Client Management

Managing clients and projects with Anita Chauhan

Anita explains how Canadian freelancers can work with their clients to determine the scope of work and set up each project for success.

November 9, 2020

Anita Chauhan is a senior marketing leader whose experience spans more than 8 years in the Toronto tech community and four years in government agencies. Currently, she is the Director of Marketing at Crescendo as well as the Head of Marketing at Eirene Cremations.

For the last five years, she's been the only marketer for several early-stage startups while growing her freelance business on the side. She's passionate about diversity and inclusion and is an advocate for women in tech.

In this episode, Anita and Mohammed talk about how Canadian freelancers can work with their clients to determine the scope of work and set up each project for success.

Short on time? Skip to the parts you're most interested in.

[06:54] Getting started with freelancing

[09:00] Finding new clients for freelance work

[09:56] Determining scope of work

[13:51] Structuring projects for success

[18:16] Building trust with clients

[19:57] Resolving conflicts with clients

[22:16] Tackling scope creep

[25:47] Anita's client engagement process

[29:23] Transitioning from hourly rate to project-based rates

[30:47] What Leo season can mean for freelancers

If you enjoyed the conversation, check out more episodes of our podcast. You can subscribe to Freelance Canada on Apple Podcasts or listen to it wherever you get your podcast. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the episode.

Psst... Looking to accelerate the growth of your freelance business?

Subscribe to Freelance Canada newsletter.

Every Tuesday, you'll get an email with detailed notes, actionable tips, and book recommendations about the topic discussed in the episode.

Plus, to help you get started, we'll provide you with three downloadable cheat sheets when you sign up.

Thank you! You're now subscribed to Freelance Canada.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Mohammed: What do you do as a freelancer?

Anita: I kind of run the gamut around like marketing stuff, but I have a background in PR so [I do] marketing and content writing, content marketing plans, marketing automation, [and] brand building. I also do a lot of press related stuff [such as] media pitching; I just did a press release this week [for one of my current clients] and we went live on the wire with it and now I'm doing all the media pitching.

So I kind of do it all. It's through my experience [that] I became a marketing PR generalist and I've been able to use that and market that. I also do website building, designing, and wireframing.

Mohammed: So that's keeping you [...] quite well equipped. I don't even know if there is such a thing as a full-stack marketer, but I think you would be up there for that role.

Anita: Yeah, I think so, too.

Mohammed: You mentioned doing PR marketing. Is there any type of PR or marketing that you specialize in or maybe a specific industry?

Anita: I've been across several. I'd say I'm most adept at tech, [having been] in it for the last six years; usually smaller, early-stage startups. I usually come in and help build the marketing team if they can't hire someone full time. I help with their content writing, their copywriting, their value propositions; it's creating all of that fun stuff so they have something to go off of. 

And I really love doing that — coming in and building from the ground up. It's exciting. I also have a lot of experience in government. Before I got into tech, I worked for a lobby group. So that's exciting for me. I love doing stuff where I'm able to work with government stakeholders and that's why I still love doing PR-based things because it kind of draws me back to that time that I was able to do [communications].

I was the first marketer and they had never really had anyone owning their digital space. So I got to eat at every restaurant in the city and then talk about it because I built the blog for them.

Mohammed: And what were you lobbying for?

Anita: I worked at a lobby group. One [organization I worked with] taught children the parliamentary system [through] mock elections. So, whenever we had a federal election or a municipal or provincial election, we would go across the country and work with teachers to provide them with resources to teach about civic literacy.

And we lobbied with the government to make sure education got more funding around civic literacy. Then, the job I had after that was with the restaurant lobby group called Restaurants Canada, which was really, really fun because I was the first marketer and they had never really had anyone owning their digital space. So I got to eat at every restaurant in the city and then talk about it because I built the blog for them.

Mohammed: Sorry, so you have to eat at restaurants and blog about it?

Anita: Yeah. Sounds terrible, right?

Mohammed: I mean, not at all. If anything, I think I'm trying to understand [...]. 

Anita: [The organizations I mentioned] are two separate different things. The first one I worked at was called Student Vote and we lobbied for education and civic literacy. That's one thing. And then I moved on to a restaurant lobby group called Restaurants Canada, and it's kind of like an association-slash-union representing all business owners, [both] small-medium [and] also large enterprise-type restaurateurs. 

And so we lobby for their rights in the house. For example, one of the things that I was sad to be on the wrong side of history for was helping them in Alberta. When Albertans wanted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a lot of our restaurateurs — specifically the owners of big organizations or VPs of McDonald's or Boston Pizza — pay a lot of money and dues to Restaurants Canada and lobby groups like that.

So, unfortunately, I would be on the other side saying to the government, “We can't let you pass this tax because this will be harmful to restaurateurs.” This is another payroll tax and we do messaging and stuff around that to help lobby the government to avoid passing things like this in the house. [It was] actually one of the reasons I left.

Mohammed: Oh. So, you were on the side of ‘the minimum wage should be higher’ or ‘minimum wage should remain as it?’

Anita: As is. It's really crummy because I had to do messaging around how people didn't deserve a living wage. And this is totally opposite to what I personally believe. That's the tough part, especially when you work in government. It was a great job and I had so many opportunities, but when my principals were called into question, I was just like, ‘You know, it's not worth it. And if I have to continue pandering to a group that I don't personally believe in, I just don't want to do the work for it.’ So, I left and I went to tech.

Mohammed: And how did you make that transition to tech?

Anita: I got my first role at Zoom AI, but the truth is I kind of dabbled in the space before. I was always interested in the intersection of civic literacies and being a citizen in the digital age; I was very much into government 2.0. How can we use data and open data to better our system processes to make cities more livable and to make this experience better?

I actually founded a meetup group in my mid-twenties called Gov 2.0 YYZ. And we bring in people talking about different ways that you can use open data that's been collected by different ministries and governments and build cool civic apps. So, things like Rocket Man, which is for the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) or even finding freshwater resources, stuff like that.

So, I was really interested in that intersection. I also worked with #DevTO, that big meetup group in Toronto for developers as a community manager while I was working in politics and government. And then I was like, ‘You know, this is the place I want to be.’ So, when I saw an opportunity open up at Zoom AI, I was like, ‘Hey, AI (artificial intelligence), productivity, we're going to change lives. I love it.’ And I went for it.

I was doing my masters in PR and I had this little bit of time in between where I was like, ‘I just want to travel.’ So I started building a business. I had about five to 10 revolving contracts at varying times. And I backpacked around the world and I lived a digital nomad life for about eight months.

Mohammed: And at what point did you start freelancing? Were you freelancing as you were [working] full-time? Or is that something you decided to dip into after your time at Zoom AI?

Anita: [I actually freelanced] throughout. I kind of started before I got into government. I was doing my masters in PR and I had this little bit of time in between where I was like, ‘I just want to travel.’ So I started building a business. I had about five to 10 revolving contracts at varying times. And I backpacked around the world and I lived a digital nomad life for about eight months.

I lived in Bali for a little bit. I backpacked through Southeast Asia. I was just kind of going where I wanted and working the whole time. It was nice because I met a lot of people around the world who are doing the same thing. I think it was my first experience [with] that remote work style that's now become so exciting and so new for people; [specifically] this idea that we don't have to be chained to one location to work. You can have the flexibility that you want.

Mohammed: When did you decide to start doing freelance on a more full-time basis?

Anita: There have always been times where I'm doing one or the other; [either] I'm full time and I'm not doing freelance or I'm doing freelance and not [working] full time and/or a mix of both. I think I've just loved having a lot of different things going on to keep my mind busy [my whole life] and that's exciting for me. 

It's also like that “hustle lifestyle” that's become so ubiquitous with capitalism. Right now, I'm a full-time freelancer because, unfortunately, my [full-time] job was a casualty of COVID-19. So, I took that as an opportunity to double down on the few contracts that I had cultivated in the last year.

I feel like [my business has] 10X'ed in the last little while because I'm going full throttle with it. I've taken all my learnings from the last 10 years of doing this off and on. I'm feeling better equipped to go into it as a full-time freelancer now.

Mohammed: And as you've started diving into full-time freelance work and taking on more and more clients (from the sounds of it), how have you been going about getting [new] clients?

Anita: [I frequent] a lot of those digital nomad board job listings, for marketing, [and] things like that. A lot of [my strategy is also] referrals. I'm [also] part of this really great Slack group. It's for B2B marketers and content marketers and I see a lot of opportunities pop up there.

Because of that, I jump on [those opportunities] as fast as I can. [...] I think it's [a matter of] initiative and taking opportunities when you see [them]. I've [also] been lucky [to have] gotten the opportunities that have come my way. When I put my name out there, I walk away with something really great and I'm really thankful for that. I love great referrals, too, from people and connections I've made over the years.

Mohammed: So you meet with a client [...] How do you determine the scope of work given that if it's content marketing, the scope can be a little bit more identifiable [as opposed to] like, “Here are the blogs I want."

[...] A lot of times people think PR is just [about doing] a press release and that's it. But there's a lot of relationship-building; There’s a lot of follow-ups involved — it's not as packaged as clearly as people think it is. So, how do you go about structuring your project to ensure that the client is happy and you're happy at the end of it?

Anita: I think this is one of those things that is a constant work in progress for me, too. I don't have a clear cut answer. There are systems that I've put in place that have made it better than they used to be. One of those things [is] having a scope of work or a creative brief beforehand. [Along] with all the relevant questions to get an understanding of what they need. Plus my own developments; like the process of how to actually go about doing the work like saying, like if it's a blog, “We have two reviews for this.” If it's a website, “You have two reviews and then from there, that's it.”

I also work really hard to educate through the process. One of the things that have become the most important is — not just with website design, but also with any PR or media pitching — [showing the clients] how, if we are no longer working together, they can do it themselves.

So, I put together some documents [and] best practices to equip them with. [One example is] the current client I'm working with who I mentioned I'm doing a press release and media pitching for. There are things that might trickle through from the media pitch. Not this week, not next week, but maybe even at the end of August.

I might not be working with them at that point. The scope of my work finishes at that point and I move on to my next clients. What I do is give them best practices [around] how to talk to media representatives, reporters, journalists, and how to actually go about giving them what they need.

So [things like that can be] part of the scope. I said [to my current client], “I'll help you with your media kit. So when you actually have a reach out when I'm not there, you can just easily send that to them.” [I also make] sure that they know that they have to have the assets in order and even messaging just to respond in the best way.

It usually starts with a conversation over Zoom or Google Hangouts and I just kind of get an idea. It's kind of like a fact-finding conversation where I try to understand what their goals are and what those end results are. 

Mohammed: How does this come up? Because it seems that you are not only delivering on a specific amount of end results, but at the same time, you're also equipping your clients to be able to continue the work should things not work out.

Anita: Yeah, definitely. It is built into the fee. It also depends on what they're looking for. At the very beginning, with that creative brief or the scope of work, I walked them through exactly what they're looking for and what they'd like. It usually starts with a conversation over Zoom or Google Hangouts and I just kind of get an idea. It's kind of like a fact-finding conversation where I try to understand what their goals are and what those end results are. 

If [the end result is], we want to continue to push this message if it's a press release or we will need to build this website or this landing page and update it constantly, I'll build that into the price to teach them how to use the backend or how to respond to the media. So, it's all part of it. And, since I've done the work beforehand on my best practices, guides, and you know, the messaging [around] how to go about it, it's something that I feel is reliable and a process that I feel secure about [so] I'm happy to share with them.

Mohammed: Right. So, we were talking about how Canadian freelancers can set their projects up for success. What have been your go-to tactics, resources or even part of your process to ensure that so far?

Anita: That's a really nebulous question in the sense that there are so many things you can do. But, speaking from my experience, the number one thing you can do is be proactive. Not only is freelancing project management, but it's really good customer service at the same time.

You have to be okay with hand-holding and managing. There's a myriad of things that can go wrong and if you're okay with the fact that things can go wrong and are adaptable, then you're well poised to be a freelancer. I think being very sure of the scope of a project, setting up checkpoints on when to talk to your clients and keeping them updated are really good tips to make sure that things go well in your setup [and maybe even allow you to] do recurring projects with these people. 

I've even gone as far as building Kanban and project management boards with my clients. I use tools like Notion and Asana or even Monday.com to make sure they're all on the same page. I set up weekly checkpoints. I over-communicate. Just so I know that I've done my utmost to make sure that the client's getting what they need, but also that they get that exceptional customer experience with me.

Mohammed: And, at least in your experience so far, what has gone wrong for you that you have now proactively started putting appropriate measures in place?

Anita: [I began to have the] mindset of being proactive after a year of recognizing that it can go off the rails at any point. [One of] the pain points I've seen come up most frequently for me is just generally poor organization. That's why I opt for really good workflows [and] setting up Kanban boards [with] deliverables and checkpoints.

Also, from the get-go, getting the assets or creating a flow of information-sharing with your client is really important because, if your client isn't organized, that can actually jeopardize your experience with the project. So making sure that, from the get-go, you know what you need [while] working with them to make sure that you're able to share the stuff that they need on a quick basis.

If they're not organized, they'll waste your valuable time and you'll waste theirs and you might even miss deadlines and things like that. So, to curb that I make sure I over-communicate. I have a set of tools [and] templates that they use [that] also helps me stay on top of things.

[My clients] know that they're getting a really good experience with me, they can trust me, and they can leave the work that they need done in my hands. And I can go and run with it to success.

Mohammed: When you said, “making sure [your] client is organized”, what do you mean by that? Could you dive into that a little bit, please?

Anita: Making sure that they know what they want from the onset. [...] Having a scope of work and having that introductory conversation with them is so important. Making sure that you know before going in what exactly you need from them. For me, this was a test of time.

I started to learn what somebody in my role, specifically in a startup, that is starting off their marketing endeavours from scratch, maybe doesn't really have a unique value proposition yet. The copywriting is not there. The voice and tone aren’t there. So, because I've been in that role, I have that experience thankfully, where I can go in now when I'm talking to clients and say, “This is what I've needed in the past. I'm going to ask you the exact same questions. And then that will be the baseboard that we'll start off on.” 

If they also don't have the tools and things to keep themselves organized, I suggest that we feel like we do something together. For example, if I'm writing a blog and I need quotes from them or if I'm bringing a press release and need quotes from them, I don't want to have to wait and maybe even miss my deadline. So it's not just giving them tools and working with them on their time but also doing it so that we both reach that success [while] keeping them organized and keeping them honest.

Mohammed: And what's been the feedback from your clients when you've come in with a, at least it seems to me, a fairly fine-tuned process?

Anita: Really positive. A lot of them don't have the time to think about [this stuff]. And when I am selling myself or pitching to them, it's not [just about] the fact that I have experience in the writing and in actually working in a small startup; It's the fact that I know how to operationalize the marketing flow [and] they can trust it.

[Then] they feel safer relinquishing that control. I often find that because of that, it reduces the amount of micromanaging that happens. Because I'm also over-communicating and I've given them tools like a Kanban board, for example, to go and look at where I fill everything out with deliverables and timing and due dates, I think that they feel safer and that's the biggest thing for me: I want them to have trust and confidence in me when I'm working with their brand. 

Especially if it's something that they've done from scratch themselves, it's like their babies. Having worked with CEOs, I understand the amount [of work] that goes into it and I want them to feel comfortable giving that to me. I just want to do the utmost best work to help them articulate things that they're building. But sometimes to get there, you need them to feel safe and secure giving that [control over] to someone else.

[...] These tools give that security. I really recommend [them] to people. And having that development and your own personal plan set out [regarding] how you work is huge.

When it comes to bringing up issues or having those hard conversations with a client, remember that you have an equal voice and say in the matter and it helps empower you. As a freelancer, you have the choice not to work with a client again.

Mohammed: With any client, there can be times when there is an issue. What has been your experience in there being an issue and how did you go about raising it with the client and mitigating that together?

Anita: Being open, honest and transparent is the best way to raise any potential issue. Not only with clients but in life. I know it's scary but if you're not uncomfortable, you're not growing. In the past, I've had to swallow the lump in my throat and just go for it. and stand up for myself and demand, for example, more money if it goes beyond the scope of work or saying, “Hey, you know what? I dropped the ball on this” or “You didn't provide this to me.”

When it comes to bringing up issues or having those hard conversations with a client, remember that you have an equal voice and say in the matter and it helps empower you. As a freelancer, you have the choice not to work with a client again. If things go off the rails, you can say, “This isn't working for me.” You have that freedom to move forward with something else or move on. 

Sometimes unforeseeable issues can come up and that's just life, right? That whole 80/20 rule. I recommend keeping a cool head and approaching your client where you feel the most comfortable. I usually set up checkpoints, like I said, weekly. Make sure that those are set from the onset because even if it is just an update, it's a time where I have their undivided attention. I don't have to ask for their time to bring up that problem. It's already set in the calendar.

Even things like a post-mortem where you can say, “I liked working with you, but this happened and I think that we failed here.” Being critical and honest, giving feedback post-project, [letting them know] if you want to move forward with them and work with them on a recurring basis, is really helpful as well. So [setting up] checkpoints and taking that courage and saying it because you do have an equal voice in this relationship.

If someone has transitioned from a full-time job and is doing freelance for the first time and they don't really know how to do that client management, it can be tough. But remember that it's an equal partnership and you have a say in how you work with somebody.

Mohammed: I like that a lot. You mentioned scope creep and I feel like almost every project has that. What has been your experience in addressing scope creep and how have you ensured that there is a smooth transition or mutual resolution, at least, when there is scope creep?

Anita: I really am bullish when it comes to the parameters of the set-out scope. From the contract that I signed and sent at the very beginning, I have everything itemized regarding scope. So, if it goes beyond what is said there, I raise a flag to the client and say, “Just so you know, in the original contract, it was stated X, Y, and Z. We've gone beyond that. I think that we have to talk about the redress of the work that was spent.”

For example, a recent client had a set of PDFs that he wanted me to create in an ebook style for usage on LinkedIn. He said, “I want to do eight with you.” At the end of it, he realized it wasn't performing as well as he thought it would — the engagement wasn't there. Then he's like “We're just going to cut it off at four.” And I had given him a volume discount for the amount that I was doing. So the scope of work changed and it was a tough conversation. 

I'm not going to lie when I say that I had to be really courageous in writing an email saying, “We have to review this.” It's still tough for me after all these years. Just simply sending an email to ask for more money or ask when I'm due is still tough, but people are amenable to it now more than ever. I think people want to pay for good work. This person was really reasonable and opened up a conversation with me about what I felt my work was worth and they agreed. It just took that step of saying something. 

But it's hard. It's hard because sometimes when it comes to writing [and] when it comes to press releases and media pitching, things will go beyond what you set out. But also if they are amenable to having a conversation with you about going beyond the scope of work, then it's really worth reviewing contract details with them [...] and thinking twice about working with them in the future.

Mohammed: Oof. I can't imagine how scary and awkward and weird all at the same time it would be to be like, “Hey, I'm fine with the four articles, but I have to charge you more because I give you a volume discount.”

Anita: Yeah, and it should be just based on your time and what you're worth. You're providing something really great for these people and these brands, but sometimes that's not how everyone sees things and that brings me back to what I said earlier: It's an equal partnership and you have to empower yourself through this whole process to remember that you're not in this supplicant role here.

The more you remember that, the more ownership you take in any client interaction and manage those workflows and the scope of work, [the] better success for you in the long run.

Mohammed: I think it'll be helpful to get a high-level walkthrough of what your typical process is. What I mean by that is [that the] client reaches out and they have a project in mind and you're like, “Okay, this sounds interesting.” Could you walk me through what happens next? Leading up to you making sure that the project is set up and ready to go?

Anita: So just the first couple of interactions to get going before the actual work gets started, you mean?

If I feel that the client's expectations are above and beyond what I can provide, I'm going to be real with myself and them and save us both the struggle and, potentially, bad interaction that could come from something not working out.

Mohammed: Yes. 

Anita: Okay. Perfect. [...] Let's say I go the route of someone [who] has posted online that they're looking for a copywriter. I will reach out immediately and from the onset, I say, “Here is who I am. Here's a little blurb about me.” [That includes] my experience, what I work on, and that I've done value propositions for tech companies before (if that's what they're looking for). I also send a link to my portfolio just so they don't have to ask for it. I give them all the information upfront and say, “Let's have a conversation about this.”

If they're interested, they reach back out to me [and] say, “Yeah, let's jump on a call.” It usually follows that after that [call they say], “let's meet to see if we jive.” I take that opportunity to give them a little background on the work I've done, the freelancing I've done, the full-time work I've done, which will fully impact the work that I do. I just talk about how I work and the process I go through. 

I also take that time to figure out if they'd worked with freelancers in the past. If they have been in a situation where they've had to manage someone that wasn't in their company and just understanding what success looks like to them. I never want to sign up for anything that I know I'll fail at. If I feel that the client's expectations are above and beyond what I can provide, I'm going to be real with myself and them and save us both the struggle and, potentially, bad interaction that could come from something not working out.

A lot of the work that I'm doing is writing, [but] the truth [about writing] is that it is so subjective. Someone's view of how something should be worded can be so different from another's. I think it's really important to [...] ask the potential client if they've looked over my portfolio while I'm talking to them. So [I know] they understand how I write and they understand the flow that I build, because I don't want them to think that I'm just going to adhere to something in their mind that I have no idea about.

From there, if all signs go and things feel right, I send them over a creative brief. I actually send that before I sign the contract because I want to get an idea if this is still feasible. Once I get an idea of what they're looking for or itemize the things that they have articulated to me, I give a timeframe. I put the agreed-upon amount — I usually follow up with the amount after our first conversation and after the creative brief has been outlined because I do it off of my time. Pricing is a whole other thing and that's also something that I'm still learning after 10 years.

I'm doing more project-based [pricing] now; before, I used to do hourly. But I like to take the time away and not give a number immediately. So, usually [during] the first interaction I avoid giving a number and I follow up after I see the scope of work. I send that in the contract [to] mutually sign and mutually agree upon it. Then I set up some tools and set out the main deliverables on the Kanban board and we go from there.

Mohammed: What has been your driving factor in transitioning from an hourly rate to a project-based rate?

Anita: In my head, my time is worth more than the hourly rate shows, if that makes sense. I think that I can itemize it in this way by hourly, but it actually takes more time than that. It takes up more mindshare [so] I do it by days now. I look at [it] more like, “It's going to take me three days to complete this versus like three hours.”

I think that everyone's hourly perception is different from one person to the next. And as a creative and a person who needs to get in the flow of writing and do certain things that will help stimulate that type of creative process for me, I actually think this works better because it gives me the space to work within the day.

I was severely underestimating the time that it would take me to write, before. If I want a good product, it's not [about thinking], ‘I'm worth x amount of money versus the other amount.’ It's more like, ‘If I want to give a good product to you, if you want something that's going to stand out, I'm actually going to take a couple of days (versus four hours) to write something.’

Do you just want a standard SEO blog? That's easy. If you want keyword stuffing, I can do that in a couple of hours, but if you want something that's going to stand out and get you reach then I need time with that.

Mohammed: I like that. 

So given, that it is Leo season, what have been your insights into [your] horoscope and what's in the stars for the Leos out there?

Anita: Well, I mean not just for Leos — Leo season is great because we just left Cancer season and Cancer season is like, you're all in your feelings. You're like, “Oh, my goodness. I'm feeling all the things.” And we just literally finished a bunch of eclipses, which are super emotionally and mentally draining for many.

When you enter a Leo season, it's actually a masculine sign, so it is about action, energies; it's go, go, go. So you might feel a shift in how your energy is being spent. For Leos in general, they're going to shine. It's just a really exciting time because they feel empowered.

But everyone has an opportunity to take that energy because the sign of Leo is ruled by the sun. So it's this idea [that] you're imbued with this childlike exuberance to go and get and to do. And it's an opportunity to really listen to what your soul is telling you that you want to do.

Leo is all about authenticity and individuality. [So] if there's something that you've been wanting to pursue, something that you want to go ahead and get done that you think is a core part of your identity and you've just never been able to make it happen, now is the time.

There's lots of stuff that says astrology isn't real. But there's an opportunity for you to learn about yourself.

Mohammed: Love it. Do you have a certain method of reading? What has been your process for learning and — I don't know if predicting is the right word or projecting... It's not predicting, right? It's more like, foreshadowing in a way. 

Anita: Yeah, it's interesting. I wouldn't use the word “predicting”. [Although] I think that it's kind of there. I don't necessarily believe in this idea of destiny. It's more like, ‘This is what's happening right now and this is how it could impact you.’ I had said at the very beginning, that it is an opportunity for introspection, and I take that really seriously.

[...] There's lots of stuff that says astrology isn't real. But there's an opportunity for you to learn about yourself and think, ‘[...] I'm a Leo and I go online and I read all the stuff about Leos and you know what? 90% of that was true. The other stuff, maybe not so much.’ Or like, ‘actually, none of that's true.’

There's this opportunity to learn more and [...] dig deeper. Why is 90% of it true? And where's the 10% that's missing? That's actually how I started: looking at things online and saying, “I'm a Leo. I'm X, Y, and Z, but also I don't agree with this one.”

Then it was realizing there's actually more than your sun sign. And [I thought], ‘How do I figure that out?’ And then I looked at it more and there's more going on. I started doing birth charts for people in my life and that just takes into account things like location, birth, date, and time of birth.

I was able to see that there are so many variances and things that you have to account for. We know humans are multifaceted and contain multitudes. It's not just about your sun sign when it comes to astrology. There are things like your moon sign and your ascendant, etc. 

So what I started doing was building birth charts for people in my life. I actually have an Etsy store where I sell custom made birth chart books where it's like a deep dive into the person's main aspects and planets. It's like a photo book that's designed for that person. So I [could] do a baby book for someone, a newborn, and say, “This is how they could be with this, these astrological influences.”

Mohammed: That's so cute.

Anita: Yeah. It's a very personalized gift. It's very nice.

Mohammed: I like that. I like that. 

Anita: Yeah, definitely. So what sign are you?

Mohammed: I'm a Pisces.

Anita: Oh, you are? Interesting.

Mohammed: What do you mean by that?

Anita: Oh, I mean, just like really, really empathetic. It is the last sign of the Zodiac. So it actually takes on some of the best and worst traits of the ones that precede it. Obviously, a lot of these are generalizations, but very creative and sometimes musically inclined. Like tons of famous musicians are Pisces or have a Pisces moon.

There's other stuff that's probably in your charts that I'd be happy to show you, but Pisces are great. I actually know many that are very creative and finding new creative ways in whatever chosen field they're in to get to where they want to get to.

Mohammed: Got it. Cool. I mean, hopefully Benji is viewed as a creative company so fingers crossed on that part. 

As we wrap up, I'd love to know where people can find out more about you and your work online.

Anita: You can find me on Twitter @anita_chauhan or you can visit my website anitachauhan.ca and shoot me a message. Find me on LinkedIn. I always want to connect. I love meeting new people and if you want to talk about new projects, [or] what I've learned in my experience, I'm here and I'm always open to sharing information. Because I think that's the best way to navigate this crazy changing world.

Mohammed: Well, thank you so much, Anita. I really appreciate you giving me this opportunity to learn from you. 

Anita: Thank you so much!

Keep listening

Why limit yourself to just one when you can indulge in a few more?
Renee Sylvestre-Williams on the Freelance Canada podcast
Operations

Renee shares how Canadian freelancers can better protect themselves by getting insurance coverage that's right for them.

Jackie Porter on the Freelance Canada podcast
Finance

Jackie explains how Canadian freelancers who are single — whether by choice or chance — can design a life that covers financial and personal goals.

Barry Choi on the Freelance Canada podcast
Finance

Barry describes how Canadian freelancers can reflect on their purchase history and choose a credit card that will help them maximize every dollar.