Interview | 17 Dec 2021

Freelance Spotlight with Samantha Henry, Consumer PR Freelancer

Posted in PR and Communications, Motivation & inspiration, Freelancer's stories, Interview,

This month we interviewed PR freelancer Samantha Henry. Samantha tells us how her dyslexia successfully sets her apart from other candidates, why freelancing has provided her with a better work/life balance and some exciting projects she’s currently working on through The Work Crowd.

Tell us a bit about what you do?

Having dabbled a little in entertainment and fashion early on in my career, I then became a general consumer PR rather than a specialist field. My experience is quite broad including travel, retail, food & drink, technology, personal finance and FMCG. I specialise in integrated campaigns, ensuring that PR is one part of the marketing puzzle. Most campaigns I work on are digital first with content creation, social media and PR. I’ve always prided myself on thinking of ideas that will work across multiple platforms.

I’m dyslexic, which I used to see as a weakness that put me behind other candidates, but over the years in my career, I’ve seen that it actually sets me apart from the crowd. You’ll have to excuse me for a few typos, but I bring a lot to the table, I’m more efficient as I can problem solve quickly, and see the bigger picture, so when thinking of ideas, I can literally see the whole journey in my head already, whilst others are still thinking how it will work. Many are often surprised at how much work I can fit into a day!

How long have you been a freelancer?

I have been freelancing since 2017. I had a couple of long-term freelance roles in house at BT and then at a start-up PR agency The Fourth Angel, but it’s really been since May 2021 that I’ve really been fully emersed into the world of freelance. Since then, I have a mix of my own direct clients, as well as some agency consultancy work with PR, advertising and media agencies.

Why did you decide to go self-employed?

I started a dog accessory business, Pup Chic Boutique, in the first lockdown last year, so I wanted to be able to work part time in PR to allow some time for that too. I work pretty much the same as I would in a full-time job in an agency with 6-7 different clients, splitting my time across them throughout the week, ensuring that each client has dedicated time each day. But I feel like I have a much better work life balance. I’m only taking on what I know I have the capacity for, and where client budgets allow, I have other part time freelancers working with me, so the client has a full team, with the same level of work, at a lower cost than a larger agency. They are also getting a team with people with the right experience and expertise to their brief, as opposed to being assigned team members that have capacity rather than those who are right for the tasks in hand.

How has The Work Crowd helped you as a freelancer?

The Work Crowd has helped me to find a couple of clients to work with directly for project work. Client services is one of my passion points, so I love working with clients directly. There are some great opportunities that crop up on there, I possibly would have gone after more, but I’ve been at full capacity the last couple of months. I’m looking forward to finding more agencies and clients to work with through The Work Crowd in 2022.

Do you think the pandemic has had an affect on freelancing?

I would say that 2020 was tough, I was ready to move on to a new freelancing experience in 2020, but the job uncertainly with marketing budgets being cut made me feel uneasy to move on. So many people were on furlough, or lost their jobs, there was a lot of competition out there. However, as Covid has continued to stick around, more agencies are looking at freelancers to support on projects without the risk of investing in hiring permanent staff, and many businesses whose budgets are smaller are looking for ways to get the same level of support at a lower cost, and freelancers offer that opportunity.

What kind of clients/projects have you worked on through The Work Crowd?

I’m currently working with a social care company on an audit and strategy for their comms. I’m really excited about this work as I’m helping them to shape how they communicate internally and externally and helping them to give them the tools to run with it themselves, with me on hand to consult where they need it. Social care is such an important issue at the moment, and there aren’t any companies in the sector that are really speaking up, so there is a real opportunity for them to campaign and drive change, and I’m excited to help them on this journey.

What one piece of advice would you give to a new PR freelancer?

Don’t go after something unless you have the confidence you have the right experience and skills to deliver it. You need to be as passionate about your freelance work as you would if you were a permanent staff member. You will then have the confidence that you can deliver and will help ensure you either get more work with them, or help you get references and recommendations with other businesses. After all, this is a small industry and people talk and you want to ensure that people are raving about you as an excellent freelancer, rather than a poor one.


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