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Graduating and Going Freelance

Finding a job after graduating is hard; finding a job after graduating after a global pandemic and in an economic downturn is harder. These are just some of the reasons why many graduates now decide to go freelance.

Josh’s story

What made you choose to freelance after graduating?
I graduated in a pandemic which wasn’t great. I wanted to do something to do with my degree, and there wasn’t anywhere that could offer me full-time. It was the middle of summer, so everything was still really uncertain. I contacted a local radio station who said they couldn’t do a full-time position because no one knew what was going on with the pandemic, but they said I could freelance to cover holidays. It was my only option at the time.

How was freelancing during the pandemic?
Learning on the job and putting into practice what I learnt in my degree was great, and it helped me get by. I think freelancing suits me quite well at the moment; doing short fixed-term contracts for a while and then travelling for a bit and then going for ‘the big career move’ is the current plan, but we don’t know how things are going to go.

What benefits has going freelance straightaway given you?
It got me in the door somewhere and got me up to speed pretty quick. I was doing stories, bulletins, phoning people, all that, and it was flexible. As I was covering a lot of their staff holidays my days were a bit all over the place. It was reasonable given the situation we were in but wasn’t ideal in the long run.

What advice would you give someone who is in your situation?
You’d be surprised how many places will take someone on freelance. It suits companies quite well because you’ll be on a fixed-term or something and you can plug their gaps for holidays. It’s pretty hard knowing how to contact places, so I’d say try and find a name and the person rather than a generic email; it works well. I’d also say ask for advice. Send over your demo or CV and ask for feedback or help as most people are pretty happy to give it and talk about themselves, so I’d do that too.

Find Josh on Twitter @itsjoshtaylor26.

Similarly to Josh, Amelia graduated from Bournemouth University in the middle of the pandemic, but her plan differed. Her main intention was always to freelance in games journalism.

Amelia’s story

What made you choose to freelance after graduating?
I did journalism at Bournemouth University, and my main goal the entire time was to get into some form of games journalism. The thing with games journalism is that it is very popular, but there is no real conglomeration, so many people going into games journalism are freelancers. As soon as I graduated, I just wanted to get my name out there and get straight into freelancing.

How competitive is games journalism?
Because it’s a lot of freelancing, it’s a lot of networking. It feels more cooperative than competitive. Getting your name out there is the hard bit. No one I know wants a job with a big games company; they want to be known as that games journalist.

How have you found the online element of freelance life since starting?
Freelancing has shifted more online, which I didn’t think was possible, but it has. Conventions like E3, which was based in California, moved online. Before you would get a business pass and travel there, but this year, with it being online, people who couldn’t take the time out or afford to travel could participate. Pretty much everyone I know who is freelancing had a seat at E3, whether from their own home or somewhere else.

What benefits has going freelance straightaway given you?
One of the biggest benefits is freedom. To sit down and choose my hours, even with deadlines, I can choose how I manage my time and when I do the work without someone breathing down my neck. One of the best things is being able to write what you want to write. The thing about working for a publication is that you’ll be writing stuff you do want to write as well as things you don’t want to write, whereas, with freelance, you’ll always be writing something you’re interested in, it might not always be viable though.

What is pitching like for games journalism?
Every Tuesday, I send 10 to 30 pitches out to various places and see what comes back. When I pitch an idea, I always make sure I’m pitching a good one; otherwise it could affect my reputation. You need to keep that rapport with editors and maintain it. It’s a balancing act.

What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I’d say don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It is scary pitching, but it is all trial and error, and editors are understanding. They’re more than happy to help you and will give you advice on how to alter the pitch if it’s not exactly what they’re looking for. With one editor, I think I pitched four articles before he took one on, and he gave a lot of feedback like ‘this one is good, it just needs this’ and stuff like that. And never work for free!

Find Amelia on Twitter @ameliahansford.

This article was written by Emily Keogh who did two weeks work experience with Freelancer Magazine. Emily studied Multimedia Journalism at Bournemouth University. Find her on Twitter @emilyskeogh.



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