This week I had the pleasure of learning more about a fellow mastermind buddy, touring musician turned marketing strategist & tribe finder, Farideh Ceaser. She’s whip smart, hilarious, and even shares her best advice to freelancers & entrepreneurs while singing and playin’ her ukelele! She’s got a interesting past and a lot of good stuff in store for the future so I’m excited to introduce her today.
(P.S. Don’t have mastermind buddies of your own? You need some! I’ll be talking why and how soon on the blog.)
What kind of freelancing do you do and how did you get started?
I am a marketing strategist. I help businesses, freelancers and microentrepreneurs find great customers and build their buzz.
For 15 years I focused all my energy and time on becoming a successful touring musician. I saw very early that success isn’t just about being talented and doing great work, its also about deeply understanding business and marketing. I started by reading every book I could get my hands on about the music industry and marketing from the age of 13….I’ve always been a bit driven.
To date, I’ve released 5 records; toured the world; and enjoyed a successful indie music career.
In January of 2013, it dawned on me that I loved marketing more than music. I also realized that my lifestyle as a musician wasn’t well suited to my nature. I am an introvert, I love to go to bed early and my ideal eating habits are gluten free, dairy free and mostly vegetarian (ha! try eating like that when you are running to catch your flight).
We become entrepreneurs, whether we are musicians or designers, to enjoy lifestyle freedom. Living out of a suitcase and not seeing my husband for weeks at a time no longer felt free.
So I quit touring one month into a 3-month tour. I came home, started my marketing company, enrolled in some additional education and began defining a new set of rules for my entrepreneurial freedom.
Are you freelancing full-time or on the side?
I am freelancing full time.
When I quit tour my husband wondered if I was having a mental breakdown. I wondered a little myself but the road had made me poor, sick and lonely. I was ready for a fresh start.
I dove right in because I couldn’t stand to work for anyone else again. Luckily I still had some music gigs that were closer to home to keep paying the bills.
I started by helping friends for free, gathering testimonials and trying to learn a whole new way of working for myself. A benefit of performing for all those years was that I had been networking without even knowing it. That meant I had many people who already loved and trusted me.
I got a spot at Praxis Entrepreneurship a 9-month program that helped me write a traditional business plan. I also enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B-School because I wanted to thoroughly understand the online business world.
How long did you freelance on the side before you made the jump?
Through my life I’ve jumped on and off of the train of employment/entrepreneurship. I’ve always focused on getting work that would improve my business skills. I started working in administration at 17 and worked my way up to publicist and advertising coordinator. These experiences have absolutely helped me in both my music career and now.
It’s been 2 years since my last official “job” and I’m pretty confident I am not going back.
What is your favourite part of working for yourself?
1) Bubble baths at 2pm.
When I worked the 9-5 I always felt like I was broken. I wondered “How are people doing this?”. I couldn’t handle the stress, office drama and pressure. Everyday, I was either pushed to my breaking point or bored out of my mind.
Working for myself I set my schedule. When I need a nap, walk or dance break. I take it.
When I’m working on something and I feel a little stuck. I take a bubble bath and bring my phone to take notes when the solution strikes. I may have a slight bubble bath addiction. I’ve been known to take four in one day.
2) Not leaving the house.
Today it is -44 celsius outside in my cold prairie Canadian home. I’m not going out there and you can’t make me. Although, I am planning to spend a few weeks in Mexico which I can do since my work is done on my laptop.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in working for yourself?
Confidence. I struggled with it as a musician and I struggle with it now.
As a musician I found confidence in 15 years of experience. I knew what I was doing.
When I changed over to marketing strategist those old fears and doubts returned. My education and experience in marketing is primarily self-taught. There is no physical proof like a degree that I am good enough. I push past the fear, do the best work I can and the results of my clients is the proof I have.
Walk us through your typical workday.
7:30am – Wake up, make a green juice, feed the cat and kiss my husband as he slips out the door for work.
7:50am – Pray, meditate and sometimes journal. My spiritual practice keeps me sane, centred and connected to a higher purpose. I also set my goals for the day and write out my goals for my year as a reminder.
8:15am til 11:30am hit the book, MacBook that is. I am a morning person so I usually can get quite a bit of little things off my desk in the am. For email I use Emailga.me it serves your email to you one at a time and tells you that you are amazing – talk about efficiency!
11:30am til 1pm. Lunch. My husband works three blocks away so its a nice break in the day.
1:00pm Check the email and then I take on a larger project. My mind is really good at focusing in the afternoon.
3:00pm Brick wall. This is where my brain shuts down and tells me NO MORE. To bust through I do a 10 min exercise or enjoy my bubble bath.
4:00pm Dance break. If I am still struggling with work I usually put on an awesome tune and dance my buns off to keep on going.
4:45pm Start on supper and stop working. I try and take my evenings and weekends off from my computer. I find when I do my whole life works a lot better.
What advice would you give to someone a few steps behind you in their freelancing entrepreneurial journey?
Find your tribe.
Sell something they want to buy.
Yes. I know…that sounds very dumb and obvious. But thats only ‘cause it took me so long to figure it out. I struggled for 13 years trying and those 2 tiny changes was the magic solution to any business struggles I’ve ever had.
(Note from Leah: This video from Farideh made me so happy I still sing it in the shower weeks later and had to share it with you guys. Be sure to check out her others over on her website.)
Farideh is a marketing strategist, recovering musician and bubble bath addict. She helps her clients find their tribe of loyal customers and generate word of mouth buzz. Download her Free 10 Places to Find Your Tribe Cheat Sheet here.
Struggling to know where your tribe is or what they want to buy? Let us know in the comments and Farideh can give you some tips!
See ya back here on Thursday,