Member Spotlight – February 2021

Member Spotlight – February 2021

Member Spotlight – February 2021

Member Spotlight – February 2021

by | Feb 23, 2021 | Member Spotlight

by | Feb 23, 2021 | Member Spotlight

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At Safrea we love to get to know our fellow freelancers and who better to meet in 2021 than the two winners of the 2020 Safrea Rates Survey. They were randomly selected from all the participants of the Survey and won a year’s free Safrea membership. We will feature Melissa Davidson this month and Suzani van der Merwe next month.

Melissa Davidson

Describe yourself in two sentences.

I asked a friend to help with this … so, we have: ‘goal-driven, analytical, keen eye for detail, always looking for new ways to challenge myself and grow my knowledge and skills.’ This makes me sound a lot more ambitious than I really am, but yes, I’d say I am a critical thinker to some degree, and I do enjoy learning.

Please tell us more about what you do and how long you have been a freelancer.

I started my business, Superscript, in 2014. Most of my work involves writing and editing various types of content for corporate clients, mainly in the technology and financial services fields. I’m a huge advocate for plain language and conscious language, and always work with these principles in mind. I edit the occasional academic dissertation, when there’s time for it. I conduct training courses in business writing and plain language, and format document templates and conduct training in MS Word.

What does a day in your life look like? Where/how do you find inspiration?

I’m fortunate to share a lovely home office with my husband and several cats. Most days are spent in front of the laptop, taking briefs by email, attending online meetings and typing, typing, typing! Downtime is spent reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching Netflix and, when I can, participating in community (now virtual) choir projects. I wouldn’t say I’m a hugely inspired person … but knowing that if I don’t deliver, I don’t get paid, is a huge motivator!

What advice do you have for other freelancers?

A big adjustment for me, coming from a corporate job with a steady income, was learning how to manage my finances. I’d advise any freelancer to get an accountant/bookkeeper to help them with admin around invoicing, payments and tax. Also, get a good financial adviser to explain and set up insurance to cover you if you aren’t able to work due to illness/disability, and get you saving.

Invest in yourself – you ARE your business! Stay up to date with developments and technology in your field, and expand your skillset as much as possible. The more you can do, the more you can bill for. Connect with other freelancers and people in your line of work. You will learn a lot, and have a network of people you can turn to for support or advice when needed.

Learn to deal with the uncertainty that comes with freelancing – it can be a pretty ‘feast and famine’ experience while you build your client base. Always deliver quality work, on time, as your work is the best form of marketing – it’s what brings in referrals and repeat business. Value your skills and don’t under-quote. Rather say your fee is negotiable, or offer a discount. You can always negotiate down, but never up! Being stuck with a low rate is really not fun.

Why did you participate in the Safrea Rates Survey?

I think it’s a wonderful resource for freelancers and potential clients, and a benchmark I often refer to when I’m quoting for new work. The more input we get from the freelancing community, the more valuable this resource is.

What is your work/life motto?

Hmmm … I can’t say I have one, so I’ll borrow my husband’s, which is: “What’s the best that can happen?” So often, we think about or plan for the worst. But thinking about the BEST outcome gives a different perspective that can help us overcome our fears and anxieties, and see opportunities rather than obstacles.

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