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The Penfolders: meet the marketing freelancers who've helped to build our brand

Ellie Lister
Thursday 18th June, 2020

As a brand built for the self-employed and freelance community, today - National Freelancer Day - marks a celebration of the incredible work our freelance community do. We have built Penfold for the self-employed but you might not know, that we wouldn't exist without them as we actively work with freelancers to help build our brand too. From web developers to coding whizzes to marketing strategy and everything in between, our freelancers have helped to strengthen our business each and every day.

Today marks the first of a new series we're creating for the Penfold blog - a chance for us to regularly introduce the freelance masterminds working behind the scenes to make our business what it is. We'd be nothing without them! We're kicking off with our marketing freelancers. Let us introduce you to Jess, Laura, Ellie and Annabel - helping us with how we communicate better with you all on our public-facing channels, the words we use on the site and teaching the team to be better communicators with one other too! Here, we chat about how their freelance journeys began, their top tips for those just starting out and what their freelancer guilty pleasures are!

Jess and Laura, Brand Marketing Consultants

Jess and Laura have helped map out our PR, marketing and brand-building strategy with the help of their fellow freelance collective from their company, The Doers. "The best thing about freelancing is being our own bosses. This means wearing all the hats and juggling all the balls, but it also means we’re building something for ourselves and only having ourselves to answer to. Just the two of us with lots of ideas and finally a platform to set them all free."

The Doers is a brand marketing consultancy, that employ freelance creative visionaries as 'Doers' to help out businesses. After both coming from traditional PR backgrounds, Jess and Laura saw that the industry was changing fast and the focus was moving to all things digital as part and parcel of a brands marketing strategy. "Fast forward a few years and we could both see that the traditional agency set-up was flawed, it wasn’t flexible enough, for its employees or for its clients. We set up The Doers to offer businesses a flexible alternative which brings together lots of super talented freelancers to deliver fantastic results."

Running their own freelancer consultancy company, Jess and Laura have a few top tips to freelancers just starting out:

  • Plan: Take the time to sit down and think about what you want to do, how you’re going to do it and how you’re going to tell people about it - clear, concise and personable is always a winner. 
  • Network: Think about your network and tell them what you’re great at - you’ll be surprised how many people you know are just one step away from introducing you to a potential client.
  • Pricing: Never undercharge for your work. Read Dave from Work Notes Freelance Pricing Guide - it’s super helpful and will make sure you’re charging out your services at the right rates and most importantly making good money. 
  • Admin: Set yourself up properly - paperwork, accounts, tax, invoices, receipts. If you leave it to pile up it’ll give you a right headache!
  • Routine: Get dressed every day. The novelty of working from home fades quickly and we all secretly need a bit of routine. Create a new routine that works for you and make sure it includes exercise, showering and wearing real trousers at least twice a week!
  • Quiet time: Don’t take it personally if you have quiet months - it’s the nature of freelancing. Use those quiet months to tick off your admin list, reevaluate your website and marketing channels and never give up.
  • Wellbeing: Stay on top of your mental health. Freelancing can be a lonely place but there are some great communities out there to support and guide you. We’ve done a round up of some of our favourites here and when normality resumes we hold monthly ‘We Don’t Do Lonely Days’ - informal friendly meet-ups to beat freelancer loneliness.

Jess and Laura have a fair few freelancer guilty pleasures. "Turning our local pub into a makeshift office, squeezing in a binge-worthy episode over lunch to setup for a big bake off with a podcast in the afternoon". Follow them on Twitter and Linkedin here.

Ellie, Social Media Content Creator

Next up, is Ellie a fellow Doer, introduced to us by Laura and Jess. Ellie, aka This Girl Talks Money, has been behind our social media, gathering creative, engaging content and interacting with our community. "It's cliche, but freelancing is the best for the variety of work, it keeps me on my toes and you never get bored".

Ellie's top tip for freelancers who are just starting out is: "Don't pigeon hole yourself too early on. Try different types of work and get experience with a range of clients, and view everything as an opportunity to learn." Ellie founded This Girl Talks Money in 2019 to start the conversation about money. She's on a mission to upgrade millennial + Gen Z money mindset & management. Follow Ellie on Twitter and instagram, to hear her financial insights, advice and knowledge.

Annabel, Copy Writer

Annabel has written lots of tax-efficient blogs to help fellow freelancers feel confident about their finances, such as how your pension contributions are treated, 3 known tax efficiency tips and how much should I pay into my pension. Annabel's favourite thing about freelancing is being able to "just get stuff done. When you don't have a boss or a team to work with you don't have as many meetings and there's nobody to approve anything! I also love being able to see the impact from my work and help people by sharing my skills. I love the autonomy that comes with it- I can pick and choose the projects that are the best fit for me, and I can work from anywhere in the world!" Annabel told us that her guilty pleasure when it comes to freelancing is completing the first hour of her day in bed... "so if you're on a meeting with me between 9 and 10 I'm in my pjs!"

Here are Annabel's top 3 tips for those starting out copy writing as a freelancer:

1. Write a business plan! There are going to be ups and downs and times when you're not sure which direction to take. Having a business plan to re-read and refer back to helps you stay on track to what you want to achieve and the kind of business you want.

2. Don't add additional obstacles to the sales process. Often, we're so fixated on being professional we add proposal documents and complexity where there doesn't need to be. If you're selling something people need and you're a great fit, remember you're selling to a person- simplify it and get to know them. I recommend the book 'Win without pitching'.

3. Have faith in yourself. Don't undersell your services or think about how long things take you, think about the value they bring to your client. Build a community of support and a savings buffer (if you can) before you start so you're not tempted to work for rock-bottom prices. I also have a Pinterest board full of phrases of empowerment to give myself a boost when I need it!

Follow Annabel on Twitter and Linkedin, or take a look at her website.

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Stay tuned for the next instalment of The Penfolders to introduce you to some more of our freelance brand builders in the coming weeks!

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