Life as a freelancer has its ups and downs.
A common problem is finding regular work. When we are successful in this, juggling the workload with running the business is another common concern. By running the business, I mean dealing with taxes, invoices, contracts, and marketing. That last one sounds the easiest of the bunch, but introverts may consider this the most challenging.
I specialise in more than one discipline. I’m a professional writer with 25+ years’ experience, primarily in corporate copywriting. Since 2015, I’ve immersed myself in financial services, writing for various fintech companies under my name and on behalf of others as a ghostwriter. This has been largely enjoyable, yet also repetitive and constrictive. I find myself in a groove.
I also produce podcasts, and have hundreds in the bag since 2009. This is a more enjoyable pursuit, but I don’t get much work as a freelance podcast producer. The solution is to market myself better, but I find this difficult, and much prefer the slog of managing taxes, invoices and contracts.
To counter this, I tap into my inner extrovert. He is a beast. Somehow, in those fleeting psychological visits, he whirls my suppressed thoughts into action, like a draught in a feather factory. His visits are exhausting and exhilarating, and the energy we combine to generate feels powerful. If I could summon his influence more, I fear I would quickly burn out. Dribs and drabs feels about right.
A recent visit came about because an old acquaintance called Rick Huckstep got in touch. Our paths first crossed many years ago, when I was editor-in-chief of BankNXT and he was a regular expert contributor. His skill was in knowing how the machinery of insurance technology worked, and mine was in showcasing his talent and knowledge as a thought leader. We kept in touch sporadically, as most professionals do. Recently, we spoke to one another for the first time and decided to launch a podcast. Here’s what happened next.
Why I find marketing myself difficult
Imposter syndrome has never been my struggle. I notice the thoughts as they surface and quickly pour water on them. A more pressing daily challenge is my introversion, and the comfort I knowingly seek in not drawing attention to myself. I’m at peace with this, and have come to understand its benefits and pitfalls over time, as well as how others see and interact with me.
I’m actually confident, not shy. Yet, my character prefers solitude, being productive in isolation, and working hard without being showy. It took time to acknowledge how much this has hindered my success as a freelancer. I force myself to network, despite not enjoying it. I know it can be effective, yet word of mouth has worked well for me because my clients like what I do and generously tell others. This has helped to pay bills, but has created the groove I mentioned earlier.
What I’d like to do is produce more podcasts, and the best way to showcase my skills is to produce more! Creating the show with Rick – Big Tech Little Tech – is a good way to maintain my skill set, to keep it sharp and up to date. For him, it’s an opportunity to explore his creative reach. He already works hard on a newsletter called Wiser, where he feeds his many thousands of followers valuable insight into the tech economy.
The mutual benefits are clear: he gets to be a podcast host, a longtime goal fulfilled, while I get to produce a creative product that keeps my energy flowing. If business comes our way because of our new adventure, all the good.
My character prefers solitude, being productive in isolation, and working hard without being showy. It took time to acknowledge how much this has hindered my success as a freelancer
Expand your comfort zone without leaving it
There are a handful of takeaways from this. Creating the show is so enjoyable. Rick and I have chemistry, which shouldn’t be taken for granted. He’s great fun to talk to and work with, which makes our adventure all the more rewarding. You never know who you’re going to get to know better in time. Life is full of surprises.
I’m writing less, which is good. Actually, I’m writing more interesting things, while working on corporate copy less. That’s a more accurate description. Aside from writing, a new client has coaxed me into editing again, which I haven’t done in a while. It’s a refreshing, rejuvenating period of freelance life.
Finally, I get to share with you an honest, cathartic appraisal of how my character and personality affects my life as a freelancer. Running your own business is no walk in the park, but there’s freedom in working the way you want to work, and choosing your clients, that makes the administration headaches easier to bear.
The comfort zone that nurtured the groove I found myself in has expanded to accommodate some valuable creative thinking time. I want the podcast to work for me, and want it to work for Rick as he finds his feet in audio for the first time. This is his as much as mine. This is our show, and here’s how you find it ...