I started freelancing in 2010 and it was such a big leap of faith, especially in the media and entertainment industry. The industry is unpredictable enough as it is, so to leave the stability of my full-time job as a researcher at a production company to essentially follow my dreams and put myself in the position of not knowing whether I was going to earn enough money to sustain me, was admittedly, very scary.
It has been 11 years of freelancing and looking back on every day, it was the best decision I could have made. I have been doing work that I am fulfilled and stimulated by and my finances have always worked out. It hasn’t always been raining money, but I have been financially disciplined enough (most of the time) to be able to live comfortably. Something I am very grateful for.
When I was much younger, I didn’t save at all. I learned some very expensive lessons and I promised myself that I wouldn’t end up there again. I think sometimes that I had to learn those lessons so that the importance of saving wouldn’t be lost on me. As a freelance radio and TV presenter, voice-over artist and MC, I have been able to buy a home, a car and support my family. This is not something everyone can do. I believe that I have been able to do this by diversifying what it is that I do.
In 2018, I started my company, Rozanne McKenzie Media. This was something else that was incredibly daunting to begin with, but what we have been able to achieve in the past three years, has surpassed my expectations entirely.
There have been a few financial lessons that I have found to be really helpful to me over the years as both a freelancer and business owner. Here are a few of them:
Surround yourself with people who are great at what they do and are just as passionate about working towards your goals as you are. I have an incredible agent who handles all my bookings and contract negotiations. She makes sure that I earn what I am worth and manages my career in a way that is focused on taking me forward.
When I started my business, I found the prospect of dealing with the money side of things quite scary. So it was so important for me to have an accountant who understands the industry and who is detail-orientated. She also makes the financials easy for me to understand, so I feel like I’m constantly learning and growing. It’s also really great to think that the people so instrumental to my financial wellness and growth are both women.
In my career and in my business, the most important lesson I have learnt is to diversify. Using a variety of skills has meant that when things are slow in one area, I can always focus on something else. So if, for example, a TV show I’m presenting ends unexpectedly, I have my voice-over and radio work to keep me busy. Or in my business, when there is not as much content being commissioned to produce, I can always do my media coaching. It’s a balancing act and I enjoy the variation and the challenge. All my eggs are never in one basket.
Uncertainty is part and parcel of the industry that I’m in. A job could end at any point and for some jobs, you have to wait up to 90 days before payment is made. Also, if work is not consistent, you need to have some money to tide you over until you are earning again. You have to plan financially for these things. It’s not always easy, but saving money is vital. When I have money that has come in unexpectedly, like a renewal fee on an ad, I try to put most of that money away. Or just small amounts that I can, when I can. It’s also best for me to just set up a stop order so that I don’t have to think about it. Saving doesn’t have to be intimidating or feel like an effort. I’m big on convenience and ease. An app like Franc makes it so easy. You can choose what your goal is and the app works out a strategy to get you there. Sounds like a plan to me.