Many people see becoming a freelancer just as a way out of the regular 9-5 cycle, and if they ever quit their full-time job on this premise alone end up with a fatal mistake. They cannot organize their time, handle client negotiations or keep up with their production workflow. They realize it’s too hard to manage everything on your own and that this is not the right job for them.
Contrary to this common problem, Julia Munder saw becoming a freelancer as a way of getting into the business. While working as a marketing director for a company where she employed all her creative juices and succeeded in improving the business, Julia realized she was just too good for the job.
Many in her place wouldn’t have given up her position and become a freelancer because of her success rate as marketing director. But the tipping point where she realized that her full-time job is a dead end was when she exhausted all her options as a marketing director. She realized she is mature enough to take care of her own business, and given her success; she turned it into an even more successful brand.
In this interview, she will introduce us to her humble beginnings as a freelancer, the challenges she faced, how she managed to break into the market, and most importantly when an employee identifies as a freelancer.
- Please tell us about yourself, your expertise, etc.
I’m Julia, 33 years old, originally from Germany but now based in the UK. I’m a detail-oriented and driven international marketing professional with 10 years of experience in e-commerce, digital marketing, and international communications. I’m a strong advocate for all things creative and analytical – yes, they can work together!
My specialisms include brand strategy, growth marketing, localisation and combining data and creatives to optimize marketing and communication processes and ensure all KPIs are met. Having been quoted as a marketing expert by the likes of Marketing Week, NatWest and Econsultancy, I regularly speak on international localisation, content and marketing strategy and have recently been nominated for the Drapers Innovator Award 2021.
- Please describe your previous work as an employee.
In my previous position as international marketing director at Maxwell-Scott, I was driving the business onwards towards realizing the vision of being the most-loved luxury British bag maker in the world. Under my direction, the e-commerce-only SME has seen a notable increase in revenue and growth and has won the coveted Drapers Award for Accessory Brand of the Year in 2021.
- What was the point where you decided to become a freelancer?
I felt like I had achieved everything I could achieve within the company and under the current leadership. My creativity and ideas were capped and after receiving more and more enquiries if I would consider freelance work I made the jump and set up RO Pictures Ltd, an end-to-end video production company on a mission to create striking visuals that always convert, with my husband and also work as an independent marketing consultant. One of my recent clients was Ancestry.
- What are the challenges you’re facing as a freelancer?
You can’t hide behind a brand but you’re marketing yourself which I find difficult. I found it hard to take personal feedback in the beginning but it’s a steep learning curve and I feel like I’ve never been better at what I do.
- What can you advise a beginner freelancer?
Just put yourself out there. People will have an opinion about you either way. Also, everyone feels like an imposter at some point.
- How to handle the inflation as a freelancer?
Be sensible with your income, plan your outgoings, and price yourself accordingly. Not too cheap that you look desperate but don’t outprice yourself either. Always think about the value that your service is creating or adding to the end product and quote accordingly.
- How are you getting new clients?
Digital marketing (Google, Social Media, SEO and Ads). However, especially when starting out the best way was to network. I believe that people still first and foremost buy into people and not just a website or great campaign.
- Name one mistake you did as a freelancer?
Not knowing how to price and know the numbers.. A beginner’s mistake that won’t happen again.
The Bottom Line
One of the most important tasks she ever had to do was to stand up for herself the second she felt she could be something more. But the beginning was hard for Julia, as she took all of the criticism to heart.
Rule number one, when you quit your full-time job and start freelancing, is to detach from the success of that job and reset your mindset to a beginner level but take the knowledge and experience. In other words, it’s all about being ready to suck again; only, in this case, you’ll have experience, and all you’d have to do is keep yourself focused.
With a positive mindset, you will slowly break through the market and reach the numbers you’ve always wanted and deserved in the first place.
When it comes to setting your salary and creating a reasonable rate, Julia advises you to learn the basics of financial planning. You have to keep a reasonable rate that will support you and, at the same time, earn a little profit. Then, little by little, you will increase it as you become more popular. Julia says that one of the worst beginner mistakes is not knowing how to price your service, and it’s a mistake that happened once and never again.
To conclude, you should be prepared that freelancing is a steep career road where you must have sharp survival skills because the competition is huge. Keep your mind focused, and know your worth. Concentrate on the small steps, and learn to trust the process – steady wins the freelancing race.