If you’re going to make it as a freelancer, you have to have a pair of balls (even if you’re a woman). You can’t be afraid to take risks. Well that’s exactly what I did in April, 2006: I left a cozy, staff position at a major NYC live events/production company to make it on my own.
Without bombarding you with all the details (you can read more about the experience here), I will say that it was one of the best moves I’ve ever made. Sure, there have been some ups and downs, but that hasn’t stopped me from feeling liberated ever since.
I was reminded of this two nights ago when I attended a former colleague’s film screening in Manhattan. She told me how she admired me to have the guts to up and leave the company when I saw that I had reached my ceiling.
Okay, enough back-patting. Here’s my background in a nutshell. I’m a writer (obviously!) with a BA in Communications from Hofstra University. I started out as a local journalist in Brooklyn, then took on some cool TV gigs (CBS Sports and Lifetime Television), followed by a 6-year stint at the aforementioned production company (MJM Creative Services). And then: hello, freelance.
As a freelancer these past 7.5 years, I’ve had the chance to shoot and produce promotional and training videos for multiple clients in New York, London and Chicago. I’ve covered communications conferences across the globe at the corporate headquarters of some of the biggest brands in the world. I’ve filmed some of the most engaging people to work the speaker circuit in a long time including a top forensic psychologist who’s analyzed the likes of Joel Rifkin and James Holmes.
And of course, my longest stint: as a writer-turned-global editor at simply-communicate.com – the London-based knowledge and advice site for corporate communication professionals. I had the chance to delve inside big-name companies on both sides of the pond, exposing the inner workings of Verizon, IBM, Philips, Heineken and LEGO to name a few. I was even invited to cover a town hall at Best Buy in Minnesota amid troubling times for the electronics retail giant.
I helped simply become more US-centric and we even opened a New York office which I oversaw while dabbling in project management and communications consulting projects. I even took the plunge and went staff again (at least for a little while). Then it was back to freelance after the company experienced financial challenges and restructuring.
So here I am: writing, hustling, networking, schmoozing in between Starbucks’ runs and happy hour rants with friends in the same boat.
I hope my blog will inspire others who are trying to make a dent in the concrete pavements of New York or at least help people to commiserate through it all. This isn’t an easy city to live – or work – in. But I’ve been doing it all my life, and with any luck, I’ll continue to do so for years to come.
You can follow me on Twitter at @KelKass and sample some of my writing clips at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=9432813&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile