Posted in Freelancer, Top tips, Tools & Advice, Motivation & inspiration, Freelancer's stories, Interview,
For our next freelance spotlight series, we're showcasing our award-winning freelancers to celebrate their achievements and the outstanding work they do in supporting businesses globally!
Carra Sutherland is a PR & Communications Specialist, an overall winner of the TWC Freelancer of the Year Award and category winner in PR & Comms. Carra has been freelancing for more than 20 years and shares her secrets to success, and her top tips for winning new business and a successful freelancing career.
Can you provide us with a brief insight into what you do?
I am a PR & Communications specialist, Paris based, Irish born, with over 20 year’s experience in the health and luxury industry. I help launch new brands and products. I also help to rise notoriety on existing brands.
I have a strong network of press and opinion leaders in the French & international wellness sphere, including lifestyle, travel, beauty, sport and consumer press. An extensive personal network, over 3000 Linkedin contacts, 12,600 Instagram followers (@happysportdetox).
I have an entrepreneurial mindset with the capacity to create, develop & launch brands. An inherent sense of excellence, a hard worker with the recognized capacity to define a strategy, motivate & drive.
I am commercially focused with a proven track record and ability to exceed KPI’s, drive growth and deliver ROI.
Lastly, I walk the talk and am passionate about the world of health and wellbeing.
I really enjoy my job and am lucky to have the most amazing clients!
What are your top tips for winning new business?
I honestly feel as if reputation is the most important thing. My clients often recommend me to other clients and most of the time new clients contact me via “word of mouth”. Journalists and headhunters also often recommend me to new brands. In addition to this, I have a strong digital presence as well so if clients decide to research me they will find a lot of relevant info. I have a website and active Instagram account plus of course Linkedin.
In order to win new business, I think digital presence is super important, Linkedin, Instagram etc .
How do you effectively manage your client relationships?
I always answer quickly, I hate to keep people waiting! I don’t work on allotted times and days and reply to my clients at all times. I have weekly calls and meetings with all my clients and keep them up to date with weekly activity trackers as well so that they can follow up on what I am doing.
Its super important to keep clients in the loop on everything that is going on.
I probably do more than is outlined on the initial contract to be honest! I always strive for excellence and want to give my very best to clients.
As an entrepreneur, I know what its like to have a business and how stressful it can be so I reassure clients by proposing cost effective solutions and plans.
Are there any tools you wouldn’t do without?
My notebook (I love my handwritten notes!!), mobile phone, my laptop, whatsapp, Instagram & Linkedin! Also, Canva which I use all the time for writing press releases.
What are your top tips for success?
Be generous with your time and energy.
Only work with brands you love and admire, its impossible to promote something you don’t truly believe in yourself.
Have great relationships with press and key opinion leaders. Networking is super important.
Say thank you, be grateful.
Always be on time!
Dress for the part!
How do you manage your work-life balance as a freelancer?
I seem to have mastered the work life balance now as I have been doing this for a long time. I start pretty early in the morning in general (around 7.30am) and try to finish around 5.30/6pm. I am sports mad, so on Wednesdays I go swimming at lunchtime and on Friday lunchtime I go boxing! On the other days I try and have a run at some stage too. My son is almost 12 now so it is easier to manage than when he was very small. My boyfriend starts very early in the morning too so we are in sync!
What advice would you give your less knowledgeable self?
Clients need to have confidence in you and you must provide them with answers to their questions!
Be truthful, if you are unsure about something, tell them!
Think out of the box.
Read and keep up to date with trends and news. Check out what competitors are doing. Get out and meet people.