Sarah Browning is a freelance internal communications specialist, and she loves to write! She shares her story of independent working here, at KindredHQ.
Best of all worlds
It’s only been two years since I set up my internal communications firm, but I’ve learned more than I could have ever dreamed possible. From the mundane; to the vitally important, from the fascinating to the ‘I’d rather not, thanks’, everything I’ve learned has added to the fun and rightness (for me) of the way I work now. I’ve always had a sneaky feeling that it’s OK to do things your own way, and live the life you really want to live: the freedom I have now reinforces that belief many times over.
One of the most intriguing things I’m learning is how I fit into different worlds at the same time.
My biggest fear about going freelance was that I would no longer be part of a team, something which I love and draw energy from. In reality, now I’m part of lots of teams; a team with my clients’ employees, a team with other consultants who I meet to compare notes with from time to time, a team of people running other small businesses in my local area who face similar business channels, a team of like-minded people at KindredHQ who are also living the dream and changing the world… I could go on, but I think you get my point. Of course, you could easily replace ‘team’ with ‘network’ but for me ‘team’ is a warmer, friendlier, and a better fit for the way I work and the person I am.
But what if two of my teams clash? To be honest, I haven’t faced a direct conflict, maybe that’s because of the teams I choose or the way I interact with them — though I have sometimes noticed the need for balancing.
I get messages from the internal communications profession, they’re striving to be taken seriously in the business world, contributing to strategy, and the bottom line, seeming to fit in with the often traditional world of our clients. I believe that understanding my clients’ world is central to my success as a consultant and I must match my expertise and their tradition. At the same time, my team of like-minded free spirits are forging ahead with ways of living and working that are the very opposite of tradition. Every time I read a KindredHQ newsletter, or have coffee with a friend who has multiple strings to her working bow, and goes to yoga class in the middle of the day, I get a surge of recognition and enthusiasm for our working lives.
In actual fact, of course both viewpoints are equally valid and it’s all about finding the right balance for the life I want to live. These days, that’s a choice I get to make every day.