Image credit: Patrick Tomasso
Mirroring how this week’s content has been presented, I consider this post to be a continuation of what I discussed last week. This week, freelance concept artist and senior lecturer at falmouth university, Pheobe Herring (ca. 2020), shared her experience of being a freelance creative practitioner.
In last week’s post, I documented my (arguably hasty) decision to turn Skoobin Design into a limited company. I gave a rundown of my long-term plan to further my studies at the University of Birmingham and make use of UoB Elevate. Perhaps a more pressing matter is: how might I use my newly registered company to pay the bills now?
In this post, I’ll share my first impressions of pursuing freelance work, and consider how I might go about stabilising my income.
First, I’d like to address an inaccuracy in last week’s post. I used the term “self-employment” to refer to the state of being a director of my own business. I now understand that being registered as self-employed (otherwise known as being a sole trader) is separate a legal structure to being registered as a limited company (N26, 2019). I almost made the mistake of thinking that this week’s content wasn’t relevant to me now that Skoobin Design is a limited company.
In Phoebe Herring’s talk, the thing that stayed with me the most was her honesty around the risk of losing day structure. The idea that I might end up living an isolated life at my desk is frankly terrifying for me. Referring back to my week 1 post, I am a social person, and I thrive on the camaraderie of being in a team. An article on TotalJobs reports the following quote from Alice Stansfield, Managing Director of Chameleon Films:
“Sleep at a reasonable time is often not an option for a freelancer. Working freelance comes with all sorts of time schedules that are often inconsistent.”
This is something that I would need to push back against unreservedly. I know that I am susceptible to fatigue If I don’t get regular sleep. If a job ever significantly impeded my ability to play with my daughter, I’d have to find different work.
I have already been lucky enough to take on a few small jobs through the network around this course. Baitenizov et al. (2019) documents a prediction that freelance labour will replace traditional labour by 2040, and that, at first, freelancing typically involves working on small jobs for a number of companies, working irregular hours.
I recognise that working on a scattering of smaller jobs will help me build the portfolio needed to make me more attractive for clients offering larger, more exciting opportunities. Before I can win those smaller jobs however, I need to be confident in how I present myself (and my company) to potential clients. For that, I have have added two items to my to-do list—three if I include formalising my to-do list.
First on my to-do list is producing a business plan. Sam Bromley (2020) provides a framework for writing up a business plan. A number of the components to this framework are exercises that I have become familiar with over the last few modules: writing problem statements, and conducting SWOT and competitor analyses. While I don’t have the time to commit to writing up this plan at present, it is something that I’ll complete in the break before UXD740.
Second on my list is overhauling my skoobin.design website. Again this is something that I’ll need to put on hold until after this module, but I think finding a home for my academic journal may be challenging. It’s crucial that I portray myself as the skilled practitioner that I believe I am, but I am worried that some of my honest reflections in this blog might betray that image. I acknowledged a misunderstanding of self-employment as a legal structure in this very blog – that isn’t something I’m keen for potential clients to know.
If any potential clients are reading this: good find! Let me know you’ve found this easter egg and I’ll buy you a coffee.
BAITENIZOV, D.T., DUBINA, I.N., CAMPBELL, D.F.J., CARAYANNIS, E.G., & AZATBEK, T.A. 2019. ‘Freelance as a Creative Mode of Self-employment in a New Economy (a Literature Review)’. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 10(1), 1-17.
BROMLEY, S. 2020. ‘How to write a business plan: step-by-step and business plan template download’. Simply Business [online]. Available at: https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2020/11/how-to-write-a-business-plan-template/ [accessed 23/08/2021].
HERRING, P. ca. 2020. ‘Week 10: Phoebe Herring on Freelance’. Falmouth University [online]. Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/913/pages/week-10-phoebe-herring-on-freelance [accessed 23/08/2021].
N26. 2019. ‘How to register as a freelancer: All you need to know’. N26 [online] Available at: https://n26.com/en-eu/blog/how-to-register-as-a-freelancer [accessed 23/08/2021].
TOTALJOBS. ‘What’s it like working as a freelancer?’. TotalJobs [online]. Available at: https://www.totaljobs.com/advice/whats-it-like-working-as-a-freelancer [accessed 23/08/2019].