In this week’s Freelancer Spotlight, I’m excited to feature Rebecca Merrifield from The Marketing Movement. Rebecca took the perfect opportunity- getting laid off- to start doing biz on her own terms, and even freelancing for a company that tried to hire her full-time.
She turned the skills she already had working for others into a full-time freelancing business.
What kind of freelancing do you do and how did you get started?
I was made redundant from my job as a Marketing Manager for a fashion brand in February. It was good timing as I knew that I wanted to run my own online business, but there was a lot to do before I would be ready to launch and I needed to pay the bills whilst I got things moving.
My first thought was just to find a part-time job, but then I came up with the unconventional (and pretty risky) strategy of turning up to a job interview (for a full-time, permanent Marketing role) and telling the owner of the company that I didn’t actually want the job, I wanted to be a Marketing Consultant instead (and part-time)! Luckily for me, the risk paid off and I got my first freelancing gig.
Are you freelancing full-time or on the side? Tell us a little bit about it.
I’m freelancing full-time (as in it’s the only paid work I’m currently doing) but I am doing about 30 hours per week. Since April I’ve been advising an independent hotel group on their branding and marketing strategy.
I work for them on a Monday – Wednesday (with the odd emails later in the week) and this has given me time to work on setting up my online business on a Thursday and Friday.
What is your favourite part of working for yourself?
I love the freedom of being able to work from home for most of the week.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in working for yourself?
Definitely being able to step away from the laptop. The lines can easily become blurred and before you know it pyjamas become standard daytime attire, you’re eating toast for dinner for the third day in a row and you’ve forgotten what month it is.
Walk us through your typical workday.
I usually wake up about 7.30 (I don’t set an alarm- I never sleep in but there’s something so relaxing about not having to set it because I don’t actually have to be anywhere). I try to start the day with a walk around the local park (I find that once I’ve started working I won’t stop to walk so it’s best to fit it in first). I then shower and have breakfast and aim to open my laptop at 9am to start work.
I have a desk but it never gets used because my chairs are pretty uncomfortable! So my desk is my bed- much more comfortable. I do make sure the bed is made first though!
I catch up on emails, run over my task list for the day and begin tackling projects. I don’t have a set lunch hour; it’s whenever I get hungry! I do take a break from the laptop for lunch and sit at the table to eat.
In the afternoon I might take a trip to one of the hotels for a meeting with the team (it is usually the hotel nearest to me- a 2 minute walk from my apartment!), but the hotel office is always so busy and noisy, I find it hard to concentrate so I don’t work there often.
When I switch off for the evening is dependent on what I have planned- if I have no plans, that’s when it can become tricky as it’s so easy to just carry on.
What advice would you give to someone a few steps behind you in their freelancing entrepreneurial journey?
Take a chance and put yourself out there to get started. Think creatively of ways you can get your foot in the door and find clients, create your own luck. I’m certainly no extrovert but I went into that interview knowing I had the skills they needed. Sometimes all you need to do is take the risk and ask the question no-one else will ask.
Like her story? Ever thought about applying for a job and then telling the person you’d rather work as a freelancer? More and more companies are doing it, so why not try? Even with your current boss! What a great way to transition to full-time freelancing.
You can learn tons of stuff about how to market yourself as a freelancer over on Rebecca’s website The Marketing Movement and grab your copy of her “Rule Breaker’s Guide To Business”. Or hang out with her on Facebook or Twitter!
Any questions for Rebecca? Leave ’em in the comments below!