This is a phrase I have seldom come across during my career. In our emerging world where four-day week days are in and 9-5s are out, thousands of companies, families and individuals actually look for a quick fix in the shape of a freelance consultant, casual zero-hours bar staff member, contract-based project manager, a last minute cleaner or even a one-off massage at your own house. We are now living in a world that follows the ethos of food fast over fast food – everything is so fast-paced, action-packed, stressful, selfish and we all, yes all, have this endless desperation of the pursuit of happiness.
In the events and hospitality world, the majority of the people I trained or worked with were freelancers. They could pick and choose the work they wanted, where they wanted to work and travel to, how long they had to work for. The perks were endless. And so were the cons… they often ended up in fields in the rain working 16 hour days living off packed lunches and freebies. They had to say yes to jobs they didn’t want because the season was quiet and the bank balance dictated their next move.
I chose to become a freelance for many reasons. I had had enough of working for and with people who did not appreciate my work. I had also been battling with my health for longer than I can imagine, only made worse by the job I had chosen. So I made another choice… a better one.
The problem with freelancers… well there isn’t one… unless you are a particularly badly disciplined individual. Work hard, enjoy the rewards, network often, enjoy the connections. Take time for yourself to see where it went wrong, where it went right and what else you can do next time.
We all started out at the bottom – the top is not an unrealistic goal. Just make sure you never think you’ve already got there.
Things I have learnt along the way:
- Don’t settle for being good at what you do, the great version of yourself can ALWAYS be improved on.
- Only work for clients who:
– own a product you would buy
– have a brand message you strongly believe in
– you can see developing a professional and lasting relationship with
– interest you. You HAVE to believe in the work you are doing and the people you are doing the work for.
- Keep a tracker. Every minute counts. Don’t say yes to every piece of work thrown your way, you will get bogged down, you will always do it to the worst of your ability and your reputation will be affected. I learnt the hard way.
- Communication. Always keep your clients updated. They like to hear your progress and market feedback is what keeps them going (even the negative parts!)
- Work around people. Even if it in a coffee shop or a library, company, although most strangers and silent, is very important for your mindset and productivity. This is the joy of ‘hot-desking’: the world is your office. No importance should be placed on the location but rather the work completed.
- LinkedIn is by far the best place to network. Make sure you spend at least 30 minutes on it daily.