A self-employed woman's timely survival guide for freelancers could be this year’s hit business book
An experienced freelancer from Gloucestershire has released a new guide book which could become a must-have for many post lockdown.
After 20 years self-employed, Sarah Townsend’s book has already been hailed as providing valuable advice for those considering going it alone, perhaps inspired by the experience of working from home.
Others, she admits, may find themselves making the steps as their roles become casualties of the economic impact of covid-19 – but she hopes her Survival Skills for Freelancers will prove a useful roadmap for everyone.
In fact the idea for the self-published guide took root some time ago with the launch always planned for National Freelancers’ Day - June 18.
“The benefits of self-employment are well publicised,” said Ms Townsend. “The freedom to work where you like, when you like, how you like
“But no one really talks about the messy reality of freelance life. What do you charge? When do you say no? How do you deal with the ups and downs of working alone – and tackle imposter syndrome?
“It’s common for freelancers to suffer from isolation, overwhelm and burnout because they feel like they’re alone in their struggles – but they’re not.”
There are an estimated two million freelancers in the UK alone – a number that’s predicted to rise steeply in the aftermath of COVID-19. Yet 20 per cent of self-employed businesses do not make it through the first year, and 60 per cent don’t survive beyond five years.
Ms Townsend’s own career as a freelancer began by accident, but she discovered her driven nature and ability to organise were assets in her new market place. In what is described as a very personal account, the author is candid about her own experiences – good and bad - and how she overcame to succeed.
“I was 29 at the time and had a good job in Bristol. I was working as an editor and account manager for a large company – and then I fell pregnant. It was the 1990s,” she said, by which she meant attitudes still prevailed openly that perhaps the best thing for a women in her position to do was to relinquish her role and move on.
A senior editor at the firm suggested she move into freelance and the company went on to offer her support as she found her feet. She has never looked back, her ability to manage her time allowing her to also put her two children first as she went on to win and retain clients.
It was a social media post marking her 20 years standing on her own two feet, and the reaction it received, that overwhelmed her and led her to realise an honest personal account of what it is like to freelance was in demand.
Her day job as a freelance marketing copywriter and editor ironically made her role editing and letting go of her manuscript harder than she thought – especially as it has so much of her own life in it. But she need not have worried, early reviews have see readers embrace it.
Survival Skills for Freelancers is in paperback and Kindle formats, and is available on Amazon.
The book is based on Sarah's 20 years of real-life freelance experience and is full of practical advice, backed up by quotes from more than 100 fellow freelancers from many disciplines.
The 212 pages cover issues such as the fundamentals of freelancing, strategies for dealing with isolation, knowing what to charge, learning to say no, achieving balance and avoiding burnout, and the importance of investing in your business.