A Marketer’s Story
The first time I heard of ‘freelancing’ was in the early days of my career when working at an agency in London. I was interested in the ‘day rate’ world of work, intrigued by the independence and jealous of the flexibility the freelancers talked of, but being a junior marketer at the time, I assumed it was out of reach.
Fast forward a few years and I was offered a contract role at ITV. It was my first experience of working for a company on a limited basis and I began to enjoy ‘projects’ rather than ‘jobs’. Through contracting, I had the opportunity to work for other large brands such as YouTube and Meta, which opened more doors for me in my career and gave me a lot of experience in a shorter amount of time.
In 2019 I moved back up to Scotland from London to kick-start the EMEA Marketing program for UserTesting, the leading human insight platform. Working as the Director of EMEA Marketing, I was busy running European wide campaigns while collaborating with my San Francisco based team. It was an exciting and extremely fast paced role, but after a few years, I was completely burnt out.
Perhaps the universe was looking out for me, as not long after that, I was made redundant in June of 2022. As much as I was devastated and scared to lose a job I loved, I took this as a sign. I decided to take a break for a few months and think about what I really wanted to do. I enjoyed a few travel adventures, including a solo campervan trip with my dog around the Scottish Islands. But after a few months of fun, I knew it was time to get back to work.
The thought of going back to full time was not exciting to me, so I decided to network in Edinburgh and see if there was anyone in need of some marketing support. I soon met Nick Murray, Director of Startup Grind Scotland, and within a month of our meeting, I was running a marketing workshop for startups based in Scotland. That was the change catalyst I needed. Soon after, I joined as Head of Marketing at Startup Grind Scotland, alongside building my own client base for my consulting business.
It’s hard to fully explain the difference of how it feels going from full-time to becoming a freelance consultant, but I can confidently say it’s the happiest I’ve ever been in my career. It all comes down to the feeling of being free. Free to manage my own time, free to work with whoever I choose, free to set my own day rate and free to work wherever I want.
In the upcoming era of the ‘Gig Economy’, and with the help of platforms like Gigged.ai, freelancing is something that everyone should get the chance to try once in their life. When I talk to people about this way of working, the usual response is ‘I couldn’t take the risk of leaving full-time employment’. I can understand this when you have a mortgage to pay and perhaps a family to look after. As I had a decent redundancy payment keeping me going until I found enough clients to build a profitable monthly income, I would advise others considering this to save up a few months worth of expenses before jumping into freelancing.
Consulting has been the most freeing and exciting way of working that I’ve ever experienced and so if you’re considering leaving full-time employment, then I say jump in.
You may never look back to your days of being an ‘employee’ ever again.
Amy Kelly is a B2B Growth Marketing Consultant, part of the Board of Directors at Creative Edinburgh and she is also the Head of Marketing at StartUp Grind Scotland. Amy was previously the Director of EMEA Marketing at the B2B SaaS tech company UserTesting and has also worked in marketing teams at Meta, YouTube, ITV and agencies under the Publicis group.