If you’ve often wondered how other people structure their freelancing lives and what on earth got them into running their own business in the first place, you are in the right place for a good old snoop.
This Friday, Jamie Wallis, founder of Cuppa Marketing Ltd (and creator of the Stir Up Media logo and website!) talks to us about his professional life. Jamie gives us his insight into balancing a full time job, mixed with the life of freelancing AND preparing for a PhD…
So, first of all, give us a mini bio and tell us something we won’t know about you!
I am Jamie Wallis, a professional marketer with over 10 years of experience. I have won a number of industry awards for my work, and in my spare time I run a freelance digital marketing agency call Cuppa Marketing Ltd. What remains of my free time is spent preparing for my PhD in Philosophy.
How long have you been running your business and what got you started?
I have been undertaking freelance graphic and web design, copywriting and other programming work for about 15 years. I am mostly self-taught, but have added to my knowledge with regular professional training and refresher courses. I set up Cuppa in early 2013 as a way of formalising my work and providing a more professional service for clients.
Are you freelancing full time or part time? Do you have a second or even third means of income to keep you moving forward?
I run Cuppa in the evenings as I am also a full time Marketing Manager.
Did you launch straight into your business idea or did you spend time planning, training or even worrying before you got kicking?
It took many years of playing about, making mistakes, learning and listening before I turned my hobby into a more formal business idea.
Tell us about your typical working day – Are you an early bird or do you tend to work throughout the night?
I work 9-5 Monday to Friday so that never changes. I spend some hours in the evenings and weekends working on freelance projects.
What’s your biggest challenge as a freelancer?
Time and knowledge. I get asked to take on more projects but to ensure quality and attention I only focus on one at a time. I also need to keep learning and stay up to date so I can recommend the best options for my clients. Marketers always need to be ready to adapt and try new things, especially in the digital age, and losing focus can mean you get left behind.
And what’s the best element of being your own boss?
How do you manage a good work/life balance (or do you struggle with this at all)?
I don’t do this very well and I need to work better at it, because I do work too much. However it often feels more like a hobby because I love doing it, so it would be hard to just stop.
Where do you work from and do you co-work at all?
I have a study at home where I do most of my work from, occasionally I will work from a coffee shop if I am out and about or need a change of scenery.
Do you allow yourself a regular break for coffee, exercise or lunch?
I tend to work through lunch and will only stop long enough to make a coffee. I do walk regularly as part of my commute which helps clear my head for the day on the way in, and focus on new projects on the way home.
Are there any apps/tools/gadgets/people that you just couldn’t work without?
Yes so many. For hardware there is my MacBook for day-to-day work and iPad for meetings; I never use a pen and paper. Software essentials include Adobe Creative Suite, Sprout Social, Google Analytics, Basecampe, Highrise, Google for Business and loads more. I love trying new software and apps.
Is there anything you really don’t enjoy as a freelancer? Perhaps something would persuade you to go back to a “regular” job?…
I do both so I guess I get the best and worst of both worlds.
We would love to hear your thoughts on “networking” – do you go to any regular events or meet ups to meet other freelancers?
I think networking used to be important for new business, but you can achieve much more online and through creative marketing. There are probably some industries where networking is still worthwhile, but for me it doesn’t really hold much benefit. I find word of mouth from satisfied customers is the best lead generation source for a small business.
Have a robust plan, have enough capital to get set up and support you through those tricky first months, know your product, your audience, your USP and how you will calculate your ROI, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them… And talk to me for all your digital marketing requirements.
How can we find you online (and off?):
Cuppa Marketing Ltd
Thanks so much Jamie for taking part in our Freelancer Friday series, if you would like to put yourself (or somebody else worthy of being featured) forward, let’s talk!