This is a story that I can really relate to. Though Eleanor worked in the media and I worked for the Non-Profit sector, I found myself sick of working for other people and decided it was time to do things on my own. The life of a freelancer isn’t easy but every day that I wake up, I’m thankful that I chose this path. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.
What is your job / what field are you in?
I’m self employed in the media/marketing field. I do layout and design for a newspaper three days a week and then do freelance writing, editing, event planning and I blog while dreaming of having an online store again, my last one did pretty well but I needed to close it due to health reasons
Do you need a qualification for it? If yes, what and how long does it take?
It’s a bit of a mismatch and I’m sure you could get into it without formal training, if you have lucky breaks, but I went the study route. I studied print and broadcast journalism for four years with additional short courses in photography, online marketing, event planning, I also did even shorter courses in mental health reporting and fashion history(the last two are from when I was a fashion and lifestyle reporter years ago).
How did you get into it?
I was hired by one of the biggest media houses in the country straight out of University. I was eager to learn and ended up changing positions a lot, from reporter to subeditor to layout person to videographer to advertorial writer and back to reporter. Almost three years ago now I realised I was done with mainstream news, I was sitting in a memorial covering the murder of someone in my community (it was pretty high-profile) and while my friends sat there crying I was making notes and trying to score interviews with mourners. I realised that the news hound life was no longer for me and I wanted a change. I had also lost a few loved ones recently and realised I did not want to die having only experienced one type of life.
How long have you been doing this?
I got a notification that my website is 2 years and 9 months old and since that’s the first thing I did when leaving my job, I’m going to say 2 years and 9 months.
Do you remember when you first started? Tell us a bit about that.
I resigned with the hopes of freelance writing full-time as I had two contracts lined up. The gigs fell through and I had to pull myself towards myself and make it work with the skill set I have. So I photographed kids parties, wrote for anyone who would have me and sewed and crafted a line of products which I was lucky enough to have placed in stores… There was a lot of trial and error and I think I finally stumbled on a combination that keeps the bills paid (mostly) and my heart happy (usually).
Do you work for yourself or for a company or organisation?
I work for myself which in turn means I have a thousand bosses
What’s an average day like for you at work?
Monday to Wednesday I interact with humans in an office environment.
Reporters send me stories and I pair it with pictures and make it all pretty on the page.
Then Thursdays I do freelance writing and blog related things.
Fridays are the same as Thursday…It’s me, my laptop and camera.
What has been the most memorable moment for you in your career?
Last year I helped pull off a family fair in the city that had people line up for miles to get in, honestly it was CRAZY. I’ve also managed to pull together a local bloggers conference with my blogging buddy Luchae from My Spreadsheetbrain called the #ECMeetup, which is going into it’s fifth event now. Then I have written a bunch of supplements for businesses all by myself, rewritten two websites and my blog has been voted as runner-up in SA Blog Awards for Arts and Crafts twice…that’s pretty cool.
What moment would you like to forget?
I’ve had some serious disappointment, people giving me hope and then dashing it, but I put it in my past and move on.
If you could live your life over, would you still do this?
Yes, I would be smarter with my money but I would still want to end up in a life where no two days are the same.
What are some of the biggest challenges about this field?
Getting paid! Sometimes people forget that the free in freelancer is silent. Also things fluctuate so you can go from sushi to tinned fish and right back quick.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into this field?
Honestly before I took the plunge I thought it would be impossible to make a living without having one cut and dry job, it’s not, follow your passion and do what makes you happy. Life is crazy short, way too short to be chasing rands instead of sense 🙂
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