2010s, I Hardly Knew Ya
It dawned on me recently that I've been freelancing for 10 years now. In 2009 I was the Director of Marketing for ABC Family (now Freeform). I'd had a nice run in Ad Sales Marketing for several networks and even though the role was more managerial than creative, I thought it would be a good fit. Thank God it wasn't. And that's putting it mildly. That job was so not a fit that it made me completely unemployable. I knew I could never work for anyone else again. And thus began my freelance career.
Listen To Your Peers
To be fair, for years I had friends and colleagues telling me I should strike out on my own. The idea of working for lots of types of clients really appealed to me but I was scared. I didn't know the first thing about getting work on my own. It all sounds seductive, but the reality of going it alone is terrifying. But when a job blows up in your face, life has a funny way of forcing you into a decision. Or freeing you up to make one.
Will Work for Pennies
Like most newbies, I had to take whatever I could get. I signed up with creative placement agencies, emailed everyone I knew and applied to short term roles on Media Bistro and Craigslist. I was lucky enough to get some work as a Maternity Leave Fill In at Nickelodeon in their Integrated Marketing Department and that opened up the chance to work for Nick at Nite as well. Slowly but surely I was building up my portfolio and forging those valuable connections.
After a few years of that and the chance to work on several other projects in the B2B space, I fell into another maternity leave fill-in role at a word of mouth marketing agency. The role was meant to be six months but it lasted five years (for the whole story, buy me a drink or three and I'll tell you). I really had very little B2C work up until this point, but was able to somehow sweet talk my way into getting the offer during the interview (which was news to the woman I was replacing - maybe we should make it four drinks). But that job has now led to many of my current clients, who were colleagues at that company, and have all gone on to work elsewhere and hire me once they've landed. To say I have a great network is an understatement.
But you can only freelance for so long. Or at least, I could. I love the freedom of being a freelancer but you're also at the mercy of the work that comes your way. I knew I wanted to have more control over the work I did and the people I did it for, and I knew I had amassed the skillset to takes things up a notch.
Almost 10 years after going it alone, I created More Than Words Marketing and became a business owner. I thought about trying to quantify all the projects I've done over the last decade, but I don't even know if it's possible. And while the amount doesn't matter, I do know that the quality of what I do now and the expertise I bring to the table is certainly exponential. From a newbie just trying to write and rewrite content, to a strategist helping clients understand their brand, understand their audience and craft content that reaches them in a genuine and engaging way, it's been a hell of a ride. Thank you for coming along with me (Sorry I'm such a crazy driver)!
I can't wait to see what the next 10 years brings. Some things I do know you can look out for in 2020:
A Brand Spanking New Website (finally!)
Personality Brand Workshops
Bookable Strategy Sessions
Digital Content and courses (maybe 2021 for the courses)
I'd love to hear what you have in store for 2020, or how you're reflecting on the past decade. Share it in the comments.
BONUS: Create an About Page That Doesn't Suck
Haven't downloaded my About Me Mad Libs yet?
This downloadable PDF lets you build out your bio, LinkedIn profile or About page in a fun and engaging way. Take it seriously, or not at all. But please share your results with me, tag me on the socials and share it with those you love.