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.
Britney and Harriet, great to speak to you both - tell us a little about the work you're doing as freelancers?
We are a powerhouse, hybrid creative team, meaning we both Art Direct and Copywrite, with a super power of enthusiasm that often gets us great feedback after presentations. We met back in university studying Graphic Design in South Africa. Through the years we both ventured into different parts of the creative industry and even the world, coming together and both moving to London in 2017.
Initially Harriet started freelancing right from the beginning, side hustling freelance work after hours, eventually going full time freelance when moving to London. Britney also started her career freelancing at night, while lecturing graphic design full time. She joined Harriet to freelance full time and the team relationship was formed just before the pandemic.
So it's been over 3 years of freelancing together now and they aren't wrong when they say time flies when you are having fun.
As a duo, 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.
Before we started freelancing we had so many questions, how does one do it, how do you support yourself during a lull etc? When Britney decided to take the leap and join Harriet freelancing it was an incredibly empowering experience: A chance to own back her time, the work she chooses to do and her finances.
As scary as it was going freelance it was made possible through the support, advice and guidance we both shared with each other. There were so many people that were like us – asking the questions, how, when, where? We wanted to share all the knowledge, advice and guidance we had picked up along the way with anyone and everyone who had ever thought to be their own boss.
So we bought some recording equipment, sent loads of emails, and spent every Wednesday evening creating our podcast That Freelance Life, a creative ‘how to’ podcast for freelancers hustling in London. From how to find clients, to how to do your taxes, to understanding your worth, to covering yourself for maternity leave when you have no company benefits like permanent employees do!
Through the podcast we have created a community of listeners and first time freelancers who have taken the plunge thanks to the guidance and people we have had on the show. The greatest reward is receiving DMs from listeners who share how the podcast gave them the confidence to go freelance. The greatest way to operate your working life is to have autonomy over your time and your pay, that is what we do for the freelance community, empowering them to own their work lives.
What are the biggest challenges that you see freelancers facing currently - where do you think support is missing for freelancers, and what can we all do to support each other better?
Some of the biggest challenges that freelancers face come from the regulations imposed on us through the current government - the latest changes to IR35 should never have come into effect and the recent increase in corporation tax resulting in an increasing 'band' system are 2 ways the government are very clearly discouraging sole company directors and freelancers. More barriers and red tape in place to finding contracts will result in fewer people freelancing.
The other gap we see is in maternity cover - just like in the case of employed mothers the current set up leaves much to be desired but in reality freelance mothers face additional challenges. To go on 'paid' maternity leave you'll have to save an entire year's salary & dividends in your business (the profits of which are now subject to higher corporation tax bands, thanks Rishi!). You'll also likely not be paid for the time you take off work to attend antenatal appointments the way employed mothers have the right to be. Surely we can do better than this?
Lastly, we're noticing an increase in projects asking us to return to offices full time. The pandemic taught us that there are better ways to work than wasting time traveling into the city just to be a body in a seat. In our experience, especially as freelancers, more and better quality work gets done when working flexibly from where you feel most empowered. It's always great to go in and meet the teams we work with, and we love to soak up a bit of the office atmosphere but it should never be a prerequisite for freelancers. If you're looking for the best in the game to help you, they might not be based in the same city - what a pity for your project if you're hiring based on location. In terms of supporting each other, the best way to get ahead of any problems faced by freelancers is simply to talk to one another - connect with others, share jobs you turn down with your network, be honest, open and ask for help when you need it - freelancers are the friendliest bunch, always happy to share truthfully.
Why do you think it's important to give back to fellow freelancers?
We wouldn't be where we are today without the help and guidance of fellow freelancers. Seeing someone else do something you want to do gives you that much more confidence that it can be done. Not only that, the world is ever changing, remote working, flexible hours etc is becoming more of the norm.
With the unstable economy, we think freelancing is even more valuable as companies move to flexible staffing, building up teams when needed without the responsibility of having permanent staff. Equipping people to not fear freelancing but embrace it may help the working world be less stressed as we gain more autonomy over our lives.
What other projects have you come across that are doing great things for freelancers?
A couple of accounts that we love to follow are:
• Another Way Collective - @anotherwaycollective - run by Lydia Taylor, a freelance strategist. Such a source of wisdom, Lydia shares relatable content alongside practical, actionable tips for freelancers and is a champion of remote work!
• Lydia Pang and her studio Morning - @morning.fyi and @lydia_pang_ – aside from making cool work their mission is to leave the world a little less shit than they found it, and they bring this into everything they do. It's a refreshing look at a new way of running a business.
• And of course, YunoJuno! You do the most for freelancers. You support us, champion us, celebrate us and connect us with great contracts. You're the best!
Congratulations and thanks to Britney & Harriet.
Check out Britney and Harriet on LinkedIn, where you can follow their content. Vote for any of the finalists here.