Freelancers / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Emily Chenery, Freelance Storyteller & Producer

Emily Chenery is a freelance storyteller and producer, working with a variety of clients, mostly in the sports or health and fitness space, including The CrossFit Games, eSports, and more.

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

Oddly enough, I started my career in higher education, creating content for the Office of Admissions at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL.

From there, I was recruited to work at the University of Florida as a Special Projects Producer (a fancy title for producing all of UF’s national video content) and had the opportunity to work with the Florida Gators, ESPN and the SEC Network during my time there.

Around that time, my sister’s YouTube career took off, and I left my full-time position with UF to go manage her career. When I wasn’t flying around the country with her, I started working freelance gigs with ESPN and the SEC Network. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE! I fell in love with the freelance lifestyle and never looked back.

I grew from managing Liz Meghan (iheartmakeup92)’s career to managing creative teams and working production for large-scale sports and fitness competitions, including: The CrossFit Games, eSports, Wodapalooza, The Granite Games, and Swamp Challenge.

Currently I still work as a freelancer with a variety of clients, mostly in the sports or health and fitness space. Along the way I’ve learned that working along side brands to create, execute and implement digital media communication strategy plans is my passion. I love leading large creative teams and working together to take ideas from concept to completion.

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

My day ALWAYS starts with a cup (or 5) of coffee. If I’m at home, my favorite beans are from Verve Coffee. If I’m on the road, it’s an Americano Misto.

From there, it’s breakfast and emails to catch up on what’s happening in the world for about an hour or so, and then straight into social listening. I’ve found that starting my day with current events helps give me more context on what I see on social.

A large part of my job is to provide guidance for brand’s digital content. Current events not only provide more context, but also provide a more complete understanding to the temperature of people online.

Typically around noon, I take a break for some fitness. I’m an avid CrossFit-er and have a pretty sweet set up in our garage. The mid-day break also helps me visualize other projects I’m working on and all around is a great reset for the rest of my day.

After that it’s back to work, which typically includes social media audits + analytics, client emails, creative briefs, coverage books and strategy recommendations (and obviously more time reading/listening on social media in between all of that).

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

I love the flexibility that the freelance lifestyle allows. Spending the day in a coffee shop, at the gym or on a plane greatly inspires me because I can see how people use technology and interact with media in their “natural habitat.”

I love seeing people use technology because it inspires me to tell better stories. It’s my “secret sauce”, if you will, to creating epic content that resonates with others.

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

A lack of boundaries, in any job, leads to burnout. As a creative, my job is to c r e a t e, so setting boundaries is vital to my success. If you’re not a priority to yourself, you’re not going to be anyone else’s priority either. No one knows what you need better than you.

To be honest though, creating boundaries for myself has been incredibly hard to do. Recently, I have found success in time blocking my calendar with an app called ‘Plan’. I love being clear on what I need to focus on and jumping between projects throughout the day.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I’ve been a big “journal-er” for most of my life, but recently felt like my brain was working faster than I could write, so I switched it up and started recording video or audio messages. This simple change has given me the space to process my ideas faster and more completely. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Professionally: I enjoy listening to the Pivot podcast, and recently finished the book Curious by Ian Leslie. My go-to newsletters for news and tech are Morning Brew, Axios and The NY Times.

Personally: I am HOOKED on Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It’s the only book I’ve read twice.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I literally could not live without all of my Apple products. WHAT DID WE DO BEFORE iPHONES?

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Hands down, Musa Tariq.

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

Life is too short not to have fun. Don’t stay in a job you hate, don’t be afraid to fail and always find ways to stay curious. You are meant for great things, and you simply cannot live up to your full potential if you’re holding yourself back. The world does not benefit from you hiding your light. Go get ‘em.

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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.