From staff to freelance: making the switch
Free sandwiches proved a potent inducement for the 42 freelances and would-be freelances who turned up at an evening meeting, titled From Staff to Freelance: Making the Switch, organised by London Freelance branch on 27 July.
Half-a-dozen speakers, billed as inexpert experts, answered questions ranging from "Should I form a company?" (answer: probably not) to "What should I put in an email pitch?" (answer: just enough to intrigue an editor).
Pierre Vicary and Tom Randall provided a broadcasting perspective; Martin Cloake spoke up for subs and other casuals; Phil Sutcliffe, who initiated the plan for the evening, and Humphrey Evans distilled the essence of the Getting Started as a Freelance course; and national Freelance Organiser John Toner explained what the union can do for those new to freelancing.
Behind the evening lay the realisation that many staff journalists are being made redundant or losing their jobs and that quite a few will be turning to freelancing. London Freelance felt an introductory evening would help people deal with the culture shock involved and would show that the NUJ was there to help them when they needed it.
Altogether the evening, held at NUJ head office, seemed to do the job. One participant, Jane Tchan, later commented: "It was a very useful and informative meeting where there was a pooling of experiences and open discussion on some of the best ways and options available to those considering becoming a freelance. I certainly learnt a few new extra tricks to deploy when next negotiating a contract and how to avoid some common pitfalls which could damage future opportunities."
London Freelance can congratulate itself on money well spent (£244.69 to be precise).
- Anyone who wants some solid guidance on what goes into freelancing can sign up for the NUJ day-long training courses Getting Started as a Freelance, £80 to members, and Pitch & Deal, £90. Getting Started runs on 25 September and 6 November; Pitch & Deal on 23 September and 7 November. Visit www.nujtraining.org.uk for full details.