ICS Interviews… Danielle Owen-Jones, Director of PR agency Bloomin’ Creative

Today is National Freelancers Day, a day which celebrates the UK’s most exciting, driven and enterprising self-employed people.

It is the eigth National Freelancers Day, and IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, are celebrating by hosting interactive workshops, one to one sessions and networking opportunities. They are also hosting the IPSE-QA Awards, where they will recognise and reward the UK’s best independent minds.

Last year, we marked National Freelancers Day by putting together this great infographic on the 7 steps to self-employment. To mark this year’s National Freelancers Day, ICS spoke to Danielle Owen-Jones, director of Cumbria-based PR agency Bloomin’ Creative, about her freelancing journey.

How did you get into freelancing?

Three years ago, my now-husband and I decided to move up to the Lake District, which meant I had to leave my job at a Manchester-based PR agency. It was a career move I didn’t expect, but now I’m so grateful for it because it was the push I needed to go freelance – I might not have been brave enough to do it otherwise. Initially, I started out as a consultant working with different companies in the local area and I took on ad-hoc PR, copywriting and marketing work. However, I’ve now taken my company Limited and I work under an agency set-up as Bloomin’ Creative.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew at the start of freelancing?

Without sounding like a cliché, freelancing genuinely is a rollercoaster. As an employee, you have benefits such as guaranteed work, set hours, holiday pay and job security. When you take that leap into freelancing, you forego all of the above and suddenly you’re in a world where you are only answerable to yourself. It’s a BIG change and one that people either love or hate. Luckily, I love it and I have absolutely no regrets, but I do understand why it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.

Danielle Owen-Jones, Director of PR Agency Bloomin' Creative
Danielle Owen-Jones, Director of PR Agency Bloomin’ Creative

Do you have any tips for fellow freelancers/contractors?

On the business side, I’d say to make sure the logistics are in place from day one – you should have a smooth system when it comes to the less glamorous side of owning a business or working as a freelancer, for example, invoicing, tax returns, timesheets and contracts. If you put an efficient system in place from the beginning, then you’re starting off on the right foot and it’ll be much easier when your business develops and grows.

On a personal note, it’s vital to have confidence in yourself and your abilities, and not compare yourself to others. This is especially important when you’re starting out – there’s a quote that says “Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 20” and that, for me, hits the nail on the head. It takes time to build a business and a personal brand – be patient and don’t be hard on yourself if you make a mistake. It’s absolutely true that you learn far more from your mistakes than your successes.

How would you describe freelancing in three words?

Exciting. Inspiring. Rewarding.

Tell us a little bit about your company, Bloomin’ Creative.

Bloomin’ Creative is a boutique PR agency. We’re based in Kirkby Lonsdale, but we work with clients across Lancashire and Cumbria. We think of creative ways to put our clients in front of the audiences they want to reach by generating brilliant press coverage for them. It is traditional PR in the sense that the bulk of what we do is generating newsworthy ideas and securing media coverage, but we don’t just do this blindly, we pride ourselves on creating carefully considered PR strategies. We also carry out in-depth monthly evaluations and analyses that give our clients tangible results and an exact return on investment.

How do you see Bloomin’ Creative developing over the next 12 months?

At the moment, we have a number of fantastic clients on our books and we have a very busy summer coming up. It’s still early days for Bloomin’ Creative as an agency set-up, so over the next year we’ll be on a big PR drive ourselves to spread the word about what we can do for businesses. We have a hit-list of businesses in specific industries that we would love to work with, particularly within the hospitality and lifestyle sectors, so we’ll be pitching for them over the coming months which is going to be an incredibly exciting time.

Danielle’s story is certainly an inspiring one, just like Kelly Gilmour-Grassam’s story, who won the IPSE Aspire Award at 2015’s IPSE Awards. We’d love to hear your freelancing story too, so if you’d like your story to be featured on our blog, then it’d be fantastic to hear from you, please email marketing@icsuk.com or tweet us (@icscontractor). The interview could be done online or over the phone.

Danielle was certainly right about ensuring you have a smooth system when it comes to the likes of invoicing, tax returns and timesheets, and that’s where ICS can help. ICS Accounting specialises in helping contractors, freelancers and small businesses with their accountancy, tax and administration. Whatever stage you’re at with your business, we’re here to help. It’s our job to be experts in finance and taxation and based on the principles of trust, care and compliance, you’re in safe hands with ICS Accounting. Our team of accountants will listen to you, advise you and support you and your business. For your own peace of mind we also include insurances including professional indemnity up to £2 million. Find out more by watching our video.