Within the “Freelance Tips With…” series I interview freelancers who have somehow inspired me. They share their story and give useful advice on topics like productivity, time management, finding clients as well as the work-life balance.
Check out all the interviews from the series “Freelance Tips With…”!
Today you’ll get to know Emilia, a 33-years-old freelancer from Romania who’s currently traveling around Europe.
During the week she provides marketing services to customers from all over the world, while at the weekends she’s exploring as many new places as possible.
Emilia describes herself as an amateur photographer passionate about heading to new places. Check out her LinkedIn profile or follow her on Instagram (@citieseurope) or on Facebook (/citieseurope) to see Europe through her lens.
What’s your freelancing niche?
I am providing marketing automation and digital marketing services. My specialties include Marketo, Pardot, MailChimp, Salesforce and WordPress. I also enjoy playing with HTML and CSS, when I have the occasion.
Why did you decide to become a freelancer?
There was no particular moment when I decided to become a freelancer, but a wish to make a living out of something I really enjoy doing. So three years ago I shyly chose to quit my 9 to 5 job.
I had a couple of initiatives, out of which freelancing was the second. After my first freelancing contract which I’ll never forget, I realized that the independent work suits me well, so I decided to embrace it.
What was your job before that?
Before freelancing, I worked for 11 years in fields implying public procurement, human resources, PR, sales, and project management.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a freelancer?
Currently, my biggest challenge is finding the perfect work-life balance while working mainly for customers in the US business time zones.
What’s the best advice you can give to the people who’re making their first freelancing steps?
To put all their efforts into gaining the most in-trend skills possible and build their best personal presentation.
What would you say to the people who hate being trapped in their office from 9 to 5 but don’t see another option to make a living?
I would advise them to start building their profiles or personal presentations while saving for the first months of freelancing.
Those months are definitely the most challenging in a freelancer’s career. They are arid and scary, and you are the only one responsible and capable to make a success out of it. Offers won’t come on a silver plate, and trust won’t place itself easily between you and the potential customers.
What’s the best part of being a freelancer according to you?
The best part of being a freelancer is the personal and professional development. There’s nothing else that can develop your skills in such a broad manner, as the freelancing does.
You’re currently in Barcelona. What’s the next stop? Do you consider yourself a digital nomad?
I currently live in Barcelona and wait to find out the next stop. Perhaps Porto, perhaps Prague. I’m not considering myself a digital nomad, but an independent and adventurous person always happy to deeply explore new places and experiences.
What advice would you give to the freelancers who’re struggling to find clients? What’s your secret to finding clients?
My advice to the freelancers who’re struggling to find clients is to make sure they have a strong presentation and a catchy cover letter which they update daily. I believe that a video CV would be super helpful to everyone, not just to those in a struggle.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made as a freelancer?
I don’t feel like I’ve made big mistakes in my freelancing career, but only small ones that became lessons in the end. However, the biggest mistake I observe among my freelance network is the wrong positioning or the too niched one.
For successful freelancing, one needs to adapt, to be part of the change, to embrace new skills fast and to specialize in them even faster than the rest of the market does.
When are you the most productive: when working from home, from a coworking space or from a cafe? How do you stay focused?
I’m the most productive when working from home, wherever this would be. Most of the mornings I feel like jumping from the pajamas directly into the projects. Nothing compares with the mornings when I’m doing my best while enjoying my great coffee with milk, honey, and cinnamon.
What are your best time management practices?
To better manage my activities, I’m checking the time before starting anything that might take more than 30 minutes. According to me, none of my tasks should take more than 2 hours. If it does, I’d split it and make sure I’ll take a small break.
How do you boost your productivity? And creativity?
I challenge myself to do things faster and to also keep devices away and on mute. There are no social media accounts on my mobile phone.
When I have a minute or two, I listen to my favorite songs or read about places I haven’t visited or animals I haven’t seen yet.
How does one of your best days look like?
My best working days are those when I discover something new, when I come with a brilliant solution to my clients, or when I receive great feedback. There’s no specific formula, but definitely, a thing that brings professional satisfaction would make my day glow.
In the personal aspect, my best days are usually the Saturdays, because that’s the time when I get to do the coolest things–travel, try amazing food, not worry about time, find all shops open, have most of my friends available.
How do you stay zen?
I usually feed my zen with inner motivation. Besides that, my zen likes coffee, sweets, tea, chatting, chill music, positive people, good movies, new places, white wine, tasty food, water, and sun.
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