How We Do, Part 1

by Roo on February 25, 2014

in how we do

I received an email from a gentleman at an agency who wanted to hop on a call and discuss a work project. We ended up scheduling the call for nighttime (for a lot of freelancers, 9 to 5 can really mean 7 to noon and then 7 until 11). I answered the phone, we both said hi, and then I asked this total stranger, “What did you have for dinner tonight?” Uh, what? Roo, isn’t this a work call? (It was; maybe I was overly comfortable, but it wasn’t a detriment… in this case, anyway.)

I would describe myself as being insatiably curious, but maybe that’s just code for nosy, because I foam at the mouth when I see blog posts about “a day in the life” or “what’s in my bag right now” or “ten products I cannot live without.” I love seeing how other people live, operate, and make decisions. I have no qualms about texting a friend to see what her favorite apps are or whether or not she owns a hand vac and by the way, do you like it?

I guess I put a lot of value in what others experience. When it comes to freelancing (or running a start-up or small business or something else), there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules in place. A lot of it is make it up as you go and fine-tune and then maybe panic when you make mistakes. I voraciously read books on work-life balance (or blending or whatever) and productivity.

How We Do || Neon Fresh

In this new series called ‘How We Do,’ we’re checking out how other people live/work. (So nosy, I know!) I weekly receive emails from people who are ready to quit their jobs and start something new (but wait, do you have a plan?), SAHMs who’d like to start making money from home (wait, do you have a plan?), SAHMs who want to be more productive (girl, me too) and freelancers who are trying to grow their businesses (wait, do *I* have a plan?). I’m hoping this series (4-part? 6-part? IDK) inspires and gives a little insight. And forgive the length of this post, please. It required a long intro, but next time I’ll just jump right into the good stuff. :)

Meet Titania Jordan, full-time freelancer, work-from-home-r, and all around super smart business person. (Her client list is like, whoa. I also totally call her if I need a kick in the right direction.)

1. What do you do? I write and manage social media/email marketing for some awesome brands, such as Cool Mom Picks, Cool Mom Tech, baby gooroo, and RedRover.

2. More about you, please. I’m a wife and mom to a little boy, love to get crafty and DIY (unless it involves food, then I’m very happy with Whole Foods making it for me thank you very much), and have been on a healthy eating/healthy living kick since I could walk, besides those few years at college which we shall not speak of.

How We Do - interview with Titania Jordan

3. What’s your work setup like? I wake up at 5:30am to work until my son wakes up, then I shift into mom mode but do the majority of my work while he’s at school after I squeeze in a workout. When we get home (he goes half days) we play while I take care of less fun things, like laundry, dishes, and my personal favorite: cleaning the bathroom. The rest of my afternoon consists of juggling motherhood, work, and life in various degrees with lots of backup help from my husband/mom/MIL/sister (and Disney Junior and the iPad) come nighttime. Bjorn, my husband, is basically a gourmet chef, so he makes dinner almost every night and does bath most nights. I try to be in bed, eyes shut, by 10 but that’s easier said than done.

4. What’s one aspect of your work where you’re like, “I’m killing it right now?” Even if there was one, I couldn’t say, because I would feel like you do in those dreams where you go to school with no clothes on (totally embarrassed).  I will say I’m getting more confident in my writing abilities, but as every writer or pseudo writer knows, you can always be better.  I’m of the opinion that I can’t do an A+ job at my job AND an A+ job at parenting AND an A+ job at life…and family…and friendships…and…and…and.. so I try to maintain a steady B+ average across the board.

5. What’s one aspect where you’re all, “Uhhhh nooooo ahhhh whyyyy”? Invoicing, man. You’d think I’d be more on top of getting paid for work I’ve completed, but it’s the biggest pain in my rear.

6. What’s your favorite tip for working smarter, not harder? I work so much faster and with a clear mind when I know there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place. When I’m organized, I’m not distracted by everything that needs to be organized. Also, I have to  STAY OFF THE FACEBOOK if I want to accomplish anything (unless I’m posting something for a brand). I don’t even leave the tab open because it’s too tempting to just pop over and see what’s happened since you last checked 3 minutes ago.

7. What are the biggest perks and biggest drawbacks to your current setup? I can work anywhere, any time, as long as there is WiFi or cell phone service.  Want to invite me to the beach? No problem. I’ll be there. Seriously, we should go. I’ll just be on my laptop/iPhone some of the time. Drawbacks? I am never really off the clock. I’ll take that drawback, however, because the perks have allowed flexibility and opportunities I never dreamed of in my 20′s, trying to climb an extremely competitive corporate ladder. I work with some amazing individuals and teams that inspire me daily.

8. What’s one tool you cannot live without? Pandora. It gets me pumped in the shower, helps me block out distractions at the coffee shop where I work, pushes me harder when I want to give up on the treadmill, and it’s a quick fix for when I’m down.

* * * * *
And that’s how she doooo. If you have any questions for Titania, feel free to throw them in a comment. She’ll swing by and answer!

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? February 25, 2014 at 10:14 am

Hi Titania- love you! And you are killing it:)

I’ll do your invoicing and Roos:) I can knock those out in no time:) Hmmm… We should trade services or something.

Question: How did you get started doing it all? What’s your background? Did you do this job before you were a mom?

Reply

Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Hi Krystyn! So much love right back at you. Thanks, truly. I started as an unpaid intern right out of college in marketing and promotions for Star 94 (Atlanta Top 40 radio station) and then got promoted to national sales promotions coordinator. I finally transitioned to an account executive which meant I was in charge of sales, and creating comprehensive advertising and marketing campaigns for clients that included on-air (writing copy), digital (giveaways), and in-person activations/events. When I returned from a 12 week maternity leave I spent two days crying in the pumping closet at work, and decided I couldn’t do it and had to resign. We didn’t know what we were going to do going from a dual-income family with sweet corporate benefits and a matching 401K to a single-income family with independent contractor benefits (read: they suck) but gosh darnit we were going to take a leap of faith and figure it out. I bet if I gave it a month, and let those postpartum hormones work themselves out, I could have stayed, but the economy had just tanked and nobody wanted to buy airtime so that made my decision a ton easier. I never imagined that my life would look like this, but now that I’m here, I can’t imagine anything else. I’m truly thankful to have experienced the corporate world, the SAHM world, and now the WAHM world.

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Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Also, Krystyn, you have always been so amazing in helping me and my clients with web design needs. I would 100% refer you in a heartbeat and thanks for offering to help with invoicing. I might have to take you up on that. Let me know how I can help you as well.

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Allison February 25, 2014 at 10:21 am

Cool series, Roo.

Titania, could you explain a little more about what you do for those brands you listed? And did they come to you or did you go find them?

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Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

Hi Allison! They came to me. The opportunities that I have now have all come to me via relationships, many of which formed by going to blog conferences, and just putting myself out there as person who could do x,y, and z in a hopefully non-obnoxious way. Word of mouth/referrals are the highest form of flattery, so if you do a good job for one person, even if it’s the local cupcake shop, they will naturally refer you and it’s like a snowball effect that will one day land you at [insert big global brand here]. I try to write tweets and Facebook posts that resonate with followers and in turn, make them want to engage and click. I write emails that I think people will actually want to read, and hope for great open/click rates. I am truly invested in what each brand’s respective audience wants to read and talk about, and humor/honesty always wins in my opinion.

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Meg February 25, 2014 at 10:53 am

LOVE how we do it posts…kind of the same way I love going to open houses even when not on the market. Because being a small business owner a year-in, mom of two toddlers, clean eater, not so clean housekeeper, potential future homeschooler…I’m ALWAYS looking for ways to do it better.

What’s the balance between you and your husband? Mine does the dishes, which is awesome,…but then I feel guilty since we usually have a Mountain of dishes by the time I’m done cooking on Sunday for the entire week, which takes him the entire week to get through. I do the laundry and cooking. The vacuuming, dusting, and bathrooms get done when we have people over….I may need to have people over more often….

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Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 11:22 am

Hi Meg!
I do the laundry, and my husband cooks. If I eat slow enough, he does the dishes too. Ha. Just kidding. Kind of.
He works full time, so I do breakfast/lunch/dishes related to that, and he does dinner and dishes related to that. He sometimes covers breakfast if I’m swamped. We split other household chores…vacuuming, dusting, bathroom cleaning, with him doing more vacuuming (because he’s stronger and way faster) and me doing the bathrooms because I’m more OCD. I usually get caught up cleaning the little things because I’m so particular (like baseboards, or that black hole of a space between the fridge and the oven) while he’s a big picture, get it done fast kind of guy. I think the only advice I can offer is just do it in spurts. 10 minutes of dishes here, 5 minutes of bed making there, 5 minutes of filing a little later. etc. will add up to way more awesome than a 2 hour burn out cleaning session. I always looking for ways to do it better too. Baby steps seem to work best for me and help to not get overwhelmed/procrastinate.

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Sheri Preston February 25, 2014 at 10:53 am

You should make this indefinite! I’d like to hear from people with kids with different allergies or special needs and how it makes a life different from mine. There are hella interesting peeps around!

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Melanie February 26, 2014 at 1:29 am

Yes! There is so much we can learn from each other, and you know some RAD people.

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Rebecca February 25, 2014 at 11:03 am

yay!! Thanks Roo! This is actually really cool; I love learning about how other people accomplish the freelance+ life.

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Stephanie R February 25, 2014 at 11:11 am

Roo, I LOVE this! Very excited about the new series. :)

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Monica February 25, 2014 at 11:17 am

Love the new series! I just took over a new business so my life has been all business classes, inventory and talking to customers while trying to keep my son entertained and trying not to have a baby too soon… Long story short… I need this series right now!!

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Stephanie February 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

Can we revisit the handvac? DO you have one and do you love it? I was just browsing Amazon for one yesterday…

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Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 11:32 am

Oh. My. Word. I got the Dyson DC34 for Christmas this past year and it basically changed my life. I have never geeked out so hard over a handvac, like, ever.

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Kala M. February 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

Love the new series! I’ve started doing some really small freelance work over the past year and always love your How to be a Baller post. Yast.com has been the biggest help tracking my billable hours. Keep them coming!

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Jen February 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

LOVE this new series idea… especially since I’m totally one of those “do you have a plan?”-ers. Any time I can get advice from fabulous and successful ladies like Titania, you better believe I go into sponge mode!

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Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Hi Jen! You are too kind. :)

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Anna February 25, 2014 at 1:17 pm

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I am loving this new series, Roo! Thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself, Titania! I’ll definitely be following you from here on out :)

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Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Hi Anna! Thanks so much! Following you as well.

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Emily February 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Love it Roo! As a new WAHM I am soooo struggling to find the balance between being Mom and being in work mode in the house. I would love to hear more!

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Sara February 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

You had me at:
“Bjorn, my husband, is basically a gourmet chef”

;-D

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Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Hi Sara!

Right?! :)

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Michelle | Birds of Berwick February 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Roo! Thank you! This series will be so informative!

And, Titania – you were so informative already and your responses above are fantastic as well. I have a dream to get out of the corporate world and be a WAHW (Work at Home Wife – is that a thing? It’s got to be a thing.) and kids or not, the tips about managing time, staying focuses, and getting things done are invaluable as we start to plan for the future.

Thanks to both of you!

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Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Hi Michelle! Thank you! It’s totally a thing, and if it wasn’t, you could make it a thing and rock it for sure. Get it girl!

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Melanie February 26, 2014 at 1:34 am

It’s totally a thing! One of my best friends is doing it right now. :)

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Sandy the Fearless Scribe February 25, 2014 at 9:10 pm

This is so inspiring. I’m trying to grow my blog and have begun pitching companies to let me write/work for them. This gives me hope.

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Titania Jordan February 25, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Awesome Sandy! Let us know if anything exciting comes your way, which I’m sure it will.

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Lesley February 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Roo – I love this series idea. I hope you keep it going more than 4 or 6 times.

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Elise Spontarelli February 26, 2014 at 8:59 am

Great post, I’m looking forward to the rest of the series! And I feel you on the invoicing- ugh! I just switched to a new online service and it has made my bookkeeping so much easier, though. I know there are a ton, but I use http://www.invoiceable.co and am really happy with it. Cheap, easy and my clients are happy with it too. I have no affiliation with them, just sharing a product I love :)

I’m a WAHM w/a 10 mo old, so I am still trying to figure out the work-life balance (aren’t we all?!)

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Titania Jordan February 28, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Thanks Elise! Oh the fun is just about to begin. I miss 10 months old so much!

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Anesha February 26, 2014 at 10:23 am

Titania….you just blew my mind….Freed me if you will.

As women, we’ve been told “You can have it all…a family, a career, a nice home…” I was blessed to be raised in that genreation. I was told I could do it all…have it all…achieve it all…but no body told me I wouldn’t be able to have it all…and have it perfect. Does that make sense? I’ve been striving (and killing myself) to “have it all” on this A+ playing field. If I was going to do it I had to do it flawlessly…or I felt like a failure. Who ever said that B+ wasn’t good enough? I’d still be above average and my husband, kids, and co-workers would probably like me better. I know I’d enjoy being around myself more…

I’ve just been liberated! Thank you!

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Titania Jordan February 28, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Hooray Anesha!

It’s wonderfully liberating to free yourself from trying to be the perfect EVERYTHING. It’s just not possible. The more you stretch yourself thin, the less of you there is to be awesome at each aspect of your life. I think’s there’s a name for that theory. The Law of Diminishing Awesome, or something like that. Probably theorized by Einstein.

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Danielle February 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

YES. Love these kinds of posts and am looking forward to the series! Would like to see more “how they got from A to B and what was the plan (if any)” type stories.

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made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

Reply

Kathleen (Bean) February 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm

OMG I know Titania! And I’ve been reading this blog for a while, and I was like, whoa, she looks familiar! Titania, if you’re reading, I was BEST friends with Jackie at SMES! Crazy! Thanks for all the great words of wisdom, maybe we should grab a coffee!

Kathleen

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Titania Jordan February 28, 2014 at 10:22 pm

YES! Oh. My. Gosh. I love things like this. Mind blown. Jackie says “hi!” and has her token big smile. Hit me up on Twitter (@titaniajordan) and let’s totally get together in real life. I’m not too far from the old stomping grounds. Fun stuff! Hi to your family from ours! :)

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Kelly {the Centsible Life} February 26, 2014 at 10:28 pm

I eat this stuff up! Love his type of post and Titania!

My question-do you struggle with keeping a consistent workload? I find things are either boom or bust and it’s taken me several years to get used to the idea of a fluctuating workload and income.

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Titania Jordan February 28, 2014 at 10:18 pm

I love YOU Kelly!

I’ve been freelancing since 2009, and funny you should ask: it always seems like the times that business is a little more quiet is actually a blessing in disguise. Meaning, during those quiet moments, I really needed to focus more on other areas on my life (health, family) and the breaks in workload gave me the much-needed (and well-timed) time to do that. As far as fluctuating income, We try to not adjust our spending in relation to our income. If our income grows, we try to not spend at the same rate of increase, therefore giving ourselves more of a margin to fall back on should we start to make less. We try to really only buy what we need (easier said than done) and live simply, so that any extra when times are good can go into savings/retirement. Anyone who does what we (bloggers, writers, freelancers) do is fortunate in that there are so many social media/marketing/writing needs out there, that we don’t see many bust periods, as long as we stay well-connected and keep up with the latest trends in our industry. I’m okay with the fluctuation of busy and less busy, because if I stay at the frenetic pace of 24/7/365, I’ll burn out. My biggest fear is over committing/over promising/under delivering and then letting a client down, so I take the boom periods with much care and caution. Most of my experience has been there is plenty of paying work out there, and not enough hours in the day.

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Jess March 10, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Alright, LOVING this series REEEEEEEEAL hard.

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