On this week’s episode of the PR Talk Podcast, Amy is joined by Michelle Garrett, owner of Garrett Public Relations and host of two Twitter chats, #FreelanceChat and #PRLunchHour. Michelle’s 23 years of experience helps guide those just entering the freelance world as well as elevates the voices already there. During this episode, the two talk about freelance work and its trending direction.

Why Did You Start #FreelanceChat?

Michelle began the podcast by explaining how she started her freelance journey in Silicon Valley, where she worked in both corporate and nonprofit organizations, and also at a PR agency. However, she felt self-employment was in her blood, and through her experiences, she was eventually prepared to go on her own.

As they talked about how Michelle came to start her own business, Amy asked what her chat was like and how it helped freelancers. Michelle responded, “I created the chat to share and support other freelancers because it can sometimes get lonely.” Every Thursday at noon via #FreelanceChat, she offers guidance and support for a diverse network of professionals who have questions about freelancing.

Amy asked what profession is primarily represented during the chats and Michelle said the most popular category is freelance writers; however, there are a good number of marketers, graphic designers and PR pros, in addition to many others.

 

Switching to the Flexibility of Freelancing 

Many people have switched to freelancing during the Great Resignation because of its flexibility. With this in mind, Amy asked Michelle if she thinks there are too many freelancers? Michelle thinks that while many people are dabbling in freelance work, a lot of them won’t stick it out, since more work goes into freelancing than one might think. Still, she said, freelance work can accommodate a good volume of workers because it is usually not too competitive, if the freelancer goes to the right sources.

When working her nine-to-five desk job, Michelle would think about whether such a traditional work model was necessary for financial and personal stability.  As the uproar of the Great Resignation took hold, it truly validated her feelings that there were other viable options to make a living. Both Amy and Michelle agreed that staying at a traditional nine-to-five job may seem stable, but ultimately, it is no more a guarantee of steady income or long-term employment than if one is freelancing.

Michelle added that during the pandemic, agencies laid off a lot of their staff. However, once things started to open up again, they had to hire. While agencies searched for full-time employees, it was a prime opportunity to outsource work to freelancers, which not only offered flexibility, but allowed companies to continue to capitalize on the importance of digital marketing. 

 

Tips for the Novice Freelancer

Because beginning a journey into freelancing may seem scary, Amy asked Michelle for some tips, which she shared:

  • Tap into your network for referrals.
  • Get involved with groups to grow your network.
  • Constantly show up and be present in your work.
  • Create a blog or some other visible/accessible platform to get your name out there.

Michelle also said, “One of the most common mistakes people make when going into freelancing is not preparing for the ups and downs.” She reminded listeners that even when someone posts on socials about making six figures in a year, many factors can contribute to having such a good year, and circumstances can easily change. 

The most crucial tip Michelle gave – and Amy agreed – was to put yourself first in a freelance business and to make sure you get paid for your work upfront. Finding a community of fellow professionals who understand, will help navigate the moving pieces that are inherent in freelance work. Listen now to hear more about Michelle’s Twitter chats and other valuable advice.

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About the guest: Michelle Garrett

Michelle is a PR specialist with more than 20 years of experience crafting strategy, plans and programs for companies ranging from small start-ups to large corporations such as HP, Adobe, Arthrocare, SGI, Sun, Symantec and others. After spending seven years in Silicon Valley, she returned to her roots in Ohio, where she runs her own consulting practice, specializing in media outreach for companies who want to get noticed.

Connect and follow Michelle on social media:

Michelle Garrett on PR Talk

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This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Cailyn Tegel on Linkedin
Cailyn Tegel
Cailyn Tegel is an Assistant Account Executive at Veracity. She has a passion for the public relations industry and experience as a marketing intern for The Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau and a boutique PR Firm in St. Louis, MO. As a recent graduate, Cailyn is launching her career at Veracity, where she is embracing a variety of activities for clients and the team.