This month we interviewed Susan Brownlow. Freelancing for 15 years, Susan found her niche within the Energy and Sustainability sector. Read on to hear why she made the move to freelancing and hasn’t looked back, as well as her advice to successful pitching on The Work Crowd platform.
Tell us a bit about what you do?
I’m both a media relations specialist and professional writer. While some clients want to use one of my skillsets over the other, I find that most like having a freelancer on call that has the ability to do both. So, they have one port of call to essentially see a job through - from identifying the initial editorial opportunity to delivering a fully formed story around the topic.
How long have you been a freelancer?
I’ve been freelancing for 15 years and although at the time it seemed like a leap in the dark, I attracted clients quite quickly. I had been specialising in energy and industrial topics which back then was a bit of a niche area, so there weren’t too many freelancers around with the right experience.
Why did you decide to go self-employed?
As I was increasingly given more seniority in big global corporations, I began to find that the part of the job I loved most – storytelling and interaction with the media – was becoming more remote from my day to day work. I wanted to get back to that. Being self-employed also allows you to sidestep the politics and just get on with the job. Another benefit is that it allows you to take the time to deal with other important things in your life. My mother is 88 now and does need help sometimes. Being freelance gives me that bit of flexibility.
How has The Work Crowd helped you as a freelancer?
I can’t remember when I first came across The Work Crowd but I’ve now found several really interesting and well paid projects through them. The team are extremely helpful and very efficient. I consider them a reliable and valuable source of work.
Do you think the pandemic has had an affect on freelancing?
Yes, I definitely do think it had an impact on freelancers. I certainly felt it. On the first day of the first lockdown, it was like all my clients had become deer staring into the headlights. They just froze, unsure of what to do. Nobody has faced a situation like it and my clients were dormant for the first 4 months or so. It was a challenging time. But as we entered the “new normal”, work did start rolling in again, with companies realising that hiring freelancers gave them the flexibility they needed in an unsure world.
What kind of clients/projects have you worked on through The Work Crowd?
I specialise in all areas of sustainability and have found as the drive to Net Zero has overtaken COVID as the most important topic in the news agenda, more and more environmental projects are being added to The Work Crowd platform. I’ve managed to get several clients some excellent media coverage promoting products and services which are contributing to a better world.
What one piece of advice would you give to a new freelancer?
The Work Crowd platform allows you to send attachments when replying to job posts. I have found that having a presentation ready to send to clients that showcase my experience and successes invaluable. Create a “template” version highlighting all aspects of your work, then you can quickly edit and adapt for a particular client as needed, using it as a key tool to sell yourself.
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