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Taking a fancy to freelance?

By: Helen Powers

Really stressful work days might get you thinking that a freelance communications role is a great alternative. And it can be. The schedule flexibility and projects of personal interest are big perks but consider these points before ditching your full dental coverage and regular pay cheque.

  1. You won’t get paid for all your hours

There will be management tasks that aren’t billable and finding projects can take considerable time and strategy. Developing a business plan takes time but it helps to identify the type of work you want, where to find clients, and set a framework for business goals.

  1. Your reputation really matters

Producing great work isn’t enough – you also have to manage projects efficiently, be reliable and reasonable to deal with. Doing all of this well is more likely to result in repeat clients and recommendations.

  1. Have multiple areas of expertise

To maintain a steady flow of interesting work, it helps to have clients in diverse sectors who need a variety of freelance services. This keeps each day interesting and reduces the risk of being dependent on a narrow sector of work.

  1. Stay in touch

Working on your own can be socially isolating so unless you’re really high on the introvert scale, consider working some or all of your hours in a communal office space.  Regular contact with colleagues and professional associations also helps you stay in the loop about emerging issues that impact your work.

  1. Keep learning

Staying up to date on trends and innovations will maintain your qualifications to offer advice for changing client needs. Case studies, social media chats, webinars and conferences are great ways to source ideas and stay current.

Working freelance means no one ever sneaks your lunch from the fridge but it also means you are the whole company. At a minimum, your skills in client relationships and project management will strengthen and, if you go on to work for another organization, those skills will be important. Staying freelance on a long-term basis means the ongoing responsibility of business management but with hard work and strategy, the rewards might just be worth it.

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From Veteran to Newcomer to IABC LI – The Institute Delivers Once Again

By: Marie K. Fitzpatrick, ABC (pictured right) and John Gilbert (pictured left)

After four IABC Leadership Institutes, it’s hard not to be ready for the ‘here we go again’ attitude. Certainly, my enthusiasm for IABC after 12 years and as an ABC never wans. Meeting new friends, connecting with old, elevator and dinner conversations about our toughest communication challenges… it’s all there. But for me, what was different about the 2018 LI was in the rich content that seemed to be within two streams for the first time. Yes, the chapter management intel was ever present, but this time there was a second stream to strength leadership skills.

Communicators are Natural Disruptors

Communicators get things done. We know this. But how we do this is an ever-evolving skill set. This LI I learned, among other things, about the four styles of leadership, how to create great thought leadership and content marketing and developing a personal communication style. Wow! That was a whole lot of me-time and introspection but, if you think about it, that makes sense. We need to pause, think about our leadership strengths and play to them. And this takes time.

Bringing Your “A” Game to LI

While other leadership conferences that I attended had solid themes and tons of supportive learning, as a veteran, for me it was this secondary leadership conference stream that made all the difference. Given that my employer was supporting my leadership journey to attend, it was significant that I had real, tangible insights to deliver not only to my chapter team but to my work team as well. This year, there seemed to more of a business focus in this regard.

Written by Marie K. Fitzpatrick

 

New on Deck… IABC speaking that is

As an emerging leader within IABC and incoming President for IABC Golden Horseshoe, I entered LI with eyes wide open. There was a bit of anxiety not knowing just what to expect. Still being fairly green in my communications career, there are the challenges of both learning, understanding and implementing. Challenges will always exist. It’s adapting to them that is the key. Put your best foot forward, don’t dip that toe in the water to check the temperature… just jump right in. 

Alphabet Soup

The letters ‘L’ and ‘I’ were used repeatedly, for obvious reasons. Leadership Institute was such a broad title. Here’s what it meant to me:

Lasting Impression: This would be the most applicable. Considering I am a fairly new communicator, I arrived without expectations and felt the excitement of the unknown. From keynote speakers, to breakout sessions, to the people that I met and spoke with in San Diego, I am happy to report that I was blown away.

Loving Individuals: I briefly mentioned this above, but it is well worth repeating. Everyone that I met embodied a genuine love of communications, a passion for what they do and a drive to always be better. Can’t help but fall in love with an atmosphere like that.

Listening Intently: It didn’t matter whether it was a one on one conversation, a speaker, or a group chat. Listening to the stories, advice and knowledge people had to offer was simply invaluable.

Learning Involvement: Being involved and engaged in the learning process is critical. Having the speakers interact with the audience plays a huge role in being able to absorb that information and take it back to your local chapter.

My LI experience will allow me to lead with direction, purpose and a conscious mind for those that will be next.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

Written by John Gilbert