Freelance role: twelve months on

Around this time last year I was noticed by Samantha Howard. Sam, being quite impressed with my social feeds, offered me a position of the ‘social media guy’ on the freelance basis. This experience has certainly changed my career, and after a year of working with the most amazing people at the Comms Crowd I can say that this role was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

Insights that I’m constantly gaining at Comms Crowd are invaluable. I could spend hours on listing things I learnt and enjoyed throughout my freelancing journey in the last year. We don’t have that much time, hence I’ll only list a few of them.

#1 Time management

University, part-time job in a coffee shop, and now social media job. It wasn’t easy to manage at first. I needed to make many sacrifices. I’d come back home after a long day of classes, and there would be some work waiting for me. Sam has not complained on me so far, so I believe I’m doing well with my deadlines! I’ve also mastered my to-do lists. One more thing that came up was the fact that after the year of working at the Crowd, I’m still enjoying it. It can only mean I’ve chosen a good career path!

After the year of working at the Crowd, I’m still enjoying it!

See also: Multi-tasking: what I’ve learned so far

#2 Taste of the real PR world

Normally, PR-wannabes are not constantly immersed into the world of comms. They usually do some work experience and “live” in this world for two-four weeks. Because of the Crowd, I have this privilege to be constantly involved — I’m always cc’d in the important emails, when the press release is coming out, and when we’re about to launch the major campaign. Getting the euphoric emails from the fabulous colleagues about the coverage — oh, what a joy it is! Being involved with exciting tasks like media monitoring for the biggest tech companies, and finding relevant journos and publications to pitch were also a great insight.

Getting the euphoric emails from the fabulous colleagues about the coverage — oh, what a joy it is!

Excitingly, I also attended a client meeting once! It was a truly remarkable experience, even though it felt a bit scary. Discussing strategy for the upcoming campaigns with client? Yep, I’ve done it.

#3 Being responsive

The Comms Crowd is an agile agency, and is cloud-based. We all work from home — Sam from her living room in London, Simona from the South Coast, Eria from Surrey, and others from a few other places.

Emails are an essential for us. And I need to be reachable. I need to be responsive and have a control over my mailing software. I’m still working on my responsive-ness for my colleagues’ emails, but I’ve done a massive progress since I’ve started. I can now say that I definitely have the power over my inbox. Not the other way around.

I definitely have the power over my inbox. Not the other way around.

What also comes in handy, when it comes to responding to emails, is the one-minute rule that I mentioned in the latest #6ofMarcel.

#4 Time- and other sheets

Excel is one of the most important pieces of software in the life of every PR professional. Media lists, pieces of research, coverage clippings. These, and many more, are the positions that every junior needs to master. While working with Sam, and the rest of the Crowd, I’ve learnt that they should look neatly, but there are a few rules. Be careful what cells you merge and don’t leave too many empty spaces between the data!

Media lists, pieces of research, coverage clippings. These are the positions that every junior needs to master.

Another thing that every PR pro hates are timesheets. I don’t hate them, but we’re not the best friends either. You need to time yourself, while doing tasks, and then put it on the sheet. Superbly important thing to do, those timesheets.

#5 Taxation

Definitely a big part of freelancing. Filling in quite lengthy form of self-assessment tax, and then paying it. This feels like being a proper adult! A bit scary, but with the right guidance it can be done.

In summary, this year was a humongous lesson for me and it’ll surely help me in shaping my career. For the last twelve months I lived and breathed PR, and I loved it. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: working with the Comms Crowd, and alongside fantastic people like Samantha, was the biggest godsend for me.

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Make sure you follow the Comms Crowd on Twitter and visit our website. Do follow Samantha on Twitter and visit her blog — she posts a lot of great and insightful content!

If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at] gmail.com, tweet me @marcelkl or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!

Author: Marcel Klebba

Junior Account Executive at M&C Saatchi PR. Working across the corporate & B2B accounts. Freshly graduated from the PR course at the University of Westminster. Interested in current affairs, tech, social and digital.

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