Tricia Cuninghame’s freelancer story

As part of our freelance celebration we’re sharing the experiences of female freelancers. Here’s Tricia Cuninghame’s story. 

What do you do?

I am a website consultant – I work with businesses to develop and deliver an online strategy. My main focus is on helping Zero Waste & Other Eco-Friendly businesses as I am extremely passionate about helping them succeed, to help build a better future for us all!

At the moment the internet produces the some amount of carbon as the air travel industry – I am on a mission to reduce this by only creating websites which are powered by 100% renewable energy!

How long have you been a freelancer?

Since early 2018. 

Why did you go freelance?

I was fed up of not being able to do the things I wanted just because of what time they were on at and I hated having to beg for time off to spend with my son.

I love what I do, so going freelance means I get the best of both worlds – I can easily take a couple of hours out during the day, when needed, then work in the evening when my son is asleep. I’m definitely a night owl, so I feel like I am way more productive now than I ever was after dragging myself into the office for 7am!

What do you love about being a freelancer?

The flexibility and feeling proud of what I do. 

And what do you hate about being a freelancer?

People who don’t pay their invoices on time – haha!

At times it can feel a bit uncertain, for example when a big project is coming to an end and you don’t have the next one lined up. But I feel that as time is going on, and I am getting more repeat custom and referrals, this is becoming a bit easier! 

How long did it take to earn an income you were happy with?

About a year for it to be consistent, I don’t think I realised how much time I would need to spend working on the business side of things to begin with. Things like bookkeeping and marketing were a pretty steep learning curve.

And how long to get a good client rota?

I would say this is ongoing – but it definitely becomes easier over time, as your portfolio grows and you become better known!

Have you ever turned a client down? And if so, why?

I’ve not turned anyone down as such, but people often have no idea how much goes into making a website which will perform well online.

There have been a few times when people have come to me with projects which sound amazing, but they only have a tiny budget. So I’ve had to go back to them and say it’s just not possible for me to produce a website that I would be happy with for that price.

I do have some ethical red flags in regards to companies I wouldn’t work with – but thankfully I have never been approached by any of them!

If you could offer any advice to yourself starting out as a freelancer what would it be?

Network, network, network. It can be extremely daunting putting yourself out there to begin with, but getting to know people in your local business community has so many benefits. Not only do I often get great referrals from them, I have also made some great friends through these meetings.  

Find out more about Tricia