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.
Hey Nick, thanks for talking to us, and congratulations on being a finalist in this year’s YunoJuno Freelance Impact category. Do tell us a little bit about yourself!
I'm Nick Kyriakides from London now living in sunny Barcelona, I've been freelancing for 15 years now as a post-production artist with my company NK Films. I started off as a video editor and branched off into also visual fx, motion graphics, compositing and grading. When I'm not moving pixels I'm creating content for my course and freelance community at NK Courses to support them on their journey.
You're one of the finalists in the Freelance Impact category - tell us a little bit about the work you're doing to support freelancers, and some of the positive outcomes you've had from doing this.
As I'm sure that anyone listening is aware, during the pandemic there were many of us that were furloughed or worse for freelancers, the work dried up or completely went away. So from that moment, I dedicated 2020 onwards to supporting the freelance community with advice, moral support and strategies around ways we can survive and even thrive in those times.
This started off as friends of mine that are freelancers and other people in the community mainly on Linkedin DM'ing and answering questions and then evolved into a course called Freelance Mastery, which shows freelancers how to get paid to do what they love. Everything from how to find your dream clients, price your services and enhance your portfolio, all the way to creating systems to help get you consistent clients each month.
To support the education side, I've created a newsletter with weekly freelance tips, post x2 daily on Linkedin to have conversations about the challenges we face. To support those further I've created digital tools to help freelancers with quoting their projects, managing their personal and business finances and having a private community where we share resources and have group calls, almost as a support network for freelancers.
From all of the above, the outcomes have been pretty incredible and those reviews students and members on Linkedin have said to me have put a massive smile on my face. We've had some members like Darren leave their 9-5 job they loathed to now being an incredibly busy graphic design business and have already hired staff. We've had a few students increase their income significantly, by working less, all whilst doing work that's more in line with their values. That's been really heart-warming to see.
What are the biggest challenges that you see freelancers facing currently?
The biggest overarching challenge from speaking to hundreds of freelancers is mainly the business side of freelancing and more specifically "how do I find clients that I want to work with, to pay me for what I love doing?". The reason is whether we've come from the traditional education route of higher education or not, the pattern seems to be (which I'm totally guilty of in the past) is to focus and build on our creative skills, and not develop our business ones. Let's face it, it's way more fun to play around with a shiny new plugin and edit a trailer for a new car commercial, but the reality is that without the fundamentals of running a small business; which is effectively what a freelancer is, we wouldn't be able to do this without a strong business foundation.
The solution I believe is education and community. The education side to grow those relationship-building skills, know how to acquire new clients, negotiate, price, market and sell your products and services. The community side or what can also be done with a mentor, is to help shape, guide and support you along the way to help you to reach your goals. For me, the fundamentals of understanding what your and your business goals are key and then surrounding yourself with others that are on the journey or have been there and done that (and got the t-shirt), has been a successful formula that I can say has had a dramatic impact on my career and I can see it with others now.
Why do you think it's important to give back to fellow freelancers?
For me I've come to the realisation that we are our best selves when we're doing what we love, and when we're doing what we love, it makes for a better world. We give our best, we do it with passion and as clichéd as it sounds, it makes the world a better place to live in when we're all being our best versions of ourselves. I'll never forget the ones that guided and supported me in the early stages of my career and all the studios I worked at where someone would show me a cool technique in After Effects and I have always wanted to pay that forward to those starting their freelance journey or are having some challenges along the way.
What other projects have you come across that are doing great things for freelancers?
There's a lot of great initiatives out there for freelancers, I'm liking what the 100K Freelancer Club are doing for freelancers with their course content and podcast to discuss what freelancers face. I love what School of Motion offers in their courses to up skill creatives to learn from the pros. I'm a huge fan of The Futur and Chris Do's content on giving business education to creatives too who has a wealth of content and resources for freelancers too.
Congratulations and thanks to Nick.
Check out Nick's profile on LinkedIn, where you can follow his content and ways he supports freelancers. Vote for Nick or any of the finalists here.