Recently I was fortunate to get speaking to Daniel Miller about his freelancing experience.
Daniel is 25 and a freelancer that focuses on helping companies with their event/conference strategies. He was fortunate enough to hit capacity super early on so hasn’t needed to get a website sorted yet. If you want to get in touch with him you can via email.
How long have you been freelancing for?
I started freelancing in April through Upwork, so 6 months.
What services do you offer?
I typically help companies where events/conference are key to the success of their business meet their registration and business development targets.
As part of this I have been:
- Developing websites using word press themes with developer and designer support.
- Identifying and recruiting speakers to speak on in demand presentation topics.
- Developing multi-channel marketing strategies across email, social media, and paid
- Curating content to drive marketing campaigns
- Sourcing and securing sponsors
- Advising on conference/training program launches and yearlong strategies.
How did you find out about Upwork and how have you found using it?
I found it just by researching around freelancing sites and Upwork is the largest. Their payment protection scheme and feedback scheme were extremely valuable, as I was confident I had the skills but just needed to get some freelancing projects and credentials under my belt.
The downfall with Upwork is that it can be difficult to position yourself as a quality freelancer at the start, as no matter what job you apply for there will be at least 10+ applications with substantially lower offerings from freelancers who send out blanket, generic applications. Another issue is people asking for free work which is a constant problem, but overall with some patience and resilience its a good source of opportunities, and after a short amount of time using the site I started receiving some quality leads.
What did you do before freelancing?
I was working for a company called Innovation Enterprise. I was managing 7 people and running a very large and profitable event portfolio until June 2015. I then took a 8 month vacation and went travelling around Asia, South Africa and South America before volunteering in a government run college in Colombia.
And why did you decide to take the plunge?
I had more free time than expected whilst volunteering so I started sending out applications via Upwork to make some money on the side to go travelling. It was never my intention to be a full time freelancer until I realized that my services were extremely in demand.
How would you describe your first three months as a freelancer?
I was doing everything through Upwork so it took a while to match my skills up with relevant positions so the first 2 months were fairly slow. After that it was frustrating receiving solely commission offers, but I eventually landed two great clients and the work was completely to a very high standard.
If there was one bit of advice you could tell your pre-freelancer self, what would it be.
Relax more, and focus on building your long term skill set.
What mistakes do you see fellow freelancers making?
I haven’t been working with freelancers long enough to comment on this.
What one thing have you been doing way more of than you anticipated?
Rapidly learning new tools to help my clients and making sure I’m up to date with the latest tools such as Alfred, Slack, Evernote and Trello to maximize my efficiency. After all the more productive I am the greater returns I can provide my clients.
Have you had to do much marketing to attract new business?
Fortunately no. I reached capacity after 2 months and I’m now in a lucky position where I have a great client with an exciting vision that I’m playing a key role in implementation and there is more than enough interesting work to keep me happy.
Can you see yourself working for a company again in the future?
Unless it’s my company probably not :D,
Is there anything else you would like to say on the topic?
Freelancing requires perseverance especially at the start, but if you are confident in your services its definitely a path to greater flexibility and pay as you can tether your bill rate to the value that you provide your client. As a freelancer I’ve also learnt more in the past 6 months than I thought I would which is great, and the learning process is just getting started. I would also recommend prospective freelancers to begin alongside their current jobs, as unless you’ve got referrals and SOWs lined up there will be an inevitable period of applying, marketing and business development.
Thank you so much for taking the time Daniel, this has been super useful.