#LifeStartCareerChat: An afternoon with Margot van der Krogt

BE GOOD TO YOURSELF

Why choose to be a freelancer and how can you best market yourself? From personal branding to controlling your own time – having the flexibility of freelancing may be the path that you’ve been looking for.

A quiet tranquil setting away from the rush of Piccadilly outside, LifeStart hosted the third LifeStartCareerChat for Afternoon Tea in the Sheraton Grand. Freelance copywriter Margot van der Krogt was this week’s mentor, joining members of the LifeStart community who had been lucky enough to secure a place through our Eventbrite event. Questions from the community focused on different aspects of her career from making the leap into freelancing and how to find clients once you’re a freelancer.

Margot didn’t start her a career as a freelancer but found that into her late twenties she was accepting more and more work that she felt she should definitely take the plunge and try it. It’s meant that her work has been incredibly varied, writing for small and large companies alike. A few well-known names include WeTransfer and Fairphone.

Having grown up in an international setting, Margot went to university in Montreal studying a combination of Psychology, Marketing and Art History. After graduating she moved back to Amsterdam as she is originally Dutch. As we’ll expand later, her ability to speak both fluent Dutch and English helped give her an edge as a copywriter who could also translate and communicate her client’s exact wishes.

Our conversation was wide-ranging and varied but some of the biggest standouts was her attitude towards freelancing. She was very honest with the upsides and downsides of freelance life but also the idea that you should always be open to trying new things seems to have been a defining feature of her career so far. When starting out don’t disregard the opportunities that may not be paid very well if at all. She said that often those opportunities led to others in the future, Saying ‘yes’ is more likely to lead to something new than a ‘no.’

How do you market that though? Personal (often online) branding has become the extension of someone’s CV. Margot agreed that it’s good to have a clear profile and portfolio but you can incorporate being open too. Her own example as @maeandmany promotes the idea that she can and does fulfil a variety of roles. Having her own online presence that she has control of does mean that she can direct clients towards something that she both knows well and is proud of.

However, freelancing may not be for everyone. Margot was honest about the hurdles she had to overcome to feel comfortable as a freelancer. From allowing herself holiday to being organised with her time and not taking on too much. Through this, she has learnt her own limits and knows the importance of being good to yourself. Yet difficulties like in any position can still come up, from working with difficult clients or deciding to employ an accountant to help her manage her money. Something not everyone’s naturally capable of.

Very similar to other mentors who’ve joined us for our #LifeStartCareerChats, Margot encourages people to go searching for what they want; usually, that’s targeting people that you want to speak to, learn from or even work for. She recounted a time that she sent a personal message to an editor, via Twitter, of an online magazine she liked at the time. Months later they got back in contact and offered her a job. Nine times out of ten if you contact someone asking for advice your request will probably be rewarded with an answer. So maybe try it for yourself! Who is it you admire and what do you want to ask them? What’s stopping you from doing it now!