Oscar Li

Melbourne’s freelance market has been busier than ever over the past year, with a huge number of creatives opting to be their own bosses rather than work the fabled 9-to-5 job in an agency or creative studio. Working as a freelancer has tonnes of perks, but when it comes to being recognised for your work and feeling at home as part of a team, the lifestyle can sometimes be a little isolating. Freelancers are often in and out of different companies from week to week, helping win pitches, delivering urgent projects on deadline and generally getting things on track – and then they’re gone again, on to the next project.

This year we were offered the chance to partner with Freelance.org.au in presenting the first National Freelance Day in Australia. With a similar event going strong in the UK for several years now, we thought it was about time to celebrate the individuals who keep so many of our clients out of hot water when those deadline’s are steadily creeping up.

Focused around the theme ‘Future-proofing Your Freelance Career’, the night was hosted by PR/Marketing expert Rachel Service, who led seven speakers through a series of lightning talks followed by a panel Q&A. Speakers included styling and personal branding consultant Susan Young, Squareweave founder Will Dayble and DT Digital’s Technical Director Bob Watts, touching on everything from financial planning to personal brand and how to build your networks (and keep them).

Ashley Playsted from Wealthie took the floor to speak about financial planning, and the importance of having your accounts in order, especially if applying for a loan. Marketing guru Kristen Boschma spoke about the best decision she’s ever made, and why understanding your value as a consultant (and having a sense of humour) is crucial to success.

Each talk focused on tips for freelancers to set themselves up for a long and successful career, but one point that came up throughout the night was the question of authenticity. How can we stay true to our own personal brand, and what does the term ‘personal brand’ encompass? It’s everything from the way you dress to answering your phone and returning calls on time; it’s committing to a project, and promising outcomes you know you can actually achieve. Even having your finances in order, knowing what to charge and being able to assert your value is part of building a freelance business with a great reputation, where clients will keep coming back.

National Freelance Day was a huge success in Melbourne and was a great opportunity for freelancers across all disciplines to meet likeminded people, hear from the experts and have their questions answered by those who’ve got the freelance game all figured out. We’re sure NFD 2016 is going to be even bigger and better, so watch this space!

For information on other freelancer meet-ups around Australia, visit http://freelance.org.au/