Gill Munro, 42, is married with two children Lily, four and Innes, 18 months. Gill left her job as a media relations manager at the BBC last year when she moved out of London to Kent. She completed the Digital Mums course in February. She now has the ultimate #workthatworks and has set up her own consultancy business, Munro Communications.
Gill shares her tips on home working and being freelance with Digital Mums.
1/ Set your own hours
I loved working at the BBC and they were an incredibly flexible employer. There was never any issue with collecting Lily from nursery and being there for her. But the job I had could be 24/7 sometimes and involve working weekends. I knew it was time for me to move on from that as it just wasn’t compatible with family life in the long-term. Now I’m freelance I can totally dictate when I want to have client meetings and at what times of the day I will work. It really works for me.
2/ One step at a time
Setting up as a freelancer does not happen overnight. I have recently moved to a new area so just settling in takes a lot of my time. I started with just taking on one or two clients. When Lily starts school in September I will be able to increase Innes’ childcare when I need to and I can take on more work.
I had been working in PR for over 15 years, the last 10 at the BBC and while I used social media personally it wasn’t part of my job remit. I wanted to be able to offer potential clients a full communications package and obviously social media was crucial to that. It’s so important to be relevant in the market and that’s the main reason I did the Digital Mums course. I wanted to learn about social media from a commercial business perspective.
4/ Look local
The main reason I went freelance is because we moved out of London to Kent. I want to be able to connect with people on a local level. I’m getting involved with things I’m genuinely interested in and starting to meet people with shared interests. It’s not about going round saying ‘can I work for you’ to everyone you meet but just being confident and clear about what you do and if people need you they will know where you are. Luckily I also have the fantastic support network that is Digital Mums around me as we all connect on our LinkedIn profile and swap ideas and hear about work.
5/ Have confidence in your ability
Upskilling and having the backing of some professional training has really helped me to see my value in the market. While I already had 15 years of PR experience doing the Digital Mums course really helped me to see what I was worth and be confident about going it alone.
6/ Nothing is ever perfect
When you work alone it can sometimes be really hard to let go of work. But you have to accept that you can’t spend forever on a project. We all want things to be perfect but as a freelancer you have to work to deadlines, with that comes accepting when it is time to move on.
7/ There will be highs and lows
Freelancing means that the amount of work you do week-on-week can really vary. Learn to embrace this. It can be hard if things are quiet but the longer you do it the more you know there will be plenty of work. Since going freelance I have worked for the Lumen Art Prize, Crisis, the homelessness charity who are rebranding their chain of training cafes, and Natural Origin, a start-up skincare brand.
8/ Think positive
Having the extra social media skills means I have the confidence to go out to people and say I can deliver something that is measurable for their business. It gave me the impetus to take the plunge into freelance life – I’m not looking back!