This is the second article in our “Freelance Voices” series, and celebrates the experience of freelancers in Australia. As part of a parallel project to the Global Survey on Freelancing the Agile Talent Collaborative conducted with the University of Toronto, I invite platforms from different countries to share the experience of their freelancers: work, life, challenges and the impact of work and Covid. For Australia, which had over four million full-time and part-time freelancers in 2015, and has continued to grow rapidly since then, I am pleased to introduce Mash, a platform for Fast growing independents operating out of Melbourne, working across South East Asia and the world, and collaborating with clients like Breitling and ONE Championship. MASH disrupts the traditional work of marketing and advertising agencies and delivers innovative solutions to large companies in Australia, Europe and the United States. Although the Mash platform includes a rich mix of seasoned freelance professionals from many countries, this report focuses on their Australian freelancers.
Here are some of the independent Australian voices in the MASH community:
Siona Singletary, Strategist
âI had an incredible two years experience as a freelance writer. I went out on my own to immerse myself in different ways of thinking and solving problems; it was satisfying to be able to achieve this fully. Now is the time to change. Change is what keeps you on your toes in this industry.
Anna Fullerton, artistic director
âI’m freelance to fill a role 4 days a week, so I’m lucky; I don’t feel the downsides of freelancing. For me, freelance work allows me to focus on the type of work I want to do or on projects where I can express my style more. In an agency, you don’t have the flexibility to choose your briefs and you may find yourself stuck working on a single client, leaving you with a folio full of work that doesn’t reflect your creativity. By adding a little freelance, I can shape the type of work I want to attract in the long run. The combination of jobs can sometimes mean there are no days off, so I have to be careful to avoid burnout. “
Rich Akers, Creative Director
âJust a few months after starting my status as a freelance digital nomad, I realized that creativity benefits as much from rest as any other muscle. Creativity for me is a sprint, better in short bursts than marathons, and more rewarding as a result. Waking up in new places doesn’t hurt either – when your mind is open to new experiences, it’s in the perfect state to come up with the next big idea.
Delia Mennell, Artistic Director / Designer
âWith self-employment, there is no room for complacency. As Steve Jobs said, “stay hungry” and that is freelance work. It keeps you on your toes, but at the same time there is a feeling of excitement and challenge with every new project, which in my opinion is essential for creativity.
Henry Trumble, photographer
âThe freedom to freelance comes with a formidable adversary: ââyourself. The key is knowing how and when you work best, how to take time for creativity, and how to develop the confidence to say no to work that doesn’t help you achieve your goals.
Kat Berg, graphic designer
âFreelancing is difficult sometimes, but I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. Every week is different, I’m constantly learning and working with amazingly talented people. It has also given me the freedom to work and live wherever I want, which is a great tip for life.
Frank Yang, Video Production
âIt can be very rewarding to see a project come to life, or the experience can be riddled with doubts and uncertainties. But I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Self-employment allows me to find the perfect balance between doing what I love, what I’m good at. It’s also what the world needs and something I can get paid for! The perfect ikigai. “
Dave Lydiard, Creative Director
âFreelancing gives me the opportunity to exercise my creative muscles and experiment outside of my daily job. I only take side projects that really turn me on and fill my cup. The little extra money walk around is nice too.
Audrey Lee, Social Media Manager
âWhat I like most about self-employment is the absolute freedom of geographic independence; I can make a living where I want with little more than my laptop and internet connection. The diversity of clients and brands I work on is also a huge plus, ranging from tourism and healthcare, consumer goods and technology, without being tied down by a single office job.
Caren Ng, project manager
âThe best part about being a freelance writer is that it satisfies my home life and my professional life. I have the luxury of doing laundry on my break and working out in my home gym to wake up before my Zoom meeting. It’s not a work-life balance when you just love living life! “
Megan Riley, Designer
âFor me, the workload has always been a bit of ‘feast or famine’. It can be confusing, but it also gave me time to explore passionate projects and start a side business. I wish things were a little less high and low, and a little more curved … “
Wendy Syfret, writer
âI am really aware of the relationship between time and money. Working regularly, I had no control over how they interacted. I was trapped in a cycle out of my control: I was working hard to pay for an expensive lifestyle that I needed to justify how much I worked. Self-employment gives back control. I make thoughtful choices about how I view time and money to create a life that is informed by my values, not someone else’s.
Kashi Somers, Creative Manager
âFor me, self-employment opens up possibilities. Some find the full-time roles heartwarming, but I see them as a huge limitation. A “job” doesn’t allow me to collaborate freely, to refer dream clients just because I can, and certainly doesn’t give me the chance to have uncapped pay or lifetime work limits. “
Kara ter Morsche, editor
âFreelancing isâ¦ living in the present. It is the excitement of each new “blank page”. It’s the impostor syndrome. It stops in the middle of walking, in the middle of sleep to write creative ideas in your notes app. This is new. New perspectives. New conversations. It’s uncertain, but exhilarating. And when you get great customer feedback? There is nothing better.”
Michael, director / cinematographer
âFor me, self-employment is the freedom to explore multiple worlds in one career. Someday I might be on a set overseas and then back home writing arguments for another day of shooting in a studio. The challenges – uncertainty, price, support or lack of support – are there, but they are balanced by personal and project freedom. “
Ainsley Pope, Strategic Communications
âI lead a hybrid part-time, permanent and independent professional life. It is the return of 20 years in the worlds of consulting, consumption and business. The hybrid style means my clients and part-time employer benefit from diverse, real-time information that would otherwise only be accessible through research and networking. I traded this working model when I learned that my personal value proposition was my best currency to trade with.
Join us for the next editions of Freelance Voices
Watch for new editions of Freelance Voices, published monthly, and share the experiences and ideas of freelancers around the world. Then come the voices of the independents in Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.
According to research by McKinsey and others, Following over 200 million people around the world have chosen freelancing as their full-time or part-time choice, in order to supplement their income, enter a new field or start their own business. These self-employed people invest in their future, take care of their families and create value for their clients and colleagues. It is an honor to tell the story of these pioneers.
Long live the revolution!