Meet Karen Cann, Freelance Video Editor, Producer, and our latest Featured Freelancer 🎤
13 years have whizzed by since Karen stumbled into freelancing and there are no regrets. She loves her clients, her meaningful work, and the impact she’s making on the smaller folk across the UK.
Let’s learn from the seasoned videographer who’s been successfully bossing-it solo for over a decade:
What is your name and what do you do?
I’m Karen Cann and I’m a freelance video editor and producer. I create videos for people and also edit other people’s footage. I enjoy showcasing small businesses, freelancers and charities!
How long have you been running your business/freelancing and why did you start?
I’ve been running my business for 13 years. I fell into freelancing really, unfortunately the audio company I was working for folded in the 2010 recession and I was made redundant with no notice. I was in the middle of authoring DVD projects for clients and those jobs were picked up by another company so it made sense I continued them as a freelancer. It was a good choice becoming freelance as I had a toddler at the time and could work flexibly around her.
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?
My first clients were people that I’d already worked with. Now, they find me either online, but mostly through recommendations from my clients. It obviously helps to be active on social media, don’t be afraid to shout about your work!
What does a dream client look like to you and why?
I’m lucky enough to have quite a few dream clients already. People who are simply lovely, easy to work with and have similar values to me. They provide really interesting footage where I can learn a lot whilst editing or ask me to showcase their business or charity: both are a pleasure and very rewarding. The good thing about being freelance is that you can choose your clients, so you hopefully don’t have to work with difficult people!
What app or social media platform could you not run your business without, and why?
Vimeo, as I use it to share my edits with clients. I’m also really enjoying LinkedIn at the moment as it keeps me updated with connections’ work and news. I can also learn so much about my industry and business in general from articles posted: very useful when you work for yourself. Obviously, Freelance Heroes has been an absolutely fantastic community to be part of – so informative, supportive and full of awesome people!
Is working for yourself what you expected? How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
I really didn’t know much about freelancing before I started and didn’t expect it to be as much of a rollercoaster as it has been. It has been such a huge learning curve, not only the practical side of managing everything in the business by yourself but just how much you learn about different industries as you aren’t pigeon-holed into one role in one company.
I expected to feel very alone, but great clients, online communities, in-person networking, and collaboration with other freelancers makes it everything but.
I mostly manage a healthy work-life balance. I’m lucky that I’ve always been very disciplined and motivated as I love my work. I work hard during school term time and then take longer breaks during holidays. I realise I’m never going to get this time back with my kids. If work is busy I will work late into the night, and still after 13 years I’m terrible at checking my work email too much!
What has been your favourite project to date?
Too many to choose after 13 years. I’ve loved the videos that have helped charities by raising awareness for their services, cause or secured them funding.
What is your biggest win of the last 12 months?
I’ve been lucky to work on some really powerful interviews about autism, it’s been a privilege to edit them and learn so much from some amazing people.
What is it about running your business/being a freelancer that you most and least enjoy?
The flexibility is the best thing. I don’t need to ask permission to have any time off, and this has meant I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my children during their holidays. I may not have made millions but spending time with my children is priceless. I’ve also had medical and family issues, so again, great to be flexible.
I’ve also enjoyed working and networking with so many lovely people from different industries. I feel I’ve learnt so much more than I would’ve done working for one company.
The thing I enjoy least is the quiet periods, I really hate feeling unproductive. I like to be busy. Yes, I can work on aspects of the business, like blogging, marketing, my website and so on but I still don’t enjoy not having paid work to focus on. I miss editing too much!
If you were given a free £1000 to spend on your business, what would you spend it on?
A new camera.
What is your ONE top tip or piece of advice you would offer to other freelancers/small business owners?
Make sure you look after your mental health, particularly if you work alone, as you can feel isolated and unmotivated sometimes. There isn’t that camaraderie you get from working in an office full of people.
Have a good support network around you so you can share experiences and get advice. Join online freelance networks, attend networking events and try to meet up with other freelancers you gel with. Only self-employed people can truly understand what it’s like and can empathise with you.
If there aren’t any freelance groups in your area then start one. It could simply be a coffee twice a month at a local cafe or a group walk and chat – make sure you get out of the house and see people face to face who are in the same boat as you. These meet-ups really give you a boost!
And finally, is there anything you’d like to shout about right now?
Well the good thing about freelancing is that you can manage your time how you want to. In June I went through a quiet patch so I decided to invest in online learning and completed a Level 2 qualification in Equality and Diversity, which I thought was a very important course to take. I’ve just received my certificate – woo hoo!
Visit our other Featured Freelancers here and, if you’re a UK freelancer and would like your profile in our freelancer directory, access to all our events and workshops each month, plus more, then sign up and test drive us for a week for free here.