Welcome to Interim Digital’s first Freelancer Spotlight Series! Once a month we’ll be interviewing one of our community members to delve into the good, bad and ugly of what it’s like to break into the world of freelance.
In tandem with Mental Health Day Interim Digital has teamed up with the marvellous Nick Jemetta, a former Product Leader for the likes of Argos and BT, Nick found himself in the position of corporate burnout and took the brave leap to self-employment in recognition of needing to change his circumstances for the sake of his well-being.
Fast forward 12 months and Nick has founded Stories Matter – using his own experiences to trail blaze our approach to mental health as a Wellbeing Speaker & Trainer, working with the likes of AXA and Amazon to facilitate pioneering approaches to help us move past surviving at work, to thriving. He’s still a dab hand at Product Management but now spends his time as a Product Coach.
What made you start your freelance journey?
I experienced burnout followed by redundancy in a corporate role. I took the opportunity (given the financial safety blanket) to start living life on my terms. Founding my own business as a freelancer gave me choice about the work I wanted to do, and the people I wanted to work with. It also let me explore my passion for making the world mentally healthier!
When did you know it was time to take the leap?
When corporate burnout temporarily took away my health. I hadn’t set clear enough boundaries and I paid the price. As I recovered I knew I had to make significant changes – not just for my health but my happiness, my family & my long-term professional ambitions.
Did you still work in a permanent role?
No. When I was working full-time, I hadn’t ever considered freelance. It took a significant life event to make me change my mind.
How did you find the process of setting up on your own?
I was naïve about the process of setting up a business, and I think that helped. It made me curious to learn & conscious of the need to bring in the experts. I worked with a local accountant & a lawyer friend to make sure my company & finances were well set up from the start.
What steps did you take to prepare for your freelance endeavour?
Most importantly, I ensured I had savings in the bank to cover my monthly outgoings for 6 months. I was fortunate to have a redundancy payment – had I not, I would have saved hard before pivoting to freelance. I also spent time developing my mindset given the challenges I knew I would face as a freelancer
What resource did you find integral to your freelance success when you started out?
Google and LinkedIn. Google was my best friend because there was so much to research & to learn. LinkedIn is essential for anyone considering going freelance because it opens doors, connects you with potential clients & provides the platform for building your personal brand
What are some of your biggest bugbears about freelancing?
So far, my experience has been broadly positive. My only bugbear is the amount of money taken from freelancers who work Inside IR35!
Expectation vs Reality – How does freelancing compare to your initial expectations of striking out on your own?
It’s been even more positive than I expected. I’m learning every day and I’m choosing what I work on, and with who. That’s incredibly liberating & I’m grateful to have the choice that many don’t.
Interim’s Final Thoughts
As so many of us know from personal experience burnout is very real. We’re committed to making Interim Digital a community that’s not only dedicated to being our best but also dedicated to leading with kindness. If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed do not suffer in silence; reach out as we’re here to hear you. 💞