The new year never fails to surprise each of us with its quick and creeping arrival. This is a period of reflection, a time to think back on the past year and review what went well and what didn’t.
And after 12 months filled with the Great Resignation, quiet quitting, and mass layoffs from the big tech companies, many of us will be asking ourselves what’s next in our careers. The migration to flexible and independent work continues, and if you’re a marketer thinking about making this change, we’re here to tell you that there’s no better time. More companies are hiring freelancers and there’s more support for non-traditional career paths.
So, is 2023 the year you’ll become a freelance marketer? We checked in with four pros who’ve done it successfully (all winners of the 2022 Rosie Awards) to get their best advice for making the leap to independent work.
Tips for becoming a freelance marketer
1. Don’t go it alone
Amy Bell, a copywriter and 2022 Freelancer of the Year, shares advice on starting as a freelancer. “Before I joined Rosie, I felt like I was floating out there on my own. It was up to me and only me to hunt down work, promote myself, and manage multiple clients. The gift Rosie has given me is the freedom of freelance without the fear of running out of work.”
Olive La Estrella, the 2022 Rosie Awards Survivor Award winner, agrees that cultivating community is essential.
“Surround yourself with people who believe in you and lift you up,” she says. “When you hear stories of successful people, you almost always hear about a mentor or a person who believed in them and really inspired them to believe in themselves, too. Be sure to network with others and seek opportunities for mentorship and coaching.”
Joining online freelance communities is an amazing way to make connections and find job opportunities. If you don’t know where to start, look no further than our community of marketing experts. We offer networking in our Slack group and virtual events for upskilling. There are also many industry- and subject-matter-specific groups to tap into. Browse LinkedIn, join a few, and begin to build the support network you need to thrive as a freelancer.
2. Learn to say ‘no’
We got to talk with Tasha Prados, the winner of our “Liberation Award,” on the beauty of knowing when to say “no” as a freelance marketer.
Prados says, “If it’s not a f*ck yes, it’s a f*uck no. It’s not quite as simple as that—but the important thing is to trust your gut and your intuition. You have to say no to things that are not meant for you. If you don’t, you won’t have the time and space to say yes to your dream project.”
Working as a freelancer is a practice in cultivating your intuition and learning how to listen to your inner voice. This, like anything, requires experience and time. Be patient with the process and observe what feels right. Slowly but surely, you’ll only be working on projects that feel like an easy and natural “yes!”
3. Embrace entrepreneurship and personal growth
Designer Jocelyn Johnson was voted the 2022 Pivot Award winner thanks to her ability to re-envision her career during the pandemic. Prior to the 2020 lockdown, she spent seven years working with Chick-fil-A as a full-time consultant via annual contracts. But once the world stopped, so did her job.
Experiencing an unexpected job loss during an unexpected global pandemic propelled Jocelyn into life as an entrepreneur. She decided to go fully independent and launched her own branding and design studio, Jocelyn Designs, which has allowed her to stitch together different types of working arrangements with her clients.
“By taking on both freelance projects and part-time contracts, I was able to give myself the time and flexibility I needed to simultaneously build my own brand and maintain a reliable income,” she says. It’s clear to me now that it’s necessary to be open to change before it actually happens. It’s helpful to view each new client and project as an opportunity for exploration and growth instead of as a lifeline. Freelance life forces you to learn and grow in ways you never expected.”
4. Practice self-care
Taking care of yourself is a key part of working independently. When guardrails and boundaries of work aren’t set for you, you have to set them for yourself. That’s often a very intentional process. After all, if you’re doing work that lights you up, on your own terms, it’s easy to put your health and wellness on the back-burner.
So don’t forget to water yourself before watering others.
Olive La Estrella reminds us that “small, consistent efforts pay off over time. Incorporate daily habits of positive affirmations, positive self-talk, and acts of self-love. Investing in yourself is what will strengthen your overall quality of life.”
How to get started with your freelance marketing career
If making the transition from a 9-to-5 job to a freelance career is one of your goals for 2023, you might be wondering exactly how to get started. Check out some of our resources for freelance marketers below, and be sure to join our community for networking, upskilling, and access to opportunities with the biggest brands and agencies in the world.