Freelancing – What I’ve Learnt
I have been a freelance Beauty and Well-being PR for six months now. It seems to have whizzed by whilst also feels like I’ve been doing this for ages all at the same time. It has been the most challenging, brilliant, fulfilling, soul-searching six months of my life.
Here I share what I’ve learnt during my early days of freelancing:
Best Decision Ever – no doubt about it. This was a huge decision for me to make at the beginning of the year. To start my own business and leave a secure job, regular salary, in an agency environment which is all I’ve known throughout my whole career, was daunting but I also felt the need to make this change. With some decisions you may look back and wonder if you did the right thing. 100% YES; making this leap was the best thing I have ever done. The freedom, control, flexibility, independence and knowing you’re doing it to grow something for you – it’s been absolutely beautiful.
Trust Your Gut – this leads me nicely onto this point. Gut instinct is always cited as the best thing to listen to, and never has this been truer than for going freelance. From trusting it to hand in my notice at my previous job, to logo and website design, to which brands to work with, it’s all had to ‘feel right’. This was something missing in my life previously – you don’t get a say in an agency. Now, if something doesn’t quite feel right, then I don’t pursue it. It means I can now have a lot more integrity and stick to my ethics and values, which leads me to be hugely passionate about what I’m working on, and ultimately happier.
PR and Social Media are Fundamental for All Sizes – never has brand awareness and social media presence been more important. In this hugely competitive market, PR is something every brand needs, and needs from the start. It’s not just for the big brands. Although, not every company can afford or requires a full-time agency or in-house PR function. In steps the freelance PR. Being freelance means I can provide this important aspect of business to companies of all shapes and sizes and make a real impact and return on investment. Seeing how the work you do really makes a difference is so rewarding. I really believe PR is fundamental to a brand, but needs to be more flexible and this is what a freelance PR can offer.
PR Yourself – the freelance life requires you to rely on yourself. Being in the world of PR, I’m used to promoting various brands’ products and services, but if I can’t promote myself, the freelance world isn’t going to work for me. You need to maximise your network, highlight your social media, go to industry events, shout about your successes – doing this demonstrates you can then do the same for a brand. I’ve been delighted by the number of people who have got in touch with me via social media or recommendations to work together. The problem now, and it’s a great problem to have, is saying no to business when I’m at full capacity.
Have Support – the freelance life is fantastic, I love it. However, there are times when it can get lonely, especially if you’re used to a team environment. I’ve made a conscious effort to connect with other freelancers who are in the same boat to get us through when times are a little more stressful. It is important to have that support network of friends and family too. Also, a very important support to have is someone who understands running your own business. Luckily, my Dad has been doing this for decades so I have him to go to for any accounting, tax and general business questions, of which there have been a few!
My first few months of freelancing have been brilliant. There are struggles of course, and it takes some time to adjust, but I have never looked back. As I said in a previous post, the trend of people going freelance looks set to increase, and I’ve seen more and more journalists and PRs make this change in the last few months. When I congratulate them, I’m met with some trepidation and anxiety, which is all natural, but they are about to embark upon something amazing, and I’m very excited to see where this freelance life takes me.