Colin is a photographer. I was helping him with a proposal for a contract. We were looking at his portfolio trying to shortlist over a decade’s work into just five pictures. Over a latte we tried to get into the client’s head – what were they after? A safe pair of hands, someone who could do the job? Or new talent, with the potential to be nurtured and grown.

I would hope both. Freelancing isn’t like a normal job. People with normal day jobs have two separate lives – what they do in the evening is usually different from being a nurse, a lawyer or a shop assistant.

Going to work is, for me, an alien concept. I think about work 24-7 although sometimes if you see me in a cafe it seems like I’m not thinking about work at all (hyperlink to image). In the last 24 hours while not working being at work I’ve been busy:

  • Discussing whether a magazine for bridesmaids is a great publishing opportunity. Weddings are big business. But the bridesmaid-to-be I was talking to, was bemoaning the lack of advice – what kind of dress to have made, who to make it etc
  • Watching How to Build a Nuclear Submarine – I recently finished writing case studies on the reactor plant and control systems that power nuclear submarines to go in a client’s Annual Report. This programme provided the context – building a submarine is a huge feat of engineering. And not to be tried at home. You’d need a very big spare room.
  • Sending pictures of a mobile dog washing van spotted in Northern Ireland at the weekend to a client who is starting up a dog walking business in Scotland. We’ve been looking for examples of effective branding.

When Colin went to get a coffee he was gone a long time. Turned out he had stopped to ask iphone advice from a man working on a laptop. Well, we freelancers don’t have IT departments. And in the middle of the afternoon it was good to see someone else who wasn’t at work, but working nonetheless.