Cherise Joelle made a bold move to leave her 9 to 5 job and move overseas to grow her freelance career, but not without challenges and some big learning curves along the way! I chatted with Cherise all about her career journey, what she has learnt and now what living the freelance life is really like with Keep It Creative.
Hi Cherise, thank you for joining us for our #mymoderncareer series. We would love to know more about you and Keep It Creative....
Keep It Creative's focus is to bring together like-minded freelancers, small business owners and entrepreneurs. After working from home, I began to realise how isolating starting a small business can be. I always thought, "I wish there were an easier way to find out the reality of what someone's so-called overnight success looks like behind the scenes. Or even just more methods to meet people working for themselves to build a circle of mentors". I've always been so curious to learn about how people have succeeded in their career. So that's where it all began!
After working 9 to 5 in an office, you moved overseas to grow your freelance work! What a bold and exciting move! What was this experience like?
Well, I love travelling, and I don't like having a strict routine. So my perfect life is to be able to combine these two. I moved to Italy to fulfill my dream of learning about where my family is from. While I was there, everything began to fall into place (well in some ways, anyway). After making friends with a fellow "digital nomad" on my move to Italy, Marta, she opened my eyes to how transferable my skills were (writing). After this, I started to work on getting clients and figuring out what services I could deliver. When I moved overseas, it was kind of like a symbolic way of ripping off the band-aid from my everyday life and shaking up my habits and routines. After I managed to survive overseas working for myself, I figured; I could do it anywhere. But then I returned home and failed at it miserably, and had to start all again! Haha... I went back to full-time work, learnt from my failures and promised myself that the next time I worked for myself, I would do everything the right way. And that's what I did!
"I went back to full-time work, learnt from my failures and promised myself that the next time I worked for myself, I would do everything the right way. And that's what I did!"
What do you love the most about the freelance life?
So many things...choosing my schedule and working from where I want, planning my day out, being able to action whatever strategies or ideas that I wish to because it's my business!
The biggest challenge that you face or have faced and how you learnt from that/overcame it?
Predicting my workload. Now, I diversify myself by having a few clients on the go and knowing the avenues and income streams that I can find more work. But as I said in the previous point, the first time I went freelance, I just quit everything and jumped straight in. I struggled to line up consistent work and thought that diving into working for myself would bring me more work. But instead, this kind of created a revelation for me to go back to a full-time job, learn more skills, earn some good money and then do everything the correct way the second time around. When I initially started working for myself, I could see the gaps in my skill set that I needed, and by going back to working for both corporate and small business in the interim, I gained the skills that I needed to go out on my own again.
Whats your advice for anyone wanting to make a bold move and change their work-life?
Do the peel away strategy as I call it. Try not just to jump in and quit everything because you want to be bold and work for yourself. I've done this before and trust me (even though it was fun) it didn't work. Start by learning more about your craft and working towards your goal job or lifestyle. Cut down one day at a time with your current job, and fill in those hours with your freelance work. Slowly build it up to become a full-time gig. Once you're in a stable place (with your income and your self-confidence), then cut the line of your permanent job and be free! AND always create a portfolio of your work to show potential clients. Without this, you have no credibility to them.
What fills your cup and makes you happy?
Any form of art, I love creating. My top picks would have to be digital collages, resin art, watercolour painting, photography, listening to live music and pottery.
What inspires you as a creative?
Other people! I love hearing people's stories, knowing the gritty side of their success and seeing people succeed in jobs that NO ONE ever thought they could earn money from. I love the idea that we don't have to live a 'normal' life that society puts the pressure on people to have. It's the most beautiful thought when you wake up and realise that with enough self-belief, hard work and tenacity; you can creatively express yourself; however you wish. Once you've stopped caring about what other people think – it leaves you with no restrictions.
Tell us about your podcast...
Well so far, I've interviewed The Beach People, Cleopatra's Bling, Tay Oskee Music, Hara the Label, Ming Nomchong, Nine Lives Bazaar, and so many more! The podcast's focus is to share the journey of creative entrepreneurs who have turned their passion into a full-time gig and at the same time, positively impact their community. I break down how people have turned their wild idea into a full-time income. It's a reminder that you don't need to fall into a category or box; you can create your own.
What does the rest of 2019 look like for you?
I have some fantastic features on the podcast coming up, and I will be launching my first online as well as face-to-face workshops in October. Tickets are selling now for my Canva 101: Plan & Create Content for Social Media on the Gold Coast (25 Oct), and my Influencer Relations (for brands to work with influencers) will be launching online via keepit-creative.com in late October.
Big thanks to Cherise for sharing her journey with us and some 'real' advice on what the freelance life is like and what it takes to make it work! Follow Cherise on Insta and check out the website for more and over at Keep It Creative for all the latest updates, visual inspo and whats new on the podcast!