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Article for Underpinned (fintech)

I probably procrastinated about becoming a freelancer for about two years before I actually became one.

On the face of it, I was doing pretty well at my full-time job, but I was also feeling a little unfulfilled. I felt as though my confidence at work had taken a few knocks that year. Maybe I’d hit that ceiling and felt like I’d done everything I was empowered to do, and I was now stuck in a bit of a plateau. I found myself wondering if more freedom and opportunity to professionally develop lay in setting up my own freelancing side-line. I was also saving for a deposit on a place of my own, and the extra cash would come in handy.

That wondering went on for nigh on 20-or-so months.

Being one of those classic introvert types, digital marketing suits me just fine. I get to sit behind a computer and do very nerdy, technical things, write, and talk to other people via email and social media platforms. I have always been the person pulling and dropping the stage curtains, but not the person actually standing on the stage.

So, the thought of managing client relationships and having to ‘sell’ myself was a little bit terrifying. I’d be putting myself right out of my comfort zone, and I dreaded to think of things going wrong and it all being a failure. But I think I’m just the kind of person who is always striving for something more – whatever ‘more’ is. Reflecting on it now, some of it is probably down to craving more freedom and control over what I was doing – rather than being bound by possible bureaucratic and political constraints.

Then, in early January 2016, just after New Year, I finally grasped the nettle. I’d recently started writing digital marketing blogs and publishing them on LinkedIn, but I had nowhere to house them ‘officially’.

One Sunday, I was sat at my dining room table and found myself signing up for a Squarespace trial (it was like I’d gone into some weird robotic trance). I built the first iteration of my site, Digital Drum, that day. I just got on and did it.

Then, I added a ‘Freelancing’ page to my site.

That was literally the thing that made me a real freelancer. From that point onwards, I became visible and ‘findable’ through search engines. My name was really out there in the ether. The shop window now said: ‘OPEN FOR BUSINESS!’.

Oh right. I’m actually a freelancer now.

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Fi Shailes

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