“I picked you because I wanted to work with a mum.”
Granted, at first glance, this may sound a bit creepy, but his logic made sense. Freelance parents:
- are passionate about what they do because they choose what they work on.
- are highly skilled specialists so only ever produce the best quality work.
- don’t work 9-5, which is great when your clients are up working all hours.
- are human – all corporate bluffery is gone when you’re changing a nappy mid-conference call, your son farts mid-way through a meeting and your baby vomits all over your suit jacket (and before you ask, yes, all these things have happened to me).
According to data from IPSE, the number of freelance mums has risen 80% in the last decade.
While research published in Forbes shows we now account for 15% of all freelancers – that’s 287,000 mummies contributing £7bn to the UK economy.
Being freelance was the best career choice
When I chose to become a freelancer back in 2015, it wasn’t because I was a mum shunned from the world of work because I couldn’t balance my responsibilities.
It was because I loved being a mummy and a professional – being freelance allowed me the freedom to beautifully blend the two worlds.
My whole life I’ve studied and worked hard to establish a good career for myself. For me, a career wasn’t about climbing a ladder to hit the dizzy heights of a CMO overseeing a large department, and it wasn’t about earning millions so I could retire at 35.
A career was all about freedom – to choose the work I do and who I work for and have the power to say ‘no’ when things don’t feel right.
As a freelance mum, I feel like I have new confidence that I never had in the corporate world:
- I’m not afraid to admit to not knowing things or saying something’s outside of my skillset.
- I don’t feel like I must constantly crunch the data to prove my worth because I have people piling on the pressure about pipeline.
- I’m happy to lay myself bare and say, “This is me” – and if someone decides I’m not the right person for them, that’s ok.
- I have complete control over my job and my business and if something isn’t right, I have the power to change it.
And I feel like I’m at the peak of my career:
- I know exactly what I can offer and to whom, because I understand the value I deliver.
- I focus on delivering the work I really enjoy – blogging and thought leadership content – and dedicate my efforts to training and skilling up so I can be the best I can be in these areas.
- I have a solid network of other freelancers to back me up – so if the opportunity isn’t right, or requires additional skills in SEO, design or web, I can make relevant introductions.
Agency-grade work at a more affordable price point
So the title of this piece is a little misleading because the freelancer you hire doesn’t have to be a mummy – I know plenty of amazing freelance dads who deliver the most incredible work to their clients.
But it was at the point where a client shared that they’d specifically gone out to hire a freelance mum that I understood the power of being a parent in the world of business.
He wanted a mum because he knew his business would be in safe hands. Having worked with a couple of freelance mums before, he saw that the love, care and attention afforded to their business was similar to that they’d give to a child.
They cared about the work, they cared about the clients and their sole focus was on delivering the best work.
I’m happy to admit to having had a few sleepless nights and shedding a few tears when I know I’ve missed the mark and failed to live up to expectations. But you pick yourself up, put it right and do everything within your power to learn and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The beauty of a freelancer – mum, dad, or otherwise – is that you get proper agency-grade work because these are people who have worked hard to build their career and acquire the skills, knowledge and experience needed to eventually establish their own company and go it alone.
But because they’re not operating with the overheads of a traditional agency, it’s offered at a more affordable price point.
More than a mum
When I created the brand ‘More than words®’ it was because I love the idea of ‘more’.
I love being a mummy, but I’m more than that, I’m a wife, I’m a freelancer, I’m a copywriter.
And the work I do is about more than the words, it’s about the science and structure that sit behind it, it’s about how it sits within the wider world of marketing, and it’s about how we support the next generation of creatives.