What I learned from being interviewed by Steve Folland on ‘Being Freelance’

The other day I was interviewed by Steve Folland for his podcast “Being Freelance“, which is basically about being, well, freelance. During half an hour we spoke about how I started off my freelance career, what I’ve learned along the way, what it has been like living and working from different countries, and what I would tell my younger self about freelancing. Now when the podcast is live, I realize just how interesting it is listening to yourself talk about yourself. It’s kind of like a mini-media-training session.

I’ve been doing some media training with clients lately, filming them pitching different things and then having them look at their own presentations and analyzing themselves. Giving them tips on what to improve and think about. But this is the first time I really do it with myself. And it’s kind of what I’ve been writing earlier about doing public speaking, that it can actually be quite the challenge concretizing what you actually want to get across to people when you speak. But it’s also super useful!

>> Listen to the podcast here!

Preparing for an interview

As for all public interviews, it is good to think about what it is you are hoping to get out of an interview. What do you want the audience or interviewer to remember after they’ve listened to you speak? Usually a good thing is to stick to three to five things as key subjects that you want to address; and tell stories around those key subjects. That way, it is easy for a listener to follow the story, and also for you to have a clear view of what you should answer to different questions.

For this specific interview though, I decided not to plan ahead too much (other than the two truths and one lie I tell in the end) and just see where the conversation went. And that’s probably what makes it even more interesting for me to listen to now.

Analyzing myself speaking

Lesson 1: Talk not only about the story but also the result

It’s interesting hearing myself speak about how I got started being freelance. What I say is true, it was a coincidence that the street musician project me and my friend were doing on YouTube was picked up by the town of Mariefred in Sweden who contacted us and asked for our help to arrange a national championship for street musicians back in 2010. What I forgot to point out in this story is that the event turned out to be a great success and the second year running we had over 15 000 visitors coming to listen to 60 street musicians from all around the country. And also that the event is still being arranged annually in the town.

Lesson 2: Don’t undermine your expertise

Going back to 2010 when I started working with social media, I say that “no one was an expert” at the area. What I really meant is that no one was more of an expert than I was, because the area was so new. That’s also why I managed to compete with agencies and more experienced freelancers when approaching new clients. Of course, it required a lot of hard work from my side to learn best practices of different social channels, and also studying how other successful accounts were planing their social media presence to reach great results.

Lesson 3: Think about the key advice you want someone to take with them from the interview

What I emphasize in the podcast is the importance of not being too available. And the reason for me saying that is that it is important not to stress yourself out too much. And how important it is not to burn yourself out. When you are a freelancer, it is so important to plan in a way so that your working day is balanced. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned during the past 7 years doing this is how important it is to say no. Say no to gigs that you don’t feel you have the time to take on, or when you have a client or company approaching you where your gut is telling you to say no.

Lesson 4: Summarize your leanings

It’s not just about opportunities happening, but about seizing those opportunities. When you put yourself out there; be it through a street music project, through starting your own web shop selling selfie sticks, being a guest on a podcast or sending an email to a company about an idea you have. Things don’t just happen out of the blue. They happen because you are making yourself visible. For me, I worked a lot on building my own presence through a blog and Twitter when I started out. And I reached out to companies with ideas about what I could do for them on Twitter and Facebook. Seizing the opportunity by staying on top of the latest social media trends. The same way that someone today could choose to position themselves as an expert in influencer marketing or maybe Snapchat campaigns. Because those are areas that the right kind of people, with the right kind of interest, would probably learn to excel at quicker, and maybe even better, than an established agency.

How to host a podcast like a pro

The first thing my husband said this morning after we’d finished listening to the full podcast was; “You were great, but man, that Steve Folland was an amazing host!”

I love how Steve has found his energetic tone of voice and sticks to it in all of his podcasts. The reason I sound so happy being interviewed myself is because Steve sounds so happy and interested in everything I have to say. It’s also great how tentative he is to the people he interviews; remembering details of what they say and returning to interesting facts to dig deeper. Making sure the story follows a red line.

Just having started my own podcast this January for Svenska Nomader – I feel I’ve gotten a lot of great tips on how to keep on developing myself as a better podcast host.

Thank you Steve for letting me be part of your Being Freelance-podcast!

Emelie Fågelstedt

Independent communications strategist supporting organizations with their digital business and communications strategy since 2010. Founder of digital agency Fågelstedt Kommunikation and co-founder of Svenska Nomader, Sweden's largest platform for digital nomads. Public speaker on tech, social media, e-commerce and the future of work.

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