The Most Important Thing In A Freelancer’s Day

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Jayce Tham co-founded CreativesAtWork, a freelancer agency, in 2012. For almost a decade, she helped freelancers find work and helped companies with creative media projects. Now, CreativesAtWork counts more than 1,500 freelancers in its network have that completed over 300 client projects. 

In this Q&A interview with PulseBlueprint, Jayce shared why she built her agency with freelancers, how she runs two businesses as a freelancer, and what she considers the most important things in a freelancer’s day.

What made you choose to build an agency with only freelancers?

I co-founded CreativesAtWork with my partner, Fanny. Fanny was a freelance producer for a couple of years after her company was closed down due to the bad economic condition. As she and her ex-colleagues are suddenly left jobless, they started to band together and Fanny started pitching for projects for herself and her group of ex-colleagues. The size of her freelancer pool grew and projects were caming in. In 2012, we met and Fanny was sharing with me her challenges. Being in the corporate world for more than a decade, I felt this is my calling. I will be able to use my many years of business development skillsets to help the group to grow and to plug a gap in the freelance market right now.  

Seeing the potential and the gap in the market, we started building and being the bridge between the freelancers and our clients. The size of our freelance pool continues to grow and our clients grew too.

With the evolving workforce demographics and the emerging of new economic trends, we believe businesses now have a huge, global pool of talent to choose from, allowing them to create a specialized, on-demand workforce that crosses borders, time zones and skill sets. We believe the trend of on-demand workforce and online collaborative workspaces is set to grow even larger and in turn, create more business opportunities. Such collaboration will help companies to address the industry’s pressing challenges around talent by providing access to vital and complementary skills.

You run two businesses – how do you split up your time?

I have always focused on CreativesAtWork since its inception in 2012. However, over the last 4 years or so, we have branched into many other areas but with the same objective and that is to build and professionalise the freelancing industry in Singapore and Asia. New areas we embarked on includes:

Training: We provide both online and offline training for our freelance community

Original content: We launched our first published book – The Business of Freelancing. We are working on a freelancer documentary “Not your average 9 to 5” featuring 3 Singaporean Freelancers. We run Asia’s first podcast on freelancing.

Digital initiatives: We launched several country wide initiatives including STOREYS and Thriving Singapore.

What’s your freelancer tech stack?

  • Google enterprise.
  • Adobe software.
  • Airtable.
  • And our proprietary project management system.

What’s your advice for freelancers having trouble getting clients?

Perseverance and patience. Start to build up a portfolio. Look for your own projects to work on or even help non-profit organizations with some of the works. The last thing you want to do is to do nothing.

What’s your advice for freelancers dealing with difficult clients?

Walk away. Freelancer time is very important. Your value is your time. You need to choose how to spend your time wisely. Be prepared to walk away from any deal that is proving just too difficult for you.

What’s your top growth tip for freelancers?

Levelling up is very important. A freelancer cannot be stagnant. Need to multi-skills and build up multi-revenue streams.

What’s your favorite quote?

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Where are you travelling to next (when it’s safe!)?

I love Asia. My next destination will probably be Japan or Bali.

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