Founders / Freelancers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Vivienne Kruckow, Founder of Rust Creative & Freelance Writer

Vivienne Kruckow is a freelance writer and Founder of copywriting & brand storytelling business Rust Creative, which she has been working on full-time since August 2019.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Sure! So I’ve had a bit of a strange career background in that I’ve dabbled in a lot of different jobs – and a few degrees.

Until I was 22, I was working in various customer service roles while figuring out what I wanted to do. I then landed an administration role at a small graphic design agency, where I quickly became a copywriter, social media manager and accounts manager for several clients – big jump, I know, but it was all under the guise of “admin.”

It was while I was there, being severely underpaid, that I began my copywriting business, Rust Creative. I’ve had Rust for just over a year now and recently took it full time in August 2019.

So my current role right now is copywriter, coach, designer, client liaison, accountant, social media manager. I’m dabbling in a bit of everything while I build the business.

2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

My workdays vary depending on what kind of work I’ve got on for the week. I currently freelance a couple days a week for a corporate client, which means I’m on the clock for them from 8-4.

On other days, I like a slow start to the morning before opening my laptop – one of the many perks of working from home. Once I’m in the office, I’ll either jump on a coaching call, get stuck into developing a brand voice guide or website copy for a client, or put together content for Rust’s socials and blog.

I’m also in the midst of launching a podcast, Rhythm & Words, so there’s usually some admin or recording for that thrown in too.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, absolutely. One of the drivers of starting my own business was so that I could work from anywhere. I have wild dreams of travelling and working from my laptop, but right now my days are spent working from my home office, local library or an understanding cafe.

Since going full time, I’ve recognised how much more productive I am working on my own terms and from where inspires me most.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

Alongside the above projects I’ve mentioned, I’m also working on a product-based biz with a friend, freelance writing, editing Yes Queen’s blog, and chipping away at a novel – so I know a thing or two about scheduling and divvying up my time.

The advice that I always give my friends and clients is to take time for themselves. I truly believe that if we’re not feeling energised, inspired and well rested then it’s going to show in our work. Look after yourself first and the rest will flow.

I’m also a huge fan of trello, where I do a brain dump of all the tasks I have to complete – whether that be admin, client deliverables, the podcast, or writing – and prioritise it based on time frames and type of work. Using this system has helped me strike a balance between working on passion projects, income streams and biz development.

5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance is really important to me and something I’ll never stop preaching about. I’ve made a commitment to myself to not do any client work on weekends, so I’ve got a dedicated two days to either do nothing at all, catch up with friends and family or work on my writing projects.

Honestly, I’m still getting used to having so much time up my sleeve. Before August, I was either working two jobs or working and studying, so I haven’t had weekends to myself since I was 18 (I’m 24 now).

I’d be lying if I said I’ve perfected the balance, and I definitely still have guilty days when I know that there’s work to be done, but I also know that having this time, just for me, will be so much more beneficial in the long run.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Planning out my weeks in advance has been a big one. Picking three tasks to accomplish for the day is another. Working at the design agency taught me to avoid cramming too much on your plate each day, otherwise you leave your office/laptop feeling deflated and stressed for tomorrow.

I’ve also recently put a permanent OOO on my emails and it’s been a game changer! Emails have always been something I’ve struggled with, so setting up that little barrier and first point of contact has been amazing and taken a huge chip off my shoulder. Now, it’s almost fun trying to see how quickly I can get back to someone within that 24-48 business hour period.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

I am a huge self development junkie and read a self development or spiritual book every second week or so.

Some of the most influential ones I’ve read are:

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Ooh, that’s a tough one! For me, I get the most out of my day by doing lots of different things. Today was a great one to use as an example. I woke up without an alarm, had breakfast with my sister, went to the markets, read a (small book), did some writing and editing, watched some TV – and it’s only 6pm (it’s also Sunday, btw).

So if I had to break that down, I’d say to have a bit of everything in each day. Don’t try to cram all the good stuff into your days off – but also try to avoid putting pressure on your days off to do fun things. That seems really vague, but once you’re here, like I am, it makes total sense!

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I think the landscape is changing and that is super exciting! More and more businesses are incorporating flexible working into their structure, which I think is brilliant and so needed.

Yes, some people are more motivated when they’re working in an office, but others are equally as motivated and productive alone with their headphones in. It’s something I’m really conscious of with Rust, particularly as I approach our next phase and plan to hire employees.

Play to your – and your employees’ strengths – and your business will bloom.

If you found the above conversation about work-life balance helpful, be sure to check out Balance the Grind’s 42 tips for achieving & maintaining a healthy work-life balance

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.