Episode 41:Doing it for the kids
Parenting as a freelancer
Are you worried that being a freelancer and a parent are incompatible? It’s not uncommon for freelancers to have concerns about taking care of their kids among all their freelancing commitments. Since questions about this are so common in the Motion Hatch community, I’ve brought in the experts to answer all your burning questions.
With their own podcasts and communities for freelance parents, Steve Folland and Frankie Tortora have a heap of knowledge on this topic. They’ve built successful freelance careers while raising their children and now help others like them navigate the same hurdles that they encounter on a regular basis.
Steve and Frankie start off this fascinating conversation by explaining some of the parallels between parenting and freelancing and how one can help prepare you for the responsibilities of the other. They go on to share some great ideas about how you can find enough time and energy to be fully present for both your business and your family, such as bringing in more people to work alongside of you and really understanding the value that you provide for your clients.
It can be really tough to navigate these issues that can get in between work and family. After speaking with Frankie and Steve, this doesn’t seem nearly as daunting as before. The recurring theme here is that being self-employed actually means that you can be there more for your kids and since it provides significant benefits that traditional employment doesn’t.
Even if you’re not a parent, you’ll still find tons of wisdom and great advice in today’s episode which includes some great productivity hacks that we can all take advantage of.
What has been your biggest struggle when balancing work and family life? Leave a comment!
In this episode
- How the flexibility offered by freelancing can help you be more present and involved in your child’s life
- What to consider when raising your rates when you’re starting a family
- Useful tips for retaining your regular clients when you have to take family leave
- The pros and cons of starting your freelance business before and after having children
- Maintaining the stamina necessary to take care of both your business, your children, and yourself
- How having kids is actually a super-charged productivity hack
- How to make more time in your schedules while parenting full-time without getting burnt out
“They just suddenly give you this little human and nobody tells you what to do with it. It’s a bit like freelancing, really. Nobody tells you what to do with that either and you kind of muddle it out by hanging out with other freelancers and you muddle it out by hanging out with other parents.” [4:46] “The only predictable thing about having kids and being self-employed is that life is unpredictable. That is the one thing that you can count on.” [6:41] “I think there is a lot of pressure to try to do all the things, especially when you see people who don’t have kids doing all the things. But I think you just have to keep an eye on how you yourself are coping with that sort of stuff.” [24:11]“Certainly having children doesn’t make you less productive. I think it makes you more time efficient. Then it’s what you choose to do with that time.” [38:46]“Your career might pivot and it might change, but it’s not the end — it’s the beginning!” [1:00:59]
Find Frankie at Doing it for the Kids
Find Steve at Being Freelance
The Freelance Contract Bundle
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Doing It For The Kids Transcript
Steve: They just suddenly give you this little human, and nobody tells you what to do with it. It’s a bit like freelancing really, nobody tells you what to do with that either, and you kind of muddle it out by hanging out with other freelancers, and you muddle it out by hanging out with other parents.
Hayley: Hey, hatchlings. Welcome to the Motion Hatch podcast. I’m your host, Hayley Akins.
Hayley: Hey, hatchlings. Thank you so much for tuning into the Motion Hatch podcast. This is episode 41. Today’s episode actually came about after some hatchlings were talking in our Facebook community about if it was possible to continue freelancing around childcare commitments. So, as I don’t currently have any children myself, I thought it best to bring on Steve and Frankie, because their podcast is all about parenting, and also being a freelancer. So, even if you aren’t a parent, there’s some productivity hacks and stuff in here for you as well, and my favorite comment was about not letting your kids put fish fingers in the USB input. So, stay tuned to hear what that was all about.
Hayley: Just before we get into this episode, I did want to quickly mention the Freelance Contract Bundle. As a parent, or any motion designer for that matter, I’m sure you know how important it is to get paid on time, and have solid working terms in place. The Contract Bundle contains a Commissioning Contract Template, and the Terms of Service Contract Template. The Commissioning Contract Template is for freelancers and small studios working directly with clients for a project fee. You can use this contract to create a statement of work, and provide terms and conditions.
Hayley: The Terms of Service Contract Template is for freelancers that are generally working in-house with studios, or on a day rate or hourly rate. So, if you haven’t got a contract that you give to your clients, do head over to motionhatch.com/motioncontract to get all the details there about our contract bundle that we made especially for you. Now, let’s get into the episode.
Hayley: Hey, Steve. Hey, Frankie. Thanks so much for coming on the show.
Steve: Thank you.
Hayley: Do you both want to explain a little bit about who you are, and what you do? A bit about your backgrounds?
Frankie: Yes. Hello, my name’s Frankie. I’m a freelance graphic designer, so I feel like a massive fraud, being on this amazing podcast, because I don’t do motion graphics, please forgive me. I’m here because I run a community for freelance parents where we all get together and talk about the realities of working for yourself when you’ve got kids, and I do, as part of that, a podcast with Steve, where we talk about life, and biscuits.
Steve: Yes, life with kids in the mix, not just life and biscuits. So, I’m Steve, and I do the Being Freelance podcast. So, I’m a freelance video and audio chap, and I used to work in radio before that, and now … Yeah, I also … See, that’s how Frankie and I kind of met, because we both freelance, and then have these ridiculously big side projects on the side, just like you do with Motion Hatch. So yeah, I do Being Freelance, which is a podcast, which I’ve been doing for the last four years where I chat to a different freelancer each week, and then I vlog as well about that, because clearly not got enough time on my hands.
Hayley: Yeah, I mean, that’s pretty crazy, and you both have children of different ages and stuff like that?
Frankie: Yeah, so I’ve got a nearly four year old, and a eight month old baby. So, I’m in the very much the preschool stage. I’m paying out for nursery, all that good stuff. Steve’s got older kids.
Steve: I’ve gone through that, and come out the other side to find I have a six year old suddenly, and a nine year old, who’s going to be 10 this year, which is ridiculous. But yeah, similar age gap between our two kids.
Hayley: Yeah, well that’s good, because I don’t have any children, so I just thought, bring the experts on.
Steve: This is why you look so fresh faced, you see.
Hayley: Yeah well, I don’t know. But yeah, just because I felt like, “Oh, I don’t have any children.”, but it seems like everyone in the Motion Hatch community has started talking about it. I think it’s probably because motion design’s a reasonably young industry, and everyone seems to be creeping up to that time when they’re having kids, or some of them have young children, so all of the good conversations are just starting out about this, and yeah, I thought it’d be good to get you guys on, because obviously with the Doing It For The Kids podcast and stuff I thought you might be able to help us with some of the parenting questions that we have.
Steve: We will try our best.
Steve: That’s all we can-
Frankie: That’s all we can do, yeah.
Hayley: So, you’re not parenting experts then?
Steve: Do you know, that’s the funny thing, no one is. They just suddenly give you this little human, and nobody tells you what to do with it. It’s a bit like freelancing really, nobody tells you what to do with that either, and you kind of muddle it out by hanging out with other freelancers, and you muddle it out by hanging out with other parents.
Frankie: There are a lot of strong parallels between being a parent and being a freelancer, for sure. Lots of common ground.
Hayley: Well, hopefully I can relate to some of that then and just pipe up with some stuff that I know about freelancing. So, basically this all started because Natasha Hodgkins asked a question in the Facebook community about how realistic freelancing is whilst looking after her new child that she’s going to have. So, I just wondered if you wanted to start talking a little bit about that, and how maybe if she could prepare in a way, or whether you think it’s realistic for her to carry on working freelance, maybe on a part-time basis?
Steve: Okay, Frankie was freelance before she had children. I went full-time freelance after we had children. So, actually, if she’s already freelancing now, and about to have kids, it’s a similar thing to what you faced, right?
Frankie: Yeah. The first thing I want to say about preparation is that it’s very hard to prepare for having kids, full stop. Let alone throwing into the mix the fact that you’re self employed, and actually a lot of the time if you were to sit down, for example, and write a budget about whether you can afford to pay for childcare, and how you’re going to work, and what days you’re going to work, and if you actually thought about it and made a spreadsheet, you’d never do it. You really wouldn’t, because childcare costs you a bomb, and all the rest of it. You talk yourself out of it somehow. There’s a real leap of faith to start a family, full stop, and then when you’re also self employed it’s like, there’s so many moving parts, and so much unpredictability. The only predictable thing about having kids and being self employed is that life is unpredictable. That’s the one thing that you can count on.
Frankie: Other than that, there’s so much going on. Yeah, so be prepared to adapt, and be flexible, full stop. But yes, of course you can be freelance around your kids. One in seven freelancers are now mothers, and that’s an increasing number of people is, because I run this community, I’m talking to people every day who are joining and saying, “I want to do this.”, or, “I’m about to do this, because I want to be around for my kids.”, like yeah, you can totally do it. We’re all doing it already, come and talk to us. We’ll help you out.
Steve: And that’s the thing isn’t it, because actually, being freelance offers you that flexibility to decide what your day looks like, what your week looks like, or your year. So, if anything, it’s better being freelance than it is working for an employer. Beyond the benefits that you might get from an employer, or something like that. Clearly, there’s lots of pros and cons, but the flexibility-wise that you already have as a freelancer is brilliant for when you become a parent and your world gets turned upside down.
Hayley: I think that she was also wanted to know about finding projects where the deadline is more relaxed, and how … A lot of the questions were about, how do we … do you tell your clients that you’re having a child? Do you not? Do you try to prepare them as well?
Steve: Well, Frankie and I on the podcast always say about transparency and being honest, don’t we?
Frankie: Yeah, totally. Yep, 100%.
Steve: If it comes up I would never try to hide the fact that you’ve got kids. In fact, if anything, it can become like a bond between you and a client, as in, it’s something to relate to, because you’re human, just the same as it might be about football, or yoga, or whatever it is that you find that link, but in terms of deadlines, I think that’s just about being savvy as to knowing what you can take on, and then even negotiating it, or knowing to turn it down. I mean, obviously neither of us work in motion graphics, but we still work on things which need to be done either in a week, or need this tomorrow. If somebody needs it tomorrow, you’ll probably more likely go, “Maybe not. I’m not the right person for it.”
Hayley: Yeah, so you think it’s about trying to find those clients who maybe have a bit more flexible schedules on their timelines, and stuff?
Frankie: Totally. The way you currently work is going to change, full stop, and it will change over time according to how old your kids are as well, and what your kids are like, whether they sleep at night or not. Personally, over the last four years … my son’s four, the last four years, I increasingly work with clients that are also parents, probably partly for that reason, because they totally get it. There’s no explanation, it’s just like, “Let’s just get on with it. I’m really sorry this can’t happen today for these reasons.”, and there’s no issue with that at all. I haven’t gone out to do that, it’s just been a natural progression that’s happened for me. I think, partly, because it makes my life easier, but also because I start to attract people that work in a similar way, and in a similar situation.
Steve: I found that working in video, for example, that I was able to take on certain projects if I hired other people to work with me, and actually that’s kind of helped by the fact that video production is quite a team effort anyway. So, it’s quite normal to hire a videographer, and a script writer, and a voiceover person, and so on and so forth. But yeah, sometimes I’m not the only person working on it.
Steve: So, if a massive script writing project comes in I … In fact, once, I was about to go on holiday and this script writing project came in, and I thought, either I have to abandon that bit of my holiday with the kids, or I get a friend on who is also a script writer, and we work together. That was the beginning of me starting to get other people to work with. So, it could be that there’s other motion designers, for example, that you can work with, either … not necessarily to give the whole project to, but that you combine your talents with.
Frankie: It takes a village to raise a child, right? That’s the phrase? It definitely takes a community of people to raise a child and a business at the same time. If it’s not all your family, it’s friends, it’s other freelancers. You need to help each other out. It’s kind of the nature of the thing.
Hayley: In my head, what kind of brings up when you talk about that kind of thing is that you probably would then need to be charging more, or at least the right amount so that you can afford to hire other people, and stuff like that, which I don’t want to turn this into a pricing discussion, but that’s what always comes up, and I think that someone in the community as well was mentioning, we have to charge enough so that it’s worth you taking on the projects and not abandoning your family, I guess. I don’t know, I’m probably saying the absolute wrong words-
Steve: No, no, you’re right-
Hayley: … you know what I mean?
Steve: … you’re right, because there’s nothing like having kids, actually, to make you do your sums better as to what it is worth you doing and earning, in order to pay for you to put them into … Childcare is insanely expensive. It’s like having another mortgage, literally the [crosstalk 00:11:41].
Frankie: The second most expensive childcare system in the world in the U.K.
Hayley: Really? Wow.
Frankie: Yeah, high five to that.
Steve: That’s all the way through until really they’re … what, four or five? Something like that. So, you got this big chunk of time. So yeah, I mean, maybe you do have to put your prices up, but it’s more about really sitting there and doing the maths as to what it is that you need to earn for your jobs, which is what we should all be doing, whether we have kids or not anyway, it’s just that it becomes perhaps a lot more focused and obvious when you’re paying someone to take your beloved child off your hands, though it’s quite nice sometimes when they do.
Frankie: Shh, don’t tell them. I’ve been self employed like six and a bit years, and I’ve put my prices up twice in that time, and that is after the birth of both of my children, and it’s gone up quite a lot for exactly that reason, because my outgoings have gone up a lot. To run my business, I have this huge overhead of childcare costs, which I hadn’t had to deal with before. Yeah, I mean, there’s a real … there’s a clear correlation between how much I need to earn, and having my kids.
Hayley: Yeah, I just think that it’s a lot of … I guess from the people who are going to have children soon, or even the people who are thinking about it in my community, I just felt like there was a lot of fear around, “Am I going to lose my clients?” James Taylor’s asking, should he send an email out to his existing clients and say, “Hey, I’m just about to have a child. Hopefully we can work together soon. Obviously I’m going to take a bit of time off.”, that sort of thing. Do you think those kind of things are a good idea, and how much can you realistically do things like that, or do you just have to, like you were saying earlier, go with the flow of things to-
Steve: I think one thing is that you have to remember that your client and the people in that office are also all having kids and stuff. So, it’s a normal thing. Also, it can be a positive thing. So, rather than saying, “Oh, I’m about to have a kid, but I hope we can work again soon.”, for example, it’s like, you’re going to want to be working on awesome projects that you can show your kid how cool you are, because you work in motion design, they’ll be like, “Wow. You did that?” So, I think you need to get rid of the negative side of it, and concentrate on that positive side instead.
Steve: I think in terms of the fear over money, for example, the great thing about being a freelancer is that you get to determine how much you charge, and how much work you take on, and all of that. So actually, your potential to earn even more is far … You’re in control of it in a way that actually somebody in a job isn’t in control of it. The pressure on somebody going into an office every day, and getting on a train into London, or whatever city, that is, in fact, makes me more scared than being freelance, and being in control of those factors, in all … control of all of it.
Frankie: You have the luxury of being able to adapt. You can build your life around your kids, and that’s … Yeah, that’s priceless, isn’t it? That’s why we’re doing it.
Steve: If you’ve built a strong freelance business to begin with, then there’s no reason why you won’t adapt it, and the [inaudible 00:15:03] fluctuations, and the prices and all of that, and how you talk to your clients, it will all just adapt and continue to get even better, I’d say.
Frankie: Yeah, on the potentially losing clients thing, I’m going to be honest and say I did lose some clients. Not loads. One of them brought me in for a meeting when I was heavily pregnant, and was like, “We want to work with you loads. Let’s do loads of work together. Great, great, great. Congratulations on your baby.”, and then never heard from them again after I had my kid. Anyway, they were definitely the minority. Yeah so, in terms of whether you’re going to lose your clients or not, I think emailing everybody, and being up front, I don’t think that’s necessarily necessary.
Frankie: I would more just drop it into conversations you’re having with existing clients, as in when, like if it’s a month or two months before you’re going to go on leave, yeah you need to talk about that, but it’s like a holiday or anything else. I’m not saying maternity leave is like holiday, what I’m saying is, it’s a period of leave. You would … There’s no difference between taking that time off for going to travel around the world for three months, or whatever is you want to do. It’s something that’s happening in your life, and you just … it’s appropriate to drop it in, when you’re having those conversations with particular clients.
Frankie: Then, obviously, James is a dad, so it’s a bit different. He won’t get paid paternity pay at all, but if he was a woman he would be entitled to maternity allowance, and as part of that you get 10 keeping in touch days, and they’re called keeping in touch days for a reason. So, the idea being you can keep in touch with your clients, and not get forgotten, and hopefully have work to come back to at the end of your maternity leave.
Frankie: Another way to do that, as Steve was talking about, is to build a community of other people and outsource work while you’re on maternity leave, who are … You’re openly talking about that with you clients, so they’re sort of your maternity cover, essentially, and then it helps you to retain your clients while you’re looking after your baby, and then hopefully because they’re freelancers you trust they’ll give those clients back to you when you’ve finished your maternity leave.
Hayley: It’s just quite difficult to navigate all this stuff, but I guess that’s why it’s great to have these kind of conversations, and try and give people at least ideas of stuff that they could do. They can start having conversations with people in the community and say, “Hey, I’ve got these clients I really like working with, do you want to cover this for me for a while?”, and stuff like that. Yeah, I think that’s great, and they can do that in the Motion Hatch community, or they could come over to your community, and I’m sure there’d be loads of people there who are willing to help and stuff.
Frankie: Totally. When I had my baby seven months ago, I had a couple freelancers who I lined up to do exactly that. So, if I went into labor early, or I had to be induced for whatever reason, I could hand over to them, and then they’d carry on while I was on maternity leave. Now, one of them is pregnant, and is handing all her clients to me while she goes on maternity leave. There’s like a mutual exchange of work between us, but there’s no risk because we gained those clients ourselves, and we’re going to give them back at the end, but we’re just helping each other out while we’re making babies, which is quite nice.
Frankie: Another way to potentially solve the losing clients thing, not that I think that’ll happen to you, but anyway, if you’re afraid about that is to do a big celebratory thing when you’re back from leave, when you’re announcing that you’ve coming back to work as it were, whether you take … however long you taken off. But so, I’m a graphic designer, so I did a Christmas card thing, because it coincided with Christmas. So, I did a big Christmas card out to all my clients, and was like, “Hello, I’m still alive. Hire me for some work. Merry Christmas.”, like that kind of thing just to make sure they don’t forget you, and make it a positive thing, rather than, “Please give me some work.”, and feeling all negative, or-
Steve: Imagine the fun you could have as a motion designer creating the thing-
Steve: … the video that you send out, which reminds me them of how awesome you are with your talents, and also has a baby in it somehow. I quite like that idea.
Hayley: I was just totally imagining someone doing a video of themself, like a animation with the baby or something. That was just [crosstalk 00:18:48] really weird.
Frankie: That would be super cute. I’d hire you off that. For sure.
Hayley: So, Lana was asking as well, Lana Weber, her idea is to transition into freelance while she’s on maternity leave, and she just wondered whether she was just being insane, or whether that was a thing that she could try and do. I mean, I don’t really know what the plan is. I don’t know, what do you guys think of that?
Frankie: She’s definitely not insane. She is a lot of people I speak to on a daily basis. Maternity leave is a really good time to start a business. In my experience, and a lot of women that I speak to, they’re their most ambitious and most productive after they’ve had a baby. It’s like a catalyst for creativity, and wanting to create, and produce stuff, and build a life for yourself, whether that’s a new business idea, or a massive side project, or whatever it is, actually, that time can be really productive. It doesn’t have to be scary. It can be really positive, and you can produce those amazing things.
Frankie: Also, she needs to know that she’s definitely not alone, and that thousands of women have done that before her, and will be doing that tomorrow and the day after. So, there’s loads of people around to support her through that transition, and to ask questions to, and fist pump with, whether that’s over the internet, or in real life.
Steve: Yeah, I think for Lana, is she already about to have a baby, or is she just thinking longer term?
Hayley: Not, not yet. No, no, she’s not thinking long-term, she is about to have baby, yeah. I’m pretty sure. Now I’m questioning myself, but yeah, I’m pretty sure she’s-
Steve: If it was longer term, then just as anybody’s thinking of going freelance then there’s that opportunity to start … if you’re in a full-time job, is to start freelancing on the side, to start to build up that network, and that confidence, and so on and so forth, and also a buffer of money to help you. Money comes in handy for freelancing, and for parenting. But then if you’re going into it, I don’t know, you might want to stay … It depends on the maternity package from the employer that you have, right, as in the [crosstalk 00:20:48]?
Hayley: Oh right, yes.
Frankie: If you’re taking maternity pay from your employer … It depends on your contract, but in terms of the government, you can do as much self employed freelance work as you want while you’re claiming maternity pay from your employer, unless your contract says otherwise, whereas when you’re self employed, and you’re claiming maternity pay from the government to have a baby, you can’t do extra work. You’re fixed to those 10 keeping in touch days before you lose your allowance. So yeah, if you’re going to start working for yourself, and you’re on maternity leave and you’re employed, that’s actually an ideal situation to do that, because you’re getting that wage from your employer while you have your baby, but you can also build up a business and earn as much money, potentially, as you like, while still getting paid by your employer.
Hayley: Oh right, yeah. So, you mean that in the U.K. you get an allowance if you’re a freelancer, but you can’t work over a certain amount of days, but if you’re on maternity leave, then you could [crosstalk 00:21:40]-
Frankie: Work as much as you like. Yeah.
Hayley: … freelancer.
Steve: Yeah, it actually works way in the favor of people who are employed by a company, and then if in this instant, choosing to freelance on the side. So actually, choosing as to when to sever that previous employment is probably worth thinking about, but as Frankie says, it depends on your contract, especially perhaps in motion design as to who you’re working with and stuff like that.
Hayley: Yeah, and also, just as a side note, because I know tons of people listen to this in the U.S. and other places in the world, you probably have to check this stuff with whatever relevant country government that you have, because not everyone’s based in the U.K. So, I just wanted to say a side note there.
Hayley: Lance Clayton was asking, he said he’s got three children under six, and he’s freelancing. So, he doesn’t think any podcast can help him, but I think that we’ll try. We’ll try. That made me laugh. But he wants to know how morning people can still achieve head space and growth, because he’s too tired by the end of the day, but his mornings are consumed with morning routines, and the children, I imagine. He says that he wakes up at 5:30. So, pretty early.
Steve: Is he waking at 5:30 because the kids are waking up at 5:30, or by choice?
Hayley: I don’t know, yeah he didn’t say that, but he said the only way that he’s managed to do studying and growth and stuff like that for himself is not taking on extra clients and stuff. So, using his work time as time to learn more, and then … Do you know what I mean? Instead of now, where you would work, and then you would do studying, and maybe side projects after work, or something, he feels like he can’t do that. It’s kind of a tricky one.
Steve: It’s a tricky one to answer in that we’re all different, and I think it’s important that you get to be self-aware enough as to know when it works best for you. So, you’ll hear some people saying, “Oh, get up at 5:00 A.M., and do work before the kids, blah blah blah.”, but that might not work for you, and that might be hideous. What I do really recommend is trying not to burn the candle at both ends too much, because sleep is your friend. So, even if that means scaling back your work, or scaling back … if you’re talking about growth, or learning and things, maybe you just have to hold back some of those plans for when they’re a little bit older or something, because your health is going to be more important than your sanity, than trying to do all the things. I think there’s a lot of pressure to try and do all the things, especially when you see people who don’t have kids doing all the things, but I think you’ve just got to keep an eye on how you yourself are coping with that sort of stuff.
Hayley: Yeah, and I think I talked about this a lot actually, because it’s what sometimes I do. It’s fine to take time off of work if you’ve got enough money. Say if you work quite a few months in a row, and then you’re like, “Oh, I’ve got enough money to survive and take a month off.”, so that you can do some of the projects and stuff, I think that’s fine. I’ve done that all the time. I’ve done that to start doing more Motion Hatch stuff, and I think that’s important to say as well, because then you would still have your mornings and evenings for your kids, but then you’d have more … I think that’s what he was saying he was doing at the moment, which I think that’s okay, as long as you have enough money in the bank.
Steve: Yeah, I remember one of my guests on the Being Freelance podcast describing it as a client holiday. So, they weren’t actually going on holiday, but they were telling their clients, “I’m off for two weeks.”, and then they were working on their own projects.
Hayley: That’s good. I always just tell them what I’m doing, but maybe I should just be like, “Hey, I’m just on … I’m on holiday. Sorry.”
Steve: Then they might expect you to bring back a massive Toblerone, no. It depends whether-
Hayley: Oh yeah. If you’re working in-house, yeah you have to go back, and they’re like, “Where’s our present?” “Don’t know. I was just in my pajamas.” That’s never me, by the way. I got totally distracted now by thinking about Toblerone’s and pajamas.
Hayley: So, Marie had a question about … she basically takes a day off every week with her daughter, and she doesn’t normally tell her clients, but she tells them she has limited availability. Do you think that she should be upfront about why she’s unavailable? She says, “I usually end up putting the same hours in the evening or the weekend to compensate anyway.”, and she just feels like the client wants every minute of her week. As a side note, she charges a flat project rate not a day rate.
Frankie: Yeah, I remember her question was the one where she something like, “I feel like my clients own my time.”, or something, or, “Own me.”
Hayley: Yeah, “Clients tend to make me feel like they own absolutely every minute of my week.”, that’s what she put.
Frankie: Personally, I would try and get rid of those sorts of clients if I’ve got kids. I work part-time now. The balance is different for everybody. In my instance I have two and a half days a week childcare, so I try and do my work within those two and a half days a week. I never to be working in evenings and weekends, but that’s life isn’t it? That’s freelance life, full stop. I know what days they are, I’ve got set days at nursery, that’s how my life operates. So, I tend to be quite clear about those boundaries, and when I work and when I don’t.
Frankie: I used to have an out of office on to every email that came in that was like, “I work these days. This is my life.” I didn’t say, “I have kids.”, I just said, “I work part-time, and I work these days of the week.” Again, it depends a lot on your personality, and your finances and all the rest of it, but if you can afford to work a bit less and not feel like you’re trying to maintain a full-time job, and feel owned by a client all the time, maybe look for slightly different clients. That’s a big full on, isn’t it, Steve? [crosstalk 00:27:27] You know what I’m saying, it’s like-
Steve: Yeah, part of her question as well is about whether or not … So, in the moment she’s saying, “I have limited availability, should I just tell them the truth that I’m off with my daughter?” I mean, you can gauge what that sort of client is like, they didn’t say great, but I think that response of like, “I have limited availability.”, is fine. As in, you’re not employed by them, you’re a freelancer. You probably have multiple projects.
Steve: So saying, “Oh, I can’t do a call on Wednesday.”, or, “I can’t respond to this on a Wednesday, or whatever, because of other commitments.”, for example … they don’t need to know that the other commitment is currently trying to throw sweet corn in your hair, and ram a fish finger into a USB hole, it’s … beware of that, by the way. I think it’s up to you as to how you frame it. I think simply telling them that you have other commitments is fine. If they’re a great client, then you’d be able to say, “I’m not available on Wednesday because I’ve got my kids with me.”
Steve: I used to have … when our daughter was in nursery, I used to have every Wednesday off with her at home, and the clients who I worked really regularly with, they just knew that that was the case, and so they knew that if they phoned me on a Wednesday I was unlikely pick up, or that I wasn’t going to check my emails, or I might be slower getting back to them, but if they … and if they needed a client … like, with their end client, then that simply wasn’t going to happen. But, if they needed to reach me then, fine, but there’s a kid in the background. They knew the deal, and then that just takes a certain level of stress off of your shoulders, because then you’re not worrying about them, and you can … I mean, actually, the best thing is just to enjoy hanging out with that kid on that day, because it doesn’t last long.
Frankie: Yeah, but also, they pick up on that stuff. If you’re in the park, and you’re checking your emails, and getting stressed, your kids know. They sense it, and it changes the whole feeling of that … what should be a nice time in the park. So, if you can set those boundaries, not only with your clients, but with yourself about what days and hours you work, or don’t work, you’re going to have a much more productive work time, because you’re getting as much done as possible within less time, and you’re going to have a much more positive relationship and time spent with your kids.
Frankie: It’s like, I think … it can get so blurred when you work for yourself, and have children, and I’m … again, it’s like, do as I say, not as I do, because I work around my kids a lot and I try not to. If you can afford to set those boundaries, I think it’s really key. I just think that choice of language she used about feeling owned just says a lot about that client, and maybe if you can find some clients that are a bit more accommodating, or fit better with your new life around your kids.
Steve: Marie, Frankie’s got your back.
Frankie: I’ll back you up.
Hayley: Yeah, I think what it was making me think about was … because she was saying that she’s charging a project fee. So, when I switch from a day rate to more of a project fee is because I felt like, working remotely especially, if you’re doing a day rate you kind of feel like you need to be sat in the seat all day working on that stuff, whereas if you’re doing a project fee, normally the clients don’t care, as long as you get the work done, because they’re still paying the same. So, surely, it shouldn’t matter as much whether you’re sat in the seat or not, or whether you’re with your kid.
Frankie: But then maybe psychologically you feel like you need to be thinking about it all the time, if you see what I mean?
Hayley: Yeah, yeah.
Frankie: So, you can’t set specific days, instead you’re like, “Oh, I’ve got this project I need to do by X date.”, and then you feel like you should be working on it all the time.
Hayley: So, another question that I got was from [Igu 00:31:15], I hope I’m saying that name right. They said when their daughter was born they convinced themselves to dedicate less time to their career, so the first three years was focused on her, but I think they’re worried that when they come back they won’t have any clients or anything. They were like, “Was it a good call?” I don’t know, I feel like this question is like, you should just be like, “Yeah, I did that. That’s a cool thing that I did.” I don’t know, but I don’t have kids, so I feel like I’ll just pass it to you guys.
Steve: I do remember a couple of years ago … yeah, a couple of summers ago, thinking … Basically, I’d work really hard during the summer holidays when the kids were off, and I remember at that point, on my vlog, sitting in my car, and talking to the camera like an idiot, like you do, saying basically what would me in 10 years time think of what I’m doing now? Would they think that I’m an idiot?
Frankie: I remember watching that clip, Steve, is that weird? Sorry, carry on.
Steve: It was a real epiphany for me though. It’s like, would 10 years for me, older me, being looking at me thinking, “You’re an idiot for not spending more time with your children while they actually cared about you.”, because 10 years in the future me suddenly has an 18 year old and a 15 year old who don’t want to hang out with me anymore. Is 10 years in the future me going to care that I wasn’t so focused on my business now, because actually he’s got all the time in the world now to focus on his business? It was that kind of thinking about that made me think, “No, do you know what? I can turn stuff down, and turn down the ambition a bit, and hang out with the kids now, and come back to this.” I think it sounds like you’ve done an awesome thing, to be honest, and I think also in the future at some point your kids will also sit there and think it was awesome.
Frankie: That was beautiful.
Hayley: That was really good, yeah. I didn’t know … I feel like you’ve said everything.
Steve: And if they don’t, [inaudible 00:33:07], the little buggers.
Frankie: But, on the staying relevant thing, I think it’s … Yeah, being with your kids for three years, amazing. I would love to do that if I could afford to do that, but you’ve got to keep one finger in the pie. So, whether that’s following the right people on Twitter, engaging in Facebook groups, if you can afford to doing some training, I imagine in motion graphics, like in graphic design as well, there’s new developments all the time, new tools, new software, blah blah blah, making sure you’re up to date with all that stuff, keeping one finger in the industry, so you’re not entirely separating yourself from that.
Steve: Yeah, and I think keeping your online presence alive, which can be a slight smoke and mirrors thing as to actually what you’re doing. But, for example, when I’m looking for guests for the Being Freelance podcast, and I’m checking it, I look at so many different freelancers websites, and sometimes I’ll land on one, and the blog won’t have been written in for two years, and then I look at their Twitter and that hasn’t been updated for eight months, and I start to think, “Well, are they even working anymore? Are they …”
Steve: So, I don’t think you want to get to that point. I think you still sort of create things and put them out there, and so you’re still, not necessarily top of mind, but you’re still clearly visible, and when people come back and look at your stuff they’re like, “Oh, yeah. That person’s been doing this thing, and I want to hire them to do that.”
Frankie: Yeah, you can still create something even if it’s not for money. It could be a passion project, a side project, whatever it is. Something to keep you producing, keep your brain in tick … you know what I mean. Keep the machine oiled, all that metaphor stuff.
Steve: Yeah, you might find yourself making looped gifs of life as a parent.
Hayley: Yeah, that is a cute project.
Steve: Like, Slim Jim, isn’t it, when he goes on holiday, he’ll spend weeks in Tokyo, for example, or New York, or whatever, and every single day he creates a gif of that experience. That just built his reputation even more, and solidifies something that he offers. So, there’s no reason why you couldn’t do that while you’re with the kids.
Frankie: Yeah, something that’s fun to do, but also feeds that social media beast. Getting content out, and feeling relevant, and … yeah. It would do both, wouldn’t it?
Hayley: Yeah, I think what he does is awesome, and I like the idea. Now we’re just going to see so many animated gifs of babies, hopefully.
Frankie: Bring it on.
Hayley: And like you said, put them all in the Motion Hatch community.
Steve: Like I say, if I don’t see a USB stick made out of a fish finger after what we’ve been talking about, I will be sorely disappointed.
Frankie: Well, we know there’s a lack of Bing gifs. So if anyone wants to get on that, that’d be great.
Steve: Yeah, the thing is, they probably won’t even know what Bing is [crosstalk 00:35:57].
Frankie: Yeah, that’s true, it’s lost. It’s lost.
Steve: See, look it-
Frankie: It’s a CBeeBies program, it’s fine.
Steve: Yeah. You find that, you start talking about … You know how other people talk about adult shows, suddenly all of your-
Hayley: I’m just like, “What?” I don’t know what-
Steve: … all of your cultural references suddenly come from the depths of children’s t.v.
Frankie: I got picked on a comedy night, because I was in the front row, and he was like, “Oh hi, blah blah blah.”, asking me questions, he’s like, “What did you do today?”, and I was like, “I mainly watched Mr. Tumble with my three year old.”, and he just … he literally had no idea what I was talking about, and his jokes just died. It was funny. In fact, I don’t think anyone in the room knew what I was talking about. So, there you go.
Hayley: Yeah, I totally was just looking blankly at you guys for a while, thinking like, “I totally don’t know what they’re talking about.”, but then when you said it was a parent thing, I was like, “Oh, thank God.”
Steve: Thank God … It’s a Bing thing.
Hayley: I was thinking, “Bing?” I was like, “Bing, isn’t that Google’s rival or something?”
Frankie: Yes. Yeah, true, true. There you go.
Hayley: Yeah, that was really confusing time for me.
Frankie: It’s all about context.
Hayley: Yeah. So, I want to talk a bit about time, because everyone’s trying to get more time if you’re a parent or if you’re not a parent, and you both do so much stuff, and have kids, I just don’t know how you do it. You both have … Steve’s doing two podcasts, you’re doing one and the whole thing, and you have children. So, how do you organize your time, and is there anything that people can do as parents to make things run a bit more smoothly?
Steve: I think weirdly I became more productive once I became a parent. I don’t know, it’s a-
Frankie: I agree.
Steve: Time is this weird flexible thing, isn’t it, as to how much you can actually fit into it, and I think maybe becoming a parent focuses your mind as to what you want to do, or the fact that you only have a five hour window instead of eight in which to do work, that’s what it’s like for me while the kids are at school, actually makes me work better in that time, for example. Then, as far as somebody doing lots of side projects and stuff, I think it’s probably because your social life goes out the window.
Frankie: Yes, so true.
Steve: Let’s not kid ourselves. I’ve only recently, like I said, six and nine our kids are, and I’ve only recently started going to a pub and stuff again, and seeing people and going, “Oh my God, this is what people do. Look at all these people having fun in a pub.” So yeah, you find yourself spending a lot more time at home. Maybe not, maybe you’ll have a lovely social life. It’s just my experience.
Frankie: I’ll back you up, Steve.
Hayley: So, you’re saying that everyone should start a podcast, because they won’t have any time to go and see their friends. I don’t really know what your point with saying that.
Steve: Well no, what I’m saying is, for a start you find that actually, if anything, you will become more productive, and there’s loads of different productivity hacks, but certainly, having children doesn’t make you less productive, I think it makes you more time efficient, and then it’s what you choose to do with that time, isn’t it, and for us two, for some reason, we decide to do these side projects.
Steve: I don’t … no idea what actual other people do who don’t do these things. They must have hobbies. Maybe spend times with their other halves. I don’t know. I don’t know what real people do, but yeah, you can’t do it all, that’s the thing, but some people really focus on exercise, they probably still go out and play five-a-side football, go for a run and stuff, but you can’t eat a cheesecake and go for a run. You can record a podcast and do one. Here’s my empty bowl.
Frankie: Totally agree on the having kids makes you more productive thing. In fact, I remember when I first started doing it for the kids, I had a conversation with somebody who literally said, “Having children is the best productivity hack.” There’s no messing around when you have kids and limited time, you just got to get on with it.
Steve: It makes you better adapting as well, doesn’t it? Which is part of being freelance as well, and making the most of your time.
Frankie: I was going to say the speech about having all the balls in the air. Externally, if you look at me and Steve on the internet, it will look like we’ve got all the balls in the air at once, and we’ve totally got it down, and everything’s fine, and we’re producing all this stuff all the time, et cetera, et cetera, but behind the scenes, I haven’t washed for nine days, and my kid’s been living off potato waffles. But I don’t tell you that stuff. You don’t know that stuff. You don’t know the state of my bath right now, whatever.
Frankie: So, yes, I look like I’m doing all the things, but you cannot physically do all the things. There is a pressure, particularly as a woman and as a mother, to be seen to be nailing everything at once, being the perfect mom, being the perfect business woman, blah blah blah, having good nails. It’s a myth. It’s complete lie, and if you try and achieve that and you reach for that goal, you’ll be sorely disappointed, and you’ll probably destroy yourself in the process. So really, it’s about … when you have children and you’re running your own business, and doing stuff, and creating, it’s about choosing what to prioritize, and what you allow to drop, basically, and for me that’s usually washing my hair.
Steve: I think how I first met Frankie was … because her Instagram stories were like the real version of parenthood compared to actually what … of a glossy version of people’s lives that you normally see on Instagram. That’s part of the beauty of the Doing It For The Kids community, and Frankie on Instagram is because yeah, it’s not all glossy.
Frankie: It’s really hard.
Steve: Your hair looks lovely though, by the way. It’s nice hair, you [crosstalk 00:41:22]-
Frankie: Oh thanks, I washed it today, can you tell?
Steve: Oh what, I thought it looked different.
Hayley: Just have to put that bit on YouTube now-
Steve: It did-
Hayley: … just so people can see.
Steve: … yeah, I didn’t recognize it without the whatsits in it, and things.
Hayley: Another thing that I’ve come across is with a couple of people who have kids that they feel sort of guilty when they’re doing work. They’re like, “Oh, I shouldn’t be doing any work, because I should be with my child.”, even if they’ve got someone else to look after them, or whatever. I don’t know what you guys think of that, and if you have any wise words.
Hayley: For example, I had a friend, he was in our MoGraph Mastermind program in January, and he was really struggling with even working three hours a day, because him and his wife work remotely so they shared the childcare, but just to kind of … Even though he could, he found that he didn’t want to sit down and do that work, because he just felt guilty like he should be with his daughter all the time. I was saying, “Most people don’t have that. That’s a privilege to be in that situation, so you shouldn’t really feel guilty about it.”, but obviously I’m not a parent, so I feel like it would be good to hear your thoughts.
Frankie: I mean, we all feel guilt on some level, whether you work for yourself or not, just having children and going to work is quite a bad combination at the moment in modern life, and all sorts of complicated feelings, but for me personally, yes, I feel that guilt, but I know that going to work and being away from my kid makes me a better parent. I come back from that refreshed and more excited about life, and like I have things to say, and I’m more creative with my kid, and I want to make stuff as opposed to just dump them in front of the t.v., or whatever. I have more energy for life when I am feeling fulfilled in my professional life as well.
Frankie: So, personally for me, I have to take that time away to work. I’ve had conversations with my other half about would it be more cost effective for me to just stop working while my kids are small, because childcare’s so expensive, but we both know that I would just be miserable, and I’d become a bad parent. Everyone would suffer from that, and it actually is worth us investing in childcare for me to take that time away and recuperate, and reconnect with myself as an individual, and then come back and be a good mom. Do more fun stuff.
Steve: You feel guilty when you work and when you’re not working, all of that, but that’s one of the beauties of the community is for example, is that it makes you realize everybody’s feeling that, and that that’s just … you almost have to shrug that off sometimes, and give yourself some slack. Actually, the fact that you’re getting to spend so much time with your children compared to the people who are going into offices, or compared to our own parents, and the generations before them, is a privilege, you’re absolutely right. I feel so lucky to be able to spend the amount of time that I spend with our kids. I think you should just seize that and try and enjoy both bits of it the best you can without feeling guilty.
Hayley: Yeah, I think that’s good stuff. I feel like I’m learning so much stuff. You’re preparing me for the future or something. It’s all for me, really. No, I’m joking. Yeah, I just wanted to ask you both about how we can make more time in our schedules while being parents, because I listened to some of the Doing It For The Kids podcast, and I really liked one where you could enlighten the Motion Hatch audience with some of your top tips for fitting in some more work around children.
Steve: That’s the thing though, of what I was saying about adapting, you find sneaky ways to do … suddenly … In fact, I took our daughter to her first gymnastics class at the weekend. So, they’re all in there, and we’re on the other side of this mirror window. It’s a bit … if anything, it’s a bit like One Flew Over The Cookoo’s Nest type situation. It’s like some weird experiment going on. So, all the parents are just sitting in one room, and there was quite a few of us on our laptops doing our work trying to make the … I quite enjoyed it actually, it was pretty quiet, and they had tea and biscuits. Going back there again, didn’t get that at swimming, that’s a nightmare.
Steve: So yeah, just squeezing in time. Yeah, in that particular episode you mentioned, I talk about the fact that sometimes I will drive up to the school early, leave the car outside, and work in the car. Actually, I’m more focused, because there’s nothing else to do apart from that work, or sleep. So yeah, you might as well crack on, and then you get extra smug points, because you’re already … you’re not stuck in traffic, you’ve got a good park right outside. So yeah, you start to pick up different ways of trying to squeeze time in.
Steve: I think one thing that we have talked about quite a lot on the podcast that we’ve discovered is the best thing you can do is being, not just transparent with your clients, but with your other half, if there is another half. Being open about what your workload is, and what you need to be doing, and maybe they are looking after the kid on a Saturday morning why you’re going into a café or a co-work space to work, or whatever it might be, keeping that dialog open as a team. What did we say, it was like having a huddle.
Frankie: Huddle cuddle.
Steve: Huddle and then cuddle, yeah. So, the huddle from the whole work … God, what do they call that agile way of working where everybody stands up and they explain-
Hayley: Oh, right. Yeah.
Steve: … what’s going to happen that day? Yeah, so it’s-
Hayley: They just call it a standup, don’t they? I don’t know, where I worked before where they were doing that they said standup, they were like, “Standup now.”
Steve: Oh you see, because I make quite a lot of videos for banks, and I know very definitely like a huddle, because once on their motion graphics we accidentally put a C, and we were telling them to have a cuddle, and litigation wise … I mean, it brought them together, for sure, but-
Hayley: I feel like that’s better. Let’s just have a … We’ll have a cuddle. I don’t think we’ve ever talked about cuddling on [crosstalk 00:47:41]-
Frankie: Welcome to parenthood.
Hayley: Yeah, this is getting definitely off-pieced, but yeah-
Frankie: I was going to say, on the getting stuff done time thing, I like to … Well, Steve does one, I’ll let you say that, but Steve talks about not checking his emails first thing in the morning to be most productive. So, not getting distracted by emails. I like to do … check my emails on the way back from nursery.
Frankie: So, I walk my son to nursery, and then on the way back I’ll have checked my emails, and I’ll have a sense of what’s going on that day, who I need to respond to, so by the time I get back into my flat, I’m like, boom, I can actually do some work now. See what I mean? Or, I’ve already drafted some emails in my head in that five, 10 minute walk.
Frankie: Another good one is, if you go to Ikea often, they have a free childcare play area for over three’s, I think it is. I think you get an hour basically, so you can browse the store, but they have wifi in the café, so you can actually get quite a lot done, as well as buy some wardrobes.
Steve: Good tip. Yeah, next time you go to any Ikea in Tottenham there’ll be Frankie lying on a bunk bed.
Frankie: Doing my emails, yeah.
Hayley: Yeah so, we had another question from Mario, which I think is quite a funny question, how to work efficiently with sleep deprivation? I feel like that you’re not going to work efficiently with sleep deprivation, that’s why I thought it was quite a funny question. So yeah, maybe … yeah.
Steve: Well Frankie, you’re in this at the moment, right?
Frankie: Yeah. I am burned out this week, for sure. So, to try and compensate for that, I had a massive injection of caffeine at 10:00 A.M. this morning, and then massively crashed, so I couldn’t do anything for the rest of the day. It’s difficult, because the reality is, when your kids are small, and even if they’re not, some people are blessed with non-sleepers. When they’re small, yeah, you’re running on empty a lot of the time, and if you have very limited childcare, the only option is to work into the evenings.
Frankie: So, in combination with working evenings, and then going to bed at 12:00, and your baby waking up at, say, 1:00, is not an ideal situation to be in. I’m going to make my usual speech about calling in support, and if you can, taking naps. If you don’t want to do that during a working day where you’ve paid for childcare, fair enough. Maybe you just ask a friend to, if they’ve got kids, for example, to hang out for a play date, and you nip into the bedroom and have a 45 minute kip, or whatever it is. Trying to find support and opportunities to catch up on that sleep. I’ll let Steve make what I think he’s going to say.
Steve: No, you do still come to realize that everybody at school gates, or at nursery gates, they’re all in the same boat. Even the ones who are going to drop their … Who are going off to an office and aren’t freelance, and so actually making friends with other parents is a really useful thing to do. I quite often invite two kids over, like double play date, preferably from the same family, and hope that they’ll get invited back. You just got to kind of do that.
Steve: I do think as well though, in terms of sleep deprivation, and Frankie might throw something at me, but I do think to a certain extent, humans do adapt to it though, and yeah, you’ve got to take care of yourself, but it’s just … it’s like living in this permanent state of jet lag, but weirdly you do kind of adapt to it, even if maybe you’re not … okay, it’s not you back on top, but you-
Frankie: I do think that you need to recognize those days where it’s just not going to happen, and rather than sitting at your desk staring blindly with your eyes twitching, sometimes it’s just better to step away, and even go to bed just for a couple of hours in the afternoon, because you’ll come back more energized, more productive, and you’ll do better work rather than just pushing through for the sake of it. Again, when you’re self employed, one of the joys of that is that you can choose to do that. You’re not forced to sit at your desk and battle on through. Listen to your body sometimes. I appreciate deadlines are in the mix and all the rest of it, but-
Steve: Yeah, I did that the other week, and I don’t even have a eight month old anymore. Just went and had a nap. Felt so much better for it. Does work, doesn’t it sometimes?
Hayley: Yeah, I’m a eight hours a night person. I’ve got to get that in, otherwise I’m just useless. So, I don’t know, I feel like … Yeah, I feel sorry for everyone.
Frankie: I was that person, as Steve says, you do adapt.
Hayley: Yeah so, we’ve got another question from Casey Smith, “How can I manage a never ending calendar? I think this is everybody, balancing work calendar, dance classes, doctors appointment, sick days, family visits. It can be pretty exhausting.”
Steve: It’s almost the same as if you weren’t a parent, in a way, it’s just you’ve got more stuff. It depends what your brain is like, and whether being super … I’m definitely super organized, way more than I used to be now, and having shared calendars with my wife on our iPhones so that we know when stuff is happening, and setting alarms as well, because that was one thing we have spoken about on the podcast, the Doing It For The Kids podcast, because when you have to pick up your kids at a certain time your brain gets distracted maybe an hour, or even two hours before that, because you start thinking, “God, I don’t want to be the one who forgets to pick up the kids. I don’t want to be one who …” So yeah, setting alarms and stuff. It’s just adapting all of those different productivity hacks of which the internet is awash with, and managing your time, and making them work for you and your family, not just you, but for your other half, or for the children, for that matter.
Frankie: Yeah, we’re all about Google calendars and just putting everything in it, literally everything, and we have some shared lists as well, so birthday cards, and birthday parties, and whatever, the things that need to get done for those events, we try and share information about that, and then even then, my other half’s like, “Oh, you didn’t tell me.”, and I’m like, “It’s in the calendar.”
Hayley: Yeah, I have that too. Everything goes in the calendar, and we’re still like, “Oh yeah, when’s that thing. What … where we going now?” Yeah, all the time, double booking things in and stuff. She’s also asking about when she gets sick, or her child gets sick, would you communicate with the client, ask for extensions, would you get a friend to help? What advice do you guys give in that situation?
Steve: We had a whole … almost about 15 minute discussion on this, just the other week, but I think our key points pulling out of it were, one, was to have a contingency plan, just like big businesses have contingency plans as to how to keep their businesses running when their power goes off, or the whole building is destroyed in a weird freak fire. So, you might have a contingency plan made up of other freelancers to give your work to, or family and friends to give your child to. One of the two, can’t do both, if it’s really something you’ve got to do.
Steve: Another one was being transparent with your clients perhaps and just saying, “You know what, I’ve got a sick kid today.”, because remember, they’re human too, and they also have people in their offices who have kids who have been sick. So, just saying, “I’ve got a sick kid today, be back tomorrow.” Unless it’s really crucial deadline, most things are pretty flexible, and so you can come back to it. Yeah, cutting yourself some slack in that respect.
Frankie: We talked about if you’re in a position where your other half is in an employed job, try and negotiate with them about who’s responsible, because a lot of the time it defaults to the self employed person, but if you’ve got a massive deadline, and your kid’s sick, and your other half is going into an office or whatever, and it’s on a salary, and they can afford to take the day off, or even work a bit from home or whatever, actually it might make more financial sense for them to take the day off than for you, because they’re getting paid whether they go to the office or not, and obviously your hours are connected to your income. There was one other good one, but I can’t remember what it is.
Steve: Stick them in front of the telly.
Frankie: That’s the sleep deprivation. Oh yeah, stick them in front of the telly, there you go.
Steve: No, but it genuinely was, as in, don’t feel guilty about sticking your child in front of a telly, because actually they need to rest and sitting still is going to do them good if they’re not well.
Frankie: T.v. these days is highly educational.
Steve: Yeah, well we both remember, as well, as kids enjoying those days of sick and watching telly, but now as parents we’re like, “Oh no, telly bad.”, but telly not bad. Telly not bad, telly good.
Hayley: Yeah, I don’t watch children’s telly, but I watch other t.v., and that’s pretty good.
Frankie: You’re missing out.
Steve: Fine, stick them in front of Game of Thrones.
Hayley: Yeah, yeah. Well no, yeah, that’s fine. Everyone else can do their work-
Steve: They love dragons. Kids love dragons.
Hayley: I was genuinely quite frightened watching the latest episode. Obviously, no spoilers, just in case someone’s listening going, “Don’t tell us what happened.”
Steve: I don’t think saying it was frightening would be much of a spoiler there. I think they would be more shocked if we went, “Yeah, God I love that bit where they all had a massive cuddle.”, or they all thought, “Guys, come on, let’s compromise, and have a cuddle.”
Hayley: A cuddle huddle. Yeah so, another question we had was about keeping the house tidy when you’re trying to do work and look after children. We kind of touched on this a bit, what about getting a cleaner? Is that … Am I giving good advice? I don’t know.
Steve: It is good advice, because one of the things … You’ve only got so much time, and the only way to get around some of those things is to outsource it. Be that outsourcing your work, outsourcing your childcare, outsourcing the tasks you’ve got to do, getting help with … About the only thing you can’t outsource really is your health and fitness, because you can even get people to bring you food, and send you recipe boxes and stuff these days. So, God, get a cleaner. Get a gardener, get a … Unless love you cleaning, or gardening, or painting and decorating. Frankie loves to clean.
Frankie: I absolutely love a good clean, I’m not going to lie.
Steve: But actually, that goes back to that valuing your time even more when you’re a freelancing parent is the fact that if you are, for example, taking two hours out to go to the supermarket, when in fact you can be at home working for two hours, or spending those two hours in quality time with your kid instead of shouting at a kid as they trudge around the supermarket trying to get one of those goddamn magazines off the shelves, then actually get the shopping delivered, get the cleaner in, get … Yeah, you’ve got to justify that, but I think you should justify it.
Hayley: What I hear you saying on this podcast is just try and do your best, and expect it to go wrong, and it’ll all be okay.
Steve: Well, if you’re taking it that away I think we’ve nailed it.
Frankie: Yes, agreed.
Hayley: Do you? Okay, that’s good. But I just wanted to mention as well that there are a lot of motion designers out there with kids and stuff, and it doesn’t get talked about too much, but I’m just really proud of the people that are doing it and still going for stuff, because I just went to NAB recently, which is a big massive conference like convention, and Tracy [Bringling 00:59:02], I think that’s how you say her name, she brought her daughter and she was at a lot of the parties with her daughter and stuff like that, and it was just really great to see that, and I think that … I hope that we see more of that kind of thing, and people are just including their kids, because at the end of the day because they have to, I guess.
Hayley: She was just like … It didn’t stop her from going to that big convention, and meeting loads of people, and networking and stuff. She brought her with her, and obviously she had her mom helping her too, but I just wanted to mention that, because I think a lot of people think, “Oh no, my career’s going to end.”, and stuff like that. To me, as someone who doesn’t have kids, I don’t know, but when I see people like that I find it quite inspiring. So, I just thought I’d mention that at the end.
Steve: It’s definitely not the end of your career.
Frankie: Oh my God no, not even slightly. It might pivot and it might change, but it’s not the end. It’s just the beginning.
Steve: Actually, it’s really cool, the thought of your kids role model wise, I think it’s a good role model place to be, both from a business point of view, creativity, the way you’re choosing to lead a family life. All of those things, they’re changing so much these days, and I think actually freelancing parents are setting their kids a good role model.
Frankie: Life and work don’t have to be mutually exclusive, it’s just not.. Increasingly, we’re trying to build lives where the two can live in harmony, and I do exactly that. I do events for Doing It For The Kids where people can bring their kids, and network and talk about work with their children in tow. They don’t have to be separate, they’re welcome to come.
Steve: As an extension to that, Frankie put together a guide of coworking spaces where children are, and okay, it’s a U.K. based one, but I’m sure around the world there must be similar places popping up.
Frankie: Oh, there’s loads in America, yeah.
Steve: So, co-working spaces where they also have a crash in … It’s expected that kids will be brought along. The fact that those sort of things are coming up is brilliant.
Hayley: So, do you want to tell everyone where they can find out more about Doing It For The Kids and also Being Freelance, as well?
Frankie: For Doing It For The Kids stuff you can go to doingitforthekids.net, and basically it’s all on there. It’ll take you to the Facebook group, and the podcast, and the blog, and those events that I mentioned as well.
Steve: The Facebook group is so good. Being Freelance is beingfreelance.com or search for Being Freelance wherever you get your podcasts, as there’s the podcast, and there’s the vlogs, and there’s the community as well where we do lots of Facebook lives and things, and it’s all a bit silly, as well as supportive. So, it’d be cool to see you there, and let us know if that’s like … when you have your kids and suddenly you’ve turned up and listened to that. Maybe we’ve got it all wrong, and you’ll come and slay us. I don’t know, or get in touch, we can chat Bing.
Steve: Once you’ve discovered what it is you’ll want to talk about it.
Hayley: Yeah, yeah. Don’t get in touch with me to chat about Bing just yet. I won’t know what you’re talking about. Yeah, well thank you so much for coming on the show.
Frankie: Oh, thanks for having us, it was fun.
Steve: Thank you.
Hayley: Thanks again to Frankie and Steve for coming on the show and answering all our parenting questions. I thought it was really awesome, and really insightful, and some cool little productivity tips in there and things like that. So, we will put all the links and stuff to the Doing It For The Kids podcast and community in the show notes, which will be motionhatch.com/41, so do go and check them out there.
Hayley: I’d love to see where you’re listening from today, so if you take a picture of where you’re listening to this podcast episode, and go and head over to Instagram or Twitter, we are @motionhatch. Tag us in there, and we might retweet, or put some of them in our Instagram stories. I’d like to know where you all are in the world, and it’d be great to see what you’re up to. So, thanks again for listening to the show. I appreciate you all. See you.