Come end of September I would have spent twelve exciting months as a freelance content strategy consultant. I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve learnt across the year – some of it might sound a bit obvious but it’s just my humble, honest account.
- Managing international teams remotely is harder than it seems. Oh yes. The industry might be celebrating the convenience of Skype, Basecamp or GotoMeeting but nothing beats face to face meetings in the flesh – FACT!
- Network, network, network. I used to work long hours for a big corporation and, to be honest, saw networking as a bit of a distraction. Big mistake. You need to meet new people and discover new ideas all the time. If you don’t invest in yourself in this way then you’re not going to develop.
- Thankfully, there are plenty of networking groups out there to help facilitate this in the form of meetups. This one is my favourite. I don’t know if I’ve been disappointed by any of these events.
- Read, read, and read again. When you work as a freelancer, it’s very easy to lose sight of the latest trends when you don’t have other people discussing them in an office environment. Saying that though, when I worked in an office I never invested enough time reading (for example) blogs from thought leaders. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough – spend time each day learning.
- Stress. It doesn’t matter if you work for yourself or for someone else – there’s always something to be stressed by. As a freelancer work life can very easily spill into your private life, especially if your office is at home. You need to build in ways of countering stress – I’ve reduced my caffeine intake (the lifeblood of any freelancer), increased the amount of sport I do and I now take more breaks from work than before. Works for me.
- And lastly, there are thousands of people out there just waiting to help you – all you need to do is ask. Every day I am astonished by how much free support and advice there is online – all you need to know is where to look and reciprocate a good deed when you can.
That about sums it up. It’s been a great first year so thanks to everyone who’s helped me along the way!