I moved to the Kent coast in 2011, the year I went freelance. It seems I've blinked and now it's 2023, so I've missed the opportunity to celebrate a milestone. But that's okay. I've been busy and not had time to blog or think about what I might want to say or do on here. I've certainly not been short of work, so I've just not needed to stop and think about any kind of content or brand strategy for myself. I'm happy to be revisiting it today for a bit of a general tidy and update.
This year (2016) Ramsgate Festival takes place at the end of July in Ramsgate at the same time as the historic Ramsgate Week sailing regatta. Having worked for a few years with the producers Ramsgate Arts - and partners - on another of their strategic projects, Looping the Loop, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to provide some marketing and PR services to the Festival for the first time this year.
Way back in the dark ages when there was no internet and Jazz FM hadn’t even been invented.... there was a campaign called Glasgow’s miles better, with a big smiley face as its logo.
Oh how we laughed. We Scots. Back then.
My Dad worked for a provincial ad agency and they had something to do with the campaign. They also worked for the Scottish Development Agency. Because of his job, as a child, I was vaguely aware of things I probably wouldn’t have been otherwise: regeneration efforts were being made in our town. And at the time it all seemed like a bit of a joke.
There’s no question the rise of social media has been revolutionary, for both businesses and personal relationships, as well as for organisations and individuals working for social good. And it’s still early days. We are absolutely slap bang in the middle of an information revolution and none of us has any real idea of when we will be out the other side, it might take another 10, 20 or even 100 years before the full implications for how we live and do business become clear. The nature of the new paradigm we find ourselves in may in fact mean that things in relation to digital communications opportunities are never clear nor stable again. Technology changes everything. And to thrive we must choose to embrace change in an ever changing world.
Since the whole jolly dotcom boom bust, which some of us rode back in the early naughties, a few brands have risen to massive prominence. Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are four of the most obvious ones, possibly in that order. I’m no business analyst, I’m a participant observer in all of this. Hey, I used to be a sociologist.
Negativity and general horribleness is something people often worry about when they start to think about being active in the online space. However, it’s normally a fear of what might be directed at us, rather than a fear of what we might ourselves thoughtlessly blurt out.
But honestly, for the most part I think you can easily avoid the nastiness that sometimes lurks online - and I’ll go further than that – play nicely and you can make some very worthwhile connections and be part of some genuinely enriching conversations. Generally I've found the online space to be filled with warm support and a great sense of fun.
We've all been to professional events that fall short of our expectations.
I've found myself battling the urge to wriggle and yawn more times than I care to remember and then the feedback form comes round and I'm struggling to say something nice. Oh there's nothing worse than feeling you've wasted your precious time. A bad event reflects terribly on the organiser and everyone involved.
On the other hand, the impact a really good event can have is often far reaching. There's nothing better than realising the time has flown by and you've had a great time, achieved what you wanted to and more and are leaving an event brimful of ideas and enthusiasm and singing the praises of the people who just gave you a really worthwhile experience.
Public speaking is something I began while still a teenager - in fact I won cups for it at school, I was never backwards at coming forwards, as they say. Throughout my career it's been a skill that has frequently come in handy, it's something I enjoy and I'm told I do it well.
Learning young, that when standing behind a lectern with wobbly little legs, the audience can't actually see that you're shaking - and that if you breath slowly and speak from your diaphragm you will come across as authoritative and calm, well that was a useful early lesson that has stood me in good stead ever since, in many different circumstances.
I created this site last week (July 2012), it's still very much a work in progress, as you can doubtless tell.
I've been working freelance since June 2011 but have been lucky that work has come to me, I haven't had to go looking for it. Now I'm thinking it would be good to have some more clients. I have some spare capacity and there's lots I could be doing that could make a difference for businesses I don't yet know....
My biggest challenge at the moment is deciding what to focus my efforts on. I don't want to restrict myself from something interesting by saying I only do X or Y. But equally I know I need to be clear and specific about my capabilities and interests if I'm to achieve any sort of cut through with potential employers.
This is a short blog post because I'm really just testing the blog functionality of this particular web hosting package, which I've chosen for my personal site. It's called Jimdo, German built. Does what I need it to do, I think. Obviously I can use various other solutions for sites I might build for clients.
If you have suggestions for how I can make this site better as I continue to develop it, or any words of encouragement for someone starting out in freelance life, please leave me a comment below. You'll make my day. :)