learning so much but also it is enabling me to solidify ideas and to gain confidence in my own work. I usually listen to one on the way home from school drop off and another on the way back and each day I feel more and more inspired and fired up in my own work. There are either things I hear that reinforce my own ideas or help to legitimise them or ones that make me think another way or that things are possible.Whilst people I know are supportive of my work, it is often an area they don’t fully understand. Apart from a few friends, all my close friends exist in a 9-5 environment and the thought of being a freelance creative is either a dream or a nightmare to them, but certainly not a reality. For a long while I felt I was growing my business somewhat in isolation but much less so now. I am really noticing the impact that being actively inspired is having on all areas of my work. It is also important to seek out people who are supportive and willing to share ideas, both online and in real life. In fact I have connected with many of the guests on podcasts through social media and find them open and friendly. I am tired of people who are too protective of their own ideas and information – I have always been open and willing to help where I can and I find this comes back to you many times over.
So where do I find inspiration and motivation? Here are my current favourite podcasts – not all of them are directly related to my work but the messages and guests really speak to me, funnily enough an interview with a musician called Steve Palfreyman helped me to understand more about my son’s personality and how to help him overcome obstacles as well as offering business tips.
Soulful PR Podcast with Janet Murray – this podcast based around PR, social media and marketing from small businesses and solopreneurs. So much useful content in the solo shows and a lot of inspiration in the guest ones. My favourite episode is the interview with Star Khechara, another location independent success story.
Inspirational Creative Podcast with Rob Lawrence – far too many to pick a favourite as all are outstanding but I think the one that offered me a lot of light bulb moments was an interview with adventurer, Dave Cornthwaite.
The Suitcase Entrepreneur – Natalie Sissons, the podcaster behind this one both inspires in her solo podcasts and also her interviews. Even if the idea of being a digital nomad and have the freedom to work anyway is just a dream, this is one for you. Favourite episode is the interview with Paul and Becky Kortman who are travelling the world in a camper van with their family and running their business at the same time.
Podcast Divas – this is a new one for me and the subject is podcasting yet the guests offer a lot more than that and Kathryn Bryant has a great personal way of showing that she is still learning a lot from her guests.
Elise Gets Crafty – I do like crafting but this podcast is about so much more – running a small business, being motivated, setting goals and being creative. My favourite episode is the interview with Emma Chapman, from A Beautiful Mess about taking creative risks.
I am always looking for new and inspiring podcasts to listen to, do share any recommendations you have.