I sent a newsletter every week for a year

It wasn't always easy

On the 18th March 2020, I published the first issue of this newsletter about the morality of marketing during the pandemic. I concluded that marketing your brand was okay, as long as you are providing value to your customers, and not seen as ‘taking advantage’ of the situation.

Since then, I have written about all sorts of topics under the umbrella of mental health, freelancing and marketing, including a sceptic’s guide to self-development, the power of a good brief and why business owners don’t talk about depression.

While some issues were met with entirely positive feedback, others ruffled a few feathers - none so much as that time I declared that I didn’t want to receive texts or WhatsApp messages from clients. Turns out not everyone is a fan of setting boundaries!

Telling my own story

As someone who has lived with anxiety and panic disorder without telling a soul for years, it was only when I started to tell people what was going on that I was able to make any progress in overcoming my problems.

Even now, there is still a lot of shame and guilt attached to mental health, particularly in the workplace. It takes courage to tell a line manager that you have panic attacks in certain situations, or that you experience erratic low moods and depression. The fear of judgement or even losing your job is ever-present.

Then it comes to self-employment or running your own business and managing your mental health. Even if you don’t experience a diagnosed condition, your mental health is just as real as your physical health, so why is it easier to talk one over the other?

So, I wanted to share my own experiences whilst also flexing my writing muscles. If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I need accountability. Blogging weekly wasn’t enough to keep me engaged and active, but as soon as I started growing a subscriber base on here, I had the encouragement I needed to keep writing. Every. single. week.

Some weeks are harder than others, whether that’s because of my own mental health or writer’s block. I keep a list of topic ideas on my phone as they usually come to me at the strangest of times.

As we enter the second year of Conversations By The Sea, I don’t suspect much will change. There’s a podcast now, where I sit down each week with my other half Craig (and sometimes a guest) to talk about similar topics to the newsletter. I will continue to write about setting boundaries at work, managing client expectations, growing a business while still having a life, how mental health shapes us and just generally being a super sensitive person.

There is already enough content out there that tells us to rise and grind, work harder, breathe deeper, exercise, eat kale, be the perfect parent and partner, all while not having a breakdown.

Is this the bottle episode equivalent of a newsletter? Yes. Do I care? Nope.

Thank you to everyone who has ever subscribed, liked and/or shared Conversations By The Sea, both the newsletter and the podcast. This remains a passion project for me and I currently don’t make a penny from this or the podcast, although it is a big focus for me to grow it over the next year and maybe I will earn a quid or two along the way.

As usual, you can find me on Twitter or drop in my inbox for a chat (in confidence, as always).

📚 Failopshy by Elizabeth Day (host of How to Fail Podcast)

📚 A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas (ACOTAR #5)

📺 This crazy documentary about a man who told his wife he’d won the lottery when he hadn’t 😂

Episode #6 of our podcast is out now!

In this week's episode, it's just the two of us. We take a deep dive into Craig's career as an MMA fighter, including how he went from a bullied kid in school to winning fights in a cage. 

We're both firm believers in the power of martial arts for boosting confidence, and Craig's experience is no exception to this theory. We explore the common misconceptions of a sport that has grown exponentially in popularity over the last decade and is continuing to rake in the view (and the cash).

As always, you can watch the full episode on YouTube or Spotify.

Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:

10 March: I’m triggered

3 March: Balancing creativity and getting paid

24 February: The day I lost a client

17 February: How to talk to someone who is struggling

10 February: Learning to say no and other lessons from two years of self-employment

3 February: Learning to find joy in the mundane

27 January: No you can’t

20 January: I’ll be happy when

13 January: Why you’re tired all the time

6 January: Just keep going