#14: Tiffany Markman & the Business of Freelancing

After spending most of my career working in the corporate world, I took the plunge into freelancing a couple of years ago, and once I had, I wondered why I had waited so long to do so. The trouble is, however, that when you’re setting yourself up, there are minimal resources to help you along – especially within the South African context.

Tiffany Markman is a veteran freelancer. Having started, almost by accident, in 2005, she has had 15 years of experience, taking her freelance copywriting business from strength to strength. She is an absolute fountain of advice and freelancing wisdom.

Whether you’re new to freelancing, thinking about it as a career option, or have been around the block a couple times already, this conversation is a must for anyone in the freelancing space.


Show notes

Quote: “When you go freelance you become largely unretrenchable, and if you make sure that you don’t have too many big retainers but rather a number of retainers of different sizes, then it’s extremely hard to lose all your work overnight.”

Quote: [On niching vs. diversifying] “I believe the more specialised you are the more you can charge because there are less people doing what you do. But I’m also a big fan of diversifying; not in what I do but in who I offer it to.”

Quote: “That fear that you have, that you can’t take any time off because every hour should technically be billable so that you can buy yourself freedom later – that’s a complete fallacy. Any time you take off from work is an investment in your future work.”

Quote: [On retainers vs. adhoc work] “There’s absolutely no need to chase retainer work.”

Quote: “The only way to stand out is to do what you do differently. Your how needs to be different.”

Quote: [On “gig economy” freelance platforms] “If you’re a real freelancer, you’re not an Upwork or Fiverr freelancer.”

Quote: [On how to make it as a freelancer] “You need to be a shit hot small business owner… that’s what makes you survive.”

Resource: SAFREA (South African Freelancers Association)

Resource: Manage your money like a f*cking grown-up (Sam Beckbessinger)

About Tiffany Markman

Tiffany Markman spends 10 hours a day working with words. She is a writing trainer, corporate copywriter and public speaker who’s worked all over the world – coming face to face with messaging that ranges from the sublime to the absurd.  She’s been a happy, busy and highly opinionated freelancer for over 15 years. More importantly, she likes her coffee strong and black, her paragraphing short and tight, and her apostrophes in all the right places. 

You can find Tiffany on her website, Facebook (Tiffany Markman Copywriting & Training or Rockstar Freelancing for Real People), LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, or subscribe to her mailing list.

2 thoughts on “#14: Tiffany Markman & the Business of Freelancing

  1. Tiffany, I envy your business skills… and I wish I had your problem with big retainers! 😉 I have to agree with you on platforms like Upwork. What a scam that is. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. Keep on keeping on!

    Liked by 1 person

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