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Portrait of a Freelancer: Catherine Bernier

<div class="blog-headline"> <p>Meet inspiring people who chose to make a living out of independent work. Through a very human perspective, discover their story, and the uniqueness of their lifestyle &amp; challenges.</p> </div> <p><img alt="catherine" class="aligncenter size-full" src="" /> <p><b>Who are you? </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">&nbsp;</span><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m Catherine Bernier, 26, and I currently work as a Content Marketing Strategist from cold but lovely Quebec City (Canada). I have been a full time freelancer for a few months already, mixing my business and creative skills on a daily basis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My goal is to develop content for human-centric products with big potential for positive impact. Enjoying the chaos and effervescence, I mostly work with startups and young businesses. My toolset includes copywriting, project management, creative direction and business development. </span></p> <p><b>How did you get into freelancing?</b><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">I graduated from a Master’s Degree in organisational counselling 2 years ago.</span></p> <p>I took my first steps in the professional world as a government employee. It lasted a year, and it actually was very insightful. Through the boredom, I learned many things about myself, most of them revolving around my inability to cope with the lack of vision. My creative heart felt repressed, and while the pay was good, I was craving for bigger challenges and more freedom.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I then joined a small company in a very early stage. After working with them for a couple months, I realized that the management style wasn’t aligned with my personal values. I had to rethink about what I wanted exactly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Going to Salvador for a surf retreat has been eye-opening. Once you taste freedom, it’s really hard to go back to the 9 to 5 routine. Surfing and freelancing have a lot in common. The first learnings are painful, you often feel like quitting and it gets really rewarding when you start to get it. This might sound a bit kitsch, but you have to trust yourself going headfirst in something that is much bigger than you.</span></p> <p>A couple months in, I don’t regret anything. let’s just say I’m glad I took a leap of faith early. The challenges are intense, but you get to learn a lot, and your impact is never diluted. The toolset you need to develop to make a living out of your craft is very wide, but it feels really good to overcome resistance.</p> <p><b>What is the hardest part about freelancing? </b><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Finding work isn’t actually that hard. Finding proper work that pays decently is much harder. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I get a lot of opportunities to join super interesting projects, but I do have to filter. The downside of my skillset is that its impact can only be assessed in the long term, so I have to be emotionally involved to start working with a team. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most of the projects I get into aren’t financially viable from the start. I have to work hard to turn ideas into production project that then generate money. There is a lot of risks involved with startup projects, but most of the time, it’s really motivating. I’m still iterating on the formula, but so far, billing my work on a daily basis isn’t really working.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Getting paid to get great ideas would be very nice, but as most people are now aware, having a great idea and turning it into reality are two very different challenges.</span></p> <p><b>Tell us about your daily routine.</b><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Routine? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’d call it structure. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every day is very different, apart from my morning yoga. My online calendar is colorfully filled with brainstorms, follow-ups, team meetings, R&amp;D/Inspiration, management and writing. I pick my location according to what I have to do. Part of the joy of being a freelancer is picking a workplace according to your vibe.</span></p> <p><b>Do you have any freelancing horror story?</b><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">There was that time when I was offered a revenue share opportunity as a business developer for a video company. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Note: The rev share was the only revenue. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I was responsible for the cashflow, and my salary was directly dependant on it. I started building meaningful relationships with clients during the winter, which is a very slow season for that kind of company. Even though I signed some contracts with partners, the videos were only delivered during summer.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Long story made short, I didn’t have any salary for 3 months, which made me very anxious on a daily basis.</span></p> <p><b>Where do you habitually work from?</b><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From home most of the time. In underwear when possible. Most of my tasks require way too much space to be handled in public. My sharpies, drawing boards, notepads, invoices and loud music would probably get me kicked out of most places. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">For team meetings, I like cafés in St-Roch. <a href="">Nektar</a> and <a href="">Maelstrom</a> are two of my crushes; good coffee, great vibe. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I feel lonely, I go to <a href="">Spektrum</a>’s coworking space, where I get to bounce ideas with other freelancers and entrepreneurs in a really inspiring setup. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Surround yourself with people who understand your lifestyle, it helps greatly with the morale!</span></p> <p><b>How many projects do you handle concurrently?</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Too many.</span></p> <p><b>What is your favorite aspect of the freelancing life? </b><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Picking my projects. So many projects with high potential are emerging from creative communities these days. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">I can also choose those who offer maximum flexibility, allowing me to travel around the world whenever I feel the urge to. The freedom to travel is a great privilege. I can also do a part of my work from remote places.</span></p> <p><b>What are the online tools that you couldn’t live without? </b><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Google Calendar is my go-to tool. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also, as you could have guessed, accounting ain’t my cup of tea. In search of a streamlined tool that I could rely on, I discovered that some very courageous freelancers took on the task of making this very boring chore enjoyable. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Momenteo is now core to my daily routine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also, I really love Trello to structure my priorities</span></p> <p><b>How did you get your first client?</b><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">I went to a “Creative Morning” event to develop new business relationships. After the conference, I tried to break the ice with as many new faces as possible. There was an entrepreneur who was sitting next to me. We discussed about his business problematics, and he enjoyed the solutions I brought to the table. We exchanged our contact information.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">He called me the next day, we started our first project together shortly after.</span></p> <p><b>Last thing, what would you recommend to aspiring freelancers? </b><br> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Invest time on your person and skillset, and work for who/what you believe in. Freelancing is hard at first, it’s a life that has no safety net. It can get very stressful. There will be happy moments, and hard moments, but more importantly, you will learn a lot about yourself and professional value. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Working on something meaningful is much more rewarding than just working. Good luck!</span></p>

I like building cool products and marketing them.

Philip Barclay CMO@Momenteo