Just start doing it – you learn so much by doing. You never stop learning. I’m still learning so much doing this work everyday. And just embrace the chaos.Sandra Redlich
Freelance Marketing Consultant, Copywriter & Translator
Sandra Redlich is a freelance marketing consultant, copywriter, translator, and project manager. Originally from Germany, she has permanently settled in the beautiful city of Melbourne. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and corporate communications and has worked for international media companies before becoming a freelancer. Currently, she works with a variety of clients, from software start-ups to restaurants, TV channels to tech companies, and everything in between. She loves walking her long-eared Bloodhound Freddy, trash TV, cooking and eating all kinds of food (Indian is a fave!) and spending time with friends from all over the world.
Welcome back to Success Stories, our new regular feature on The State Of Work, where Maddie chats to individuals and their experiences working remotely. This week we’re joined by freelancer Sandra Redlich, a copywriter, marketing consultant, and translator based in Melbourne, Australia. Originally from Berlin, Germany, Sandra relocated abroad to Australia just before the start of the global pandemic. She chats to Maddie about the joys and challenges of freelancing and what it’s like to relocate your freelance business abroad, as well as tips for creating routines, avoiding burnout, handling difficult clients, and celebrating successes.
Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Sandra and I am a freelance copywriter, translator, and marketing consultant. I am originally from Berlin, but have relocated to Melbourne, Australia, almost two years ago, as this is where my partner is from. I work with both German and Australian clients as well as some companies in the UK and the US. But many of these clients work remotely for their companies, so it can happen that I am sending an email to someone in Spain, Argentina, or Japan.
How long have you been freelancing for?
I started my business as a side-hustle while I was still employed about 4 years ago, but decided to fully focus on freelancing pretty quickly. I have to say, the golden 3 years rule about establishing your business has definitely been true for me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learned a lot about myself, what I want to do and almost more importantly, what I don’t want to do, and freelancing has given me many great opportunities that I am very thankful for.
What does an ideal relationship with a client look like for you?
I think mutual trust is really important. Trust in my knowledge and abilities as a freelancer, but also the trust that I am able to take feedback and potential criticism and turn it around into something positive. And from my point of view, I need to trust that the client is giving me room to grow and improve, and doesn’t just cut me if I am not meeting their tone of voice right away. And that they are paying me on time, that is actually one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate having to check in to see when my payment is coming through.
Would you say that is your biggest obstacle in working with clients?
No, definitely not. The majority of clients I work with pay on time and are super upfront about it if there are any delays. It’s just the ones that don’t do that who stand out more, I guess. But I think one of my biggest obstacles is that, as a freelancer, you are a bit cut off from the project, you are only providing one aspect in a big chain of things, and I get it, that’s how companies work most of the time. But I do strongly believe that everyone would do better work if you would share more insights. You never know, maybe the freelancer has some background or experience with improving organic traffic and has some ideas that could really help you. And vice versa, if my clients are not telling me which one of my headlines is performing the best, I won’t be able to improve the next copy I write. So I think the biggest obstacle for me is getting access to data and sharing information.
Let’s switch to something more positive and upbeat – what are the advantages of freelance life?
Oh, there are so many! The biggest one for me is being able to plan my day and organise my time how I want to. I don’t have to sit at my computer at 9am if I don’t want to. The only thing that counts is that I finish my work, and that is good. That being said, I actually do work better in the morning and try to get started between 8 and 9 am.
But yeah, I am independent in my choice of location, which has been incredibly beneficial being in a relationship with an Australian partner. And I could finally get a dog, my beloved bloodhound Freddy, and don’t have to worry about leaving him home alone all day. Now I get to spend my lunches outside in nature, walking him and refreshing my head. That is freedom to me. And that’s only possible because of my freelance job.
You are making us jealous here! But I’m sure it’s not all rainbows and butterflies?
Of course not. It is still a job, and no job is 100% positive all the time. I do miss interacting with colleagues in person, but I guess the majority of the world population has been missing that the last year, so I am not alone with that. And there are many options out there to make up for it, co-working spaces, social media groups and so forth. The freelance community is very open and welcoming.
We have talked about what you enjoy most about work, how about your clients? What do you like about them?
I have built so many amazing relationships and have been lucky enough to work with so many different clients. And that has been the best thing! I am learning something from each and every one of them, and I think you are both more focused and dedicated to a task in a way. That creates an immediate bond, you are both working towards an objective.
And actually, one of the most fun things is to build a relationship via email, and then seeing the person on Zoom or Hangout for the first time and just clicking right away. That’s so fun!
Have you ever thought about quitting freelancing and going back to full-time employment?
I think every freelancer has these moments where they are thinking about it. But I have never actually considered it. In fact, I think I would have a really hard time going back to having to sit at my desk for 8 hours straight and telling everyone what I am doing and where I am all the time.
I’m pretty happy where I am right now and I would like it to stay this way. The only thing I think I would consider is a remote position, so within a company that is fully remote and has employees all over the world. I believe that’s what the future workforce looks like and I appreciate companies that are first adapters in that field. So I think I could see myself as a full-time remote employee. But I am not looking at the moment.
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