I think whenever you’re in full time education, whether that be school or university, it can be quite easy to become oblivious to the real working world. Taxes, salaries and redundancy can all seem a million years into the future, and something that only “proper grown ups” have to deal with.
I graduated from the University of Chester in 2014 after three years studying English with Theology and Religious Studies. After graduating I went from hospitality management to admin roles, but my ultimate goal was to get into a creative job. I had spent three years at University, writing essay after essay, and although my subjects weren’t necessarily what I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing about, I knew that writing and content creation was the direction I wanted to go in.
I started writing a blog back in 2016, at the time I was working in an admin role for a travel company, and it was my own personal creative outlet. I wasn’t expecting to become the next Zoella or anything, it was simply a place where I could jot down my own thoughts. At the time I was seriously considering the future and where I wanted my career to take me, so a blog seemed like a good place to start.
Not long after I started my blog, I went into another admin role for an education company, I had been dwelling on becoming a proofreader and the job had a substantial amount of that. Well if you don’t try something how will you ever know if you want to do it? I think this is very true when starting a career or a business. Something at the time can seem like a good idea, but it’s good to give yourself a bit of a taster to see if it’s something worth investing your time in to.
During this time of changing roles, I was lucky enough to get involved with Flipside Radio, the community station in Chester. After a few months of presenting, I was given the responsibility of looking after the station’s social media and website. Bingo! I’d finally found it! My role at Flipside was voluntary, but nonetheless, it was invaluable experience that I had longed for, and was the ultimate burst of inspiration and encouragement that I needed to get into a full time creative role.
As many know, Flipside Radio is about to close. I’ve said it many times, but it’s heartbreaking, as I owe so much to it, not just for the work experience, but the networking skills and individuals I met through it. Whilst at Flipside, I met Dom Smith the editor of online music magazine, Soundsphere and Angela Ferguson the editor of Chester blog, We Are Chester. From interviews with Alx Green, Campfire Social single reviews, to show reviews at Storyhouse and Theatr Clwyd, I was beginning to build up a portfolio and develop my writing skills.
Whenever you’re starting out as a freelancer, or as a business, those first few contacts that you make are absolutely vital. It’s important to get your skills out there, and never be afraid to ask for help! Dom and Angela over the past few years have given me some fantastic skills and advice that I’ve been able to utilise.
As I was continuing to develop my skills at Flipside and through writing, in Spring 2017 I was made redundant. I was 23 at the time, and was bewildered as to how this was happening so early in life. Naturally there was the panic of “What do I do now?!” but instead of panicking (which of course I did momentarily), I decided to seize the opportunity and was adamant that I was going to do something creative.
Every job has its ups and downs, but it’s important to embrace new changes, you never know what direction they can take you in!
In May 2017, I started a three month internship at Launch22 (now LAB Capacity) in Liverpool. At Launch22 I was a Content Marketing Intern, and ticked all the boxes of projects and skills that I wanted to learn: social media, blog writing and even creating a weekly podcast.
I’m a strong believer in ‘life’s too short to do something you don’t want to do,’ so I knew that I didn’t want to go into a job I didn’t whole-heartedly want. It’s important in life to do something you’re passionate about, and at SisterHub, it’s the perfect place to share your goals and passions with other like-minded women who encourage and inspire each other.
At the end of my internship I couldn’t believe my luck to land my dream job working as a Marketing and Sales Assistant for Brio Entertainment. Combining my love for the arts that I had developed writing for We Are Chester and everything I had learnt from Flipside and Launch22.
If freelancing or a creative role is something that you’re interested in getting involved in, here are a few of my own personal tips:
Build a portfolio - whether it’s a blog for your friend’s business, or a gig review.
Make contacts and ask for help - networking events such as those provided by SisterHub are the perfect way to meet new people!
Utilise social media - for Chester tweeters I swear by #ChesterTweets to get the word out there.
Start a blog - I’m by no means suggesting you get a whole video kit and get vlogging, but a free WordPress account is a good place to start. You never know though, a YouTube channel could be the next step!
Be prepared for the competition – creative roles are highly competitive, so don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.
If you’d like to get in touch about blogging or my work you can contact me on Twitter (@torierskine) or search for me on LinkedIn. You can also find examples of my work here: https://whatsthestori.wordpress.com/portfolio/