Estimated reading time: one magnum ice cream in the sun
At the end of May 2018, I left my ‘proper’ office job to go it alone as a… freelance market researcher? A freelance research and evaluation consultant? A one-person research agency? I’ve still not figured out the title part.
A year later, here I am to tell you all about my first year as Pearson Insight (as opposed to just regular Adam). It’s about the good bits and the not-so-good bits. What I’ve done and what I’ve learned.
The work is great… if you can get it
The work is why I went freelance. In the past year, I’ve been able to work with organisations that I consider to be dream clients in the public and cultural sectors, as well as charities and trade organisations.
Better still, I’ve been able to go for research projects that suit my skills and interests. And do the work to my own schedule. It’s hard to find that kind of variety or freedom in-house.
I’ve worked with a dozen clients over the last year on projects including resident surveys, employee surveys, business surveys, website experience surveys and visitor surveys. A lot of surveys, it turns out.
I’d like to think my work is making a difference in some small way, whether that’s informing organisational strategy, helping local authorities to better understand their residents or providing evidence to support funding applications.
Getting the work, though, is one of the biggest challenges.
When I’m not working on client projects, most of my time is spent on marketing and tenders for new projects.
Marketing yourself is pretty important. Not least because everyone else is doing it.
While I’m far from a research guru ninja rockstar influencer (imagine the pressure of carrying that title around), I’ve managed to build some brand awareness and get enquiries through blogging, social media and a newsletter. Being an active part of the freelance and research communities has been good for referral work too. I’ve found if you show up often with good content and good intentions for your target audience, you will get noticed.
Like when I shared this summary of my first year in numbers.