Interview | 04 Apr 2018

Insights into my freelance journey - Alison's story

Posted in Freelancer, Motivation & inspiration, Freelancer's stories, Interview,

Whilst the idea of freelancing and 'going it alone' can sound daunting, with the number of independents in the UK growing, there is no need to feel isolated. Alison, journalist and corporate content professional, tells us about her career and advice for any budding freelancers.

Alison is a NCTJ- qualified journalist and corporate content professional that speciales in business and finance. She has been a member of The Work Crowd community for over 2 years now and we spoke to her about how she got into freelancing and overcame some of the challenges the career change can present.

Tell us a little about your expertise?

I am a content professional. I have had broad print and digital experience, working in a daily, weekly and monthly press environment for consumer and trade investment titles, including on the business desk at the BBC News Online. I have also worked in-house in content management roles for KPMG, BearingPoint and Big Lottery Fund.

So how did you get into freelancing?

I left a senior permanent job because my manager was more concerned about presenteesim and political point scoring than productive working and getting the best out of his team. My youngest child was 2 at the time and I was frustrated all the time at the lack of flexibility to work from home, asked to work weekends and stay late at the office for no good reason.

I had never jumped before without a parachute, but I felt like I had a noose around my neck. I didn't want to miss my children growing up. So, I jumped...   

What were you most apprehensive about when making the change?

When I left, I had already lined up a few pieces of work, but I was told payment terms were three months in arrears - and that was after my articles had been published! EEK!

I was concerned about getting work - and about the months of famine ahead as I looked down the tunnel of months of pitching and no guarantee of success. Thankfully, quite soon after I secured a monthly feature with a trade title who were very prompt at paying, and then I was hired to fill a part-time maternity contract at the Big Lottery Fund, which couldn't have come at a better time.      

Knowing what you do now, what advice would you offer to other freelancers starting out?

If you are leaving a permanent role (on good terms!) with an employer with a content stream, I would say first port of call is to see whether you can take on freelance work for them. It's advisable to have something lined up, or you'll quickly just feel unemployed and panic. 

Think about what kind of work you'd like to do and then don't be scared to approach whomever you'd like to work for, whether a news title, agency, charity or organisation. You are your own boss now, so make the most of it! Having said that, I've also pitched for - and taken on work - completely out of my comfort zone because money talks!  

You’ve won a few projects through The Work Crowd platform, any highlights or comments?

MD Consulting, a PR and marketing agency specialising in fintech, liked my portfolio and obviously saw the value in providing strong content for their clients. I have worked for them for about 6 weeks now and they have made me feel part of the firm, which has been a real treat. Their clients are in the financial technology space and that is a fascinating area for me, so it's a great fit.

"As a freelancer, it can be difficult to know who to contact in companies to get work and the process can be time-consuming and often fruitless. With Work Crowd, you know you are pitching for real jobs. For employers, it is comforting to know that you will have access to a bank of quality candidates.

In addition, Work Crowd has been so helpful in making sure that I was paid correctly and in organising my work! Thank you so much Work Crowd. It's been so easy to work through you and hoping I win lots more clients with your support!" – Alison B.


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