Freelancer

Five Reasons Why Being a Freelancer Rocks

Freelancer

Although the COVID19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has hit many self-employed people hard - let's take the opportunity to celebrate the positive reasons for going, or remaining, part of the UK’s incredible freelance community.

Here are our top five reasons why being a freelancer rocks...

You are the master of your own destiny 

Despite the uncertainty that lockdown has created, with lost contracts and parked new business meetings the norm, being a freelancer still offers you more control than being employed.  Employment can appear to be the more stable choice, but in many cases, staff members work with constant threats of redundancy due to the streamlining of departments, cost cuttings and lost contracts. 

And, while furlough may appear to be an extended holiday, many freelancers have used their spare time in lockdown to work on their business models, improve their skills and mindsets, look for new clients and widen their contacts book. 

Freelancing can be hugely empowering when you think of it that way. You are always the master of your own destiny and never have to worry about being out of a job. 

There is no salary cap

Unlike employment where there are usually strict salary caps for most roles, there is no glass ceiling for freelancers.  Your earnings reflect your hard work, your focus, and your passion, and you can make the decisions when it comes to how much you charge and how much time off you have.  

It may be a wild ride on occasion, but having a more hands-on approach to your finances can be a very positive thing. 

You can work around your other commitments 

Although employment overall is becoming more flexible as tech improves and attitudes towards the nine-to five-day change, being a freelancer means you have ultimate control over when you work and how you spend your day. 

Sure, there will be deadlines, and sure you’ll be busy with client work, but freelancing allows you to design your life around other commitments. You may have taken to the leap into freelancing for this very reason - so if you want to pick your kids up from school, walk your dog, work on a side hustle, give time to a charity project, take up a hobby or simply support family members and friends, freelancing will give you the freedom to do it. 

Employment will simply never be as flexible as freelancing, and having this level of control will also help with your mental wellbeing and work-life balance. 

You are part of an incredible collaborative community 

The UK’s freelance community is an incredible thing to be a part of. Freelancers are always happy to collaborate, share resources, pass work around and support each other. 

The Freelance Kit’s Facebook group has become a great place for members to share tips, resources, links, free training, post supportive info and ask questions. 

Even though you may not always have colleagues to bounce ideas off - social platforms and groups step in to provide this function for the freelance community. 

You could be the answer to business success in a post COVID19 world 

Although we are all unsure about the future to some extent, freelancing could prove to be a huge part of the business re-build when things start moving on again. Lots of businesses will prefer to turn to agile freelance support giving them much more flexibility whilst business is rebuilt. 

Freelancers are hugely talented, very experienced and can provide services on a cost-effective, project-based basis for businesses, without the large agency costs or the requirement to hire a new employee. 

Things may seem bleak and uncertain for some, but don’t lose heart - keep pushing, keep reaching out and stay positive.  The rainbow after the storm is on its way! 

You can join our FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community here. 

And grab your FREE Ultimate Freelance Guide here,The Ultimate Freelance Guide 2020 with 45 top tools and tips from our community.

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

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Six ways that freelancers can future-proof their business during Covid-19

Six ways that freelancers can future-proof their business during Covid-19 by our Founder, Nikki Kitchen. 

The ongoing Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent effect on businesses has hit the freelance economy hard, with many clients cutting their freelance support overnight. 

A recent survey of PR freelancers by the PR Calvary has found that half of the participants have lost 60 % of their income, and many of them cannot claim the rescue package help from the government in June, due to their length of time in business or the nature of their business set-up. 

Although there is some good news, with several fortunate freelancers reporting new business wins, most people are finding that they suddenly have a lot of spare time on their hands. 

With that in mind, here are six things that you can do to survive and future-proof your business during the Covid-19 crisis. 

  • Start to think strategically for the future and get your house in order 

The freelance and gig economy has grown exponentially over the last few years, with nearly 64% of businesses employing freelance support. In 2017, People Per Hour Founder Xenios Thrasyvoulou, predicted that half the UK workforce would be freelance by the end of 2020, and whilst a lot of freelancers have lost work, as the crisis starts to ease businesses are more likely to turn to flexible, agile support rather than employing full-time staff. 

Until things start to get back to the new ‘normal’, it’s a great opportunity to work on your business rather than in it. Do you have a strong portfolio, and is your website up-to date? Use the extra time to get your house in order so you’re ready to go when new opportunities start to appear. 

Do you have robust terms and conditions in place? Do you need to rethink how to structure your business? Lots of freelancers rely on a couple of big clients for their income and that isn't the best approach because they can (and have!) disappeared quite literally overnight. Of course, it’s easier said than done to try and secure new clients right now, but when it does start to pick up, which it will, work towards creating more balance in your business so you’re not so reliant on one or two clients. 

One thing that this extraordinary situation has taught freelancers is that anything can happen, whether that be a global pandemic or a personal crisis, now is the time to think about how to protect yourself going forward. 

  • Learn new skills

Whilst we’re all probably a bit sick of being productivity shamed (what’s wrong with daytime drinking and Netflix bingeing anyway?) if you do want to use the time to upskill, there are some amazing free and heavily discounted courses available. 

Google’s Digital Garage is a fantastic place to start and I highly recommend the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course with 26 modules covering SEO, SEM, social media, and content marketing. You can complete it at your own pace, and the modules will be of great use to most freelancers. 

Udemy has some incredible courses which have all been heavily reduced and Jolt London offers specific courses for start-up businesses led by world-class experts. The Open University is also offering a variety of free courses. 

The PRCA and CIPR are both offering free webinar series and short courses to help PR freelancers navigate the crisis as they go along. 

  • Set business goals

Although it might feel tricky to set goals when we don’t know what the heck is going on (or what the world will look like when this crisis finally starts to pass), you can start to think about what you really want for your business. Why did you start freelancing in the first place? What type of clients do you want to work with? 

Start to reflect on your freelance career and be honest about your achievements - have you been going in the right direction, and on the right trajectory? Do you want to increase retained monthly earnings by a certain percentage? Attract different clients from new sectors? Write a book, start a podcast, or branch out into a new area? Write down your goals for the year and break them down into quarterly and monthly actions where you can. 

So often, we can get caught up in just paying the bills and forget about the work we’re really passionate about, so use this time to get clear on your ‘why’ and what’s next for you. 

  • Work on your mindset and focus

Most freelancers and business owners have been through a whirlwind of emotions during the crisis, from anger to anxiety, to grief to acceptance and back again! Members of The Freelance Kit community have reported various mental challenges, but many seem to be arriving at a positive place of acceptance and have started to have more of a growth mindset. As a side note though, it’s totally fine if you aren't in that place, right now is the time to be kind to yourself and go at your own pace. 

The Freelance Kit is running a free weekly Facebook Live expert interview series and we spoke to qualified business and freelancer coach, Matt Essam about the future of freelancing. 

Matt commented that this situation was a “great time to pause and reflect” and think about your business and where it is going. He also talked about how we can use this time to change our mindset from focusing on what we ‘do’, to focus on how we can solve problems for our clients (and future clients!). 

For example, by offering a free brand audit, you put yourself in a stronger position to deliver the actual work and position yourself as the knowledgeable guide solving a problem the client didn’t know they had. 

Think about who you can approach, both previous and potential clients, and what problems you can solve right now. Start with a list of five contacts and see what happens, there might not be paid work immediately, but you’ll be first in mind when there is. 

You can join our free community here where all of the Live videos are available to watch. We’ve already had weekly expert interviews on mindset, finding purpose, and mental health and have upcoming discussions about accounting and marketing your freelance business during the crisis. 

  • Collaborate 

Now is the perfect time to look for collaboration opportunities or expand your network. By reaching out to other freelancers, you never know what opportunities you might be able to access or help out with, or they may be able to introduce you to other clients and connections looking for support. 

Starting to reach out in an authentic way right now will build relationships for the future, so think about other freelance skill sets that your skills complement. For example, are you a graphic designer who might be able to help a PR with social media content, or a digital marketing whizz able to help a traditional marketer take a business online?

The best place to start is in freelance social media groups, there are tons of brilliant ones including Freelance PR’s, The Northern Creative Collective and The Freelance Kit. All are safe and supportive spaces where you can look for opportunities to collaborate and start building a network of like-minded people. 

  • Rest and recharge! 

Now the initial panic is (hopefully!) starting to pass, we can start to reframe the extra time as an opportunity to just rest and ‘be’, so sleep, relax and do what makes you happy.

Ditch the screen time, take the dog out, do some yoga and leave the phone charging while you spend some time in the garden with the kids. 

Resting and recharging your batteries will do you the world of good, so when the crisis has passed you can come out fighting and raring to go.

Stay well.

Nikki x 

Nikki Kitchen

Grab your FREE Ultimate Guide to Freelancing HERE. And join our FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community, join here. 

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier. 

Shop

 


Freelancer Of The Week - Beccy Gibson From Tempt Marketing

Freelancer Of The Week

Our new series features freelancers from our community and we talk about how they've coped during the crisis and their predictions for the future.

First up is Beccy Gibson from Tempt Marketing, a specialist hospitality marketing agency based in Manchester.

What's your background and what do you do now?

I run a business, Tempt Marketing which specialises in Marketing & PR projects for the hospitality & events industry.

I have an MSc in International Events and Conference Management, a professional diploma with The Chartered Institute of Marketing and over 13 years’ experience in the sector – which includes operations, events, sales and marketing for venues, suppliers, events across the country. I set up Tempt Marketing in summer 2018 with the mind-set to offer businesses the marketing & PR strategy and activities they need to help them engage with their consumers and raise the profile of their brand.

I’m also on the national board for The Female Hospitality Network, and a support volunteer for Samaritans.

How have you been affected by the crisis?

Around two weeks before ‘lockdown’, when Boris Johnson advised the public to stay away from restaurants, pubs and cafes, in the space of about 5 days I lost all my clients! Current retainers placed pause, and any planned campaigns were postponed to ‘god knows when’. I went into panic mode, then - applied to various entry level jobs.

Since then, an awful lot has happened. The pandemic worsened so instead of feeling worried about my income, I was more grateful to be healthy and safe. The state of the economy also went (and still is) in meltdown, but unlike before it’s now all sectors, and the government have out some provisions in place.

I’ve spent the time learning, dining some voluntary PR work and picking up conversations with old contacts or previous clients. In the past two weeks, I’ve actually picked up three client projects which I can work on from home. It’s really given me a sense of purpose again, and some positivity that there is business out there. (Two of these are hospitality clients, the other is hospitality supplier who’ve pivoted to enter a different market)

How are you feeling and what have you done during the crisis to stay sane and manage your mental health?

I think every week is a bit of a rollercoaster. At first, I was sad, then panicked, now I feel much more at ease and used to this style of routine. I still plan my week in advance, however I’ve found I’m nowhere near as productive or focussed as I’d like to be, although I recognise there’s worse things.

I’ve been keeping sane / looking after my mental health by running. I’m a big exercise fan anyway (for both physical and mental reasons) but since lockdown I’ve really been making the most of my hours' exercise by running outside and taking in the fresh air. The weather’s been great for it, and where I live there are some real picturesque spots. I’ve also been speaking to my friends and family on Zoom and Houseparty, then just taking some time to read / potter about, and just generally give my brain a bit of a rest. At first, I was strapped to ALL the new updates, but I try to check these less regularly the intense negativity was getting too much. (I think we've all felt it!)

What did your normal day look like before and what does it look like now?

Previous to all this, I’d spend almost every day of the week, ‘on the go’. I’d get up at 6am, then either be in meetings in Manchester or deep in project work then be at a networking event or working on my laptop until silly o’clock. I’m grateful for the gift of time right now, I’ve been getting a decent night’s sleep each night, I’ve had time to touch base with friends I wouldn’t normally speak to so often and I’ve used to time to read / learn but also just chill out. I miss the hustle of the city, the endless opportunities and my co-working community but I’ve actually realised that I don’t want to go back to rushing around, feeling stressed and working late on a daily basis. I’d like to think I’ll manage my time more effectively when life returns back to ’normal’. (She says, sat on her laptop at 9pm!)

How do you see things changing after the lockdown is lifted and for the future in your industry and beyond? 

The landscape of the hospitality and event industry is very unclear currently, with social distancing measure likely to continue for quite some time, the nature and experience will no doubt change. I imagine many more restaurants and bars will focus on a ‘retail' way of working, whilst still trying to keep a community of consumers. Businesses will have to communicate these updates along with a huge amount of reassurance to both their staff and customers. With this, there could be some opportunity but with smaller budgets. As I have already, I’m prepared to collaborate with others and diversify my services to help keep the business alive. I’ve been regularly attending webinars and virtual events to make sure I’m up to speed with key thoughts, procedures and changes within marketing, PR and hospitality.

Freelancer of the week
Beccy Gibson

Thank you Beccy for taking part and you can check out her business Tempt Marketing here. 

You can join our FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community here. 

And grab your FREE Ultimate Freelance Guide here,The Ultimate Freelance Guide 2020 with 45 top tools and tips from our community.

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier. 

Shop 

 

 


Freelancer of The Week Yolanda Copes-Stepney

Freelancer of The Week

This week we spoke to Yolanda Copes-Stepney whose background is in PR, events and digital content. Yolanda has just launched an incredible series of events “Speak On Presents: How To Be Anti-Racist” which runs from tonight, 14 July at 6.30pm – 17 July and 21 -23 July.

Speak On Presents: How To Be Anti-Racist

 

Beyond the Black Square
How to be Anti-Racist

A series of online events including talks and panel discussions designed to support and educate people committed to being anti-racist.

” We know it’s not enough to be non-racist, we have to be anti-racist and we’re providing a safe space for people to ask questions”

Speak On have bought together psychologists, academics, activists and more to lead the sessions which will include learning how to talk to explain racism to children of all ethnicities, to processing the shocking images you’ve seen on social media, through to how to help your friends with racial trauma.

Speakers include: Richie Brave, Dr Vanessa Boachie, Dr Yvette Arthur, Vix Meldrew, Ama Peters and many more.

Along with running Speak On, Yolanda owns Speak & Do, a digital media agency which specialises in influencer management, booking and brand partnerships, and also content creation including campaigns and events. And if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Yolanda is founder of the Festival Of Confidence, an event series for women designed to build and celebrate confidence, which also has a podcast and YouTube show!

Yolanda Copes-Stepney

 

How have you been affected by the crisis and lockdown? 

One of my brands was being acquired, but that fell through because of COVID. It was a bit sad, but something that we’ll revisit in the future.

I went on furlough from Speak&Do because brands weren’t booking many campaigns. My sister has been taking care of the ongoing deals while I work on my other brands, Speak On and planning for Festival Of Confidence.

How are you feeling and what have you done to manage your mental health?

I’m all good to be honest. I’ve been working out, chatting so much on the phone and video calls A LOT.

I’ve recorded a Podcast and spent time restructuring and sorting out my other companies.

At the beginning I did have a few moments of disbelief and mild peril, but adjusted fairly quickly. I have been working flat out for years, so this gave me the forced break I needed. It’s made me realign and going forward, I am only working four days a week.

What did your normal day look like before and what does it look like now?

Then

Daytime

Work from 8/9am – 6pm, sometimes later. Or I would spread my work out over the whole day with breaks for walks, chat and working out. I work from The Curtain or Shoreditch House. Evenings- Could be any of the following: Cinema, drinks with friends, Soho House or The Curtain events (they have a great selection of things to do), brand events with talent clients. Sofa, films and wine.

Now:

Up at around 8am, a lot of mincing in tracksuits, workouts occasionally (sometimes I am bang on it, other times I am very committed to being on my sofa all day) Around 4 – 5 hours of work 3-4 days a week, a lot of podcasts, audio books and I am pretty sure I’ve completed Netflix.

What do you predict for your industry post lockdown and Covid19? 

⁃Content creators will overtake generic “influencers”, comedians who have been doing the lord’s work when it comes to making us laugh and entertaining us during these times will have increased value at influencers.

⁃Campaigns will have more diversity and inclusion, which is great because I truly have been having this fight with brands since 2016.

⁃Activists and advocate influencers will become more relevant.

⁃Some agencies will give up their offices and the sector will have more digital nomads with staff based globally.

⁃For a while, working hours and opening hours will decrease as we all want work/life balance.

⁃Brands will consult more on content instead of just relying on the echo chamber of their offices in an effort to strike the correct balance with campaigns.

Thank you Yolanda for taking part.

 

You can join our FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community here. 

And grab your FREE Ultimate Freelance Guide here,The Ultimate Freelance Guide 2020 with 45 top tools and tips from our community.

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

Shop 

 

 


Freelancer Of The Week - Margaret Etudo

Freelancer Of The Week

Our new series features freelancers from our community.

This week we spoke to Margaret Etudo, a medical copy writer from Nigeria. Margaret has just had her first piece of work published here and her Instagram handle is @tuddoss_writes 

What's your background and what do you do now?

I am currently studying Pharmacy and I'm also a Medical Copywriter. I help health-related businesses to increase their profits through my effective sales copy.

Have you been affected by the crisis?

Well, yes I have. I am not going to school at the moment and I'm also getting claustrophobic with the whole stay-at-home madness. Asides from that, it has been pretty good and relaxing and waking up to anything but an alarm clock.

How are you feeling and what have you done during the crisis to manage your mental health?

I'm not too happy at the moment with what is going on globally. There's distraught among Nigerian citizens against female abuse. That is pretty upsetting. I try to read calming articles, improve myself and listen to music that calms my mind.

What did your normal day look like before and what does it look like now?

It was pretty much go to school, read a lot and rest. That was because I needed to obtain fantastic grades in Pharmacy school. After the lockdown began, I didn't pay much attention to my books, I started to do something more. That's when I ventured into freelancing and that's the one decision I will never regret. It has made me see so much more in me than academics. My communication skills have improved by 200%, and I even developed a better understanding of EQ.

What is your biggest achievement? 

My biggest achievement is becoming a versatile person.  I have been able to boost my resume with skills that every company is looking for. Not only do I have an exceptional IQ, but I've also learnt leadership skills, marketing skills, communication skills, and IT skills.

These are things I couldn't get in my education, and I'm happy I acquired them in this short period.

 

Thank you Margaret for taking part.

You can join our FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community here. 

And grab your FREE Ultimate Freelance Guide here,The Ultimate Freelance Guide 2020 with 45 top tools and tips from our community.

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit. 

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more. 

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon to launch membership option. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.  

Shop