Alli Hill is the founder and director of Fleurish Freelance, where she helps other freelancers build thriving one-person businesses.
What's your industry?
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
After having my second child, working for someone else wasn't working out. I needed more flexibility in my schedule, more predictability in my income, and more time to spend with my family. After a series of dissatisfying events at work, I put my creative skills to work for myself and started freelance writing on the side. Within months, I fully replaced my income with writing while working fewer hours. Business continued to grow, especially during the pandemic. After speaking at an event and hearing others share they're interested in starting a similar career path for themselves, I started offering coaching and consulting --- because knowing how to build a career you want and love is knowledge too good not to share.
What does an average day look like for you?
I used to grind every day from the time I dropped the kids off at school until late into the evening to grow my business. These days, I take work at a slower pace so I can focus on my mental and physical health. After school dropoff, I exercise for an hour at my local barre/pilates studio or the park. I usually sit down to work at 9:30-10, take short lunches, then pause when it's time to get the kids from school. Some days, I'll work a little extra in my car during baseball practice, dance class, or whatever the kids are doing that afternoon. Fridays are part of the weekend, as well as some Thursdays. I'll adjust my routine when needed if there's a school field trip, if I'm onboarding a new client or mentee, or if I'm hosting a workshop or event. Working less has been one of the keys to my success -- it's not all about the money, but also about the lifestyle and time freedom I want.
How do you balance the needs of your business with the needs of your personal life?
Since I work from home, the two sides of my life have to exist with each other. I dedicate specific hours for focused client work. I treat my business like a business and protect my time during my chosen work hours. I turn off work during dinner, kids' activities, and family time, but also make space for work in the evenings after dinner to tie up any lose ends. It's an ebb and flow that just feels natural at this point, one that's neither black or white but works harmoniously.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
Ironically, this advice came from my last boss: Maintain rigid flexibility. Be rigid in what your goals are, but remain flexible in how you go about achieving them. Success is rarely a straight line; be prepared for ups, downs, and shifts that will alter your path (but not necessarily your outcomes).
What's been the hardest part about the path you've taken and how would you advise someone facing a similar situation to overcome it?
Time poverty was my biggest challenge in starting my business. As a busy mom of two under two at the time while working full time, I didn't have many hours to devote to my business each day. I stayed up late most nights, worked on the weekends (which took time away from my family), and squeezed in work during my half-hour lunch breaks. It wasn't easy, but I knew that all those hours would add up to something greater in the future. I can't fathom working 40 hours for someone else and not making the time to work on your own dreams and goals.
Are there any well-known Books, Podcasts, or Courses that you credit your current success to?
I discovered the potential for freelancing through Marketing Profs' Content Marketing course. My boss purchased this course for me in hopes I could apply it to my role. Instead, I used that newfound knowledge to start freelancing for myself.
A client sent me Cashvertising, which gave me some good angles to improve my persuasive writing.
What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful business owner or executive to have?
Learn how to hear no and not take it personally. In business, you'll often hear no more than you hear yes. Take those noes as opportunities to move on to the next one.
Know where and how to develop yourself. No one is making you sit through training or telling you which skills to learn. Upskilling (and reskilling) are all on you, so make it a habit to keep learning and growing.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a business owner?
You don't have to have everything figured out to get started. While it's admirable to take an informed approach to a business, there will also be plenty of things you didn't know you didn't know. Just because you don't have an answer or plan right now doesn't mean you shouldn't move forward. Be committed to learning as you go.
What are the top three things you think are essential for business success?
A positive attitude
Knowledge of your audience
Do you think someone can be a great business owner without having many years of experience first?
Yes. I used to think I needed experience in my field before I could set out to create something of my own. In reality, you can use the resources around you to learn what you need to know to start a business. Getting firsthand experience is helpful, but don't feel like you have to slave away for years before you've learned "enough" to move forward on your own. Take stock of your existing skills, make a list of your shortcomings or weak areas, then focus on building up those areas while working for someone else. This takes away so much risk before you go solo, and you can get paid while you learn things that matter to you.
In general, do you think the world is producing better business owners in 2023 than it was fifty years ago?
Time will tell. We have brands today that existed more than 100 years ago. It will be interesting to see if present-day juggernauts like Google and Facebook can sustain their success to the same degree.