Freelance life for me meant jumping in with both feet kind of blind folded, not that I hadn’t thought it through carefully, I had. And I did and still believe that this is the way one can work and have a career in 2016 and in the future. But like they say – if it was easy and all planned out in detail it would not be: A.Fun B.Adventurous C.Different
I wanted to give freelance living a shot as a part of my career experience because I truly believe that this is where the world is heading ,in terms of professional careers and how businesses have to operate today and tomorrow. In my private life I have many close friends that run their own businesses, they are a great inspiration. When you know you are doing something you believe in, the conclusion is simply that life is too short not to give it a 100% try.
On a personal note I can add that loving your marketing job and being a total workaholic will drive you very close to the famous wall. So before I got to close to it, I decided to combine a choice for a better lifestyle and a freelance marketing career.
The freedom is priceless.
Sure I have scheduled conf calls with clients, deadlines, and all the work that goes into client projects as well as pitching and marketing. But I still have, most of the time, freedom to get up at 6 am and work intensively until 11 am or 1 pm, then go for a run and do some reading. Then during the evening get back to a bit of work again. Or, I will just have a regular 9-5 office day like anyone else, or go to the beach in the morning and work full evening. Sometimes I will take a Monday off and work Saturday instead. Each week is a little different, depending on the workload, the season, and if I am travelling or not. Yes, travel. I could be sitting anywhere in the world writing this blog post or working on a marketing strategy for a client. Digital nomads are defined by the way the travel around the world whilst they are working for clients all over the world. I really wasn’t that keen on travelling around all the time, so I usually work from home or a coworking office in Ibiza where I live. Digital expat, or just plain immigrant that works online if you will.
In the workplace, we are moving towards more flexible arrangements where the individual is working with multiple companies at the same time. A lot of it is knowledge work, which can be done from anywhere. Stephane Kasriel, CEO Upwork, and co-chair of the Global Future Council on Education, Gender and Work By 2030, will we all be our own boss?
The flexibility is key
With no commute to the office & short efficient meetings on the phone or through Skype, I can work very efficiently. Take out half an hour to one hour a day for commuting, and around two- three hours per day for meetings, that is the time I am saving. Which means I can work four to five hours per day efficiently, with no breaks, and be done for the day. Or I can decide to do ten hours per day for three days and then have a some time off. Which means my work hours can be very flexible, depending on project deadlines of course. I have no boss, but the client is the boss. Clients are in different locations, and some times so am I. For the most part that is just a minor detail in the equation (translates to; the clients don’t really care where you are, as long as they can reach you on the phone or Slack, and you deliver on time). For some this way of working is a bit premature and will take some getting used to. But not to be worried, I do believe this is the path for many in the future, not just marketing consultants as myself. It is estimated that by 2020, 40% of the American workforce, or 60 million people, will be independent works – freelancers, contractors and temporary employees. Also, new platforms that pair talent and businesses, and co-working spaces around the world, is now built around this gig-economy.
The finding inspiration part
People are usually more receptive of creative thoughts when they are doing something that has nothing to do with the creative task, for example during or after a run or a nice walk, reading, driving your car etc. Inspiration can come from anywhere and there are many techniques that can help, but usually it helps to stop forcing it and do something completely different for a little while. Then you draft out a couple of ideas, and as you line out how the idea can work in a strategy it usually hits you which idea is viable and not.
I also need to keep myself up to date with all things relating to marketing and social media, which is my profession and therefore my responsibility. I dedicate hours in my schedule every week to read up on marketing and social media news, to read blogs, find case studies and other great marketing work to learn from, search twitter for relevant content, and watch vlogs on YouTube. Everything is available on the internet, absolutely everything, e.g. I took a course in Gamification at the University of Pennsylvania online – for free (www.coursera.org). The question is not what you can learn, it is how disciplined are you?
Someone told me once; it is just as important to learn to say no, as to say yes. Don’t waste your time, focus is key.
Simply put; as a marketing consultant I have decided to do mainly two things – marketing strategy & social media. For some that means developing a marketing strategy from scratch, for some it means reviewing existing marketing strategy. Some clients need a social media strategy, content plan, followed by operational tasks, and some just need some direction in what this all means for their business. Often there is also a gap between a business´marketing strategy and what/how they communicate in social media – and that usually also needs to be addressed.
This is what I do, and I love what I do. Ask anyone, I am a total geek at heart.
2015 was the foundation, and trial- and error, year (it was more like a quarter of a year to be fair), 2016 was the “yes I’m in business” year, and 2017.. let´s just say it will be VERY exciting! And as always; careful what you wish for;)
I know I am blessed and fortunate to have this life, and I am very grateful. However, I do believe everyone is responsible to create the life they want for themselves. Which is why I can, and will, attach this “I’m just casually posing in the sunset rays, with a glass of cava, oh and a strawberry ” wishing you a very happy new year – may all your dreams come true in the new year!
¡Feliz año nuevo!