All of my working life, I have worked for somebody else. I like the security that a ‘permanent position’ gives. I know each month that on a certain date I will get paid and how much it will be. So starting a business was completely new to me.
After having my children, I took about 6 years out of work to bring them up. I enjoyed my time at home with them, but I needed to do something else as well. And, I was lucky enough to find a job that allowed me to work part time. This was fantastic and I am happy doing this. But, since my youngest started school last year, on the 2 days that I don’t work, I felt lost. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I didn’t want to increase my hours with my permanent job, so I decided to do some freelance work on a self-employed basis.
First timer frustrations
I now realise I was very naive when I had the idea to set up my own freelance business. I thought, it would be easy; set up a website, do some marketing, find some clients and earn some money. Simple! Right? Well, I was wrong.
Setting the business up was not too difficult. It began to get tricky when I decided that I wanted my own website. I assumed that this would be the easy part for me. As a digital marketer, I have years of experience of working with websites. The one difference is; I have never had to build one from scratch.
My youngest, who is 5, gave me the best piece of advice. He said, “Just Google it, Mummy”. And so I did. I spent hours doing research on Google on how to build a website. And, with the aid of YouTube video tutorials I did it. This took me, longer than I had anticipated, around 5 weeks in total. But, I have a functioning website that acts as a platform for me to showcase my work.
Getting your voice heard
Another mistake I made, was that I thought I was unique. Well, I am not. There are thousands of freelance writers out there. And, we are all competing for clients to work with.
I have discovered that the freelance world is extremely competitive. Getting yourself known as a good freelancer, takes lots of energy and time. For the first couple of months, I spent about 2 hours a day on Twitter and Facebook, researching local businesses and connecting with them.
This came to nothing. I was starting to feel fed up and thought about giving it up. Then, on the last day of the summer holiday, my son had a major meltdown in the park, and I thought to myself, I am going to be like you!
If I shout loud enough I will be heard
Taking the situation of my son in the park; there were lots of children running around and screaming. I had difficulty in hearing him. He kept shouting louder and louder until I could eventually hear him above all the other children.
So, I took the same philosophy and applied it to my marketing. I kept on tweeting and adding posts onto my Facebook page and groups I’m in. I have steadily built up the number of my followers and have begun to see more engagement with them.
Marketing takes time, energy and effort but over-time I hope that my voice will be the loudest in social media land.
No can mean yes
I find it amazing that that a 5-year-old will ask to do something, and when you tell them “No” and explain why, they still go ahead and do it anyway, or at the very least, ask again.
I thought about how to implement that thinking into my business. I am now taking on the mantra that “No, may eventually mean yes”. Before, when I contacted a potential client and they said they are not interested in my services. I would leave it at that. Now, I say that’s ok, then contact them again about 6 months after to see how things are going.
Is it working?
It is hard to say if the tips I have taken from my 5-year-old are working in my business. It is still early days. What I have learned is, even though I may be small, with lots of determination I can still have a big voice, just like my son.
Hi I’m Emma, a digital marketer and a freelance writer. I work with businesses large and small to broadcast their message to their audience. In short – I use words to help businesses grow. Drop by my website to find out more.Emma Saldanha, Freelance writer