Content Creator, Social Media Strategist and Photographer Steph explains how simply striking up a casual conversation about what she does, led to signing up her first ever client…
Tell me a little about you & your family, what your business is, and the inspiration behind getting started…
Hello! I’m Steph.
I live in southwest London with my husband Jorge, our 2-year-old daughter Emilia and a lazy cat called Oakley. I’m from Buffalo, New York, but have lived in London for 12 years.
I’m a freelance social media strategist and content creator. I also sell photography prints in my Etsy shop, Little Observationist.
My inspiration to get started as a freelancer was probably similar to that of many new mums: the desire for flexibility, an amazing boost in creativity and productivity after my daughter was born and a sense that life was changing so much already, so why not just take the leap?
After six years in a similar full time job, I knew I had the skills to try. It worked out and I’ve been freelancing full time (and then some) for just over a year now.
How did you make the leap from idea on paper to reality with your business idea?
It was a pretty natural shift for me. My hobbies are writing and photography, and I’ve always loved social media. I’ve been blogging since 2002, taking photos on the side and building my social media communities for years. My full time job pulled in the same skills and interests, so taking that freelance was a natural next step as flexibility in working hours became a more important aspect of my life.
How did you get your first sale or client?
I met my very first client, who is still a client quite a few years later, at an open studios event on London’s Eel Pie Island. She’s an artist whose work is incredibly different from anything I’ve ever seen before. I was casually taking photos for a personal blog post, so I was walking around the studios with my camera, which she commented on. We got to chatting, I told her what I did for a living (social media strategy and content creation) and it turned out she needed help with her own digital marketing. Our personalities clicked, and our business relationship began. The idea of being able to use my skills to help a small business owner / artist share her talents with a wider audience was brilliant and I knew that was something I wanted to pursue on another level.
What ‘lucky breaks’ or helping hands have you had along the way that have really boosted your progress?
Word of mouth referrals have been the source of just about all of my clients so far, and the people who have recommended me along the way have been incredible. I was also very lucky in that the employer I left to go freelance agreed to come on board as a client, and not only that, but the CEO’s charity initiative also became a client at the same time.
What do you LOVE about your business and working for yourself?
I love the opportunity to be creative in so many different realms. I’ve worked with clients who are individual small business owners, family businesses, much larger business owners and non-profits across a broad range of topics like study abroad, disability inclusion, the visual arts, travel, eyewear, fence installation, garden products, real estate and more.
Of course I love the flexibility. I love that I can work and travel at the same time. I love setting up my laptop in my favourite cafes for an afternoon. I love working at home with my cat curled up on my legs. And I love the total freedom I have to call the shots and make decisions.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve had to do since setting up on your own?
I think, like most freelancers, fill a gap in work and hours that opens up when a client moves on after a project finishes.
Who is your support network that you simply couldn’t manage without?
I have several people I look to as mentors, whether they realise that or not, and their advice and guidance has been indispensable. My husband is very supportive of my sometimes crazy hours. I have several freelancing friends I occasionally share a kitchen table or cafe with, just for the company. And I’ve joined a few Facebook groups with supportive people who have similar challenges and goals in their lives.
What exciting plans do you have for your business over the next 6-12 months that you’d like to share?
I’m excited to find a few new smaller clients or projects for this summer as I will soon have several hours opening up for the first time in a year. I’ll be re-vamping my website, adding new prints to my Etsy shop and working on a few projects that I don’t want to say much more about yet, but stay tuned!
You can connect with Stephanie via:
Her website: www.littleobservationist.com