Sam Martin, our latest Featured Freelancer from the Freelance Heroes FB Group, is a PR and Digital Consultant from Preston, Lancashire. A self-confessed perfectionist and control freak, Sam’s passion for freelancing clearly comes from the ability to be her own boss. With this drive and determination, I’m sure we’ll see her business thrive to whatever she wants it to be. Here is Sam’s story in her own words…
What is your name and what do you do?
Samantha Martin, commonly known online as Socially Sam, and I’m a social media manager and blogger
How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer?
Full time for 3 years and then about 2 years part time before that. I started really out of need and after leaving a job I hated and having to find a way to pay the bills quickly, whilst refusing to take the easy option of going back to the corporate world
What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance?
Not really, I just kind of did it all on my own. And given that nobody really understood what I was doing (and still don’t) then I just took everything on myself and got on with it
Did you use any professional support resources in starting your freelance business?
Nope, just Google
How would you describe your clients or customers?
I have a mixture of business clients and public figures, which creates two completely different types of people. Public figures are very focused individuals who will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals, which is usually to be known in some way. Business clients have objectives related to ROI and want tangible results. I have learnt to pick my clients more wisely and look at the long term now rather than the short term fee. I enjoy working with my current clients and feel more invested in them and their businesses because I’ve developed better relationships with them. They tend to be the type of people I’d be happy to invite to my home for dinner.
Why do your clients/customers select you over your competitors?
I think a lot of the time it’s word of mouth but also that I tend to approach work from a more honest point of view and better understanding of the client’s needs. I don’t always just tell them what they want to hear and I will tell them if I think they are wasting their time and efforts with some things. I’m more focused on the results than just making money from them.
Is being a freelancer what you expected? Do you work more hours (or less) than you had first anticipated?
No! I work far more hours and very rarely take an actual day off as I’m always tied to my phone even on holiday.
What app or website could you not run your business without, and why?
Probably any of the social media scheduling tools. It lets me plan out mine and my clients posts so I can get one with other things
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a freelance business, specifically in your field?
Stop listening to some of the so called experts and gurus and learn the more creative side of the industry rather than all the technical stuff that a lot of “experts” talk about. Being able to come up with great ideas for social media content is worth far more than knowing how certain apps work. Just understand the functionality and focus on the creative. Find your own way, don’t follow the crowds.
What are the most notable things you have learnt since starting your business; either about running a business or about yourself?
I’ve certainly learnt that I’m a perfectionist and control freak that struggles to delegate. Sometimes that’s not such a bad thing either. Also, running a business is absolutely nothing like what you think it is when you start. The hours are terrible, the pay can be even worse and the boss is a pain in the arse!
What is it about being a freelancer that you most enjoy?
Freedom. I like being able to decide what I do, when I do it and having the ability to plan my life without being tied to office hours or a fixed amount of working time per week. Also being able to follow through on my own ideas. I also enjoy that I can work from anywhere and so long as I have my laptop then business will always continue.
What do you enjoy the least about being a freelancer?
Working alone. I go through periods of finding it very hard to stay motivated and not having someone around to tell me to get on with it can be quite tough.
What is your ultimate professional goal as a freelancer?
To expand so that it’s not just me, but also to follow through on many of my own ideas. I can often spot gaps in markets but don’t always have the time or resources to go after them. I’d also like to be able to help others that want to escape the corporate world but aren’t sure how.
What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?
To go my own way. It’s very easy to be distracted by the sheer amount of noise online and the amount of people telling you what you should be doing. It is far better to follow your own instincts and do what is right for you, not what the guidebook says you should.
To get in touch with Sam, visit one of the following links: