9 Surprising Things I’ve Learnt Since I Started Working For Myself

BLOGGERCONF founder Emma O'Farrell has had an eye-opening few years.


Emma O’Farrell is no stranger to hard graft.

Finishing a Masters in TV and Production at the height of the recession meant she worked a string of internships to gain experience, before starting her own digital PR business in 2014. As well as her work with clients worldwide, Emma’s also the founder of BLOGGERCONF, which takes place for the third time at Dublin’s Marker Hotel this Saturday November 12th.

STELLAR is one of the key sponsors of this weekend’s BLOGGERCONF event which features talks from industry leaders at Mashable, Twitter and more [including STELLAR’s own editor Kirstie McDermott – yippee!]. Ahead of the big day, Emma let us in on what she’s learnt about business since going solo…

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1. A to-do list and a handwritten diary beat an iCal any day. 
Avoiding distraction is key when you’re working for yourself. I’m constantly making to-do lists, and I note down all work commitments in a week-to-view handwritten diary, so that I can see everything at a glance. In my office I have a whiteboard and a vision board which I’m always updating to keep myself on track.

2. Comparing yourself to others is just wasted energy.
A lot of my work revolves around social media, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of holding myself up against other people and their achievements. At times like that I need to control my mind and remind myself that success is a process, not an event. I’m still starting out, in a way.

3. Being kind makes all the difference. 
The whole Irish notion of begrudging someone their success won’t get you anywhere. I always try to keep loyalty and kindness as my core values in business and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Other people’s kindness has helped me hugely too. Some of my biggest boosts have come from words of encouragement from other women in business, be they texts or Twitter DMs or even a bunch of flowers.

At the Outreach Moldova Fundraiser Lunch in the Shelbourne with the stunner @diana.bunici X #orm4kids

A photo posted by Emma O’ Farrell (@emma_ofarrelltv) on

4. Hard work brings luck.
I love the quote from South African golfer Gary Player, “The harder you work the luckier you get.” The last two months have been an absolute blur of work for me, but the payoff has been great too in terms of new opportunities. You get back what you put in.

5. Three hours of sleep is never enough. Neither is four. Or five…
Personally I need seven or eight hours sleep a night to function at my best. The first time I ran BLOGGERCONF, I barely slept in the week running up to it and my health suffered as a result. I wasn’t eating properly either and lost half a stone. Afterwards I swore I’d never let work affect my physical health in that way again.

6. Stress and anxiety will take over if you’re not careful.
For me, regular exercise has been the key to maintaining good mental health. I truly believe that a healthy body equals a healthy mind. This week I’ve been so busy with client work and BLOGGERCONF prep that I’ve missed a couple of gym sessions. I could feel the stress levels creeping up, so yesterday I stuck my headphones in and went for a half-hour walk to clear my head. Getting moving works wonders.

7. Sometimes the most important part of a conversation is just picking up the phone.
Networking and building up contacts is vital when you’re in business by yourself. It not only raises your profile but it invites new opportunities. Picking up that phone isn’t always easy though, so I find it helps simply to say, ‘1, 2, 3’ and just do it!

The best MC @james_patrice ♥️♥️♥️ #BLOGGERCONF #Dublin thanks for working with me today James! Xx

A photo posted by Emma O’ Farrell (@emma_ofarrelltv) on

8. Being a perfectionist isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In my business, reputation is everything and I never want to do a bad job for any of my clients or customers. That’s what drives me and helps me to be true to myself.

9. A cup of tea is still the best way to start the day.
I’m useless until that kettle is boiled and I have my first cuppa in my hand!

BLOGGERCONF takes place on November 12th at Dublin’s Marker Hotel. Tickets and more information are available here.