Kayla Spelling is a visual storyteller who freelanced in the US for 2 years and then moved to Belgium for love. After the move, she had to decide again between the security of a full-time job or taking the risk of going freelance in a new country. It all came down to freedom. The freedom of making her own schedule, working with who she wants to. The freedom to create and tell visual stories.
Under her brand Mindjunk Creative, she operates as a freelance digital agency, focussing on web design, social media management and video production. She is still working with some of her American clients while trying to tap into the European and specifically Belgian market. The marketing world in Belgium is different from America. So first on the agenda is researching the differing marketing styles and different priorities. Another big difference between working in the US and Europe is the timelines. In America, everything is being done very fast, both in the workforce and the freelance world. But here, timelines are more relaxed and companies are structured differently.
Getting started as a freelancer
Kayla didn’t know how to start a business in Belgium, so she’s working with Digicount. They’ve answered all her questions and are helping her streamline her process. Mainly taxes are a challenge to understand: different percentages, other kinds of write-offs, and the whole thing about VAT, … Digicount has been her saving grace.
If you are thinking about getting started as a freelancer, Kayla’s main piece of advice is to be patient and kind with yourself. Going all in as a freelancer comes with a lot of responsibilities and a lot of pressure. And since you are your own boss and have to take care of everything, all of that is on you. So be kind and patient with yourself throughout the process.
And remember, you don’t have to know and do everything all at once. When getting started, ask for help setting up your foundation. Take the time to think about how you are going to promote yourself. Who are you and how are you going to communicate that? Take your time and remember that it always comes down to connection. When you have your foundation, then you can move on to your website and social media, and then set-up your office and workflows. As you learn and grow, you can take the training wheels off. And don’t let all of that stuff dampen your creativity or your drive.
Kayla’s time management tips
When it comes to time management, Kayla always starts her day by meditating, even if it’s no more than 10 minutes. It’s a short time to sit with herself, to get grounded. Before you get into your to-do lists and all the emails and tasks that await you, take some time to centre yourself. A big advantage and disadvantage of being a freelancer is that you are not on a clock. You can work when it suits you, but if you have a lot to do, you might risk overworking. Kayla solves this by setting an end-time for herself. At 6 p.m., she stops working on her computer. She might have a meeting in the evening with her American clients or have to jump on a call, but she will not do any of her focus work after 6 p.m. And she doesn’t work on the weekends either.
How will Mindjunk Creative evolve in the coming months?
Kayla only got started in June of this year in Belgium. So she’s currently finishing up the foundation of her Belgium-based business. Next year, the goal is to network more. To start to tap into the European market and get integrated more. As her business (web design and marketing) is constantly changing, she’ll also focus on staying up-to-date and getting the right certifications.
And just this week, she’s launched a new podcast: Creative Junk Podcast. Over the years, Kayla has gotten to work with so many incredible clients. Each with their unique and cool jobs, their passions and their stories. They have really inspired her by pursuing their own thing. And in each episode, she will focus on one of those clients that have inspired her.
A last bit of advice from Kayla
Just go for it! Even if you don’t feel like you are fully qualified or you don’t feel fully compatible with the description. Because what’s the harm in asking? All you can do is ask and the worst they’ll say is no. Don’t stop yourself short. Kayla has gotten new clients just by asking, by sending a quick e-mail and by not limiting herself. As a freelancer, you are already taking a big chance. So take more chances. Remember why you are a freelancer. Kayla loves being creative. It is what fuels her. What fuels your passion? Let it fuel your passion.