Jane has been been freelancing since before the internet was invented. You name it, she’s done it. TV production, video direction and marketing management. For the past 12 years, she’s provided strategic copywriting and editing services to companies, governments and agencies. Jane has a postgraduate degree in palaeography, is proud of her Icelandic heritage and almost won the grand prize on Jeopardy.
Now, she’s revealing what has worked for her:
Q: What is your professional background, and what led you to a career as a freelancer?
A: I was a BBC TV producer in the UK and came to Australia to make a documentary series. I loved it so much that when I got home, I resigned and emigrated. Back then, the Australian TV industry was in the doldrums so I started contracting, first as an ABC Radio producer then in marketing management roles.
Between contracts, I freelanced as a communications consultant and loved the freedom and variety. I went back to being an employee for a couple of years as an agency Creative Director but struggled with no longer being in control of my work choices. When the agency lost their biggest client and downsized, I took the opportunity to become a full-time freelancer. As Clement Communication Pty Ltd, I provided the full spectrum of marketing and PR services for the next 12 years. By 2005, I’d fallen out of love with most aspects of the work but not with copywriting, especially that sweet spot where I could combine wordsmithing with strategic smarts. That’s been my focus ever since.
Q: Tell us about your key skills – what brings clients knocking on your door?
A: I’ve built my reputation on corporate writing and editing, B2B campaigns and executive ghost writing, with some creative copywriting and brand messaging thrown in. What unites them all is that they need a writer/editor who understands how marketing strategy ties in with business strategy.
My clients like working with a senior professional who isn’t scared of complex topics or large-scale projects, and who loves research. So I spend most of my time producing reports of all flavours, speeches, thought leadership articles, white papers, value propositions, information memorandums, corporate profiles, tenders, awards submissions — whatever 99% of other writers think is boring. I’m not the right person to write a blog about shoes, but if you have a project that’s meaty and strategic, give me a call!
Q: You’ve worked with some remarkable clients – can you tell us who they are and how you’ve landed these projects?
A: I can – and do – write about anything, but my specialist sector expertise is attractive to clients in financial services, technology, energy, environment, resources, FMCG, health, construction, professional services and government.
As I’ve been in the business for nearly 30 years, I’m lucky enough to have worked with some big names in these sectors, including IBM, Woolworths, Coca-Cola, Apple, Google, Lend Lease, CIMIC, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Oil Search, EY and Deloitte. I’ve also worked with State and Federal government departments and agencies across the country.
Much of my work comes from client referrals and repeat business but in recent years, my website has led to some great new clients and unexpected projects. Last year I edited a performed ethnography for a university, which was a first for me! I also get recommendations from other writers who are kind enough to pass on my details when it isn’t their kind of work.
Q: There are so many freelance writers out there – what sets you apart from others in your field?
A: My maturity, strategic understanding and multi-faceted CV. I’m a trained journalist, an experienced communications strategist, an excellent project manager and I’ve produced communications in every format you can think of. I’ll bring maturity and insight to any project and add value at every stage.
Q: What is it about freelancing that keeps you from accepting an in-house role?
A: As the late, great George Michael would say – freedom! I’d be a fish out of water in a corporate role now — I’m too used to doing things my own way.
Variety is the other thing I love about freelancing. This week I’m working on a regulatory submission for an energy company, an article about leadership, brand messages and a white paper for an education provider and a website and pitch deck for a tech start-up. I would never get that range in-house.
Q: Tell us about being part of The Freelance Collective – what’s it all about?
A: I joined The Freelance Collective to connect with like-minded people who understand why I work as a freelancer and the challenges I face. It’s a two-way street: I ask for their advice and share mine. After so many years freelancing, I’ve got plenty of wisdom to share, and it’s good to help people who are new to it.
Q: What advice would you give others considering becoming a freelancer?
A: Firstly, I’d advise them to have faith in themselves. Even the most experienced freelancer is prone to self-doubt and imposter syndrome is common. If you’re going to succeed, you need to back yourself. Secondly, I’d say: don’t worry when work dries up. More will come, I promise. And lastly, I’d recommend joining an online freelance group such as The Freelance Collective for on-tap advice and support from people like you. You won’t even miss the water cooler!
Read more about Jane on her profile page on The Freelance Collective.
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