Simthandile Mhlambiso, the new Western Cape Regional Chair describes herself in two sentences: “I’m a focused individual. I hate excuses.” Let’s meet her.
Please tell us more about what you do and how long you’ve been a freelancer.
I’m currently practicing two professions, both of which I’m passionate about. My day job is in the accounting field. I’m a Professional Accountant in training, working at one of the accounting businesses/training centres accredited by the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA).
As a freelancer, I’m an editor and proofreader, affiliated with the Professional Editors’ Guild (https://editors.org.za/). I have edited for academic institutions, but my main focus is on trade books. I do most of the editing through my company, Mpilo Publishing (https://mpilopublishing.co.za/), where authors are assisted to self-publish their books at the standard of a publishing house. I’ve been freelancing since 2018.
What does a day in your life look like?
My day starts the previous night, purely because of the planning I do for my company. Since I’m still responsible for the marketing and engagement with potential clients, I plan and prepare marketing material the day before. I also plan email responses and client quotations that may have been requested.
Once the day arrives, I get up, do minor exercises/stretches, and get myself ready from 05:00 (sometimes earlier). By 07:00, I’m at my workplace, ready to attend to emails, marketing, and engage on social media. At this time, I’m usually eating my breakfast. By 07:30, I’m at my work desk, planning the tasks for the day. At 08:00, I start with my day job. From then until lunch time, I dedicate undivided attention to my day job as I need to focus and cannot afford to make mistakes. I work on multiple companies. When I do take a bathroom break, get water, or make myself Rooibos tea (the only hot beverage I drink other than warm water), I check my business emails and/or Mpilo’s social media accounts. My lunch time is my lunch time – I don’t compromise it, unless it’s absolutely necessary (like when I need to call a client). After lunch, it’s back to my day job until I knock off from work.
On my way back home, I read a book. If I don’t have a book, I listen to the radio or some good music. After coming back from work, unwinding and spending time with family, I attend to editing jobs and prepare for consultations to guide clients with their book projects. If there isn’t any freelance work, I prepare a blogpost for my company website or YouTube content, which I record and edit over the weekend. Otherwise, I read a book, or catch up on podcasts and/or YouTube channels centred around what I’m passionate about, which is why I started the publishing company. I fine everything to be healing, informative and empowering. Weekends are different. I spend most of them resting.
Where/how do you find inspiration?
I believe what inspires me is the passion inside of me. That’s what keeps me going.
What advice do you have for other freelancers?
It’s not easy, especially when starting out. But stay consistent: market yourself, develop yourself, continue honing your skills, and do your best with every client – no matter how small the project may seem.
How long have you been a Safrean, and why are you a member of Safrea?
I’ve been with Safrea since 2018. At the time, I had just registered my company and I didn’t know much about Safrea. Upon research, I felt that Safrea would equip me to develop as a freelancer. I was unemployed in 2020, which gave me more reason to pursue freelancing. I then enrolled into a copy-editing course and entrepreneurship courses. I joined the Professional Editors’ Guild to continue honing my skills and for job opportunities. I had been blogging since 2014 and received positive feedback on my writing skills. I figured that embarking on this freelancing journey was worth the shot; and I knew I needed Safrea to back me.
What is your work/life motto?
Choose your battles. Stay focused. Be diligent in all you do. Respect others.
Where can we read more about you or contact you?
- LinkedIn (personal): https://www.linkedin.com/in/simthandile-mhlambiso-8b35b8a4
- LinkedIn (company): https://www.linkedin.com/in/mpilo-publishing-70239b274
- Website: https://mpilopublishing.co.za/
- Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org