freelancer of the year

I’ve been shortlisted by the nice people at IPSE as a Freelancer of the Year finalist in their Freelancer Awards. This is mainly for my work at Montfort, but also for other initiatives like Freelance in 30 Days. It’s a lovely surprise.

The other 2015 finalists are:

I love learning about how other freelancers run their businesses, so it’s been interesting to look at the stories behind and how they’re setup. I’m looking forward to meeting the other finalists in real life, as ‘ useful when freelancers get together and share insight on what is and isn’t working for them.

There are also some fantastic examples of younger freelancers going it alone at a relatively early stage in their professional careers. I’ve had several conversations recently about the rise of freelancing as a choice among people leaving university in the UK, which I’ll expose in a later post, but for now it’s well worth checking out – and supporting! – the shortlisted young finalists:

The results of the award will be announced as part of the celebrations around National Freelancer Day on 12th November. I’ll be sure to let you know how I got on then.

As part of the award judging process, I was interviewed by the IPSE team about my journey as a freelancer so far, as well as what I love about freelancing and my thoughts on the future of freelancing and self employment.

I’ve copied the interview below so you can share in my thoughts. I’d love to know what you think in the comments.

IPSE Freelancer Awards 2015: Interview with Ben Matthews

Describe your business

Working along with my wife, we run a digital agency, Montfort, which runs digital, social and contenting marketing campaigns for some of the biggest and brands in the world. We offer senior strategic counsel and honest independent advice to the biggest brands around the world.

Together we work with the likes of the UN Refugee Agency, The Guardian and Harper Collins, bringing in a wide range of trusted freelancers (AKA Mates of Montfort) to work alongside us.

What is your greatest business achievement?

I was recently appointed as the youngest member to the panel of Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), which represents the interests of PRCA members operating as independent consultants. I’ll be working alongside people ten years my senior, a daunting but rewarding prospect.

For Montfort, I’d have to say one of most recent campaigns, for the Twitter hashtag #WalkTogether. A wide group of organisations, co-ordinated by British Future, were looking to engage the people of London and across the UK on social media in a public commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 bombings. Montfort were asked to manage key social media channels on 6 and 7 July, engaging with supporters of the #WalkTogether campaign, encouraging people to take more photos, retweets, favourites and likes. The results were outstanding. For a small team, we were able to have #WalkTogether trend worldwide for the day.

What made you want to work for yourself?

I felt like I was stuck in a rut and wasn’t stretching myself enough as an employee. I initially hadn’t considered freelancing until I met with a former colleague who had taken the jump years previously, and told me how much more joy it brings to his work life balance.

Taking the leap into freelancing after having a steady job was probably one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done. But I survived (and thrived!) and haven’t looked back since.

Why is self-employment so important?

The freedom and opportunity to create new projects is particularly exciting, especially as it hasn’t been readily available in my industry until now. It’s made it an exciting time to be a freelancer.

Get more details about the IPSE Freelancer Awards at ipseawards.co.uk

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