From identifying the best freelance roles to how to say no whilst keeping your reputation intact, we spoke to Jonathan Wilks to find out the answers to some of the main quandaries freelancers are faced with in the marketing industry.
How can I pick the best gigs to benefit my freelance career?
Freelancing can be an opportunity to expand your experience, so if you are looking to gain additional skills you could try going for roles where you might not necessarily tick all the boxes. For example, if your lead discipline is direct marketing you could gain more integrated experience and get more involved in digital or TV, which could be harder to come by via a permanent role. Although the market can be tough, especially the more senior you get, you should try to work at your level where possible. If you are an account director, don’t settle for a senior account manager role unless you absolutely have to as that could compromise your seniority and future options. LinkedIn and Campaign Jobs are great starting points to discover what freelance opportunities are out there.
Is it better to be a specialist or a generalist as a freelancer?
If you want to be an all-rounder then you can use freelancing as an opportunity to obtain a variety of skills. However, there is an argument to say that it is better to be a specialist because there will be a higher demand for your skills, so you will find it easier to obtain regular freelance work. It’s even possible to get a freelance role without undertaking an interview if your CV is a very good fit for the role in question. If you’re a jack-of-all-trades an interview becomes more necessary so your fit for the role can be better determined and consequently the process could take longer.
How can I showcase my work as a freelancer?
As a freelancer, first and foremost you need to make sure you sell yourself. Have a good profile on LinkedIn and a strong, clear and up-to-date CV. If you’re a creative, include links to your work in your application. If you’re an account handler, it’s not a bad idea to build a portfolio of your work so you can showcase the projects you’ve worked on and the results you have achieved. However, employers will primarily be looking to see where you have worked and what skills you have gained.
How can I say no to a freelance gig without jeopardizing my reputation?
If you are lucky enough to receive more than one offer, it can be difficult to choose. You may get two good offers on one day or you may accept an offer on one day and then get a better paid one the next day – it happens! If you have to turn down an offer, do it for a good reason and tell your recruiter what that reason is so they can explain it to the agency. You want to leave a good impression and the door open for future roles. And if you accept a role you should see that through even if a better offer comes up, otherwise you will leave the agency in the lurch, the recruiter in a quandary and an unprofessional image of yourself that could stick. It’s a small industry and you may want to revisit these agencies in future. It’s better to say you need more time before making a decision, rather than to accept and then later, decline. This will help keep your reputation intact.