There’s no doubt your talented at what you do, but there’s also no questioning that self-employment can be a lonely path. It doesn’t need to be. We at CreativesAtWork have been in your shoes, we understand the challenges you face, and we are here to help.

Whether you’re a designer, developer, filmmaker or writer – to make it in any field, a strong network of support is key. Sure, you can stay up to date with the latest industry trends in the comfort of your own home but how about learning from each other’s worst experiences? You don’t have to be a one-man team, CreativesAtWork wants to help.

Like us, you’ve probably been told a hundred times how lucky you are that you can set your own hours, and work from home, or how good it is that you can be selective on what jobs you take. Sure, there are benefits, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  What they don’t realise, are the nightmare stories.

To help our community grow, CreativesAtWork hosts a series of podcasts which can help you learn from seasoned freelancers who have seen it all. At our recent podcast on 30th August 2018 we invited back three of Singapore’s top performing independent creative professionals, now business owners who rely heavily on freelancers, (Shawn Toh, Alex Oh and Satya Purna) to share their experiences as a freelancer with the next generation.

Here are some of the top words of wisdom shared:

“Impress yourself 10x or more” – Fanny Tham, Chief Worker
It can be disheartening when you’ve worked so hard on something to experience an unimpressed client. Fanny discovered the power of this simple technique after working on 40 revisions!

“You are only as good as your last job?” – Jayce Tham, Chief Businesswoman
Referrals and repeat work are critical. Jayce suggests rather than disappointing a client by missing a deadline, ask for an extra day to finish up or polish the work.

“Make sure they know what they don’t want” – Shawn Toh, CEO & Design Director
Despite our best efforts, it can be difficult to meet the client’s expectations, especially when they don’t know what they want. To avoid this, Sean finds he can get a clearer picture by asking clients what it is that they don’t want.

“If you can do within 1 minute, why not?” – Alex Oh, Film Composer
While none of us wants to be working on 40 revisions and 3-revisions is indeed the industry norm, at the end of the day we are all in client servicing. When deciding if you should work beyond the scope of your agreement Alex suggests giving your best or more. For the benefit of a returning customer, he suggests asking yourself this simple question.

“Charge 20-30% above average” – Satya Purna, Founder & Brand Strategist, ZAG Studios
It all boils down to money, we all have to make a living. You’re not getting CPF or employee benefits and you deserve to be paid for the benefits you can deliver to a client. Satiya suggests charging above average and then providing exceptional level service to prove your worth.

“No public shaming” – Fanny Tham, Chief Worker
Unfortunately, there might be times when situations escalate. Fanny suggests always seeking mediation during these difficult times and to avoid public shaming. The community is small, and you’ll be admired for taking the high road.

“You can fire the client” – Shawn Toh, CEO & Design Director
Perhaps one of the best privileges of being a freelancer is the ability to fire the client. You deserve to be treated with respect and paid on time for your services. Sean recommends avoiding repeat work with clients who don’t meet their end of the deal.

Rest assured, the outlook for the freelance community is promising. Thanks to the proliferation of online platforms and the continued support from government bodies, both the number of freelancers and the openness of organisations to hire freelancers, is continuing to grow. In fact, the number of Singapore residents who took self-employed work grew to almost ¼ of a million people last year, a 10% increase on the year before! CreativesAtWork hopes to contribute to the community by building and nurturing a strong partnership between freelancers so that your talents are maximised!

Join us for more podcasts at Freelance Creative Exchange. Every 2 weeks, we catch up with professionals over coffee at the PIXEL Studio and share stories about freelancing. Each episode is about 30-40 minutes long and available in both podcast and YouTube formats. Hosted by CreativesAtWork co-founders Fanny and Jayce, you will find candid conversations with creative professionals about freelancing and the gig economy in Singapore & beyond.

Youtube | iTunes | Spotify

For more tips and tricks join CreativesAtWork next month at ‘Freelancing 101 Boot camp’ – an intensive training boot camp designed for Singapore’s top-performing creative talents. Learn ways to strengthen your personal brand, how to utilise social media to advertise your services, ways to overcome business-related challenges and receive personal portfolio reviews by industry experts. Subsidies up to 100% of the course fee are available! For more details visit freelancing 101