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Portrait of a Freelancer: Thoma Daneau

<p><strong>Portrait of a freelancer - </strong>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><a href=""><img alt="thoma_momenteo" class="aligncenter size-full" src="" /></a></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Who are you?</strong><br> My name is Thoma, I’m 29 and I currently live in Montreal, Canada! I’m a digital marketing strategist with a wide toolset, including social media&nbsp;strategy, media planning and SEO. Consulting is now the core of my offer, but I also get my hands dirty if the client needs it. I usually prefer to be more of a coach; the client is more than often the best person to do marketing for its company.</p> <p><strong>How did you get into freelancing?</strong><br> I lost two jobs in a row: the first one when the ad agency I was working for lost a big client, the second one in a startup that never actually launched (even now, 1 year after). The context was good to try this freelancing thing so many people were talking about. The network I developed over the years was getting pretty huge, it was the time to cash in on all the personal branding and PR efforts.</p> <p><strong>What is the hardest part about freelancing?</strong><br> Not getting lost. You need to do business development and find good clients. When you work for a company, your to-do list is usually full and you don’t have to worry about anything but your core skills. Then, there is the accounting part, which is a new world for most people. Luckily enough, my bachelor’s degree curriculum had some accounting in it, so it wasn’t that bad. And last but not least, you need to be paid. It is stressful, most of the time you have very little leverage as a freelancer.</p> <p><strong>Tell us about your daily routine.</strong><br> I drop my kid at the kindergarten. This is core to my schedule, he needs to be dropped at 8am and picked up at&nbsp;5pm. That leaves me a very small window compared to a childless freelancer. As soon as he falls asleep, I resume my work schedule. If you were wondering, yes, it’s actually hard to spend some time with the girlfriend.</p> <p><strong>Do you have any freelancing horror story?</strong><br> I’m happy to say no. I have one client with a retainer which secures a part of my revenue, making it less stressful and this is helping me when I get small horror story with other clients.</p> <p><strong>Where do you habitually work?</strong><br> I like to work in cafés, but the commuting is time consuming. Working in my clients’ offices is probably my favorite. There was a time when I wanted to create my own coworking place near my residence. It’s actually more expensive than you would expect.</p> <p><strong>How many projects do you handle concurrently?</strong><br> From 1 to 10. I mostly do one time project with my clients, so I’m really happy not to talk to too many clients at once. I would go crazy.</p> <p><strong>What is your favorite aspect of the freelancing life?</strong><br> Getting paid for your actual work while making a name for yourself. I don’t care anymore about winning a prize for an agency that won’t be my employer in a year. It’s about working on and leveraging your reputation.</p> <p><strong>What are the online tools that you couldn’t live without?</strong><br> Does Facebook count? I need my social media fix to be able to socialize with other persons. One of the downside of freelancing is solitude. Social medias get me through the day. Also, almost everything in the Google Suite (docs, calendar, mail, spreadsheets). I like anything that is hosted in the cloud, I need to be able to work from my phone or computer, in a lot of different contexts.</p> <p><strong>How did you get your first client?</strong><br> Reference. I got my first client call 2 hours after announcing my freelancing. 4 hours after I was meeting him. 6 hours after I was already working for him. It was a good start. It took me 5 years to build a personal brand and 6 hours to find my first client.</p> <p><strong>Last thing, what would you recommend to aspiring freelancers?</strong><br> Learn to say no. If you do work you don’t like and you fuck things up, your reputation will take a hit. Say no when you know you won’t like it. Also, learn to manage your money. Just know that you could go 2 months without getting paid.</p>

I like building cool products and marketing them.

Philip Barclay CMO@Momenteo