Clare Homer has kindly submitted a guest post all about being a freelance PR…
I am sitting comfortably (with funky music playing in the background) in a creative venue in Nottingham – better known as Antenna. It’s designed for self-employed professionals like me and is a fantastic place to work from. As I write this post, I’m juggling various tasks for various clients. I fancy a break. I’ll ask one of the brilliant staff for a cup of tea and pain au chocolat.
Ok, so not every day is like this. But I have the option to work anywhere I want and, within reason, anytime I want. Flexibility is what makes freelance life so appealing.
Just a few months ago, I was employed as a PR manager for a software firm, working a typical 9 to 5. It was a great experience, getting involved with product launches from start to finish and taking control of the company’s social media strategy. I worked with some really nice people too. But what I do now – freelance PR – is the icing on the cake when it comes to my public relations career.
Today, I am working across a number of clients, so there is no risk of boredom or procrastination. And no day is ever the same. I always have interesting projects I can sink my teeth into. What’s more, I’m learning so much. I specialise in technology and, in my first week of freelancing, I had brain overload. But I am gaining knowledge that I can share with others (IPV6 anyone?!).
The downside though, as I’m sure many freelancers would agree, is that if you work alone at home you can feel isolated. I admit there have been days when I have not left the flat and I’ve seen the same four walls for too long. Or I’ve forgotten to play some music in the background so all I can hear is a really loud clock (thank you friends for this gift – you know who you are).
But there are no distractions: no office chat, no tea-making rounds and less baking (yep, I started volunteering as office baker and brought in cakes). As a freelancer, I am far more productive!
Now, I’m 100% focused on work when I am ‘at work’. I can’t afford to waste time, as I would be doing my clients a disservice. And I can’t have an ‘off day’. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. It’s that simple. I don’t have a set income paid to me on a set date either. At first, I missed the secure world of employment, but the prospect of earning more money and choosing how much I want to work far out ways this. I realise there are no guarantees with freelancing. I have worked hard to find the clients I have now and I know this doesn’t mean I can relax. I look to the future more now than I did as an employed PR. That said, is employment any more secure in the current economic climate?
The future of freelance is bright. The level of responsibility motivates me to learn about new developments in PR and social media. I also make an effort to network, constantly putting myself in front of potential new business leads – or friendly faces that I can call upon anytime.
It is early days but I can confidently say that I love working for myself. When I first started seriously looking at launching a career as a freelancer, I wondered how I’d ever be able to submit my own tax return, set up business insurance and all the other paperwork that comes with it. But it’s actually not that bad. If you are good at what you do, then there are fantastic people out there to help you with the bits you aren’t so good at. Everyone has something to offer. Get back in touch with past industry connections, attend networking events, and join LinkedIn groups. Discuss IR35 worries, have a rant or just talk about why going freelance is one of the best decisions you ever made. Emma’s site Freelance Lifestyle is a great place to do this. So what do you love most about being a freelancer?
By Clare Homer
PR & Social Media Consultant