Freelancing and flexible working can help promote a good work/life balance, and its popularity has skyrocketed this year with 1.4 million British freelancers on record as we speak.
We caught up with Simon Marshall, a legal marketing expert, who has worked in some of the UK’s most respected law firms, until he took the plunge to go freelance and is now the founder of TBD Marketing.
We asked Simon for some practical insights about the topic of ‘Freelance’ and what it takes to be successful at it.
Moxie & Mettle: Why did you want to become a freelancer?
Simon Marshall: It gives me the freedom to do interesting work for a broader range of clients. I’d spent 20 years in the legal sector. Since setting up, I’ve worked for law firms, sure, but also recruiters, planners, accountants, tech agencies and a cyber security specialist firm.
Moxie & Mettle: What do you need to get started as a freelancer?
Simon Marshall: Guts, hard work, confidence, an idea of where your sweet spot is, and the ability to pat your head and rub your tummy whilst hopping. What you don’t need is luck. Luck is what it looks like from the outside. Luck is what happens when you prepare well and constantly follow-up and work on something.
Moxie & Mettle: What’s your freelance work like?
Simon Marshall: I love it and don’t think I could go back. If I did, the terms would have to be compelling. In my life now, I often work for smaller, hungrier, world-class organisations who aren’t willing to sacrifice their values for a quick buck. I also get to work with larger organisations who want to pivot and regain sight of their values. I get to work with people at all levels in organisations, and I love that. Most people want to achieve great things in their lives: I help them to remove the barriers to doing so.
Moxie & Mettle: What gave you the courage to quit your job and start freelancing?
Simon Marshall: I wanted to spend more time doing interesting strategic and business-critical work and less time in meetings. I also needed to stop getting permission from lawyers to do things – I’d become a bit institutionalised and needed to spread my wings.
Moxie & Mettle: What are the benefits?
Simon Marshall: Lots: financial, flexibility over how and when I work and who I work for. I’m sure that there are loads of others too, but they are all just part of my daily life now. I spend much more time with family now and work around that. I also spend a lot of time face to face with clients, and that means we all produce a better result.
Moxie & Mettle: Are there any downsides?
Simon Marshall: If you’re not careful, it can be lonely. You have to get out and see people and meet people for the benefits of your business and to prevent yourself getting isolated.
Getting paid on time can be a bit of a pain too.
Moxie & Mettle: What advice could you give to other freelancers?
Simon Marshall: The advice I’d give to people who are thinking about going freelance is ‘go for it’. If you’re good enough to even vaguely think you can do it, then you’ll be fine.
Outsource everything that’s not your core strength: whether that’s finance or recruitment, brand or something else. Finally, make time for exercise and book off holiday days. And when you’re on holiday, take a proper break. Also, on a side note, if you are thinking about freelancing/are a freelancer, Moxie & Mettle have a Facebook page dedicated to just that click here to join.
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If any other freelancers are interested in featuring in ‘our chat with’ series of how to be successful at freelancing, please email: Isabelle@moxieandmettle.co.uk.
Written by Isabelle Peters