Denise Mhlanga is an adventurous person always looking out for new opportunities, challenges and meeting new people. She is also curious and quite reserved.
Please tell us more about what you do and how long you’ve been a freelancer.
I am an award-winning property journalist and writer, and I have been freelancing since 2007. In 2009, I won the South African Property Owners Association’s Property News Journalist of the Year award, and was given a special mention in the same category in 2013.
During this time, I have written on various subjects such as business, finance, property and lifestyle for online, print and B2B publications. For most of the time, I have worked fulltime as a journalist, and over the last five years as a communications and PR professional. Freelancing has always been a part of what I do. I am also a regular contributor to the Safrea Chronicle, an online Safrean publication launched in 2020.
What does a day in your life look like? Where/how do you find inspiration?
It usually starts with exercise, and running is my favourite. I have scheduled days when I focus on writing, and on these days I limit checking emails to those that relate to what I am writing about. On some days, I conduct research, interviews and admin work. Although the schedule is not set in stone – taking into account Zoom meetings and webinars for example – I make a conscious decision to stick to a plan on any given day. I read a lot, interacting with people and my environment is where I draw my inspiration from.
What advice do you have for other freelancers?
Given that we live during a global health pandemic, it is important to remain motivated even when life doesn’t seem to work according to plan. Maintain those relationships and also build new ones. I try to learn new skills – at times I sign-up for various webinars just to enrich my knowledge of a subject that I am interested in, or not familiar with. In freelancing you experience the ups and downs – remember it’s a journey, enjoy the adventure, and tackle the challenges as best as you can.
How long have you been a Safrean, and why are you a member of Safrea?
I joined Safrea in 2009 to connect with likeminded people, and learn from seasoned freelancers.
What is your work/life motto?
Life is an adventure – you just don’t know where the journey takes you, even with a GPS there can be surprises!
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