It's been another fulfilling, fun, and productive week at Grey Fox:
1. Making the most of #WFH
Next week I'm really excited to be working with a new client, which will see me working on-site for at least a few days per week, for a few months.
So this week I've been making the most of some time working from home. It's a big perk of being a freelancer, and / but there are some reflections I'd give anyone looking to enter this way of life:
- the house has never been as clean (disclaimer: my wife might not necessarily agree with this)
- the dog has never had as many daytime walks
- I've discovered a whole range of exciting ingredient combinations for toasted sandwiches at lunchtime (seriously: peanut butter + salami + emmental cheese = WIN).
But more importantly:
- It's fantastic when most of your client work is content-creation. I've been delivering content for two clients this week from home, and the quiet, uninterrupted time really helps you focus, and re-check your assumptions.
- You're never alone with LinkedIn, Twitter or Slack. I've started up and had some of my most fulfilling online conversations with colleagues and new contacts ever this week; and have helped a partner to deliver a pretty detailed project, entirely via Slack conversations and uploads.
- That said; the lack of actual human contact does need to be punctuated occasionally; so it's always worth putting at least a few informal catch-ups with people over coffee during the week. It's important to meet people, understand their issues, and to give you a human context about your and their work. I love social media (mostly), but there's no substitute to actually meeting and speaking with people (or "comms 1.0" if you will).
2. Former Colleagues, New Contacts and New opportunities.
And via old communications channels and new, it's been a fantastic week for meeting up with former colleagues, and new contacts to talk about some really interesting (and intriguing) creative opportunities.
I've met up and spoken with some former colleagues this last week to talk about Grey Fox and my new venture. It's been great that our creative connections appear to still be as acute as they were when we worked together as in-house colleagues - and it's been brilliant to talk about the future, and some very interesting new projects and opportunities to work together
3. Blog post of the week
There have been tons of great blog posts by the UK comms community this week.
But for me the pick of the lot is 10 years awake as a poacher turned gamekeeper by Daniel Cattanach of Bath & North East Somerset Council.
In this really affectionate post, Daniel describes the ups and downs, the pros and cons, and the unexpected pleasures of swapping local journalism, for working as an in-house PR Manager for a local authority.
It's an entertaining and touching piece. And if only for it managing to contain references to unexploded bombs, Kim Wilde and fly-tipping all in the same post; it's a very worthy winner this week.
P.S. - yes I did also have a blog post on comms2.0 this week: but I prefer Daniel's...
4. Podcast of the week
Sorry 99.9% of the podcasts in the world, but there really is no competition this week.
The Talking Comms Podcast hosted by Adrian Stirrup, and ably assisted by Darren Caveney is becoming the go-to piece of audio for comms people in the public and third sector - and there's a new one this week.
Taking in internal comms, diversity in comms, and a new tool for helping government communicators to engage more effectively (with a small detour into Nordic Noir - seriously, what's not to love?), this week's episode is brilliant. And, in case you're wondering if there's an ulterior motive to me gushing about this awesome podcast: no there isn't. It's genuinely brilliantly put together and packed with great insight - and Adrian is a great host.
But. Ok, fine, yes, I am in this episode too.
I was really pleased to be asked to appear on this latest episode to talk about setting up Grey Fox - and to provide a bit of insight (for what it's worth) into being a freelancer. Adrian and I chatted at Commscamp a few weeks ago back in Birmingham.
It's a great listen, even if you skip the bit between 17 and 23 minutes.
What are you waiting for comms people? Subscribe immediately...
5. Speaking of podcasts...
Next week I'll be very pleased and (a little bit) proud to release my own podcast to the world.
Called "How to go freelance: A guide for the terrified", Episode One features interviews with some of my favourite people in the comms industry; giving their insight into their experiences of making the leap into freelancing from in-house.
I'll be publishing it far and wide (and on your favourite podcast apps) from Monday 30th July.
But if you've read this far, I feel you should have the opportunity for an exclusive listen via Soundcloud.