Interview | 17 Apr 2015

David McGroarty-Manley: Freelancing

Posted in Freelancer, Freelancer's stories, Interview,

Growing up I played every sport. My mum threw me into everything: tennis, fencing, golf... although, my favourite was always rugby but I did not play competitively until I went to University.

I went to University in New York and this is where I really got bit by the rugby bug. With some friends, I helped re-start the rugby club that had been inactive for some years. I eventually went on to become the captain and this is where my love for the sport grew. At grad school, I studied marketing and journalism. For my thesis I decided to incorporate my love of rugby and write it on the uprising on of the sport in America. From there, I worked for SEaT Capital specialising in rugby journalism.

My other speciality is music. It’s something that has been a big part of my life for the last 15 years in many capacities—as a performer, writer, and promoter. I am currently a Music Journalist at Toxic Online.

Why did you get into freelancing?

I got into freelancing because I like the liberation of it. It has pros and cons but, in my opinion, the pros far out way the cons. I like being free to have the amazing opportunity to be able to follow my passions for sports, film and music both on a professional and personal level.

How do you manage your freelance career with your personal life?

I find it very easy to manage my freelance career and my personal life because the two are so intertwined. Also it is possible to be a journalist from anywhere. I am not tied to an office.

If I can’t channel my thoughts on the day I will often save it for the evening and get on with other stuff. I work better under pressure and this is often when I produce my best material. My employers would never know, because I always get the work in before the deadline; even if I have to stay up all night!

I think this ability to perform best under pressure comes from my sports background as I am so used to performing under pressure whilst playing competitive sport.

How has freelancing enabled you to follow other passions in life?

Freelancing has allowed my passions to become my life. It has been fantastic. I am able to give my opinion on topics that I am passionate about. I get to go to screenings and interview actors. I am still able to play rugby and follow musicians. I find that writing about my passions professionally enhances my love and respect for them even more.

What challenges have you faced freelancing?

I am lucky because as of yet I have not had a period of time where I have struggled to find work but I think that is one of the big challenges of freelancing; lack of job security.

What advice would you give to other freelancers?

I would tell other freelancers to put themselves out there all the time, especially when you first start out. Use every different media to intertwine your personal and professional self so that they co-exist and there is no divide. Use Instagram, twitter, facebook, LinkedIn.... I found this to be incredibly effective and would often have potential clients sending me messages through these sites.

Also at the beginning of your career; don't worry about working for free. It is a great place to start and will quickly lead to other more lucrative opportunities.

By David McGroarty-Manley