For those of you who are regular visitors to my site, you will already know I took the decision to go freelance. For those of you who are not regular visitors… why aren’t you a regular visitor?
I have to say, the complexities of setting up a business do not encourage entrepreneurship on any level. I had considered incorporating and managing accounts on my own, but the number of pitfalls, potential fines and general complexity of the process sent me running with open arms towards an accountant. After all, I am not in the business of accounting, I am freelance digital marketer. The decision to invest in an accountant to manage all of that stuff for me has been invaluable, even in this short time.
What have you been up to Louis?
Why thanks for asking! I’ve been incredibly lucky. My first month has been spent working with an agency in Leamington Spa as an freelance digital director with a focus on managing everything from UX, project scoping, resourcing and client management. The drive from my home has been a bit tedious and if it wasn’t for audible (Get your first book free on me), I may not have managed it. The next month will see me back on home turf as my client moves offices. That’s right, I’ll be freelancing in Birmingham again and cutting my commute in half. This may mean less time with audible (seriously, it’s a free audiobook just take the trial), but it also means more sleep. Every cloud…
It also means that I can more easily have all those meetings I know everyone wants to have with me (get in touch guys, you know you want to)
Is going freelance really all that different to a permanent position?
There are subtle difference. The main thing is that you obviously have to find your next piece of work independently. I am a month out from the end of my current contract and the hunt for the next one is already on. Getting over the fear of a lack of work is not an easy task. You have to have confidence that you can add value to different companies/brands and that word will spread as you get more contracts. I think there are other ways to alleviate this struggle which is why my focus is also on creating other revenue streams making me less dependant on contract availability. The major issue is that people very rarely plan for freelance requirements. More often than not, it is an emergency measure that is required immediately meaning it makes it a little more difficult for me to plan in advance.
The other difference I have noticed is a change in perspective about the work I undertake. I have always put a lot of passion and effort into the jobs I do, but with freelancing, there is no room to rest on your laurels. As opposed to feeling that I am “working for someone” I feel much more like I am “servicing a client”. My work has to speak for itself and where possible, I try to over service. I don’t want to be the freelancer that says:
I have worked my contracted hours and now I am leaving
That doesn’t mean I will work all the hours that god sends without remuneration, it just means I will do everything I can to make sure my clients get the best possible results from the work that I do. I need to be an extension of their in house team and elevate their services with my own experience wherever I can.
I genuinely think this is the key to longevity in this game. It is all about reputation and quality. Every agency I leave with a good experience could result in more work or potential referrals.
Good question. As I mentioned before, alternative revenue streams is already a focus for me in addition to my freelance contracts. That means retained clients, project based work and white label services for agencies. I have spent years in the agency world so helping agencies of client on everything from execution of tactics through to digital transformation strategies are all things I want to be doing.
I will be back in Birmingham and available for freelance and contract work from 25th June so if you have any requirements, say hello and let’s set up a meeting.
In addition to all of the above, I am working on something very big and very exciting. It’s obviously top secret at the moment, but it is the most excited I have been about a project in a long time and I am working with people that I consider to be at the top of their game in Birmingham and The Midlands. It will be a culmination of all of my years of experience and the considerable experience of the people I have partnered with. Hopefully, I will be able to share it with you in the next couple of weeks, but needless to say, when it launches, I will be sharing the whole journey, successes and failures alike.
For now though, it’s back to work.