Guest blog: Living the freelance dream
We’re huge advocates of the freelance revolution, as you know…but we don’t expect you to just take our word. Our fabulous freelancer, Nerrisa is here to tell you (in her own words, of course) what she loves about the freelance life…
When it comes to being freelance, I often have to pinch myself because I live the type of life that quite honestly, feels a bit like I’m taking the piss sometimes.
Since graduating uni and probably even a bit before that, I’ve always been a natural grafter, taking opportunities and rinsing them for as much exposure and as many connections as possible, I’ve found myself doing lots of exciting things from being backstage at London Fashion Week, chaperoning Boy George and dressing male models for the day (dream job anyone!?), to being invited to a private after-party by a rapper who shall not be named.
I’m the Queen of taking opportunities and quite frankly, milking them for all they’re worth.
I did well at Uni, made connections and after graduating, I had so much experience from internships and holding down a job during my studies that I didn’t struggle to infiltrate the agency world pretty quickly. And again, I ran with the opportunity, working on HUGE clients like IKEA and Polaroid, bossing it on a daily basis. But when you work in a small agency, unfortunately, the road to progression quickly hits a dead end and before you know it, you’re in London working for a huge brand and you’re not quite sure how you got there.
I think I knew quite quickly that commuting for hours every day and working with over 2000 people just wasn’t for me, I’m the kind of person who likes working in smaller teams with big results. Then a good friend of mine mentioned ‘Freelancing’. ‘But isn’t that something that people with years of experience and ‘contacts’ do? Turns out, no.
18 months ago I went freelance and although I never say ‘never’ I’m not sure I could cope with a ‘real job’ anymore. Here’s why:
Being the master of my own universe means that rather than sitting in front of the computer for 8 hours, I can strike when my brain is ready. I’m not a morning person, so more often than not, I’ll write copy after lunch (food inspires me!) But from a client perspective, it means they’re always getting my best work because I choose when that happens and hey – if that means I work a 4 or a 7 day week sometimes then so be it!
Yes, there are natural money worries that come with being self-employed, but if you’re sensible, this can actually be something that is a benefit to you. I paid off both credit cards and an overdraft in the first 9 months of freelancing and because I work from home, I rarely have to buy clothing, my travel costs from the kitchen to the office are non-existent and there’s something really motivating about invoicing for a job and seeing what you’re really worth vs. what a salaried job ‘thinks’ you deserve.
Probably my favourite part of being freelance is the little community that you end up building. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing people over the years, but let’s be honest, there’s always one twat that ruins it for everyone else in the office, right? Being a freelancer, means that I not only have to go out of my way to socialise, but I regularly meet like-minded people who I meet to work within cafes, skill-swap with and I even organised a ‘female freelancers’ Christmas party last year for those of us that didn’t have work Christmas do’s to go to – no twats allowed!
I like to consider myself the official Queen of Crafts, but I’m also a realist, I was never going to make enough money as a fashion designer or break into the world of styling, but now, because I’m not boxed in by titles and job descriptions, I can have the best of both worlds. I still support on events for IKEA, but this year I’ve also been teaching craft workshops for them too. Or I can get calls from CAKE for copywriting or…well, cake – I’ve created my own niche and no-one can tell me that it doesn’t fit with my job role.
Last but not least, when I was working a 9-5, I don’t think I quite realised the toll that commuting and work stress gets you down.
Even the most enthusiastic person needs some time to have hobbies and to see family and actually, I’m pretty sure that all of my relationships are better thanks to the flexibility of my job. I have a ‘lunch club’ with an old school friend once a week, I see my parents who live 3 hours ago so much more regularly, spend quality time with my boyfriend and I was even able to take my nan out for afternoon tea on her 81st Birthday a few weeks back because I knew I could work in the evening instead!
I’m not saying that freelancing is all sunshine and rainbows every single day, what job is? But, for me, it comes close. I have control over my own career path, a community and more time with the ones I love and let’s face it, more money too!
Viva la freelance revolution.
If you are a freelancer and are keen to be part of the CAKE network, get in touch and tell us a little bit about you and your skills!