June 9th, 2014
After far too many years to remember working for big names brands and happily ‘bringing home the bacon’ every month, without much thought, I really wondered if going freelance was the best thing to do. What if I was rubbish? What if I didn’t get any clients? What if they didn’t pay me on time? What if the work I got bored me to tears? After all, I’d been working for some pretty exciting brands up to now.
However, the positives of working freelance; choosing your hours, working around the kids, not having to sit in traffic and develop Tourette’s Syndrome every morning as a result of bad drivers, being my own boss and basically doing something I’d always dreamed of, far outweighed the negatives. So, here I am!
Everyone said the key to going freelance was to have one client to start with and then build everything up around them. So, after creating a list of ‘people I’d most like to work with’ I worked from the top down (my favourite at the top) and sent out a tentative email. And guess what, ‘number one’ said yes immediately!
That person was Luke Gamble, a vet who I admired for his tireless dedication to protecting animals, through his charity, Worldwide Veterinary Services. He’d appeared in his own documentary series on Sky TV and his work often reduced me to a near snivelling wreck as he cared for animals big and small across the globe, afflicted with hardships often to a monumental degree.
Luke emailed me as soon as he touched down in the UK, after a trip to India and said he’d love me to help him with a new charity he was setting up called Mission Rabies (missionrabies.com). Luke was a man who made things happen. His mission was to eradicate rabies from the world and I strongly believe he’ll do this. This was the type person I wanted to be working with – passionate, caring, a ground breaking maverick, and through him I got my first break!
My job was to help Mission Rabies set up their global marketing and sponsorship division. It was a steep learning curve (rabies, I have discovered, is not an easy subject to grasp immediately), but I loved it straight away. I was back working on an international platform, which also meant crazy hours with different time zones, yet I was meeting the most incredible people who were doing their best to change the world (rabies was still killing a child AN HOUR somewhere in the world, an abominable statistic and one that did not sit well with Luke and the rest of the mission team).
From here, Blog readers, is where it all started. The next client was The National Watersports Festival which encompasses the sports of windsurfing, SUP, kite-surfing and kayaking (a yearly Hampshire event involving 500 competitors and 8,000 spectators), an ongoing project with Rubix Digital (where I then became PR Consultant), a leading maritime artist based in Lymington, a specialist events company called 12 Degrees and a photographer called Julia Mills. At the time of writing this I’ve also got proposals out there with a specialist diving centre, a publishing house, an up-and-coming designer and bespoke tailor and am also discussing editing an internal communications book.
To mark my six month anniversary with Reach PR I decided to launch another business called Solent Media which will teach social media to small business owners.
So, you could say that things are going OK. And to answer the original question; ‘To freelance or not to freelance?’
The answer is freelance, any day! I should have done this years ago but hindsight’s a wonderful thing.