This week, our Featured Freelancer is Marianne Miles, a PR & Social Media Management Consultant, & Copywriter from London. Marianne has grown from the freelancer she started out as, 7 years ago, and it’s not been without it’s challenges. This is her story…
Marianne Miles – I am a PR & Communications Specialist and I have my own Company Merité Media which is a Digital Marketing & Production company, we also have an In-house PR agency and Charity arm – Merité Media Foundation
How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer?
I was made redundant from my in-house PR & Communications Manager job at Universal Music UK in 2008. I was stuck for a while but then ex-colleagues approached me and asked me to provide private PR and consult on their projects and that’s when my freelance life began.
What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance?
Nil, Zero! It was hard for them to understand what ‘working from home’ meant at first, friends especially would ask when I was getting a job. Family were more supportive, giving out my business cards and recommending me to people, they still don’t quite understand and expect me to run errands during the day for them though.
Did you use any professional support resources in starting your freelance business?
No, I just dived right in and did everything myself, I used the resources I had from my last job.
How would you describe your clients or customers?
My Clients have changed, at first, being from a music industry background, my clients were musicians, artists and presenters. As I networked and built a reputation, I began attracting entrepreneurs and start-ups from all industries and now we work with small to mid-sized companies.
Why do your clients/customers select you over your competitors?
I think it’s because of reputation. I rarely pitch for a business and have only started sending out promotional newsletters for clients this month. We get a lot of repeat business and referrals, and still have a lot of our first clients on the books. Also I believe it’s my personal approach. We have a small team now but I always meet with all the clients, attend their events and treat them like family.
Is being a freelancer what you expected? Do you work more hours (or less) than you had first anticipated?
It changes every day. I am working on doing less hours and working smarter and not longer and have set tasks that I stick to. It’s working out so far. I thought it would be harder to get clients, but I also thought I’d have more freedom. I like the fact that I do not have set hours or an office but also it takes discipline to manage your time. I’m a work in progress when it comes to managing my time effectively.
What app or website could you not run your business without, and why?
Google Docs, Hootsuite & Instagram. Google docs because I travel a lot and it’s so easy to add things that pop up in my head, or update documents, etc. and instantly share with the team. Hootsuite because the bulk of our business is now Social Media Management and it helps us to run that side seamlessly and monitor the data and Instagram because we have only had a website for 1 year, before that our services and results were shared via Instagram which brought us a lot of business. I’ve only just started a separate Instagram account for the business because it was running so well on my personal one but I can now begin the uncoupling process.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a freelance business, specifically in your field?
Promote yourself, network, do not be afraid to offer services for free to get started but once you are off the ground value your time and charge accordingly.
What are the most notable things you have learnt since starting your business; either about running a business or about yourself?
I am perfectionist and that really held me back and made me not produce work as quickly as I should have. Mistakes are inevitable, learn from them and keep going. Accounts & cash flow are important!
What is it about being a freelancer that you most enjoy?
The freedom of being my own boss, working whenever i feel like it and from anywhere, the internet was the best invention ever!
What do you enjoy the least about being a freelancer?
I still have to have a real holiday where I can pay myself a salary and not work. But I am edging towards that goal each day, I think I’ll manage it in 2018.
What is your ultimate professional goal as a freelancer?
Apart from the holiday, its office space and a permanent team.
What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?
Work smart as opposed to work hard, sleep is important.
To contact Marianne, visit: