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Successful freelancers share wealth of experience at free business event

02 April 2015

Toshif Vally

Flexible working contracts see rapid rise in freelancing

Some of the regions most experienced and successful freelancers have visited the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to share their knowledge at a free event designed to support people carving out a prosperous career in an increasingly popular employment market.

Freelance business is thriving according to figures published last year by the Professional Contractors Group.* It says there are currently 1.4 million British freelancers working across all sectors, which is an increase of 14% over the last decade.

In light of the changing employment landscape, UCLan’s How to Freelance workshop attracted over 80 attendees from throughout the North West who were keen to capitalise on the increased demand from businesses for contract workers.

They were shown how to identify and build on their strengths, given an introduction to the art of freelancing and learned how to use social media to make connections and enhance their personal and professional profiles.

“It’s all about building relationships – people do business with people they know, like and trust.”

Dave Kirkwood is the Director of Kirkwood Studio in Manchester and an expert in branding. He said: “I started freelancing while I was at university 30 years ago and I’ve never really moved away from it as I always had projects on the go. So eight years ago I went back to full-time freelancing. I now have the space to make my own projects and enjoy it.”

Naomi Timperley, a North West businesswoman and Director of 4Hub, was recently honoured in the Maserati100 which acknowledges those who actively support young entrepreneurs.

She said: “It’s sometimes not what you know it’s who you know. Also, start with your personal network first and then reach out to the join the dots. Social media is a great way to make connections online and offline. Follow up on the connections you make and pay it forward, listen first and don’t sell, sell, sell. It’s all about building relationships – people do business with people they know, like and trust.”

The event was run by the University’s Northern Lights Programme, an award winning business support programme for new and early stage businesses, as part of its MORE Programme business support initiative aimed at helping creative, digital and media businesses to grow.

“The world of work is changing and many people are turning to working freelance to make the most of their skills and create a career they love.”

Peter Rawling, More Programme Business Incubation Manager, commented: “With freelancing being such a popular way of starting on the route to self-employment or starting a business, these great speakers again reminded us that you need to be great at what you do, use every opportunity available to shout about your business, but also remember to focus on the business of actually getting paid.

“The world of work is changing and many people are turning to working freelance to make the most of their skills and create a career they love. This event attracted a large number of people who want to make the most of what they know and are keen to develop an irresistible professional presence.”

The MORE Programme is delivered by UCLan and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The How to Freelance conference is one of a series of events designed to assist people to develop entrepreneurial skills that will help them make the most of the changes in the current work landscape and thrive into the future.