Everybody needs good favours

When I decided to go freelance I didn’t realise just how many favours I’d have to call – or just how generous people would be with their time and talent.

There has been a small band of loyal troopers who’ve helped me get to where I am right now, and I owe them more than the drinks (and a curry) I’ve bought them to say thanks.

The one thing I knew I needed, right from the start, was a portfolio website. What seemed like a fairly straightforward process became a bit more complicated the more I looked into it.

I wanted the custom URL to match my name, but I hadn’t even settled on what to call myself. I had so many ideas floating around my head that I couldn’t pin one down until someone told me…

Clients want you. They pay for you, not some fluffy name that doesn’t mean anything to them.

Fair point. Rich Lord it is, then.

Meanwhile, I got in touch with the excellent Michael Wood (what he doesn’t know about web design, user experience and front and back end development probably isn’t worth knowing).

For it is he, ladies and gentlemen, that built this very website you are currently on.

I’ve lost count the amount of emails we’ve exchanged, but I was keen to have a website that worked the way I wanted – and he was able to make that happen.

But it’s difficult to build something when you don’t really have an identity, so I was also in touch with Alex Keating – a superb designer who gave me the R logo and a few other bits of branding I could work with.

He also dug out fonts and colours that work well together, and even today I’m pestering him for more pieces because it’s difficult to tell exactly what I need as my work evolves.

Then there’s Rachel Brookes, who’s given me some great advice on how to network more effectively and how to think more strategically about landing new clients. Teach a man to fish, and all that.

And I haven’t even begun to cover the huge number of people I’ve been able to turn to for advice in other areas, like HMRC and finance.

All these people are colleagues I worked with during more than four years at two top agencies – and I knew that I could ask them for their expertise – and that I could rely on them too.

Freelancing is often called ‘going it alone’, but I’ve actually found it anything but.

It’s just been a continuation of what I’ve always been doing – collaborating, working as a team and bringing ideas to life.