After being made redundant, Jo took her 8 years of experience in content writing and took the plunge to become officially freelance. Working freelance offers Jo – The Grammar Mamma – ultimate flexibility when working around her children, and she gives a refreshing and honest account of what it’s like to be a Freelance Mum in her blog My Life as a Mum.
Get to know Jo in this week’s Featured Freelancer:
What is your name and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Jo! I’m a content writer and mum of two girls from East Sussex. My business is the Grammar Mamma and I specialise in helping fellow mums in business with their content writing needs, so they can spend more time doing other things.
How long have you been running your business/freelancing and why did you start?
I set up a website and ‘side hustle’ in 2019 as a bit of a hobby. But I officially became freelance in August 2022, when I got made redundant from the job I’d been doing for 8 years.
Finding clients is one of the biggest concerns for people starting out working for themselves. Where did you find your very first client or customer? Where do you mostly find them now?
When I first started freelancing while still employed, I joined Fiverr (don’t hate me!) and I gained quite a lot of repeat business through there. A couple of big-name clients have since found my profile on Fiverr and contacted me directly, which is great. I’ve also gained clients through LinkedIn and from friends/word of mouth.
Who would you love to have as a dream client and why?
My dream client would be a female business owner in the childcare or parenting sector, as I love using my knowledge and experience to help other parents through the trials and tribulations of raising kids!
However, I like how varied my current client base is. I get to write about a whole host of different subjects on a daily basis – from HR and mindfulness techniques to car seats and tone of voice guides.
What app or social media platform could you not run your business without, and why?
I find LinkedIn super-valuable – for connecting with potential clients as well as for the fab community of fellow freelance writers.
Canva is great for creating my social media graphics and images, because it’s so easy to use – perfect for a non-designer like me!
Is working for yourself what you expected? How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my freelance career. So far, it has exceeded my expectations, but I’m wary of being too cocky as I know things can flip on their head. I’m still getting to grips with not having a regular wage or holiday pay.
I love being able to set my own working hours and having that flexibility, especially with two young kids. I got to spend the entire six-week summer holiday with my eldest daughter, which I would never have been able to do in my old job. And I was able to attend my youngest’s nativity without having to book the morning off or feeling guilty for skiving!
What has been your favourite project to date?
That’s a tough one! I’m very lucky that all my clients are lovely and have interesting topics for me to write about.
If I had to pick, I’d probably choose a series of blogs I wrote on ‘Christmas with kids’ last year. It was for a parenting website and Facebook community, and I was able to add some of my own life experiences and personality into the content, which was fun.
What is your biggest win of the last 12 months?
It sounds weird saying this, but being made redundant is probably my biggest win. Going freelance was something I’d wanted to do for a while. Redundancy gave me the push I needed and the financial security to give it a go.
What is it about running your business/being a freelancer that you most and least enjoy?
I love being my own boss and not having to answer to anyone – taking the day off at short notice and being able to put my family first are key benefits for me.
It’s still early days and something I’m getting to grips with, but I least enjoy quoting for new projects. It’s so stressful pitching it just right – not going in too high but not underselling myself either. Then there’s the awkward negotiation, where I really have to stand strong and not give in for fear of being rejected. All of it just gives me the ick!
If you were given a free £1000 to spend on your business, what would you spend it on?
I’d love to have my own office to work from, as I currently switch between the sofa, the kitchen table and the bedroom; depending on where my husband’s working. My 5-year-old daughter wants to share a room with her 2-year-old sister so they can have bunk beds, which will free-up a room. But I’m worried both girls sharing a room might be more trouble than it’s worth?!
What is your ONE top tip or piece of advice you would offer to other freelancers/small business owners?
I’ve been lucky enough to have received some amazing guidance since going freelance. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is to “charge your worth”.
I thought, as I was new to freelancing, that I should be charging less than other freelancers because I didn’t have as much experience. But I realised clients aren’t paying for my freelance skills. They’re paying for my writing skills – and I have tons of experience in that area because I’ve spent my entire career writing content.
And finally, is there anything you’d like to shout about right now?
I’m planning to launch a monthly newsletter later this year, so I’d love people to sign up to that (not that I’ve created a sign up form yet)! But I’ll be launching it on LinkedIn, so it’d be great to build my network of fellow freelancers on there – feel free to drop me a connection request.