About Jenny Stallard, founder of Freelance Feels
'When I was a young journalist'.... sometimes when I talk about my career I do feel like a retiree telling a young new hopeful about 'the good old days'. But when I first went freelance in 2005, they really were. If you weren't at the launch of a new gin (free cocktails, a bottle to take home) then you were off on an all-expenses-paid press trip to a far-flung land on a business class flight. Magazines were exciting to me from the moment I saw one, and still are, if I'm honest. I have said several times 'over the years' that I would like to explore another career (I dabbled in teaching English as another language and stand up comedy), but journalism words always bring me back.
Words are what I do, and I love seeing my words in print. You see, when I started that - print - was the only place you could see them. I have scrapbooks full of cuttings from my first jobs on local newspapers, and pages torn from the likes of Woman, That's Life! and (perhaps my most favourite) NW, once New Woman, where I did work experience. I worked under the editorship of Jo Elvin, now editor of YOU magazine, another magazine I love to read. There's something about the glossy pages of a magazine. Waiting for the day the next issue comes out (or these days, for my RED subscription to land in my letterbox). But then came THE INTERNET and everything changed.
When I first went freelance, there was a thing called shifts and that's what I did. Magazines or newspapers would have freelancers come in when they were short staffed or someone was on holiday. I was that shifter - temping wordsmith for hire, if you will. I went from magazine to paper, one year I think I had a week off, 'shifting' for a day rate. When I could, I wrote for other publications, building up a portfolio while being able to rely on the camaraderie and regular pay day the shifts brought.
Shifts do still exist these days but they are much rarer. Now, when someone leaves a publication or goes on holiday, the rest of the team 'muck in'. So my income stream needed to change. Instead of weekly or fortnightly bookings, I sought out contracts. Most recently, three months at the Press Association, and before that, at BBCThree.
I've written for a lot of 'names' - Grazia, HuffPost, Glamour, Stylist, Red, Cosmo, Marie Claire - some that aren't around any more like Look and Reveal. And I hope to collaborate much more in the future with brands that fit with the Freelance Feels ethos. For me, being freelancer has always been something I've dabbled in. Now, in 2019, it's something I am committing to whole heartedly. If you've done the same, then welcome!