In May last year I had the good fortune to be introduced to Jilly Cross and the wonderful group of technical wizards who make up the Bravand Collective; a group of people dotted around the globe who make projects happen in a way I have not witnessed before.
Jilly was on the hunt for someone who was ‘organised’ and ‘good with people’ and getting to grips with making Freelancer’s time more organised and cost effective – ultimately Studio Planning. Ruth who looks after the accounts side of things thought I may fit the description so introduced us.
After a couple of brief meetings with Jilly over Zoom we both decided we quite liked the sound of each other and that it would be a good idea to try things out. I furiously googled the top 20 technical terms and acronyms used in digital agencies, enrolled on a basic online web design course to immerse myself in the lingo and as this was the most exciting thing to happen to me after a gruelling couple of years in and out of lock-downs (shielding) I jumped in with both feet.
freelancers are no different.
My first day was a bit of a blur, Slack, Basecamp, Google Workspace, Zoom, Jira, Figma, Zeplin; all the things I knew nothing about but I was determined to absorb as much as my slightly creaky brain would take.
After a sleepless night, day two saw me trained on WordPress and using a CMS by the wonderfully patient and incredibly able Ashanee. It felt slightly terrifying but good to be involved in something completely new and to be allowed to observe, ask questions and make suggestions as an ‘outsider’ on how things worked and think of ways things could be improved.
So that’s what I did. I attended lots of meetings, was introduced to the wider team and given the freedom to ask questions about what processes were in place and to offer my thoughts. With a background mainly in HR, I have always been interested in how to get the best out of people and to make their experience of work a happy one. Freelancers are no different.
As a freelance newbie, I’ve realised freelance work involves:
- being organised and managing your own time;
- having self discipline; the ability to get on with tasks without supervision;
- solid communication skills;
- the ability to jump in and help the team when things simply can’t be planned for
- at times having a thick skin (to step back when you’re not needed);
- an overall understanding that you are a small part of something much bigger and ultimately whatever you contribute is for the good of the team, the client and the project.
I have been a freelancer with Bravand for just over seven months now and I can honestly say that I learn something new every week. There have been some minor frustrations brought about by the pitfalls of working remotely and across different time-zones. Sometimes communication is hindered as everyone has their preferred method of communication and it’s difficult when conversations happen and you’re not in the Zoom room. But, everyone is working hard to ensure there is real transparency and making proper use of the amazing tools we have at our fingertips.
I now look at websites with a far more critical eye and appreciate the talent that goes into making that website or product really exceptional. I have a better understanding of the importance of good UX and the time and patience it takes Project Managers, designers and development teams to make something really, really good.
So what’s next?
I look forward to being able to help Bravand streamline their processes as they grow and to make sure studio planning becomes second nature to me. I want to help make the experience of joining the Bravand collective a really positive one; to put into place a robust onboarding process; to find and welcome new talented freelancers who can bring their expertise and a fresh perspective. I want to help in making sure Project Managers have the resources they need and within budget and to give freelancers enough notice about work so they can organise their lives without a whole load of stress.
I realise I have so much more to learn but that’s exciting!
I am looking forward to helping out with some of the really fantastic projects Bravand have in the pipeline for 2022 and am happy to be part of something which is constantly evolving and striving to be better. And of course I feel very lucky to be working alongside some really clever people.
Please feel free to drop us a line as Bravand is always open to finding new talent and discussing new projects.