Marisa Louw is a sought-after professional freelancer in the marketing, visual- and performing arts industries. As a multi-skilled individual, she is proficient as a writer, integrated marketing strategist, live theatre production- and stage manager, stage producer and -director, graphic- and website designer, makeup artist, actress and singer.
Describe yourself in two sentences.
I am a part geek, artist, and working girl. I try to maintain a healthy balance between being serious and having a sense of humour.
Please tell us more about what you do and how long you’ve been a freelancer.
I started freelancing in March 2011. At first, I focussed solely on media relations. As the world of marketing evolved, I expanded my skillset to include more elements of the integrated marketing mix. I specialise in public relations and digital marketing. My experience spans from strategy to content creation and execution. I am a content writer, graphic and web designer, and photographer keen on search engine optimisation and social media’s role in word-of-mouth marketing. In recent months, I started facilitating workshops on topics ranging from project management and business writing to social media and graphic design.
What does a day in your life look like?
The answer would’ve been very different if you had asked me this question four years ago. After being diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, my priorities changed, and I learned to take things one day at a time. Because my husband and I both work from home, I like to start working early when the household is fast asleep. When the side effects of ongoing cancer treatment do not interfere on a good day, I start working around 4 am. By the time our household awakens, I’ve already done half a day’s work! After eating a nutritious breakfast, I spend 30 minutes doing strength training before I sit down to enjoy a morning chat with my husband. Between 10 am and 3 pm, I am usually in meetings or working on client projects. In the late afternoon, I go for a walk that lasts from an hour to two hours. I live three kilometres from the Vaal River and enjoy the peace of a walk; it is my me-time. When I get home, I spend some time with my 14 pets before sitting down for dinner with my husband. Sometimes, I work again at night when I have priority client projects.
Where/how do you find inspiration?
I think caffeine and nicotine play a massive role in finding inspiration! While receiving chemotherapy, I lost my mojo; it took almost two years to regain cognitive functioning. My husband’s angelic voice is my primary source of inspiration (he is a professional opera singer). Other sources of inspiration are the songs of the abundant birdlife in our garden, the sun’s warmth on my skin, the brightly shining stars in the night sky, and the moon’s reflection on the water.
What advice do you have for other freelancers?
When Peter Ndoro asked me this question during an interview with him for the SABC television show Media Matters, the essential thing that sprang to mind was that freelancers must build a presence on social media and market themselves as a brand. A stellar example of someone doing it right is Tiffany Markman. As freelancers, we should showcase our work, share the compliments we get from clients, impart our knowledge to establish ourselves as thought leaders in our field, and most importantly, support each other in this financially unstable economy.
How long have you been a Safrean, and why are you a member of Safrea?
I joined Safrea in 2011 after a friend introduced me to the organisation. I’ve remained a Safrean because of the many benefits of being associated with a professional industry body. The Google Group community is mostly friendly, helpful, and inspiring. I’ve made several friends among Safrea members over the past few years.
What is your work/life motto?
Shew, this is a difficult question to answer! I have not yet formulated a new motto after the life-changing events of the past three years. I value kindness and honesty and stand for fairness and being reasonable.