Chris Thiede is a writer, content strategist and marketing consultant. His passion is storytelling — helping his clients harness the power of stories and storytelling to form connections with their audiences. That passion led him to create The Storytelling Companion, a podcast that explores how businesses communicate with people.
How long have you been freelancing?
About 9 years total, covering two separate stints. The first was from 2007-2011, and the current one started in late 2015.
What do you do? Share your work history and skills.
Above all, I’m a writer. I love to observe and learn, and help my clients share the information they need to share, and tell the stories they need to tell. That ability manifests itself in ways beyond creating copy. It helps me advise my clients and create plans that will help them reach their goals. Prior to freelancing, I spent most of my career in PR, either at agencies or large corporations. As I advanced in my career, I found myself more interested in writing and content than in media relations.
What is your “exit” story? Why did you decide to freelance?
It wasn’t completely voluntary. I unexpectedly lost my “real job” in November of 2015, so I had to adjust real quick. The truth, however, is that I wasn’t that happy there, and had been thinking about going back to freelancing anyway. That just gave me the push I needed.
Share how freelancing has been great and/or how it has been hard.
It’s great because I’m not limited to what I can work on. If a new project comes up that looks interesting, I can follow it and explore new avenues that I never would have been able to in a job.
It’s hard because you’re on your own. You have to be the one to drum up new business, execute it, and do all your own marketing, accounting, etc. There are a lot of sleepless nights wondering where income will come from but if you can make it through the first few years, it gets easier.
What is some advice you would share with soon-to-be or wish-to-be freelancers?
It’s going to take time for you to get into your groove. Stick with it. Also, the “security” of a full-time job is a mirage, because you can get let go at any time for things that are completely out of your control. There’s nothing more secure than working for yourself.
What is some advice you would share with clients on how to best work with freelancers?
Treat them like part of your team. Give them as much access as you can, because you never know what kinds of ideas they will bring forward.