Looking after yourself as a freelance ‘side-hustler’

Pru Fiddy
Pru Fiddy

Freelance trainer and consultant, DJ, singer and producer

Mental Health at Work has partnered with Simply Business to support the UK’s self-employed with their mental health and wellbeing. Together we surveyed more than 700 small business owners to understand their challenges. Now we want to start a conversation and break the stigma surrounding mental health at work through our brand new Self-Employed Support Hub and the Mind Your Business initiative from Simply Business.


My name is Pru Fiddy, I live in Norwich, and I am a freelance trainer and consultant as well as a DJ, singer and producer.

I know it sounds quite a lot. I remind myself daily. I think though, that I have finally found the balance after many years of hustling away in various guises. I guess I’ve always been easily distracted so doing different things helps in some to way to deal with that! It’s sometimes tricky to keep up with everything but can be done with a little practice and persistence. And making sure you look after yourself too. Still working on it…

It’s been an on and off hustle that somehow always comes back

I’ve been DJing since University, (several years now – but be kind!) and since then it’s been an on and off hustle that somehow always comes back, just at the right time and saves the day. I remember when I was in London and residence at Antic bars – the extra money​Practical financial skills to manage money Web page This guide from Finty aims to equip you with money management skills and an understanding of the link between your health and finances.Free By: Finty View resource basically kept me afloat! But mainly I love the music and people and so it becomes the perfect side hustle!

I’ve been lucky to play at some amazing places too like Love Supreme Festival, The Junction in my hometown Cambridge and Ronnie Scott’s, and I’ve been able to travel. House music has always been in my heart so it’s great to have been able to be amongst it. As a producer​A guide to mental health in the electronic music industry for freelancers PDF This guide written by Mind is designed to to help those working freelance within the electronic music scene to better manage their mental health.Free By: Mind View resource now too, it’s been keeping me busy and just trying to keep the balance right.

In this new social age, there’s also the constant promotional side too which can take a lot of time. Basically, that could be its own full-time job!

A set of DJ decks

Along the way I’ve done lots of different jobs, and in the past few, I have been working as a freelance/contractor​Leapers: Slack group Web page Leapers runs a Slack group for people who are, or are considering, working outside the normal nine-to-five pattern: freelancers, homeworkers, the self-employed, SME owners and everyone in between.FreeProvide your email address to receive invitation By: Leapers View resource doing all sorts of things from business development to events, and now I am a mental health trainer. Trying different things, although difficult with security at times, has somehow led to me something that works for me, and I enjoy.

I’m passionate about being open about mental health​Start the conversation Video One of the first, and easiest, things you can do to start improving mental health at work is simply to start a conversation. In this video, people from various industries talk about the importance of talking to someone.Free By: Dorset Mind View resource. I’ve also recently gone part-time which has made a big difference to give me more time and space to that and my music. It has taken many years to get to this point though, with the obligatory ups and downs – but that’s a whole other blog.

Make sure you don’t take on too much

I think when having a side hustle it’s important to make sure you don’t take on too much​Burnout in the digital age: how to avoid workplace stress Web page Stress is something that affects almost all of us at some point in our working lives. This web page from Ben explores stress and burnout, explaining what they are, how work can impact them, and the warning signs to look out for in yourself and others.Free By: Ben View resource and then either get frustrated or don’t do anything at all. I have anxiety and get overwhelmed sometimes so I now try not to take on too much – otherwise I could have a meltdown. This hasn’t come easy, and with rabbit holes for sure, but I have definitely got better at looking after myself.

I also must practice what I preach, the importance of rest​Creating a 10-minute Pause Space Web page This guide is designed to help team leaders to run a short session, called a 'Pause Space', which allows staff to take some time to relax, reflect on their work, and show appreciation for their colleagues.Free By: NHS England and NHS Improvement View resource. I wish I’d always realised that!

A person's two hands clasped together, leaning on a wooden rail overlooking some water

It’s always a good idea to explore your passions. I believe you can be dedicated to your job and still get out and be creative in whatever you want to do. Who knows what will happen! You’ll always have people tell you to focus on one thing, and that might work for them, though do what makes you happy. My advice is taking your time and enjoy the process. We’re always told to focus on the success and end goal which can be exhausting and takes the pleasure out of it. I always felt like I had to be sorted and doing what I was meant to do by 25, and in the end pushed myself too hard – please don’t do that.

Once I relaxed into it, that’s when the magic happened.

A woman mixing music in a studio.

It can also be quite a lot to manage especially sorting out business stuff like tax and insurance. I recently became very grown up and bought indemnity insurance from Simply Business! It makes a difference feeling like you can get the help easily, as it can be isolating.

So, I am now managing to hold it together and have a job I enjoy as trainer and doing my music hustle which is taking great shape. I’ve got new music that is coming out which is exciting, and working on a new DJ and live set.

I’m taking time for myself

What makes it work I think is I have the balance right and I’m taking time for myself too. Being kind and not putting too much pressure​Pressure versus stress Video This two-minute video explains the relationships between performance, pressure and stress – and how stress can cause and worsen existing mental health problems.Free By: Mind View resource on myself like I used to. Enjoying the fruits of rest, also making sure I’m still out and about seeing people and I still get on the dance floor. This whole grown-up thing is working out too: I’ve been gardening, cooking curries and binge watching Midsomer Murders.

Oh dear, have I just ruined all the illusions of being a cool hustler?

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