5 Key Takeaways from the Freelancer Impacthon (Apr 2019 Edition)

5 Key Takeaways from the Freelancer Impacthon, www.everydaychooselove.com

What do you get when you put a room full of diverse freelancers with real-world issues to be solved? You get a night filled with creative problem solving and zealous exchange of knowledge.

Intrigued by the idea of creating workable solutions to social problems, support communities and helping the environment, I took part in the Freelancer Impacthon organised by CreativesAtWork.

Freelancer-Impacthon, www.everydaychooselove.com

Here are my five key takeaways from the Freelancer Impacthon

1. Use creativity to make marketing work on a low budget

During the guest sharing by Stanley Kan, a digital marketing strategist, he touched on how to creatively run affordable marketing campaign. Founder of his own marketing companies, Stanley drew examples from his personal journey and provided valuable insights on how to make the most of one’s budget.

The stories he shared dispelled my misconception that marketing requires a large budget and it was beyond an average person’s reach. Fellow freelancers also shared their experiences on using marketing for personal branding. Encouraged by everyone’s sharing and actionable ideas, I was keen to explore how marketing would enable me to enhance my personal brand.

on how to creatively run affordable marketing campaign, www.everydaychooselove.com

2. If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life

The Impacthon challenges came from ComCorp and Common Man Coffee Roasters (CMCR). Peter from ComCorp wanted to look into changing Singaporean’s mindset of purchasing vegetables that did not look perfect because they are grown pesticides-free. Matt and Sarah from CMCR were exploring ways to integrate their mission and values of championing quality coffee and sustainability practices into their new product launch.

Motivated by the companies’ determination to do good for the environment and our community despite the business challenges faced, we were buzzing with energy to come up workable solutions for the challenges.

Even though it was close to 10pm on a weekday, the teams were reluctant to end our discussions. We had to be herded into the room by the organisers to pitch our solutions. After the event ended, many of us remained behind to continue the discussion with the companies and fellow freelancers.

Issue of challenge by ComCorp and Common Man Coffee Roasters

3. Diversity sparks great ideation

To stimulate a real-world freelance working environment, we were spilt up into random teams and assigned to work with one of the companies on their challenge. My team and I were tasked to work on CMRC’s challenge. Coming from different backgrounds, we were able to tap on each other’s expertise and view the challenge from various perspectives.

I was surprised by the wide range of ideas generated. The younger teammates came up with high tech ideas such as using augmented reality to create buzz and educate consumers about the coffee production journey. The more experienced teammates provided feedback on the ideas generated based on experiences from past projects. Despite working on similar problems, each team came up with unique viewpoints and solutions for the companies.

freelance impacthaon pitching, www.everydaychooselove.com

4. Always keep the goal in mind

At the end of our pitch, the companies took the opportunity to provide us with valuable feedback on how we can fine tune it. I appreciated Matt from CMCR generous sharing of his perspective as a client and what he was looking out for in a pitch. He reminded us to assure clients that their needs were understood and to focus on one or two ideas during the pitch.

5. Have Fun and Make Friends

The Impacthon was a warm and friendly environment to connect with like-minded individuals. It was also an opportunity to get to meet and learn from people whom I would not have the chance to meet outside of this event. I had fun exchanging information and learning about different industries from fellow attendees.

I was also super excited to catch up with fellow courses mates from the previous Freelancing 101 Bootcamp. Even though the bootcamp was only two days, because of the interactive activities that were integrated into the programme, a sense of camaraderie had formed between us.

At the end of the night, I was inspired by the passion and sincerity of the group. The challenges brought up by the companies had me thinking about how we can step up to do more for our community as well as the environment.


Freelancing and Parenthood: Lessons Learnt from the Freelancing 101 Bootcamp

Freelancing and Parenthood, www.everdaychooselove.com

Stepping into the world of freelancing is intimidating when you are not from a typical freelancing industry, and none of your friends are doing so. Especially in Singapore where according to the 2018 statistics, only 8.4% of Singapore’s resident workforce are primary freelancers who depended on self-employment as their livelihood.

I have always been attracted to the concept of freelancing because of the autonomy it provides. Being able to decide when and where to work, is even more important to me now that I am looking to start a family.

Having grown up with parents who work full time, our family spent most of the time apart from each other. Not wanting the same for my children, I see freelancing as an opportunity to continue working as well as have the ability to adjust my schedule accordingly to suit my family’s needs. This is a flexibility which a traditional 9 to 5 job is unable to provide.

However, being a freelancer would mean dealing with an unstable income and giving up other paid benefits like medical leave and vacation leave. Compared to the assurance of being paid a fixed salary monthly, freelancing is a daunting prospect with Singapore’s high cost of living.

Caught in a dilemma, I tried searching online for more information about freelancing in Singapore. The information available was not particularly helpful as most of the content are catered for western countries. Fortunately, one of the search results was the Freelance 101 Bootcamp organsied by CreativesAtWork. Thinking the boot camp would be a good way to start exploring the option of freelancing, I signed up for it with much anticipation.

Here are the 5 things I learnt about becoming a freelancer as a parent-to-be from the Freelancing 101 Bootcamp:

1) Have a right mindset

The media paints a sensational image of freelancing – it leads us to think that freelancing is all about hanging out at the beach with your laptop. In reality, being a freelancer means you have to work harder and work smarter than the rest of the pack. Having the tenacity and taking action despite fear are the two top qualities needed to achieve success.

2) Have a proper financial plan before starting

Realistically, it takes up to a year before things stabilise, so it is essential to have enough savings and insurance policies set in place to weather the storms. Furthermore, starting a family would require more cash flow, and it is paramount to ensure adequate inflow of money especially during the periods of waiting to be paid after the completion of projects.

3) Take time out to make friends

Networking although arduous is crucial to getting visibility and standing out in a competitive market place. It is also an opportunity to make new friends and collaborate on projects. I met a few mothers during the boot camp and between talks about parenthood, we shared our concerns about becoming a freelancer. It was reassuring to know that I was not the only one feeling this way.

Being a freelancer means not having colleagues and working on your own most of the time. It gets lonely, so by getting to know others who are working in the same environment, it widens one’s social support. Having social support keeps us motivated and helps us deal with stress better.

Fun fact! A poll during the boot camp revealed that freelancers do their work mostly in Starbucks. The next time I am at Starbucks, I definitely will check out who’s working next to me and say hi!

4) Price yourself right

Take into consideration all the factors when determining one’s rates. Even include things like expenses and how many days of holiday you want. Not shortchanging yourself is crucial. That means raising your fees too when required. As parents, because there will be more expenses which we will need to deal with, it is essential that we factor them in.

5) Create your value

Having a good portfolio will catch the eye of potential clients, but the key to clinching a deal is to highlight the value we bring to the table. It is the pre-requisite now to enter the freelance market with excellent skills, so communicating our value will give us an advantage in winning the client over.

At the end of the two days, I was more confident about my decision to become a freelancer. The Freelancing 101 Bootcamp gave me the foundation I needed to start my journey. I was inspired by my talented course mates and their passion for their craft. The interactive activities were great ice breakers and helped me to build friendships.

I am sure that freelancing would be an option not just for individuals who do not fancy working in an office, but also for parents who desire more flexibility in their work to customise the way they spend time with their family. Although the concept of freelancing is still developing in Singapore, there are growing communities such as CreativesAtWork who are making it happen and supporting each other. I am thrilled to be a part of this movement and look forward to being a freelancer mom!