Sorry guys, I know that I keep banging on about how much I just love being a blogger and how working as a freelance social media manager is THE BEST thing that happened to me career-wise, blah blah blah…but for me it really is the perfect job. I get to work at something that I love and enjoy, however, I can prioritise being a Mum when I need to be there for my twins. It thus ticks all the boxes in my life right now.
A freelancer is deemed as ‘someone who works for themselves (self-employed) and isn’t committed to an employer long-term’. Freelancing appears to be growing in popularity – especially with the advances in technology and boom in digital roles such as blogging, YouTube, social media, filming, writing, graphic design etc. However, like I have said before it isn’t all roses and puppies and there are many disadvantages to it (such as a lack of financial security/stability, feeling isolated and lack of benefits such as holiday pay, pension & sick pay).
This is WAY different from the career that I had up until I gave birth to my gorgeous twins (who are now 5-years-old). I was a Human Resources Manager; I went into HR straight from my Masters Business degree. I worked mainly in blue-chip organisations with a real corporate environment, who had plenty of policies & procedures, hierarchy and many employees. There were always lots of layers of management and plenty of varied communication channels to work with. And whilst I loved it for some reasons (i.e. there were times where I felt highly empowered and successful) I never really felt 100% happy in any of my roles.
I’m now a blogger and freelance social media manager (although I earn most of my income from blogging) and it has all simply grown organically over the years. It’s been well out of my comport zone as I have no background in the digital industry or PR, but for some reason I can’t stop. And I would waffle on about it to anyone who’d listen!
Quite a lot of people get in touch with me these days asking me how I got started, how I get my clients and how I manage working freelance with two small children, so I thought I would share a few of these things and how working for myself really works for me.
1/ I am a control freak
I saw something the other day that said “I am not a control freak I just happen to know what’s best for everyone else” and it made me chuckle because this is so me. I wish I was more laid-back and go-with-the-flow (like my Sister) but I’m just not. I’m highly strung, can’t sit still and have incredibly high standards. Freelancing, as opposed to being employed, therefore plays to my personality because I can be my own boss and subordinate at the same time! This doesn’t mean that I can’t work with people, I guess I am just better calling the shots myself.
I am a really sociable person though and have to be careful that I don’t get too isolated or lonely from working this way. That’s why I make sure I go to the gym regularly each week, meet friends for coffee or have lunch dates with Hubby. I am also in freelancing networks online which are full of good support. I am really good at making sure I don’t sit and go stir-crazy at home.
2/ I can pick & choose my work
I am lucky in that most of the work that I get is from brands who have contacted me. I rarely ever pitch. However, I do believe in pitching because it opens doors and makes people aware of you. As the years go on and I am getting more confidence in freelancing I am better at saying no to projects that I don’t want to do/aren’t right for me. I also push back to any brands now that want me to work for really small values because I truly know my worth now. It can be a scary thing to do, saying “no thanks”, but usually in the next week or two something super exciting comes along and I’m glad I didn’t take it.
I am not signed up to any freelance websites but there are plenty about if you want to keep yourself out there. I’m very comfortable with my social media management workload currently but I would consider them one day if I got too quiet on that side.
3/ It’s flexible
This is probably the main reason that I do it and why I didn’t go back to HR post-babies. I can pick up my work any time of the day, any hour, any week. If my twins are ill, I drop everything. Harry & Lottie are still very little and I might take on more work when they get older, but for now the flexibility I have suits us all completely.
4/ I keep what I earn
With no large over-heads or people to pay (like I would if I had my own business) I keep everything I earn. Which is fab! I sometimes need to buy kit such as a new iPhone or a laptop etc but now that I have all my equipment I only really have to replace it when I need to. I spend a bit annually on things such as my domain name, website hosting etc but it’s really small-scale. I am set up for NI & tax and do my self assessments.
If you do need any advice on tax implications or setting yourself up as self-employed then I’d say either get an accountant or go to HMRC for more info. It can be a tad boring but really important to get sorted out.
5/ I can adapt
Because it’s just little old me working away on my own it means that I can keep an ear to the ground and adapt really quickly if anything changes (such as a new social media fad or trend). I am always learning to enable me to keep up with how fast-paced blogging and social media is – and wow, it is. Being adaptable and keeping current is so important.
I am not sure how long I’ll be in this industry – nor whether the blogging bubble will burst at any point – for but for now I’m enjoying the ride immensely.
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Love, Jess x