So this week marks the second year of me being full time freelance. It’s something I’d wanted to do for ages and something that runs in my family, almost everyone in my family is a small business owner or freelance or has been for a large chunk of their lives, so I was kinda destined to follow in their footsteps. It’s a scary leap to take when you’re settled into the 9-5 way of working and it wasn’t until I met Miz that he helped give me the push I needed to make it happen.
I spent just as much time finding as GIF as I did writing this article. I just watched The IT Crowd all the way through for the first time ever and loved it.
Just over 2 years ago I was in a full time Digital Strategist role at a very cool and well respected PR and Marketing firm in Central London, something many would label as a dream job. Yes, we worked on some awesome brands, massive budget campaigns and got all expenses paid trips to Soho House on almost a weekly basis, it’s what many would dream of doing in London. However, what people don’t shout about is the intense unbalance you get from being in a high pressure environment, despite your contract saying you work 9-5 on weekdays you’re really expected to work 8-11pm, because if you don’t you’ll get sarcastic comments and death stares on your way out. Plus you’re expected to then go out and socialise and this often eats into your weekend too, so you become all about work and not much about your personal life, hopes and dreams. This really effected me and I had to leave, it was not good for my health.
It was a risky choice, I had some savings but with my bills at over £1500 per month those savings weren’t going to last long. At first, I spent LOADS of time just on social media and my blog being productive and hoping for the best. Luckily, I’d been very pro-active attending networking events and speaking to other freelancers and biz owners, so I wasn’t on my own entirely and Miz was a constant source of hope, happiness and inspiration. I picked up a couple of very small bits of work in the start via my blog connections and social media shout outs, no way enough to pay the bills but it gave me a much needed motivation boost.
My life-saving moment came from a referral from Nic from Strawberry Blonde and once that picked up things looked better and put me in a better position, I also picked up some part time shifts at a Central London agency for very good money and it was good to get out of the flat to work in an office too.
Once we moved to Brighton, things changed a little, when you’re not based where all the action is it can be a bit slower to pick up new work. Me and Miz teamed up and set up KITSCH.inc about 18 months ago now, combining our complimentary skills across events, marketing, social media and PR and this really helped. Now that there were two of us we had more flexible time to so we could pursue our personal interests and dreams in our spare time, which is so, so important!
In the past two years, I’ve learnt that money isn’t everything. Happiness is more important. You can always find a way to make ends meet (thank you eBay!) and new work turns up almost by fate when you feel like it’s not working out and you regain your confidence. Yes, there’s days when I wish I had the security of regular work and routine, but for my personal health and happiness this is the best thing. I hope more people can find a work/life balance, but it’s not easy when you have so many bills to pay.
I don’t know where this post is going really, I just wanted to write something to mark this milestone and tell you my story. I’m pleased I went freelance, despite what I moan about when I’m having a bad day and I’m grateful for all the amazing support I’ve had along the way. It’s not easy, but if it makes you happier and healthier, it’s worth sticking with it. We’ve got some exciting things on the horizon thanks to this lifestyle choice, things that we could only dream of if we had both been stuck in the full time career rut.