I’ve had the good fortune to work with some fantastic agencies here in Brighton. I feel confident jumping on any project, with any team – but it wasn’t always like that. In this post I will be offering a few pieces of advice which have helped me to reach this point, the aim of which is to create a more valuable experience for both yourself and the agency who hired you.
Make yourself known
If it’s a large agency, you’re unlikely to be formally introduced to everyone, so make sure you do it yourself. When meeting someone new, something as simple as “Hi, I’m Jake, I’m a front-end developer freelancing here at the moment” can help spark a great conversation.
You’ll soon build up a map of the team in your head, who does what and where to go for help. They’ll remember you too. If front-end help is needed on another project, for example, your name will already be in their head. The best networking isn’t business cards and elevator pitches – it’s making friends on the inside.
Adapt to their way of working
If you’ve been freelancing for a while there’s a good chance you “like things done a certain way”. What you need to remember is, so do they. If you’ve got some great ideas you think could help a lot, by all means share them – that’s why they hired you. But don’t try and replace their operations on day one because yours makes more sense to you.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Asking questions is not hand holding. If something is dramatically slowing you down – speak up. It could be something as simple as needing a login, or perhaps it’s more of a technical question. Try your hardest to solve the problem on your own, but don’t sit on it for hours because you’re afraid of bothering people.
Tip: have a few different tasks lined up so that if no one is available to help, you’ve got plenty to get on with.
Seize every opportunity
While working for an agency you’re regularly going to be out of your comfort zone. You could be pulled into a client meeting with no notice, help pitch for a colossal project or have tasks assigned to you which are so complicated they may as well be in a foreign language. These are invaluable chances to improve your technical and social skills, don’t resist them.
It could end at any moment
If you’re freelancing full-time for an agency it’s easy to become accustomed to the regular hours and the monthly cheque. However, projects are often delayed or can end unexpectedly, so don’t rely on the money.
Keep your freelance business ticking over so you’ll be ready to jump back in when the time comes.