Adam Smith 3

It’s IPSE’s National Freelancers Day tomorrow, so what more appropriate way to celebrate, than to share our advice-packed interview with IPSE Freelancer of the Year finalist, Adam Smith, of HSQ productions.

In the run-up to the general election, the treatment of gig-economy workers has been at the forefront of national headlines; after all, the self-employed did contribute £119bn to the economy last year. That’s enough to fund the NHS twice over.

As a result, IPSE have published their General Election manifesto, laying out how the next government can best support the self-employed, including the introduction of a statutory definition for ‘self-employment’, as pledged by the Labour party.

As a proud accountancy provider, and advocate for the self-employed, we’re sharing the life experience of IPSE ‘Aspire’ finalist, and limited company freelancer, Adam Smith. He manages HSQ Productions, a ‘done in a day’ video production and photography company, based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

He’s a southerner, turned Mancunian freelancer, and for years now, he’s been chasing the moment to take the perfect shot of the sunset. Here’s his story:

Hitting a niche is key, how do you separate yourself from other video production and photography companies?

My niche is in ‘Done in a Day’. I guarantee to shoot, edit and deliver business video production and photography inside 24 hours. Preliminary research suggested that no-one at the time was actively marketing same day video and photography.

As my background is in broadcasting, I would plan, shoot, interview, script, record voice overs, and edit; all within the same day, inside 8 hours or so. I’ve modified this process to make it commercially friendly, and since establishing HSQ, it has been a hit with clients.

Why did you choose to chase the freelance dream, rather than joining an agency?

This way, no two projects are the same, I enjoy the variety of projects. Recently I was shooting film in Leeds and then a couple of days later, I was at Balmoral Castle on a photography shoot with 20 Scottish pipers.

What sort of financial advice would you give to a self-employed professional, just starting out?

Be money smart. Plan how and when you are going to spend your money, and don’t blow it all at once because you never know when the next client will come in.

If you decide to take on start-up finance, make sure you have a solid business plan and that you reach your sales targets. I only bought my camera after I had 5 clients because I needed to see what the demand was like for my service offering.

How do you stay motivated when business is low?

I make lots of phone calls -up to 50 a week-, I attend many networking events, write loads of blogs and chase up leads. This keeps me calm as I work towards the next sale.

Alongside this, the market research I do when making calls is useful because it helps me further my understanding of the market place, and discover what prospects want

You’re an IPSE Aspire Award finalist, that’s quite the honour! How does that make you feel?

I’m overjoyed.

It’s fantastic that I have been chosen in the ‘Aspire’ category to be representing the Manchester freelance community at the IPSE awards. When I found out that I had been shortlisted, I called round everyone to thank them for helping me get this far.

The IPSE awards, now in their ninth year, judge each applicant on the strength of their portfolio, their passion and commitment to freelancing, business acumen, and the distinctiveness of their service offering.

The Freelancer of the Year winner will be crowned later tomorrow, at the invitation only ceremony in London, hosted by Comedian, Ellie Taylor.

We wish Adam the best of luck, and you can see a portfolio of his professional work on his website, or follow him on Twitter, @HSQProductions.

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