Life after Grad: Freelance Career in Digital Marketing

I will be honest with you.  This time last year, I didn’t know where I wanted to take my life nor my career.  It’s not a fun place to be for anyone.  If this is where you are in your life right now, you know it can be uncomfortable, full of anguish and stress.  Yet now, I’m here to tell you about how and why I’m pursuing a freelance career in digital marketing.  Let me take you through my journey.

After five years working in the oil and gas industry as an engineer in Canada, my husband got the opportunity of a lifetime to live and work in Paris, France.  I happily left my career and started living a carefree existence learning French, meeting new people, and trying new jobs.  Throughout this time, I started a personal blog to document our travels and life as expats.  Little did I know, this hobby would set me on the path to a new career.

Then, when my husband got an offer to move to Aberdeen, I immediately thought: what’s next for me?

I looked at our new life in Scotland as one full of opportunity and the chance to make a career change.  At the time, I reflected back on what I love doing and where I love spending my time.  The answer was my blog and social media.  I leaned into that curiosity and chased it.  I started to think about how I could take a hobby and turn it into something more.  Ultimately, I wanted to blend my technical skills and my creativity into a new career.  A career I could take anywhere we moved in the future.  After reading about all the career opportunities and potential for growth, digital marketing was the answer.

Life after Grad

But I had one concern: I didn’t feel confident applying for jobs or trying to get clients with no education or experience.  I looked into pursuing higher education in Aberdeen and the MSc in Digital Marketing at Robert Gordon University was the only programme I applied to.  For me, it was the obvious choice.  I was attracted by the modern facilities, the programme structure, the emphasis on practical experience with real clients and the high employment rate upon graduation.

Since starting the programme in September, I’ve been thinking a lot about my next step.  After all, it’s never too early to start thinking about life after graduation.  The job alerts on my LinkedIn remind me every day that the skills I’m learning are in high demand.  The opportunities are endless.  Past students have gone on to work in agencies.  Others have gone to work in-house in the marketing departments of large companies.  But I want to take a different path.  I want to take the entrepreneurial route and start freelancing.  It’s a scary thought for me because I’ve never done anything like it before.  But the resources and support I’ve tapped into at both Robert Gordon University and in Aberdeen have fuelled me with the confidence and motivation to pursue a freelance career in digital marketing.

Why I Want to Start a Freelance Career in Digital Marketing

I’m happy to leave the nine to five behind me.  Being a freelancer will allow me to make my own schedule and work on projects for clients I find engaging.  I’m nomadic and in a few years, we’ll move again to another country.  Being a freelancer will enable me to keep continuity in my career and keep serving clients no matter where I am.  I’ve been so inspired by stories of entrepreneurship and I want to be in the club too!  Being a freelancer is the first step in building a business and learning the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.

Furthermore, digital marketing provides so much flexibility in working remotely.  And with all the modern technology in communications, you don’t need to be in the same city or even the same country as your clients.  So about eight months ago when I was reflecting on where I wanted to take my career and how I could create a portable business, freelancing in the digital marketing industry was the way I could do it.

freelance career in digital marketing

How I’ve Started on this Path

The MSc Digital Marketing programme has given me a boost in starting my journey into a freelance career in digital marketing.  In addition to the confidence and skills I obtained just after one semester, it has opened up other opportunities through exposure, networking and resources.

First, sharing my enrolment on the MSc programme with my connections online, led me to my first freelance job with a podcaster.  I juggle a few hours of work a week managing their Facebook page, editing show notes and creating content.  All the while continuing my coursework.  I’ve accelerated my learning by applying what I learn in class immediately into the real world.

Secondly, to complete the MSc, I’ve chosen the digital marketing consultancy project option for Semester 3.  This experience will mimic the kind of work I want to do after graduation.  Plus, it will give me another testimonial from a real client.  Furthermore, the contact with this company will expand my network of potential future clients.

Lastly, I’ve taken advantage of the resources RGU and the Scottish Government have available for entrepreneurs and businesses.  So if entrepreneurship is your calling too, here are just some of the resources and events available in Aberdeen.

Helpful Resources to Launch your Business

  • On-campus: RGU organised a three-day series of events focused on entrepreneurship.  I went to the Inspiring Entrepreneurship Speakers Event on the first night.  The CRIB is RGU’s business incubator where like-minded students can get together and work on their entrepreneurial aspirations.
  • North East Business Week is an annual event organised by different partners in the Aberdeen area.  Their aim is to help create an enterprising and prosperous future.  The event will take place in April and you may have guessed that I will be there to network and learn from others.
  • The Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) is the national organisation for promoting and supporting enterprise and entrepreneurship in Scotland’s universities.  There is a local ambassador at RGU that regularly hosts and promotes events like the “Ideation Workshop.”
  • Business Gateway provides access to free business resources, workshops, business advisors and networking events.  So far I’ve been to the Start-up Awareness workshop where I learned the steps to create a business plan and set myself up as a sole trader in the UK.  Also, I’m already booked in for four more workshops.
  • Elevator UK has its headquarters in Aberdeen and is the UK’s first centre for Entrepreneurship.  In addition to modern business facilities, they also run the Accelerator Programme to support ambitious entrepreneurs, teaching entrepreneurial disciplines and best practices for business growth.  They also hold competitions like ‘Pitch It’ and have awards to recognise the best in small businesses.

To Graduation and Beyond

Even though a year ago I had no idea where I wanted to take my career, I can confidently say that my experience in the MSc Digital Marketing programme has opened up the doors of opportunity.  And I’m thankful to live in Aberdeen to take advantage of the additional support.  So this is just the start of my journey toward a freelance career in digital marketing.  With these invaluable resources and the skills I’m learning in class, I know that my life after graduation will be rewarding, fulfilling and exciting.

Have you ever thought of starting a business?  Comment below with your ideas!  We’d love to hear them. 

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