In a digital world full of negativity and pessimism, I was easily drawn to the twitter account of Good News Shared and The Moments Journal, which regulary Celebrating the impact & achievements of charities, NGOs, and social enterprises. The accounts are run by this week’s Featured Freelancer Nisha Kotecha who, amongst her answers, talks about how much she enjoys the flexibility of being a freelancer. As well as how that means she now dislikes Bank Holidays.
Find out why and more, in the story of Nisha’s freelancing journey…
What is your name and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Nisha Kotecha, I’m from London but am currently working remotely from different locations- most recently Lisbon, Prague and Budapest. My work is split into three areas:
- I run Good News Shared, a website which features uplifting charitable stories from around the world.
- I sell The Moments Journal, which I created to help people feel more positive and optimistic by focusing on the good things from their day.
- I support charities, social enterprises and small businesses with their social media marketing.
How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer?
I have been freelancing for three years now, having left my job at a small national charity to try and help more charities raise awareness of the impact they have. I knew so many charities doing amazing work but getting limited (or no) attention in the press and I wanted to help in some way. So I set up Good News Shared and started working on freelance projects.
What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance?
My friends and family have been very supportive of my work, and my husband has been an absolute star- he’s been my rock during tough times and has always been honest with me, so has never given me false hope or told me it’s all going to be simple. My husband is now also a freelancer so we are able to enjoy the positives and the challenges that come with freelancing.
No one specifically advised against becoming a freelancer but I’d spoken to quite a few before making the decision so I went into it with my eyes open.
Did you use any professional support resources in starting your freelance business?
I attended a number of free courses and programmes when I first started my freelance business, including a great free course run at the British Library. Recently I spent six months working with a small business in Berlin through the Erasmus Entrepreneurial programme, which was a really useful experience.
How would you describe your clients or customers?
My social media consultancy clients are mainly charities, NGO’s and social enterprises. They are based around the world, for example I am currently working with a NGO based in Brazil and also a social entrepreneur in Sussex- Skype is a godsend!
The Moments Journal customers are also from around the world. Some are Good News Shared readers, others hear about the journal from friends, and some see it on Amazon or the Big Issue Shop website.
Why do your clients/customers select you over your competitors?
I think it’s because of a few different reasons. I have being doing social media marketing work for a number of years now, having built up experience in the area through my regular paid job and through voluntary positions.
I am pretty visible online through guest blogging and social media, and I have been included in some amazing lists recently, such as The Independent’s Happy List 2017.
Also I try to share my journey with people through things like regular LinkedIn articles. I think that has helped me build relationships with people, some of whom have gone on to become clients.
I think The Moments Journal customers choose to buy it because it is clear what it is and how it will improve their day. Also it’s different to anything else in the market, and the proceeds are used to keep sharing inspiring stories on the Good News Shared website.
Is being a freelancer what you expected? Do you work more hours (or less) than you had first anticipated?
I’m not entirely sure how many hours I work each week to be honest as I don’t always have a fixed schedule and I don’t track my hours. I love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work most of the time! I also try to make the most of the fact that I don’t always have to be working 9-5, Monday to Friday.
What app or website could you not run your business without, and why?
Twitter– I use it to promote my business, learn about developments in the sector, and to network, plus it’s something that people hire me to manage for them.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a freelance business, specifically in your field?
Go for it!
Before you do, I would recommend thinking carefully about why you want to do it. Once you know this you should always keep it at the front of your mind so it can help you stay motivated.
I would also recommend joining some supportive networks that will help you through practical and emotional advice.
Ultimately you will learn by doing, you are bound to make mistakes no matter how prepared you are, but that’s OK as you can use them to help you improve!
What are the most notable things you have learnt since starting your business; either about running a business or about yourself?
I have learnt that it is important (and OK!) to ask for help, and also to be self-promotional sometimes. This is not something that comes naturally to me, but over time I have realised it is important to share the things you are doing, finding challenging, and achieving.
Also I have come to realise that it is OK to not be great at everything. I recently hired an Accountant as I realised that spending my time on my taxes is not the best use of my time (especially as it would take me a really long time!).
What is it about being a freelancer that you most enjoy?
I enjoy having the opportunity to run with an idea instead of having to go through various bureaucratic steps, which someone else decides, to get the go-ahead.
What do you enjoy the least about being a freelancer?
Bank holidays! They don’t hold the same excitement as they used to- mainly because I find myself working during most bank holidays these days!
What is your ultimate professional goal as a freelancer?
My ultimate goal is to run a successful business with a small team of passionate, impact-driven people.
What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?
What it is that makes me feel most productive. In a regular job where things are set by other people it isn’t always easy to discover what makes you feel productive.
I’ve realised that I like being around people when I work but also that I like not having a fixed routine. So I think what works best for me is to work from a coworking space a couple of days a week, and then either work from home or cafes the other days. If I had known this before I became a freelancer I probably would have found the early days a lot easier.
To connect with Nisha, visit: