I first started freelancing about 15 years ago. I was pushed into it by yet another redundancy. My third one.
My wife was pregnant with our first child, we’d just ordered a new kitchen with most of our savings. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. It wasn’t my fault, the guy I had been working for simply ran out of money and couldn’t afford to keep me. He wasn’t the best businessman.
I freelanced through an agency for a few months going to various companies here and there, including a 3 month stint at WeightWatchers. It was during this era that I realised I was quite good at freelancing. I was good at my profession and I was friendly, which meant most people took to me and I could also pick up processes at companies quickly.
I then had a job offer at a marketing agency who were opening a new office and studio in Bracknell. I took the job, glad to have some stability while the baby was born. This was great until some 18 months down the line, the company was bought by another company who promptly made it clear they wanted to close all the smaller satellite studios and centralise their design and artwork operation.
I was gutted, I was the manager of my own little studio and I loved the job. I was earning good money, got bonuses and a car allowance. I managed to get another job just as my notice period ended and ended up working for a company called ‘Page Visions’ in Slough.
All was well and good here for a while. I did some great work for them on their O2 and Marks and Spencer accounts. Unfortunately the M&S work involved training manuals and once I had done the design for the project, the management decided that they could get rid of me and get two mac operators in to put the content into the manuals, for the same money they paid me. The timing was excellent. I was a month short of Christmas and the large Christmas bonus the employees got each year. I’d worked my arse off for them, working extra hours to get the work done.
And this was it for me, I decided there and then never to work permanently for another company again. I was sick and tired of giving my heart, soul and time to a company, just to be treated like crap and made redundant when I’d outlived my usefulness.
It had taken five redundancies to get me to this point.
I managed to get a contact at 3M and ended up freelancing in the studio there for over 7 years. I always joked it was ‘the longest job I’d never had’. It showed me that I could freelance regularly and make good money. The plan was always to use 3M as a springboard for growing my business, but somehow I never got around to it. When I got kicked out of 3M due to the studio being shut down, I realised I should have been growing my business concurrently to working at 3M. The next few months were tough. But that is another blog post.