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  • Writer's pictureBeth Wardell

A shift of career INTO the Cultural Sector

Making myself proud

The start of the new year saw me take a leap of faith, as I finally felt the missing jigsaw pieces come together.

I had just left my job working in a Northumberland preschool.

It was a job that (up until September 2021), I had enjoyed.

It wasn’t what I intended to do the rest of my life as I knew within my heart, I had bigger and very different plans. But I stuck with it because (and you may find this familiar?):

1) it provided a steady income each month and

2) it was a familiar during a time that felt very uncertain. 2020/21 I’m looking at you.

But this job wasn’t making me happy. It wasn’t giving me job satisfaction or making my heart sing.

Now, I always tell other people that I believe job satisfaction is very important. Especially when you think about how many hours a week we put into our jobs.

So when my hours at work were cut even further and I was fighting against that seemingly never ending battle of juggling costs of childcare and work, I decided it was time to make the change happen that I so wanted to see.

Breaking in or just finding my way?

After four years of trying to "break through" into the freelance world full time, it suddenly dawned on me that it was in fact MY responsibility to make that happen. The work that I had previously been hoping would land in my inbox, wasn’t going to just come to me simply from me wishing for it.

Gosh, it was actually up to me to go out and actively source the work.

I actually have no idea why it took me so long to come to this realisation.

Part of it, I believe, was because to me being able to work freelance was such a dream come true it felt like it was almost impossible to achieve.

Already I had built up my own barrier. My own stumbling block created purely in my head, from the notion that I didn’t deserve this crafted career I had dreamed of having.

Why? Because it seemed too perfect.

Cultivating the dream...

Working hours to suit me and my family. Being my own boss, taking control of my accounts and turning what essentially was my hobby into a paid job.

I couldn’t grasp the idea that I could actually be working in a job that I enjoyed. Scratch that: a job that I LOVED. There WAS a way I didn’t have to have those “Monday Blues.”

I should say at this point that freelance is by no means easy. In fact it can be pretty stressful and relentless at times. It is my responsibility to seek work, to make money and to keep the ball rolling.

It has taken hours upon hours of working for no money to build up to the point where I am now.

There are also occasions where I will be lying awake at night making mental lists or worrying about something. What if I’m not paid on time? How can I tell if this is going to be a genuine client or not?

If I start to think too deeply into it, I find myself down a dark hole of thoughts about being an irresponsible parent for taking such a risk with my career when I have three young children at home to think about.

So do you know what I do, when thoughts like this threaten to take over my rational thinking head?

Practising Gratitude to cultivate my dream

I make a list of all the amazing opportunities that I have made happen over the last four years.

I write down reasons why my children would be proud of me, if they were old enough to fully grasp why I am working around nap times and late into the night.

I have come to accept that sometimes it doesn’t work out with a particular client for whatever reason.

I have learnt to stick to my niche and only ever deviate if I think it is going to benefit me wholeheartedly.

A few other tips;

  • Use social media wisely.

  • When making decisions try not to become jealous of other people’s success; instead use it to put fire in your belly.

  • Work out where you fit in.

Let me unpack that...

The pandemic allowed me time to try a few different things to find where I fitted in.

I self-published my second book and learnt some tough marketing strategies. Some days you would find me consistently on social media whilst others I couldn’t find the right words. It took a few errors and learning curves, but I am getting there. Learning as I go.

One of the most important things I have learnt about working as a freelance writer is to find your support network.

  • Tell people who you are and what you do and don’t feel embarrassed by it.

  • Be proud of the fact you are creating this work/life balance to make you happy.

Don't be surprised when amazing conversations start to happen and you meet incredible people who will inspire you and help you on your journey.

But above all, have faith in yourself! You can definitely do it.

To find out more about how I bring in multiple sources of income as a content creator and writer join Culture Northumberland's FREE online event on 10th Feb;

'If not now then when? Diversifying your income in the cultural sector.'

Register your interest by emailing or read more on the facebook event here. If you can't make the event please email questions in advance for our guests.

Bethanie lives in rural Northumberland with her three children and husband. Since 2017 she has been a freelance blogger and self published two books. Within the last year, Bethanie has started writing full time and is an ambassador for a travel website aimed at women who live to holiday. She has recently worked with Parkdean Resorts, The Outdoor Guide and North East Family Fun. You can follow her online here.

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