If there’s any exhausted freelancers reading this blog then take a second and come with me on a journey, as I cast my mind’s eye back to my work life a few months ago… I was working a whole vast collection of annoying jobs which weren’t making me regular money. Some weeks I felt like Scrooge McDuck, diving into my improbable pool of coins to demonstrate the sheer scale of my wealth. (see fig.1)
And then, as if by some sort of evil magic, the next week I would find myself scrounging for pennies round the back of my kitchen cabinets in the hopes that I might be able to rub two of them together to make a fire. (see fig.2)
Does this all sound familiar?
“It’s the freelancer’s curse!” I would tell myself. The itsy-bitsy-teeny-weenie trade-off for doing work that I loved was that SOMETIMES I would not be able to feed and clothe myself. It’s no big deal! Dear reader, I was in hopeless denial…
To add insult to heavy financial injury, a lot of the work I was taking wasn’t even what I wanted to do. So scared of not having any money, I was working around the clock, collecting hours wherever I could no matter how little I wanted to do the job. Pretending to be a ghost on a haunted walking tour? Sure! Writing bland platitudes about government policy for a magazine about the chemicals industry? Why not! Erecting a Christmas lighting rig in the pig enclosure of an urban farm? Sign me up!
80 hour work weeks would plough straight through my other life plans like a pig ploughing into the step ladder of an over-worked and under-qualified lighting technician. Any spare moments I had would inevitably be used to pull the clumps of my stress-deficit-hair out of the shower plughole. I was too tired to have sleepless nights…
But then, just as quickly as those busy periods came they would go. A day off would turn into a week off, and then into then a month off, and then into a huge engulfing existential dread that I was USELESS and would surely never work again. So began the tossing and the turning, and the 80 hour unpaid working weeks scrabbling around the internet looking for a job, ANY JOB, which you might possibly be able to blag for yourself.
All of this was until that fateful day when I saw an advert for freelance work with Moving Waves.
I had experience of teaching workshops in schools before I started working with Moving Waves, but the hassle of approaching schools to secure bookings had started to take up far too much of my time and was stopping me from doing the things I love. Coming to work for Moving Waves was great because the tedious administrative legwork is done by a fantastic team of SOMEBODY WHO ISN’T YOU! You get to focus on the good stuff - working with enthusiastic learners of all ages, and being able to share skills in a creative field you love.
When I was running my own workshops, I would spend so much of our time simply trying to speak to the right people and prove myself. Working with Moving Waves means that now I arrive at schools and they already know what to expect. Moving Waves’ excellent reputation in London means that you are welcomed into schools and are home with open arms, and don’t have to spend hours each week re-jazzing-up your CV to make it more appealing to primary school headteachers.
Now, freelancing is great and all that, but I was for a longtime finding myself lacking in professional development. One of the best thing about working with Moving Waves is that you are working amongst a community of freelancers, and there are always many opportunities to learn from one and other. We have regular opportunities to share skills with one and other, something which I was never able to do when working alone or in a small team. There are also regular work outings wether that be drinks, for our monthly staff yoga sessions, or to see each other work. I feel supported and valued as part of a team of equals, and I can’t overstate how important that has been for my professional development both inside and outside of teaching.
But the best thing about working with Moving Waves is the flexibility. It has given me the chance to earn money in a number of different ways, as and when I need it. For people looking for regular work, you can take on term-long classes in schools or care homes. For people looking for more ad-hoc work, there is always cover or one-off party or corporate events looking for people with all kinds of skillsets. Being part of the Moving Waves team means my inbox is always full of offers for work, and I have finally been able to shake the existential dread that I might never work again. The work comes to me now, leaving me more time to do the things which are most important to me.
So, if you’re a creative freelancer looking for more stable and regular work in London, then why not join us at Moving Waves? I’ll see you at staff yoga (I will be the one who has a hole in his lycra and also cannot do any of the yoga poses).