Hi and welcome!  We are Kate and Nicola, two fellow freelancers and pals for 20 years. 

As two freelancers for the last 14 years we have grown quite a bank of advice, learnings and ‘work hacks’.  We often get asked, what works for us and it was with this in mind that we have decided that we would share it on a wider platform.

Through our on-line professional community we share tips, motivation, inspiration, resources and discussions on all things freelance, working remotely, being self-employed and generally navigating the freelance world of functioning, securing and delivering work and growing your business.

One of the negatives of being a freelancer is the isolation of no office environment, peer support or voice of advice.  We have both tried in the past to fill the lack of office void through on-line professional groups or business networks but never found one which was quite aimed at our situation, that we gained value from, or that we felt comfortable engaging with.  We have however found huge mutual benefits over the last thirteen years by co-coaching each other.  It was actually during one of our many conversations over a pastry and coffee that we agreed that an on-line support group for likeminded freelancers would give the opportunity to not only share our learnings but to provide some peer support. 

We know from experience the struggles that working from home can bring, redefining and structuring the 9-5 working day, not having an organisational structure and policy and financial support, having to be an expert and manage a number of different skills and roles, not being able to attend professional networks due to their timings and the cost implications of taking time out, bringing in new work, costing and securing clients…the list goes on…we have been there and have learnt from this – there is loads we can share!  We also know that self belief and confidence are fundamental to being a freelancer and want to provide that expertise and support. We want to give something different – a friendly online motivational, support, network and resource bank for professional freelancers!

We are Freelancers

Kate and Nicola

Meet Kate

HELLO I am Kate and I have been running a multi-hyphen career for 10 years.

I have a background in criminology and worked for years in academia, the voluntary sector, and with countless public sector organisations advising on crime reduction and making communities safer.

I have worked for starts up, as a sole trader and as a director of a social enterprise so I have picked up a thing or two along the way about running your own business. I now combine a part-time post in a University where I teach students and businesses about enterprise and innovation with my own strands of freelance consultancy work that focus on my interests in criminal justice. And I love it.  I love learning new things, taking on new challenges and having choices about when I work and who I work with and a multi-hyphen mode of working gives me all of those things and then some.

It took me a while though to accept the mish-mash of projects and activities that make up my ‘career’. Part of the issue here is that I am of the generation that left school still with the option to join a good company and stay there for life. More than that. I am of the generation that was encouraged to pick a path and stick to it.

I recently read Emma Gannon’s The Multi- Hyphen Method (great read btw) and totally agree with the notion that some of us – if not most of us – are not built to dedicate our lives to just one career path. And if like me you also have the added joys of loved ones, friends, hobbies, travel, then how could we?

Its not all plain sailing – it can be difficult juggling the demands of the different activities, the work flow can be crazy one month and quiet the next. You don’t have a team to work with and share those frustrations or those highs.

If I was asked what the main skill set for a multi hyphen would be I’d say organised, motivated, interested in others, open to new ideas, positive.

We set up My Freelance Pal to help others take the leap of faith but also to support those already on this journey.

As so if you’re a new or established (female) freelancer, probably low on time and resources, juggling all that life throws at you, and no doubt feeling isolated sometimes, My Freelance Pal aims to connect you to an online network of like minded people, helpful discussion and useful timesaving resources.

We are about creating a welcoming virtual space that connects you to others and supports you to explore and grow your business.

Meet Nicola

Hi there, I’m Nicola and I’ve been running my consultancy business for the last 14 years.  I’ve learnt so much during this time resulting in so many gems of information and advice as well as efficiencies that can help others working like me on a freelance basis achieve their goals.  I want to share some of the things Ive learnt and continue to learn to run a business and be a successful freelancer.

Like many I had a light bulb moment when I decided it was time to hand my office keys over and decided to escape the security of a regular income, an organisational structure and support wrapped around me, and ‘go it alone’.  All in the pursuit of more flexibility and control over my work and what I could provide to clients.

Prior to my leap of faith Id been happily working as a consultant managing projects, delivering consultancy and training to reduce crime and improve criminal justice responses to the public and private sectors and government departments.  I had a loyal set of clients that I had developed a positive relationship with, a nice bunch of work colleagues and lots of diversity in where I worked and projects I was involved in.  My personal circumstances were however that I had a young family and after a close family bereavement I had the push to revaluate what I wanted –

  • I still loved my work and wanted to work with my clients
  • I wanted to enjoy my family and be around for them rather than traveling the country and working long hours
  • I knew I had developed a good reputation and there was a need for my skills which I wanted to share
  • I want to make a difference to people’s lives and services

So, without overthinking it, I quit my job and in January 2006 started work on my first contract!

My journey has been very rewarding.  My portfolio of work has diversified, my client profile changed and grown, my skill set developed and on the whole I’ve achieved my aim - the flexibility I set out to have.

I have learnt so much along the way and never a month goes by when I’m not asked about how I set up, my discipline to work from home, how I manage my workload, how I price work, how I find clients, etc. etc. I think I could write a book of the questions and answers shared but it was this that made me feel that there is a need for something more interactive to share this, a network and support exchange that is bespoke to other people either setting out in the path to develop themselves as freelancers or support in running or growing their sole trader organisation.

If I was to paint a picture of myself to you, it isn’t of a shrewd business owner, but a personable, smiley, very organised and practical woman, mum to two teenage daughters, wife, and I wear lots of other hats including general taxi driver and housekeeper, who for the last 14years has managed to deliver and grow a successful consultancy business and more recently also become a Confidence Coach.  I am not a magician but I know how you can achieve efficiencies, I’m good at problem solving and identifying practical solutions and I want to share these with you!