Making my choice...
Last year I took the “scary” step and left the corporate working world after 18 years in various marketing positions working on some fantastic health & beauty brands. 15 of those years were spent working and commuting to London and back. My last role was slightly closer to home and although it didn’t involve the delights of the train and tube, it did involve a 45-60min car journey there and back each day on the dreaded M25 - we all know that means lots of swearing on a daily basis about what has caused the traffic to make us late once again!!
When I resigned from my last role I did so quite out of the blue some would say but actually things had been building for a while. After taking the role after my first maternity leave I had to start full time 5 days a week 9-5 so like many working mums my 1 yr old was at nursery from 8-6pm 4 days a week and luckily my mum had him the other day. After a year proving myself on a mat leave contract I was asked to stay and managed to negotiate 4 days a week. After my second child I took a promotion and was granted the 21 hours that I requested. In reality I knew it would be tough and we discussed it but both sides agreed to give it a go. I gave it my all for a year but it was never going to work in the long term as the reality was the role was too big for my part time hours. The choice was simple; go full time officially and benefit from the increased pay or leave.
So I made my choice and decided it was time to give freelancing a go. I finished end of Feb last year and a freelance friend sent me a whats app message with the By Day link telling me to sign up. After chatting with Rhea, I knew instantly that this was the place where I would get the right type of work. It was clear that the sole mission of By Day was to match the right project with the right consultant and I loved the feel of the community; full of experienced and talented professionals looking for a better way to work - and not just parents!
Before starting my new freelance life I decided to enjoy the summer off with the kids until the youngest started pre-school in Sept which then gave me time to get my consultant logo done, get back active on Linked In and just generally get my sh*t together!
In January this year, I got back in touch with Rhea at By Day as my youngest had started her second day at pre school and with two full days I was finally ready to be able to start taking on freelance work. It’s probably relevant to say at this stage that my first experience of freelancing was actually during my first mat leave. I met a personal trainer who was running various fitness classes (including ‘BuggyFit’ where we met) and doing PT and who needed help growing her business. She wasn’t sure what she needed but once she found out my marketing background she came to me asking for help. After a few conversations we worked out that she needed to create a “brand” as without that she had nothing to build on. Her small business was growing but she hadn’t figured out the positioning for it. We agreed a contra- deal where I would help her and in return I got PT sessions to lose the baby weight! Win win all round!! 6 months later she had a new business name, logo, full brand identity with a clear proposition and the strategy in place to grow her business (and i was half a stone lighter from my training!). I worked with a freelance graphic designer friend on all the branding and artwork and I absolutely loved the freedom and trust that came with the project. Once the project was completed, I knew then that I would do freelancing at some point in the future.
So, coming back to the present, I had a very similar conversation with Rhea at By Day. The business had evolved in its first year with various changes happening in the background and Rhea needed help with evolving and growing the company. Like with the previous example, she wasn’t quite sure what she needed so after a meeting I went away and put together a proposal outlining what needs to be done with a clear action plan to move the business in the right direction. The rest is history as they say! We have been working on a complete brand refresh with new logo, website and overall identity to evolve the business and move it forward along with a clear marketing & communications strategy to meet the company’s growth objectives.
I’m delighted to have been given this opportunity as it is not only something I can totally relate to but to be a part of making change happen for the better is what is most important to me. Companies are starting to recognise (albeit slowly) that flexible working is key and that actually employees are not always their most productive when office based at their desks and tied up in meetings. Everyone works differently; some people are productive in the mornings and some are productive at night - just like with exercise. I hate exercising first thing and would rather do a class at 8pm whereas my husband would much rather get it out the way and go to the gym at 8am. We are all different and our best work comes at different times. Productivity and output should be the measure. Not hours, not location, not textbook traditional ways of working.
I feel very lucky to be on this extremely rewarding and enjoyable journey with By Day of making change happen and making work better and making better work!
- by Emma Davis, Marketing Consultant