The flexibility a freelance career offers can be somewhat of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can choose your own clients and be selective about who you work with. But on the other, that same freedom comes with the challenge of fostering (and retaining) those client relationships. And working with the right clients is crucial for Francesca Michaud.
Francesca moonlights as a freelancer across the full stack of growth and paid marketing, living the diginomad life and travelling all over Europe. After working for industry leaders like Google and IPG Mediabrands, she quickly realised the corporate world was not for her.
“I hated my life, but I knew it was an important stepping stone in order for me to learn even more and get more responsibility early on in my career.” But when COVID hit, she had the opportunity to take some time off and plan her next move.
Disillusioned from her experience working in corporate, Francesca explains that freelancing looked more and more like the right option — but it wasn’t happening as quickly as she’d hoped. “I have been twirling around the idea of doing my own thing for four years now. It was always the plan, and I would have done it eventually, but not as fast and not as confidently. Passionfruit was an incredible game changer when it came to taking that leap.”
Francesca explains that she was hesitant to jump into freelancing after being burned from the corporate world, and feeling undervalued by her managers. “I was like, ‘this sounds too good to be true’. Imagine someone coming through saying, ‘Hey, we will find the contacts for you, very high quality ones, and all you have to do is be yourself’”. And for her, compatibility with clients is an absolute must.
“There was a time I’d be very affected by my relationship with clients,” she recalls. “There were a couple of clients that made me really question my abilities. If people are strict, controlling my time and how I do things just because they don’t have faith or trust in me, it makes no sense to put me in that team. So it's just not a good match. But if I'm with someone who is happy to delegate and has faith in my expertise and knows that the more you give me the freedom, the more I will want to do things for you, then that's usually the clients I work with the best.”
Luckily, today Francesca is working with a team that trusts her expertise and sees her as a value add, rather than just a contractor. “They appreciate what I bring to the table. I provide value, they see that and recognise it. And so it's beautiful. It's [a relationship] based on trust. That's what I needed to really start building my confidence.”
That kind of acknowledgement — and the newfound confidence that comes with — had been missing in her career, but she found it thanks to Passionfruit. “I like explaining things. I like to teach things. I just want to know that I will be able to help them. Passionfruit was a huge accelerator in the process of me becoming my own person. It has helped me take the leap from being just an employee to realising the potential that I actually have. It's opened my eyes to how much my time is worth, and that the perfect client does exist.”