Ilse Himschoot is a freelance podcast producer and runs a production house with a colleague. She used to be a freelancer in online and digital marketing but decided to make the switch during Covid as a few of her clients fell away at that time. She saw a LinkedIn message about a postgraduate in podcasting and she made the jump. After a few months of training and an internship, she landed a role at a media company. About a year ago, she left that role and decided to go for it, freelance full-time. If you target the right (B2B) market, you can make a living in podcasting. Sometimes, timing is everything.
Make sure to know the basics
Ilse worked in social media and digital marketing as an employee. When that industry started booming in the early 2000s, she got a lot of questions from people to work with them as well and she decided to go freelance. She had enough clients to do it full-time from the get-go. But looking back now, it was kind of an impulsive decision. She didn’t know enough about the administrative side and made some mistakes in the first months by blindly trusting her accountant. Her accountant thought she knew more, and she thought her accountant would teach her. Ilse decided to switch to another accountant who works with her in a way that suits her better.
So Ilse’s advice is to get informed. You don’t need to do your administration yourself completely, you can outsource it. But make sure you know the basics of how it works and what your rights and obligations are, because in the end, you are responsible. Do you know anyone who is also a freelancer? Don’t be afraid to ask them! Ask them how they got started, what you definitely need to be aware of and if they have any advice. If you don’t know anyone personally, ask questions in networking groups like the Freelancers in Belgium. You can even do it anonymously. Luckily, the world has changed enough that people aren’t afraid to admit their mistakes to help others learn and improve.
Surround yourself with people who will guide and encourage you
Ilse’s advice is to network a lot. To not be afraid to hold up your hand, to ask for help and to talk to people. Tell your friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances about what you do. Share your excitement about what you do and let them know that you are looking for more work. Ask them if they know someone. It might feel a bit weird at first, but this will get you assignments. Because when you don’t talk about it, people might think you are busy enough and don’t have time for new work. So be transparent. Dare to be vulnerable. Let people know when you are open to work.
And besides networking, let yourself be guided in other areas as well. This could be marketing, tax, accounting, … But also mental well-being and entrepreneurship for example. Surround yourself well because not everyone can withstand the sometimes hostile corporate culture that you can experience as a freelancer in a larger company. We also often work alone. So surround yourself with the right people who will guide and encourage you. That can be other freelancers, coaches, mentors and more.
Tips on podcasts
Last year, Ilse made her first podcast from A to Z as a freelancer. It was a creative project that she really enjoyed, and it was also very rewarding. From positive media attention to being nominated for a Belgian Podcast Award. And she also shared some podcasting tips for freelancers.
A podcast can be a very good idea to sell yourself. If you do it correctly. And when doing so, you should start by thinking about your target audience and message. Who do you want to reach, and what do you want to tell them?
It’s also important to realise that a podcast will only yield results in the long term. It’s a very time-intensive medium and you won’t get many new clients or thousands of downloads within the first month.