So when I took the call from Greg after he was made redundant my heart dropped. I was so disappointed for him, he loved working with creative people on powerful brands and was brilliant at it.
The selfish part of me thought about all the plans we were making having recently got engaged and all the expensive meals, holidays and home improvements we spend on without watching the bank balance.
Things would have to change.
But I was confident he would move on to the next role without much trouble. He is the best at what he does.
Then he told me he wanted to go freelance. A freelance strategy consultant.
My heart dropped a little more. I’m a sensible person, rarely take a risk and am thought of as a mum figure in my friendship group. Freelance work made me worry.
I had a lot of questions
- What will you earn?
- What happens if you don’t get contracts?
- What about sick pay?
- What about holidays?
But these were all functional questions. The one that should have been top of my mind was:
- What will make Greg happy?
I knew he would be happier working for himself, being able to work across different agencies and brands, learning from his experiences along the way. He is a people person and I had no doubt he would be able to use contacts and friendships to build a client base. Speak to anyone that Greg knows and they will say he is enthusiastic and motivated in whatever he does. So keeping Greg’s happiness in the forefront of my mind I told him to go for it and we’d work out the rest.
How does living with a freelancer work?
Working in London, I head to The City at the same time and come home at pretty much the same time, I have a routine. Leaving home in the morning when Greg gets to stay behind is frustrating. I get jealous. It took me a while to get my head around the fact that he was working from home. I have to remember although he isn’t commuting he needs that time to build contacts and get the pitch decks written.
I also wanted to use home working from home to our advantage, asking:
- Can you make the bed
- Can you empty the dishwasher etc
But again I have to remember he is working.
I have a happy Greg bursting with excitement for the next project.
Part of what I love is that we’re both in marketing so I understand what he does; I think that makes it easier. We’re geeks who get excited by a new TV ad or new logo from a brand. It’s good we can talk about his projects and I’m always so proud when the positive feedback comes rolling in – it always does.
Top tips on living with a freelancer
- Don’t compare what you do with what they do
- If your partner is working from home just try to think that as soon as you’re on your way to work so are they, imagine they have left to go to the office too
- Try not to think of their day rate as what you have to spend – there will be quiet times and budgeting for those means less worry when they happen
- Be prepared to proof read, hear about projects and potential pitches. I’ve found that Greg likes a second opinion and reassurance when taking on something new and I love being part of this process
- Plan date nights, often freelance projects mean working 24/7 so make sure you plan some time when the laptop and phone is off. You both need time together
Now Greg has established himself I can see my initial worry was totally misplaced and freelance life is pretty great.
What are your tales of living with a freelancer?
This post was written by Kirsty Lavin (@kirstyla), the fiancé Strat-Talking.com’s founder Greg Dillon who works in marketing in the City of London.