Kick-Starting A Freelance Career

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories.  Nicole Holgate is a designer from South Africa who used SkillPages to kick-start her freelance career after a sudden move out of a full time role.

Working in a highly demanding, deadline driven environment, for individuals that never appreciated the massive effort it took to produce the amount of work required, I began to think that there must be a better alternative.

Then I met someone, fell in love, got married and had a beautiful baby boy at the age of forty.

Talk about life changes!

The company I worked for did not offer maternity leave.  In fact, just before the birth of my son, I was told by the Director, to “start looking for freelance work.”  I guess they thought that my focus would change from working all hours and weekends for them, to being more concerned about my baby.  A new mom is a liability…and I had found them a wonderful replacement while I was to go on maternity leave for only half the salary I’d worked my way up to!

They couldn’t fire me for obvious legal reasons, but who would want to go back to a place where they weren’t really wanted?

I spent most of my maternity leave seething with anger and worrying about my future.

On the day that I was supposed to return to work, after receiving no response from the company during countless attempts throughout my maternity leave to ascertain whether I still had a job, I received an email from the aforementioned Director that he would like to meet with me that evening.

He was to offer me a monthly retainer to continue to do some work for them.

After so many months of worry and after the manner in which I had been treated, I didn’t want to have any more dealings with the company, so against all logic, I resigned the next day.

My husband paled.

Photo by Sandy Greenway

Going Freelance

But then, the work began to roll in.  I gave good rates, worked all hours and was insistent that everything that I submitted was the best that I could offer.  In every spare moment, I networked online, through various sites, to find more work, make more contacts and just keep things flowing.

SkillPages was one of the sites I discovered during my searches for freelance opportunities.

I now use it daily – to network with other people in the industry and to keep an eye on new job opportunities.  It enables you to create pages for all the skills that you would like to “sell” and has a great look and feel, which makes for a great profile page.

The news feed keeps your connections up to date with what is going on in your workplace and it’s an effective and fun way of letting people know what you are working on.

Best of all it’s easy to use.

I have made various contacts during my use of SkillPages that I keep in mind for future business ventures.  One, for example, needs a designer as her company keeps getting offered jobs that she is unable to do herself.  There are opportunities for us all to network and help each other to grow…we just need a platform to do it.  SkillPages is such a platform.

Try it…join us and with a bit of luck and hard work, we can all succeed together.

Nicole Holgate, Textile & Graphic Designer

Posted on May 15, 2012, in Success Stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Congradulations.

  2. Well done Nicole. It looks great and glad you can combine being a mom and working. Not an easy task in this day and age.

  3. Thank you both, Juyanath and Caroline 🙂 A lot of work, but well worth the effort!

  4. Very inspiring story. Well done and good luck in the future!

  5. Thanks Findtradfolk! Let’s connect!