Four surprises if you go freelance in PR

When I used to sit at my desk at the PR agency I worked at, my mind would wander. I would often think about how great it would be to be my own boss. I could work the hours I wanted, choose who I wanted to work with or not in some cases (no more nightmare clients) and choose where I wanted to work. Hands up who hasn’t thought about catching some rays with your laptop in the garden, when the sun is out?

So I decided to go freelance. I had been rather unexpectedly made redundant and it was the push I needed to go it alone. I had had enough of working for someone else. Paying for their extravagant holidays. Funding their champagne dinners. So I decided it was the right time to take the plunge.

BUT, it’s not all plain sailing. Here is my list of four things I wish I had been told before I started freelancing:

1. You won’t be flexible:

There is something ingrained in me and I assume a lot of other people who have been office bound, that they don’t feel like they are doing ‘proper’ work, whatever that means, unless they are sitting at a desk. When I thought about being my own boss, I thought how amazing it would be to choose exactly where I wanted to work. But often I forget to take advantage of the flexibility of being my own boss and end up sitting in my office on the laptop. As time goes on though, I’m definitely getting better at this and enjoy a working brunch or doing client work from a co-working venue.

2. You will miss having an official ‘payday’

Part of the fun of working, was payday (okay, 95% of working is waiting for payday) but the enjoyment of sharing how many days until it is payday, can’t be underestimated. More importantly than waiting for it, is what you are going to buy from ASOS when your salary hits your account. And lest we forget payday drinks. Which reminds me, not having a Christmas party – don’t get me started on that, that’s for another time.

3. Lack of office banter

I like to chat. And I have a high-word count, which isn’t always conducive to working for myself. If I’m honest I under-estimated how much I would miss office banter. The catch up you have with your colleagues about what you ate for dinner last night or what you are up to at the weekend. That’s why I set up Mumala Club, a marketing networking hub where we can share ideas and talk about what was on TV last night.

4. Work is like buses

As a freelancer you worry about not having enough work. Just when that happens, you get a phone call, a couple of emails and a LinkedIn message asking if you are available. Then you worry about how you will manage all the work. You just can’t win. So I’ve come to accept that. When it’s quieter (which it hasn’t been yet thankfully) I know that work will come my way. But when/if that does happen, I will take advantage of it and enjoy the quieter times.

 Written by Hester Grainger, founder of Mumala Club

PRmoment Awards 2020