Every year, YunoJuno, the UK's largest freelancer marketplace, hosts its Freelancer Awards, celebrating some of the self-employed individuals who are doing amazing work.
This year, they've added a Freelance Impact category for people who are going above and beyond to support fellow freelancers.
Our founder Matthew has also been nominated as a finalist - and he's speaking to each of his fellow finalists, to hear about their work, and why supporting fellow freelancers is so important. You can vote for any of the finalists on the YunoJuno website.
Matthew: Hey Adam, before we get started, do tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm Adam. I run a freelance production company called CreativeAF. Don't worry AF are my initials, I'm not just super arrogant! I like storytelling put simply. I do this through video and I do this through sound, working with different clients on their creative content and storytelling. I've been freelancing for a touch over 3 years. I'm a pandemic business and started a couple of weeks before the first Lockdown. I've come to realise that working for myself is my North Star and always has been. I just didn't know it until I started doing it.
Huge congratulations on being a finalist in the Yuno Juno Freelancer of the Year Freelance Impact category - how does that feel?
It's a real honour to be in this category because it feels like it's not about the client work - it's about what we do for others. In a way that means a lot more. As I've grown my own business, I've felt I had the space and confidence to start helping others. It started by sharing my own personal freelance journey on LinkedIn in an open and transparent way - both the highs and the lows. I've always been one to say it how it is and I think people relate to that. I found that people were relating to it and so I started doing it more. I started to get lots of messages off people saying how I was helping them with their own journeys. I now jump on calls with people and help them work through their issues, especially those at the beginning of their journey who are thinking of taking the leap. At the same time I was asked to be a mentor for The Prince's Trust, which was a real honour and source of pride for me. Helping guide the young people of the UK, build their confidence and help them get to where they want to get to is incredibly rewarding. To be honest, I feel like I've only just begun supporting freelancers. I know there's a lot more to come. I just want freelancers to have the best life possible and embrace it for the wonderful lifestyle - not profession - that it is.
I love that way of thinking about freelancing as a lifestyle - but it can be a challenging one at times - what are the challenges that you see freelancers facing in your work supporting others?
One of the biggest challenges I see, certainly in younger people, is confidence. It's definitely not a lack of ability, skill or talent. I think people think freelancing is just about doing the work. Doing the work is the easy part as you already know how to do that. It's all the other parts that you have to deal with that when you're in full time employment are just sorted out for you. You have to be your own PR machine, HR director, accountant etc. There's no 'Freelancer' subject at school. You're not taught how to do it or a run a business. You have to work it all out on your own.
Loneliness is a big issue I think with being a freelancer. I know I feel that sometimes but I've built up a great network of peers in the same position that make it feel that bit less lonely. I think the Freelance communities out there that look out for each other are like gold dust.
All of the work you do to support others is on top of the 'day job', you're putting in a huge amount of extra effort here, why do you think it's important to give back?
There's always someone at their beginning of their journey who is excited but terrified too. When you take away the security in your life you really feel it and it's sink or swim. For those who have been there before, I feel like we have a duty to help the new wave of freelancers along. It's important to make them feel excited about this lifestyle and help them as best we can. I don't think it stops there though. Freelancing is a rollercoaster ride with ups and downs and you feel both just as hard. We are a community after all so that peer to peer support is everything and needs to be ongoing.
All of the finalists this year deserve to win the award, and there are so many other projects also supporting freelancers - what other projects have you come across that are doing great things for the self-employed?
I think there's some great projects out there including Leapers and Sophie Cross's Freelancer Magazine (a must read for any freelancer). There definitely could and should be more though. There's a few million freelancers in the UK alone so there's always room for more projects that do great things for freelancers. I'm currently in the ideation phase of drawing up one myself.
Congratulations and thanks to Adam.
Check out Adam's profile on LinkedIn where he shares regular advice, tips and guidance for fellow freelancers.
Vote for him or any of the finalists here.