Are you thinking about making the move into the freelance world? Perhaps you’re a freelancer and are finding it difficult to balance? No matter how experienced you are, as a freelancer your career and development are in your own hands, and sometimes that can feel daunting. But there are ways to receive support. HJ spoke to three experts about the power of mentoring for freelancers.
Why Mentoring is So Important For Freelancers
“When you start freelancing, the opportunities are grander and bigger, but there is also the element that you are running your own business. You are your own brand,” says Jonathan Andrew, multi award-winning Stylist. “Hairdressers starting out in the freelance world will struggle to understand how the system works without a mentor, even working out the little things such as tax self-assessments and finding the right accountant can be tricky.”
And with the hairdressing industry constantly evolving, there are always new techniques and trends to keep up with. Which is why Cally Borg, Award-winning Hairstylist and Mentor says: “I’ve been mentored over the years to improve my hairdressing skills as well as my business knowledge. I believe we need a mentor to help us to be proactive in our business decisions rather than reacting when we have issues like the current energy crisis. We never know what the future holds, and we need to be prepared for bumps in the road.”
Likewise, Jo Irving, Stylist and Business Coach, explains how mentoring is increasingly important for freelance hairdressers who are wanting to move out of their current space and gain a new result. “It’s important for creatives to be in a safe, non-judgemental space to grow and having the support of a mentor gives that,” says Jo. “As a Coach, I’ve seen that the biggest thing that holds entrepreneurs back from following their dreams, is fear. You can read all the books, or be an excellent hairdresser, but if you don’t have the self-belief to take the action needed, you won’t be able to change the result.”
What Can Mentors Help Freelancers With?
Cally was hit hard with the hustle of being a freelancer so began looking for a mentor for help. “I found myself constantly working long hours, never saying no to a job,” explains Cally. “I was living in burnout mode, so I started searching for a mentor, I needed to know their secrets!” Now, Cally has been able to implement what she’s learnt, and is now a mentor for others: “A mentor can help a freelancer in many ways whether that’s finding their identity or niche, branding, business finances, social media, mindset and personal development, business strategies, time management and boundaries, systems and automation, pricing and upselling, and client retention strategies.”
Additionally, Jonathan explains how mentors can help in terms of understanding a range of different aspects of the industry. “It’s key to have a mentor when making the transition from salon work to working with brands or working on sets,” says Jonathan. “There is a multitude of different subtitles which need to be considered depending on the different types of freelancing you’re interested in, TV work for example, is very different to editorial work.”
For Jo, it’s about giving the support needed to allow you to be brave, let go of the beliefs that hold you back and make informed decisions. “We’re brilliant at helping you create a new mindset, allowing you to see yourself different giving you the confidence or guidance you need to take that next step.”
Why You Should Reach Out to a Mentor
Some hairdressers and stylists may be apprehensive about reaching out to a mentor. But it’s within a hairdressers’ job to ask questions to continue learning and growing. Jonathan tells us: “I moved from hairdressing, into men’s grooming and then into TV by networking and asking for help. The freelance community is growing so much at the moment and people in this industry are always so willing to help. There are so many opportunities out there waiting to be taken advantage of – just ask!”
Similarly, if feeling apprehensive, Cally advises to have a free discovery call to allow the mentor to explain the benefits working together can have. “Being apprehensive may be that you can’t see the value in what a mentor can offer.”
But finding the right mentor for yourself is key. “There’s lots of mentors around which means you can find someone who fits your goals and personality. Any good mentor will chat with you first at no cost to establish whether you have the right chemistry and what they can offer is suitable for you,” explains Cally. “Before the call, think about what you want to achieve and focus on the desired ‘feeling’ to allow you to move forward,” advises Jo.