Over the course of an hour, the group discussed a range of topics from the value of building your own brand through content creation as it pertains to getting hired in influencer marketing roles, tips for managing the pressure of overseeing seven and eight figure talent deals, and the value of working freelance vs. a full time job. For those who weren't able to make it, Meredith is sharing insights and expanded answers to the questions she was asked here.
Question 1: Why do you think more people are opting out of working for others, and what are some of the biggest benefits to freelancing?
First things first, I don't view freelance work as "opting out of working for others." If you're looking to work independently and not for others, influencer marketing is probably not the right industry for you. Freelance work in the influencer space is incredibly collaborative, and to me, the difference between freelance and not is just a matter of diversification of who you work for. Many freelancers in the We Are Boosters community work for agencies in roles that look almost identical to full time employee roles, but they often have a clearer workflow and boundaries around their time or number of clients. Those boundaries give them more control over their time, and they also have the flexibility to take on other projects outside of those flagship clients.
Consulting has allowed me to work for a wide range of brands, agencies, a creator, and creator economy businesses - all at the same time! The freedom to diversify which projects I take on allows me and other freelancers the opportunity to pursue a range of projects rather than having all our eggs in one basket.
During the panel, Christina mentioned that when an opportunity for her talent comes in, the team at DBA discusses whether it is a "brand builder" or a "bank builder." Those are two critical value props that I consider when I review each new consulting opportunity to determine whether it's the right fit for me. The benefit of freelancing (when it's going right) is the flexibility to pursue both types of opportunities when they align with values and goals.
Question #2: What kinds of tasks do freelancers in the We Are Boosters community get hired for? What's the most lucrative type of job they get, and what's the most common type of work they get?
Most commonly, the freelancers in my community offer the following services: Strategy, Casting, and Campaign Management. Additionally, many of us advise on general business and marketing strategies for creator economy businesses and start ups. Some of the freelancers in our community offer social media management, production, sales, and talent business support.
In terms of what's most lucrative, that usually depends on the number of years of experience a freelancer has, vertical expertise, and sometimes, their risk tolerance. More than other services, campaign management is often structured as a monthly retainer, which gives freelancers peace of mind over a sustained period of time. On the flip side, it can also be the most time consuming, so it's important to ensure that proper boundaries and fair compensation are in place. Beyond that, for consultants with 10+ years of experience, advising on business operations, program strategies, and short term casting projects can be quite lucrative, especially for folks who have a unique vertical expertise (i.e. beauty, gaming, tech, etc.).
Question #3: With such busy schedules and demands from both personal life and clients, what is your best advice for maintaining work-life balance and avoiding burnout?
This was a great question from someone in the audience, given so many of us are facing burnout and mental health struggles trying to stay on top of everything. My advice? Learn to "care less."
I could hear in the woman who asked the question's voice that she was feeling a tremendous amount of pressure. I'd never advocate to stop caring about work or relationships, but one of the most important lessons I've learned in my career is to accept that part of living includes making mistakes, falling short, and sometimes disappointing people you care about. While those things are never pleasant, understanding that they're a possibility and approaching them with a solution-oriented mindset when they do happen instead of operating under fear that they might can be incredibly freeing.
A related piece of advice someone once shared with me that I really like is "talk to yourself how you'd talk to your best friend." Many of us are so hard on ourselves in a way that we would never be to anyone else, and we deserve more kindness and compassion. These skills are so essential for managing stress and avoiding burn out, and our culture doesn't do the best job at teaching them. For anyone reading this who is struggling with burn out and wants to talk more, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd be happy to point you towards some resources that have guided me and helped form my perspective.