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Advice. Opinions. Conversation.

Diversity #1: Female Creatives – Tips & Resources

I did an interview recently with the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) for a new diversity series. It’s packed with tips and resources for female creatives. Read it here.

Our new diversity series seeks out creatives who’re making positive contributions around recognising, understanding, embracing, and encouraging individual differences. Our first interview features Nicci Talbot, a freelance journalist, copywriter, and author of 11 books on women’s health & lifestyle. Find out how her company is helping female creatives, and download our PDF packed with tips and resources.

Data & Marketing Association (DMA)

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Advice. Opinions. Conversation.

The Shift: Issue #26

Sole trader vs limited company or umbrella – what’s best? IR35 changes; Parliamentary debate on the future of work; Seth Godin on creative practice.

I had to set up a limited company last year for a new contract role via an agency. My tax status only came up after I’d done the interview, a written test, and been offered the role. My agent said, “oh, we don’t work with sole traders.”

It was a chunky project – a six-month contract to write a book for a big brand and they were happy to pay my day rate, so I went for it. I set up a limited company via Companies House – fast, no-nonsense, and costs £12. I had to sort out business insurance (took much longer), an accountant, and a business bank account with a UK address for IBAN (EUR) payments.

A bit of hassle for one contract but that was the deal. And I wanted the job, so I did it but not happily. I’ve been a sole trader since I started freelancing back in 2002 and was gifted a limited company once (we broke up, I wasn’t ready; I have commitment issues). I don’t think individuals should operate as companies unless you’re employing someone. Nor should agencies and companies dictate your set up. These roles are often last-minute so you’re under pressure to act quickly or someone else will get the gig.

Anyway, the project went well – a good challenge and I learned a lot. Great to work with a team and have a physical product at the end of it. The contract was due to be extended in February to finish the editing, but this fell through with lockdown. Things have been pretty quiet on the contracting front since. Companies have cut budgets this year, which tends to hit freelancers first, and bigger clients are preparing for IR35 changes next April which will bring private companies into line with the public sector. Many have now banned the use of limited company contractors which is the way most contractors have operated up to now. See more.

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Newsletter

The Shift: Issue #24

Bored and Brilliant; Creative Coalition 2020 Festival; Reasons to be Cheerful; Lemn Sissay on Daily Acts of Creativity.

Can boredom lead to your most brilliant ideas?

Here’s Manoush Zomorodi’s story – journalist, entrepreneur and author of Bored and Brilliant.

Her son and the iPhone were born three weeks apart in June 2007.

While everyone was busy with this new toy, she was stuck at home with her hands full of something else sending out constant notifications.

Manoush Zomorodi – Bored & Brilliant Project

A colicky baby who would only sleep in a moving stroller with complete silence.

She walked 10-15 miles a day and got fit but was bored out of her mind.

Three months into this daily routine, something shifted. As she walked her mind wandered, she started daydreaming and coming up with ideas.

She finally got an iPhone and created her dream job hosting a public radio show (on the hustle beyond Silicon Valley – it’s excellent, check it out here).

She could be a mum and a journalist.

In the playground and on Twitter at the same time.

She got busy again. But when tried to brainstorm ideas and how to boost audience numbers, she couldn’t think of anything.

When was the last time she’d had a good idea? She realised it was when she was out walking her baby.

When you fill all the cracks in your day with scrolling and multitasking, you don’t let yourself daydream and be bored.

What happens to the brain when we get bored or if we’re never bored? She spoke to neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists, and the results were fascinating. See more.

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Advice. Opinions. Conversation.

The Shift: Issue #17

Job hunting, The Social Dilemma, a history of Silicon Valley, slow journalism, how do we live ‘a good life’ in 2020?

I had a chat with two recruitment agents this week. Things are picking up – briefs are coming in and companies are hiring–mostly remote work. Employers are investing in remote training for staff and reassessing office space, so remote working is here to stay. Both were furloughed and are just back at work.

It’s good news for multi-skilled freelancers – we’ll be more in demand as employers may want fewer people on the payroll. We’re also flexible, agile, and used to working remotely.

Skills check–MS Office, Photoshop, InDesign (you can download the free trial for 30 days and do a YouTube tutorial to learn the basics). Google Analytics, HTML, SEO, & social media.

I made a one-page CV on Canva–wasn’t sure if it’s long enough, but they liked it. “It’s good to have it condensed on one page and you can expand as required.” Read more.