How I left the corporate world and became a successful freelancer in 4 months

How I left the corporate world and became a successful freelancer in 4 months

I’ve been wanting to write more lifestyle/business content on my blog for a while but always felt like there was never a right time to do it. I’ve been freelance/self employed for almost a year now and I’ve recently launched my own digital marketing agency and thought now was a more opportune time to fill you in on what I’ve been doing lately work wise.

When I finished University, I went travelling for 6 months with one of my best friends -we visited South Africa, South America & South East Asia. I came back to the Wirral where I had grown up and fell into a part time job counting desks at Unilever. When my two weeks were up I begged and pleaded to be kept on and those two weeks turned into 4 years. When I worked up north I was in very technical roles that if I’m honest, I found very boring.

My parents moved to London 3 years ago and after staying on the Wirral for a few months by myself I realised I was being an idiot for not moving too and managed to get transferred to another IT related role in Unilever’s head office. From there I moved to the digital marketing team and spent 2 years working with some of their biggest brands globally.

I don’t want to delve into too much detail as to why I left, but it was something I had wanted to do for a very long time. I grew frustrated at the slow pace that projects ran at. I resented not being in charge of how much money I earned, instead needing to be grateful for a 2% pay raise every year regardless of how much effort I put into the role. The teams I worked in were so big that I felt as though my input or suggestions were never valued, and in a company that size their processes are so set in stone its impossible to ever bring about real innovation (unless its directed from the top down).

Eventually, I realised I had reached the end of my tether and handed in my notice last November. The minute I did it I rang my mother crying, terrified I had made the worst decision of my life. After all, I had left a steady, reliable, well paid job for what? I had no clients, no prospects, no real plan of what I wanted to do other than not what I was currently doing.

I spent the first week in bed watching Netflix, sticking my head in the sand and avoiding any form of responsibility for what I had just done. In the second week I watched Youtube videos on how to make money online and taught myself how to day trade and dropship. But I felt like a fraudster, I didn’t have a background in finance & e-Commerce and it didn’t really feel like me.

I realised that rather than trying to learn a new skill and compete with people who were already experts in those fields I would turn my hand to what I already knew: digital marketing. I decided to set myself up as a freelancer and caught a lucky break when I was invited to a networking event of London founders and picked up my first 3 clients very early on.

quit your job go freelance

From there, I started reaching out to companies I found interesting on LinkedIn and offered my digital marketing services. I kept up to date with the latest developments in the sector and taught myself skills that I didn’t have previously.

After two months I had 6 clients, after 3 months 9 clients. At which point I stopped looking for new business as I couldn’t physically handle a bigger workload. All my clients are SME’s and I love the contrast of working with smaller businesses to a large corporation. You have more responsibility, more recognition, more opportunity for innovation and more agility when delivering projects.

By chance or fate, I met a friend’s girlfriend for a coffee earlier this year who had been on a similar journey to me and was looking to take the next step – starting an agency. The thought had been mulling around in my head too, if only to ease my current workload but also to appease the new wave of people that had been contacting me for digital marketing support. Almost overnight we had developed a grand plan of how the agency would work and set about finding new clients to bring onboard and work with together. Within the space of a month we had two new, well paying clients onboard and were able to execute our new business model of working remotely and being paid to provide a set of deliverables instead of being paid for our time in an office.

I found that after taking on 2-3 clients that expected me to work in their office 1-2 days a week I was working 12-18 hour days and the stress to appease each of them was literally frying my brain.

I have since gone on to found another digital marketing agency, this one in specialising in PPC, SEO, SMM and content marketing. If that sounds like a series of made up acronyms to anyone, then it basically means we use social media and advertising to help businesses get more clients.

Not once have I regretted my decision to leave my corporate job (aside from the initial week after I quit), I have had a heap of ups and downs and my stress levels have gone through the roof at times, but overall I am way, way happier and know that this form of working is better suited to me. At least the stress I have now is as a direct result of something I have done or need to do, as oppose to a big corporate decision that I have no control or say in.

The main reasons I quit my job and became self employed was because I wanted control and freedom of my time. I hated being constrained to a 9-5 job, to dragging myself on a sweaty, cramped commute everyday that always put me in a bad mood, and being limited to 25 days of holiday a year. There is so much research to show that people can’t be productive for 8 hours straight, and that most people are productive at different times of the day, yet most of us are still being forced to work in this archaic window of time. I now work from about 7am-12pm and then from about 4pm-9pm and it works perfectly for me. I’m more productive and I’m able to go about any errands/meetings/events in the middle of the day.

I realise I’ve not shared too much detail or information on what my life is like now but I just wanted to check with my readers if you enjoyed reading a different type of blog post? Would you want to read something like this again? If so, what kind of information would you like to know?

Giulia x

Outfit from: https://www.boohoo.com/

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