Moving the needle every day - Lead Generation Strategist Cathy Wassell
Cathy only needed 3 days work when she first started out as a freelance social media manager, and she was lucky enough to fill those slots without too much effort. When she lost a client later down the line and found herself exploring lead generation strategies, Cathy retrained as a Facebook Advertising specialist, re-positioning herself and her services in the process.
Cathy talks about her experiences of training, finding clients, pricing her services, taking on associate freelancers, and partnering with other women in business to co-found a new company.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE BEING FREELANCE PODCAST WITH LEAD GENERATION STRATEGIST CATHY WASSEL AND STEVE FOLLAND
Steve Folland: As ever, how about we get started hearing how you got started bring freelance?
Cathy Wassell: Sure! I have been in my marketing for about 24 years now. God, that sounds a long time, doesn't it? Most of it, I was actually employed. I worked for 19 years for the same company. It was a Japanese company, based in London, who have book chains all over the world basically, but obviously mostly in Japan. I got that because I used to live in Japan. I lived in Japan for three years and taught English, like everybody else there really who's not Japanese.
Cathy Wassell: Then I came back and I did a Master's in Japanese and one of the ladies on my course had to set up this interview and had decided that they were going back to Japan and they couldn't make the interview. I phoned up the recruitment agency and begged to go on the interview, and luckily, they let. I was interviewed in Japanese. That was the first and last time I've ever been interviewed in Japanese. Could I do it now? Absolutely not a chance in hell.
Steve Folland: Wow. That honestly sounds like one of the truth and lies I get at the end of this.
Cathy Wassell: No, that's all true. That is all true.
Steve Folland: So you were doing marketing, was it, for that firm?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, I was sales and marketing manager.
Steve Folland: And you spent then, was it 19 years with them?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah. I don't know how that happened, really. Most of it, I was actually working home in the end. After I had my first child, I decided that I didn't want to do all the horrible commuting on the Central Line and get stuck, as you do in London, with no family nearby, kind of desperate to get to the nursery by 6 o'clock to pick up my baby So I said, "Okay, my husband is getting a job transfer to Birmingham, and I'm not going to be able to work for you any more," and they said, "Okay. Can you do it from home?" So I said, "Yes, please! Please continue to pay me the same wages that you paid me in London, and I'll do it from home." And that's how it happened, yes.
Steve Folland: Amazing.
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, it was kind of like golden handcuffs, really. It's not a golden handshake, but it kind of was golden handcuffs. I didn't really feel that I could leave because it was too good a deal.
Steve Folland: That is an amazing deal, to be fair. So you then spent how long working from home for them?
Cathy Wassell: Probably about 15 years, I worked from home.
Steve Folland: Wow. So you were working from home way before working from home was a thing.
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, I worked from home for a long time. In fact, I don't think, I couldn't go back now to an office.
Steve Folland: No, I bet.
Cathy Wassell: Nobody would want me.
Steve Folland: At what point did you step away from that?
Cathy Wassell: I was made redundant. So yeah, after 19 years, I was made redundant, and I thought, "Oh, okay. What do I do now?" And again, I couldn't go back to an office, so I did think about getting jobs obviously, but you know, I had two children. By that point, I had two spaniels as well and I didn't want to leave them at home on their own all day. I thought, "Okay, well I've got to set up my own business," so that's what I did. Marketing was the obvious thing.
Steve Folland: Yeah. When was that?
Cathy Wassell: That was about five years ago.
Steve Folland: I mean, you said marketing was the obvious thing, but obviously I introduced you as a freelance lead generation strategist. What did you first do when you set out as freelancer? You positioned yourself as a marketer, did you?
Cathy Wassell: Yes. I was doing social media marketing, mainly. Obviously not for the whole 19 years because social media wasn't around all that time, but during the latter part of my employment, I was mostly doing social media for them. I retrained, or rather, I got proper training as a social media manager and started to do not just day to day management, but a lot of strategy, marketing strategy work and training. Then I niched down into Facebook ads and LinkedIn and then I kind of niched down a little bit further and said, "Okay, I'm not doing ecom. I'm doing lead generation," so that's where I am.
Steve Folland: Okay. That's where you are. Let's unpick how you got there, though, because there must have been a lot of decisions within all of that. I'm intrigued actually, though, right? You said you retrained. What made you think you wanted to do that when you'd been doing it, if you see what I mean?
Cathy Wassell: I suppose I've taught myself, like probably most of us who have grown up as the internet and everything else happened. I taught myself. Now I mean, I would have loved to have the internet while I was in Japan. It was at its early stages, but I certainly didn't have anything to do with it, but that would have been brilliant. I had to book times to speak to my parents because of the time difference and them being at work or me being at work. I spoke to my parents every two weeks on Sunday and it was horrible, sometimes waiting all that time, and it cost a fortune, an absolute fortune. It would have been very different if we could have just been on Facebook. Still, it wasn't to be then.
Cathy Wassell: I decided that I wanted to do it properly and I wanted the analytics knowledge, I wanted the reporting knowledge. I wanted to be able to prove return on investment.
Steve Folland: Okay, and how long was that course? What sort of thing was it?
Cathy Wassell: That was a six month intensive course with actual on-the-job experience, so I had a program partner who was a client still until very recently. I worked with them and worked on their strategy and their social media until I had graduated.
Steve Folland: That must have given you confidence to go and freelance?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah. It gave me confidence, but it also introduced me to a great group of women because they were all women, and in fact, three of them are my co-founders of my other business, Go With The Pro. It's really changed my life, in that sense.
Steve Folland: So, how did you go about... obviously that's one client that you've bagged. How did you go about finding your first clients?
Cathy Wassell: TO be honest with you, I never really had to hustle for clients. I was quite lucky. Either it was people at networking groups, or it was a friend of a friend, if you see what I mean. At first, I couldn't work full time. Now I certainly work more than full time, but at the time, I could only do about three days a week, which is how much I had been working. I had enough clients and I stopped looking. And really I only started looking again when I lost one, which is kind of how I've ended up niched into what I am doing now because that's not a position that I want myself to be in again, and I don't want anyone to be in that position, either.
Steve Folland: So how many clients did you have at once?
Cathy Wassell: I think the most I had at once was four because if I were managing multiple channels for them, each channel takes about five hours a week, so really I just couldn't handle more than four clients.
Steve Folland: So you got four clients on the go, but yeah, so you're saying you then stopped looking for more clients because you had the clients?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah.
Steve Folland: And how long did that go on for and how, like what made you evolve your services?
Cathy Wassell: So after a while, I decided I wanted to learn more about Facebook ads and I did some Facebook ad training with Emma Van Heusen, who is one of the top Facebook ads people in this country. UK doesn't tend to have, or didn't, tend to have particularly strong Facebook ads people. If you were really serious about Facebook ads, you had to go the US or Australia, not literally, obviously, but you had to find people in the US or Australia. That's kind of changing now, which is great.
Cathy Wassell: I decided that I had to learn about them properly and I had to know everything about them so I did that training and then kind of re-pivoted a bit to not taking on any more social media clients. I still have one. I still have my Orchestra client and I'll keep them as long as I need to because it's one of the top 10 orchestras in the world and they're a nice prestigious client to have on my portfolio, but I don't take on new social media clients now other than if my team is going to work for them. I don't work on them myself, but as I run an agency, I can still take them on.
Steve Folland: You found that the problem you had, nice problem as it is, was that all of your time was taken up... like social media management is a very time-restrictive thing. You have to put in the time to it. So you wanted to move away from that?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah. I found that I had only time to work on my business, not in my business, which again, I think is a very common freelance problem. Well, not just freelance, I'm sure. And I wanted to be able to develop my business. I wanted to be abl to take weekends off, you know, which often you can't really with... You're kind of always on. I was checking my client's Twitter et cetera, four, maybe fives times a day. I had to do that still at the weekend, maybe not quite so much, but I still had to do it. I wanted some time off, basically. I wanted to be able to switch off.
Steve Folland: Yeah. And how did you go about the pricing at that early stage? Like, on the course that you did in the beginning, did they give you advice on that?
Cathy Wassell: Not so much. I did start out with... I obviously charged less at the beginning because I didn't have the wealth of experience. I mean obviously I had a lot of marketing experience, but I didn't have wealth of social media experience. Also, my program partner was a charity, so I didn't feel that I could charge them too much. But yes, certainly I have moved on from those pricing strategies now.
Cathy Wassell: But I think at the beginning, you do have to go lower when you don't have the experience, you have to give on something, and usually that's pricing. It certainly... I would always advise people to make sure that they have a contract in place and that they have some kind of break clause where they can renegotiate their pricing.
Steve Folland: Oh, that's interesting. Yeah, so what would a break clause look like for you?
Cathy Wassell: For Facebook ads, I don't do contracts of less than three months because you can't get Facebook working in an optimum way, really, in less than that time. At least you can't say that it's not working before three months because you've got to give it enough time to work. I don't say that a contract has to be 12 months, but I do say it has to be a minimum of three months. Really, I just go from there. I don't think... I generally don't put break clauses any more, but I would say to anyone starting out that, you know, put in a break clause of six months or something so that you can renegotiate once you've got a bit more experience.
Steve Folland: Okay, right. So you are transitioning into a Facebook ads expert now. How did you go about finding those clients?
Cathy Wassell: I do contact people now. I do do a bit of hustle now. I do networking, I spot brands that I would like to work with and I check out what ads they are doing. You're able to do that now on Facebook. I research in particular areas that I would like to work in and I find people and I will contact them when I have time to do so. I'm not doing so at the moment because I have no time, but I pick up clients from speaking gigs, so like for example, this week I've done two different kind of speaking gigs. I've had about 10 leads from those. Obviously I'm still in the stage of seeing what will happen with those, but you know, you've just got to get yourself out there, really. You've got to show yourself as an expert, get yourself out there.
Cathy Wassell: I pick up usually quite a lot of work from LinkedIn. Some people have success with Instagram, but generally, social media, networking, and word of mouth is generally how it is.
Steve Folland: So what it is that you do on LinkedIn in particular?
Cathy Wassell: For LinkedIn, I advise people how to optimize their profile. I have a LinkedIn course and I run a LinkedIn challenge, a free challenge, for people to optimize being found on LinkedIn, rather than finding people. I run ads from LinkedIn ads for people. As an agency, I do run LinkedIn company pages. I don't tend to run them myself. LinkedIn company pages are problematic. There's so little that you can do with them, so an individual profile is much meatier to get your teeth into, really.
Steve Folland: That's what you offer service wise, but how did you go about... because you mentioned clients would find you or you would find clients. What did you do for yourself?
Cathy Wassell: Well, I'm not sales-y. I don't try and sell on LinkedIn. I find that doesn't really work on LinkedIn anyway. So I generally make videos, write posts being helpful, looking at problems that people have and giving them tips about it, and people get in contact with you because of that. That's generally what I do. I post almost every day on LinkedIn, consistently. I comment a lot on other people's posts and that's how the algorithm gets to like you, basically, and gives you more reach.
Steve Folland: You say you post every day, but you don't like do a new blog post or video every day, do you?
Cathy Wassell: I do quite a lot of videos. I mean they only need to be a minute. They don't have to be a big... It doesn't have to be a big thing. Certainly no, I don't do a new blog post every day, but text only posts do very well on LinkedIn, so perhaps just a little tip or a little... some bullet points about something work really well on LinkedIn.
Steve Folland: Do you plan that out in advance or do you just go with the flow?
Cathy Wassell: I don't have a super duper content calendar, although I would for clients. Typical isn't it? It's like the plumber never doing his own plumbing, but I do have kind of themes that I work on either weekly or monthly. Basically everything during that week or month would be geared towards a particular theme.
Steve Folland: And you said that you now help other people optimize their profiles for LinkedIn. Was that something that people started asking you for, or did you just sit there and go, "Hm, there's a lot of bad LinkedIn profiles I'm looking at. Maybe I could offer this as a service."
Cathy Wassell: There were a lot of bad LinkedIn profiles out there, definitely. No, but I had a lot of the groups that I'm in, people would tag... You know I get tagged daily about LinkedIn and Facebook ads in various Facebook groups. And people are asking me the same questions, so it makes sense to make a little video that answers that question, basically.
Steve Folland: Now, obviously I've got to ask you about your team because people will be sitting there going, "Hang on. She's mentioned an agency twice now and you've not picked her up on it," so I will. Yeah, you mentioned your team. At what point did you grow beyond yourself?
Cathy Wassell: I have an associate team, so I don't have employees. I know an awful lot of social media and Facebook ad freelancers and I know which ones are really good. Generally, they've got the same training as me because that's how I know them. I know that they can do things at just as good a standard as I would do it. As needed, I use my associate team.
Steve Folland: What does that look like for you? Like how much of your work is outsourced or like collaborative in that way?
Cathy Wassell: At the moment, it's not too much. Probably about 30, 40% at the moment, but it's growing month by month. Six months ago, it wasn't even that much, so it's certainly something that I expect to continue to grow.
Steve Folland: And then your clients... You're invoicing your clients and then you're paying the freelancer who's working for them, right?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah. Yeah, so I'm the point of contact, yeah.
Steve Folland: How do you find, I guess, managing a team in that way?
Cathy Wassell: I really enjoy it, actually. So my other business, which I expect you'll ask me about in a minute, is my membership group Go With A Pro, and that is with... there's four of us who are the co-founders of that and the co-directors of that. We all live all over the country so we do meet up a few times a year, but we all work remotely and we all manage the business remotely. That works absolutely fine, to be honest.
Steve Folland: You must have a lot of good working remotely tips up your sleeve really, because you were doing it for so long.
Cathy Wassell: I must have.
Steve Folland: Or I wonder whether you don't know what those tips are because it just became second nature to you?
Cathy Wassell: Well, maybe. Yeah, you have to just pull them out of my brain now.
Steve Folland: I have to pull them out of your brain?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah.
Steve Folland: Right, okay. I'm going in. Yeah, what are the challenges of working remotely that you've had to overcome?
Cathy Wassell: I think the biggest challenge for me is not having an IT department. That drives me crazy, tech issues. I'm not particularly techy, although I suppose I work with tech all the time. But you know, when your laptop goes wrong or everything else happens, I do with that I could just call the IT department and the IT guy would come and fix it, but that doesn't happen, sadly.
Steve Folland: And how about the way that you're communicating with people remotely?
Cathy Wassell: Well, we use... So for my co-directors and I, we use Slack every day. Then we have Zoom calls every week, so we're speaking to each other every day. We're in pretty much constant contact, but yeah, it's mostly through Slack with occasional Zoom calls.
Steve Folland: Okay. In that case, let's talk about the membership groups because you've mentioned the directors, the co-founders. This is Go With The Pro, so that's a membership for small businesses, did you say?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, small businesses and freelancers, so it's basically support for setting up your own business, for launching it, for growing it, for finding clients. There's lots of resources. There's monthly workshops, but most of all, there's a highly supportive Facebook group where you can ask anything. And believe me, we have been asked anything. You will get lots of support.
Cathy Wassell: We find that especially for women, sadly, the biggest thing that they need when they're starting their own business... Often they've only just become freelance, maybe they're returning to work after having children and they don't want to go back to that office job that they had before, it doesn't just work for them any more, confidence is a big issue. Confidence and imposter syndrome and feeling like they have the experience to offer, when often, they certainly do have the experience to offer, but it's confidence that's holding them back. So that's a big thing in Go With A Pro. We're big on building up confidence, counting your wins, being grateful for what you've got so that that builds up the whole confidence issue, and generally just supporting people to make that step.
Steve Folland: And you have courses within that, do you?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah. We've got various courses. We've got about, I don't know how many now, 15, 20?
Steve Folland: How long has that been going?
Cathy Wassell: Since last year. We built it all up over the Summer, and we launched in September.
Steve Folland: You built it all up. What did that actually involve then?
Cathy Wassell: That involved a lot of work.
Steve Folland: Okay, good, all right because... Did you start with one course and then add to them or did you like build them all at once?
Cathy Wassell: No, we launched... I think we launched with 12 courses, and we add new one every month.
Steve Folland: Wowzers. Okay. So how did you go about building that? So you've got the four of you. Who's idea was it? Did you all... were you all just catching up one day and thought...
Cathy Wassell: So Go With A Pro itself was my idea. It started in a big Facebook group that we were all in, a Facebook group of female social media managers. We were... It started with something else. We were fed up with hearing about people that had been in the business for many years, whether it be social media, marketing, PR, journalism, constantly being got rid of because they said an intern could do it. We started the hashtag Go With A Pro and we built up content that showed, basically, that businesses should Go With A Pro. Interns are great, but it's not fair to use them for that when they're meant to be learning, and it's not fair to get rid of somebody with x amount of experience so that you can not pay someone, basically.
Cathy Wassell: That was how it started and then we did a charity event. One of our dear friends and she had cancer and she was fighting it. We raised a lot of money for that, and really it was born from that. We decided that we really liked working together. We had put in a lot of time volunteering for this event and for raising the money and we decided that we would make a business out of it.
Steve Folland: Man, that's cool. So the four of you and you set it up as an actual... what is it, like a limited company?
Cathy Wassell: It's a limited company, yes.
Steve Folland: What did you find as you were setting it up? Like up until this point, you've been in charge of what you're doing. It's all you. Suddenly you've got, I imagine like... Okay, you're not making any revenue as you set up the company, but in the future, you will be, so how like how are you going to divide up workload or finances?
Cathy Wassell: We pretty much trust each other. It's fairly obvious what other people are doing. Obviously we have weekly meetings to divvy out what needs to be done. We discuss together what needs to be done. We brainstorm ides together, but it is built on trust, definitely. We have agreements. We're basically, we're decent people and we trust each other, and we're not going to shaft each other, basically. It works well. It does work well.
Steve Folland: Okay. Now I have to ask. You have a lot going on.
Cathy Wassell: I do.
Steve Folland: Actually, and I need to say this. You mentioned that you have two kids. How old are they now?
Cathy Wassell: 17 and 14.
Steve Folland: Okay, so they're not as demanding, but-
Cathy Wassell: Well, I'm not sure I'd agree with that, but yes.
Steve Folland: Okay, so I'm thinking they're not as demanding as a five year. But actually, that's very true. They come with their own, not just taxi service, but all the emotional stuff, and then getting them through their exams stuff that must go with that age. How do you manage your day? How do you manage your week? You said you wanted weekends off. How do you manage your workload?
Cathy Wassell: I have to say, at the moment, I'm not really getting weekends off, but that is the aim. I do a lot... I use the Pomodoro Technique. Have you talked about that before on the podcast?
Steve Folland: Yeah, so that's the breaking up into, what it is, like 20 minutes, 25 minutes?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, so I think it's meant to be 25 minutes. To be honest, I do longer than that because it's like a recipe. You make it your own. So I do probably an hour and then I do make sure that I have a good walk around or perhaps do some... put the washing in or whatever it is just to kind of get your brain some rest. I try now, I've been working with a mindset coach, and I try now to make sure, well she tries to make sure that I spend at least 10 minutes just doing nothing and letting my brain just chill and be present in the moment. I do find that really helps, actually. So when you come back to it after that, something that might have taken an hour, takes less time. So although you've taken that 10 minutes, you've actually saved yourself time later. And you've given your brain a rest. Let's face it, we all need that, don't we?
Steve Folland: That is interesting, yeah. Because I always... I don't know. Like personally I feel like I've got to keep moving, got to keep going for this stuff, got to keep going.
Cathy Wassell: Right, but it's exhausting that, isn't it? It's mentally exhausting as well. I did, I found myself well not very long ago, I found myself, I suppose overwhelmed because I do have an awful lot on and it's true. I was constantly having lists either on paper or in my head and ticking things off, and like, "Oh, I've still got to do that. I've got to do that," and I don't think that does your brain much good, let alone your body. I think that you do need to take a break from that, so I'm trying to do things more mindfully. I'm trying to give myself a break, but equally I need to be productive. I have an awful lot to do and I need to do it in a focused way. But switching off notifications definitely helps.
Steve Folland: I guess you've probably got, correct me if I'm wrong, the clients that you work like properly, directly with, and then you've got clients who you would be overseeing via somebody else, and then you've got commitments within Go With A Pro. How do you work that across your week?
Cathy Wassell: So then I've got lead generation as well, as I'm working on my business. I'm writing new courses, et cetera, and writing webinars for those courses. So I probably could do it in a more productive way, to be honest, but I write it all down, I definitely have lists every day. I don't have one ginormous master list because there's nothing more overwhelming than having a huge list, but I make sure that there are key things that I need to get done that day. As long as those get tucked off the list, then that's fine. My mantra really is, "Done is better than perfect," so I don't worry about things being totally perfect, but I need to be taking action every day. I need to be moving the needle every day, unless I'm taking the day off, every day to do something in my business. So as well as doing client work, I move the needle to do something in my business every day.
Steve Folland: And how do you gauge that? Do you have things like mapped out on your wall? Like if you say a webinar or course, that's a big thing even in itself.
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, I break things down. I break things down into tasks. So for the courses, at the moment I have two courses, but I have two more planned. I'm only writing one at a time. I break them down into modules and then I break that down into, I suppose you might call it chapters, plan each video, make the slides for the video. All of those are separate little tasks, so when I'm talking about ticking three things off a day, it would be three of those tasks rather than the whole course or the whole module.
Steve Folland: That's worked quite well, I guess. There's like a revenue stream coming in regularly for you, which then gives you income coming in to pay the bills in order to work on the things which will pay further down the line if people become members, or buy your course, or whatever it might be.
Cathy Wassell: That's the plan.
Steve Folland: I know what I noticed when I went on your website as well. This little messenger box came up.
Cathy Wassell: Yeah.
Steve Folland: How have you found working with that? You must know what I'm talking about by now when this little thing comes up in the corner and says, "Oh, how can I help you," or whatever it might be. How have you found that for you?
Cathy Wassell: I have to say, it's not second nature to me, so I haven't built that bot. I work with a messenger bot expert in the Philippines, and he is my associate for if my clients wants message bots, so I don't build them. I outsource it to him. I find that much easier. All I have done is say I want a chat flow saying this, or I want to find out if they want this, and we've just tried to make it as, how can I put it? Normal as possible?
Steve Folland: As human.
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, as human as possible, yeah. And not spam people.
Steve Folland: Oh, I see. Okay, so it isn't one of those where it connects you with a real human being because... I wasn't logged into Facebook, so it wouldn't let me test it.
Cathy Wassell: Oh.
Steve Folland: And I didn't want to annoy you by suddenly talking to you. So what happens?
Cathy Wassell: So there's a chat flow, so it takes you through a certain chat flow and you can give answers. You can say no you don't want to, or... because I think it says you to a LinkedIn blog, and there's various other things that it can do. At the moment, I don't have many chat flows on there because I don't have the time to dedicate to it. But you can have, obviously people have, hundreds of chat flows in there and you could go off on all these different branches, which is... my brain doesn't really work that way. That's like a plate of spaghetti to me.
Steve Folland: So it's a way of helping manage people who are trying to connect and get them to the content that might help them without taking up your time. Cool. And I was going to ask you as well, because you mentioned earlier, you might just give one talk and that might bring you ten leads in itself. Do you have a process for filtering leads?
Cathy Wassell: Not at great process yet. At the moment, I give people a quick call if they want it, or they can talk by email if they want to. I try to ascertain what they need. After that, I try to ascertain if what they need is at all realistic according to their budget, which often it isn't, and I'm pretty good now at sifting out people that, basically can't afford me, and I will either try to redirect them to somebody else or I will redirect them to a power hour with me, perhaps, so they can learn how to do it themselves, or if appropriate, to one of my courses, or I will send them a link to a useful blog or something. It depends really what stage they're at and how impossible their budget is the reconcile with my prices.
Steve Folland: I see that phrase a lot. I quite like that, "The Power Hour." So that's like a consultation call type thing, is it?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, so if it were a Facebook ads Power Hour, then most of those are for people that are beginners and want to start running them and really have no idea how to set it up. But it doesn't have to be that. It could be somebody who's having problems with Facebook ads that they're running and they don't understand why they're not working, or we could make it totally bespoke and look into somebody's ad manager and run through it with them. It could be anything really, yeah. It could be anything you like.
Steve Folland: And so, it sounds like... You're working from home, that can feel quite isolating, but actually it sounds like you're surrounded by... Well, actually you've got two dogs.
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, they are with the dog walker at the moment and they might come back at any moment, so I do hope they don't because they will be noisy if they do.
Steve Folland: Oh, so you don't take them out yourself?
Cathy Wassell: On a Tuesday and a Thursday, they go out with the dog walker because I am so busy at the moment that I want them to have a walk, but I don't have time to do it. They get a quick walk first thing, half past 5 in the morning, they get a quick walk-
Steve Folland: Wow. Half five in the morning?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, I get up at half five.
Steve Folland: Do you?
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, not the weekends.
Steve Folland: Do you start work quite early or...
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, I'm often at work by 6, yeah.
Steve Folland: And so then what? Would you then work through until-
Cathy Wassell: I do the school runs, so I always have to... I always have that time off. And then, you know there's always, either I'm doing something like this or I'm doing a call for one of the programs or coaching that I'm on, so there's always something every day.
Steve Folland: Yeah, so actually, it's making the most of all of those sort of fragmented chunks of time.
Cathy Wassell: Yeah, there's not a day in my diary where I don't have something that's not what you might say, normal. I don't really have a daily routine, put it that way.
Steve Folland: So if I say what does your evening look like, are you still working in an evening or are you...
Cathy Wassell: I do often work in evenings. I have to go and pick up my husband from the station every night. Go With A Pro does a Twitter chat every Thursday at 8 o'clock, so I'm always with on that. Go With A Pro Zoom call is on a Monday night, so I'm always on that.
Steve Folland: Yeah. Now, if you could tell your younger self about being freelance, what would that be?
Cathy Wassell: Do it earlier. I so wish that I had started my own business a lot earlier, though I'm going to be 50 this year, which I only realized on New Year's Day actually. I was like, "Oh my God, a year! I must be 50 this year!" I just think, "Oh, I could have done it when I was 30." I probably wouldn't have done it when I was 30 and I would have had young children, but still, I do wish that I had done it earlier, definitely.
Steve Folland: Yeah, but those golden handcuffs. You had a good deal going on, right?
Cathy Wassell: I know. I know. There's always a reason why we do these things and perhaps, perhaps that's why. But certainly I am a big believer now that you can change your career at any time. I would help and support anyone to change their career at any time. In fact, one of my big memories... My dad was a head teacher. He hated it and he took early retirement in the end because it was so, incredibly stressful. They used to have training about how to avoid heart attacks. THat's how stressful it was. The government actually trained them on how to avoid heart attacks. But I remember a few years before he actually took early retirement. He had been given some kind of opportunity. Now I was only young, and I don't actually... I don't really know what kind of opportunity it was, but he decided that he wasn't going to go for it because he was, I guess, he was supporting the family and it was too risky, I suppose. I wish that he had been able to do that and have a career that he really liked. I would certainly encourage anybody, with the right planning, to be brave.