In conversation with Pip Rowson, on her first day of full-time freelancing on how to get off to a good start, missing saying good morning to the team, and the risks of carpark potholes.
Pip and I speak about how she prepared to move into fulltime freelancing, the value of building up a few months of expenses, what it's like to live in a household of the self-employed, and the risks of potholes in car parks before you even start work.
Take a look at Pip Rowson's work at piprowson.co.uk
Matthew Knight: [00:00:00] We're trying to mix up the podcast at the moment. I'm doing kind of longer term ones with someone who's got very like specific story, which they're quite keen to share. And then also like shorter ones, which is just like, Hey, how you doing? Like a bit of a catch up. so this is a bit of an experiment and I just quite, I quite like it cause it's nice to hear what other people are up to - we don't necessarily do that.
Matthew Knight: [00:00:43] This is no more water cooler conversations on self employment and mental health. And this week we caught up with Pip Rowson, a creative copywriter and editor on her very first day as a full time freelance - Pip, how are you?
Pip Rowson: [00:01:14] Yeah. I'm really well, thank you.
Matthew Knight: [00:01:17] This is exciting isn't it? Day one!
Pip Rowson: [00:01:18] It is exciting. Yeah, it feels really great, but, yeah, quite a bit different to how I expected it away. If I've been working from home for about seven years now and doing bits and pieces of freelance projects, right along the way. So in a sense, it shouldn't be so different, but it does feel different just being out or for my own. yeah, it feels kind of very real. Scary exciting, in a good way. And yeah, just that sense that. Yeah, I'm off on my own now,
Matthew Knight: [00:01:47] A whole mix of emotions. What is it that you were expecting and why do you think it's so different?
Pip Rowson: [00:01:53] I don't know. I think, because I've been working on various freelance projects, part-time over the last couple of years alongside part time employed role, you know, I've got a sense for what that feels like. In fact, one of the things is simply not checking in with a team at the beginning of the day, which is something I do my employed. Well, so it's lovely to be able to check in with a different community this morning through the leap as Slack. That was really nice to do.
Matthew Knight: [00:02:20] What was it that prompted you to move into full time freelancing?
Pip Rowson: [00:02:25] I've been thinking about it just before lockdown actually. And then of course seemed like that wasn't a good time to make the leap. but yeah. fortunately the clients I have been working with, the network I built up was still there, and so it then did feel like the right time, despite obviously everything that's going on in the world, it was just like, okay, it's now now's the time to do it. And it just felt really right to go for.
Matthew Knight: [00:02:50] Are there anything, are there any things which are worrying you about stepping into that full time way of working, or do you think that kind of a 50 50 approach to freelancing is the set you well up and you're, well-prepared.
Pip Rowson: [00:03:05] Yeah, I think it has set me up really well. And I think that would, you know, that's something I'd recommend for anyone thinking of doing it actually, is to try it out first. See if you can do a few freelance things on the side to get a feel for it, build that network up a bit. It means I'm starting this week with already some projects underway and some meetings in the diary, and so it's not just a completely blank page in front of me, which feels quite reassuring. And also, yeah, I made sure to do the sensible thing and build up that few months of living expenses and savings before I began. Although I did think I'd have to start my week making use of that because I was out for a countryside ramble with friends on Saturday and yeah, before we'd even set out. I tripped into a pothole near the car park and sprained my wrist cuts and grazes and bruises. So I thought, Oh no, am I going to have to start my first week by not being able to type, which is what I definitely need to do in my line of work of working with words and copywriting and editing, and so I thought. I'd have to crack into that savings pot sooner, but fortunately I can type and I'm starting out the week a bit ouchy, but otherwise okay.
Matthew Knight: [00:04:18] Is not having that team to check in with, is that something which you thought about before moving into the leap and do you think it's something that's gonna be a challenge for you?
Pip Rowson: [00:04:27] Yes and no. So, I've been working from home for about seven years now, anyway, so that feels familiar and not having, you know, the hustle and bustle office around me feels familiar. Although I have used coworking spaces in that time and really enjoyed that. so that part I'm, I'm good with, and I think.
Yeah, definitely. We'll miss the team that I've been working with. And it's one of the reasons I signed up to the leap as group, which I did a while ago and I knew I was making the move. And then, I mean, I was busy with handover and things, so I've just taken them the plunge today to, to introduce myself and say hi on that.
So I think I'll find that. Those colleagues and teammates through other ways. Yeah. Or just be different.
Matthew Knight: [00:05:09] How far ahead are you planning with this journeys? Are you using the next kind of few months just to see how it feels and things develop or do you have a plan in place which you're going to doggedly chase after for the next 12 months?
Pip Rowson: [00:05:21] A mix again, I think, yeah. Bits of both. So I've got some things in the calendar kind of into next year and the next couple of months, fortunately, yeah. Are kind of. But which feels amazing and unexpected. I didn't imagine that I'd be starting the journey out in that way. And I think I'll just be getting used to a different planning cycle and different way of looking ahead.
It might, my partner's been self employed for, or his whole working career, really. so he's enjoying all that I told you. So
Matthew Knight: [00:05:55] what were they, I told you, so I'm really interested to know what a dye in the wool a freelancer has said that you should be watching out for
Pip Rowson: [00:06:03] things like. I'm getting used to, I mean, the finance side of things is one, for sure.
So just getting used to the fact that, you know, the money coming in is based on the work you did the previous month, and that's not so apparent when you're employed. It's slightly different communication with clients, you know, that worry of sending something off and. Not maybe hearing immediately on feedback and thinking the worst and then wondering what it means and just, yeah, I don't know.
Communication is, is slightly different than when you're working within a team in a, in a job. How
Matthew Knight: [00:06:37] do you find being in a relationship where we're both of you are a self employed and the irregularity of income is a. Is a, is that a shared concern that, does it make it easier? Does it make it harder?
Pip Rowson: [00:06:49] Yeah, it's shared.
and it does make it easier. Yeah. We work very well together. We've worked from home for a long while and kind of. Wait, we work in the same room and pretty much just ignore each other, and get on with, without work, which is nice. And then yeah, have some nice coffee breaks and things. So, that part does work well, there haven't been any arguments yet
Matthew Knight: [00:07:11] ignoring each other is, is the, key to success of a strong relationship.
Pip Rowson: [00:07:16] Maybe, perhaps that's it
Matthew Knight: [00:07:20] something quite interesting. There was no about that. Respect to me each other's boundaries and spaces. When you do need to work thing, it's probably something that lot of people who were forced to work from home in the last couple of months have come up against that, Oh, I need to do a call or I need to be on the phone.
I need some sign that said it's not something that a lot of couples are necessarily
Pip Rowson: [00:07:38] used to having to do. No, that's true. Yeah. And I think, yeah. It can depend on the space that you've got. We're fortunate to have a room where we can. where can ask studio office space, so able to use that and then shut the door at the end of the day.
although yeah, I've just changed spaces now actually. Cause I needed to come out to the room I was in because that, yeah. So yeah, it's a bit of. I'm hopping around the flat to find a good place to do a call for.
Matthew Knight: [00:08:06] Is there anything which the last few months in lock down with COVID has, has taught you that you're going to fold into your, full time freelancing ways of working?
Pip Rowson: [00:08:16] Yeah, definitely. more connection actually. I've I have really noticed that in the importance of. Yeah. Making connections with people, seeing friends for coffee, whether that's on zoom or in real life now. And, I'm an introvert at heart. So I didn't think I'd need that miss that, as part of flat town, but I really appreciated the times when I've been able to.
Have a zoom coffee with a friend or yeah. Now go out and see people and just connecting with other freelances. So joining Leaper's group and, I'm part of a group called career curious, which has been really lovely to have that community over the past while.
Matthew Knight: [00:09:00] And what if you had an ideal project drop in your lap tomorrow?
What kind of work would that look like? What's the brief that would make you go, Oh, I don't care what the day rate is. I'm doing this.
Pip Rowson: [00:09:10] My heart is very much in the arts. That's where I started my career in the museum world, way back then at the arts council. and yeah, that's my real passion. So definitely if there's something in that space, then that would be an ideal.
Projects. and of course the day rates in that sector are not always great. One thing that I've really enjoyed doing recently, which I hadn't expected, it wasn't part of my offer originally was working on translations. I only speak English, but there is a need, therefore, Texts. That's been Google translated quite, you know, roughly translated to be put into beautiful natural English.
So that has been really lovely to work on. And I've been doing that for a client in Norway. So I've been learning turns of phrase and Norwegian, and that's been really great for my brain to have something new, to learn.
Matthew Knight: [00:10:03] How are you finding, work coming to you? Is that through word of mouth? There's are you advertising on platforms?
How you, how you're doing the marketing and promotion?
Pip Rowson: [00:10:11] Yeah, it's all been through word of mouth, which is fantastic. and people sort of told me that, you know, or your first project will come from somebody, you know, and then they'll tell somebody else, but I didn't really believe that it would be the case in a way I thought I would need to do quite a bit of marketing and, putting myself out there.
But so far it has been. Just through word of mouth, then clients I've worked with have recommended me. And every time I've started to do a bit of marketing before I've actually kind of hit send on and things, something has come in, which has meant that I've been able to. To not have to do that
Matthew Knight: [00:10:44] goes to show just how important that, that network and kind of constantly building contacts size of stuff is how, how as an introvert, do you struggle with that?
Pip Rowson: [00:10:55] Yeah, I, so the first thing I did today, or my first morning was to do some social media posts about, you know, here I am, it's my first day. And, you know, it wasn't. Terribly much. It was just a nice message that I'm putting out to friends and contacts, but it's still, I have to take that deep breath and press send.
I find it quite exposing and like lovely, but also cringey to get nice comments back. So yeah, it's uncomfortable, but definitely worth doing anyway,
Matthew Knight: [00:11:25] things which you do as an introvert to help you recharge and reset a little bit.
Pip Rowson: [00:11:31] Yeah, a lot. Yeah. Of reading. I've really got back into reading recently, which I messed up.
You have done less and less of that. I studied English literature at uni, so obviously read a lot then, and then over the years have kind of read less and less. I think, you know, just that rewiring of our brains through social media it's happened to me as well, but that has been a lovely escape and way to recharge because it was very much just me and that book.
Matthew Knight: [00:11:59] What's on the top of your, book pile at the moment, I'm sure you have a pile of books sitting next to your mind at the moment.
Pip Rowson: [00:12:07] There is a very big part and actually my grandparents are preparing to move house. So, I've had a lot of hand me down books from them, which is great. Yeah. And lots of poetry books, because I wrote.
Write poetry as well. So, I've been enjoying reading lots of poetry recently, and they've been kind enough to give me some of their precious copies.
Matthew Knight: [00:12:28] Pip, its been great talking to you today. Best of luck with the rest of your journey. Thank you so much.
Pip Rowson: [00:12:34] Nice to talk to you
Matthew Knight: [00:12:35] Have a great rest of the week.
This was no more watercooler - a podcast from Leaper's supporting the mental health of the self-employed. If you're looking for a community of peer support, tangible resources and content that helps, or just fancy a cup of coffee with a friendly group of people, join the team for people without a team at www.leapers.co or search "Leapers community".
Our production assistant is Stephanie Ressort; our title music was composed by Mat Dobson and I'm Matthew Knight. And until next week, work well.