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The Kobestarr Digital Podcast

The Kobestarr Digital podcast features longform interview conversations with people who I have met since starting Kobestarr Digital as a Digital Marketing Agency. It's a business podcast with an ever so slight bias towards the world of Digital Marketing be it Inbound Marketing, Growth Hacking, Social Media Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing. I have a lot of really interesting girls and guys lined up from freelancers through to those at the pinnacle of large businesses who are ready to share their stories with you. If you know anyone who would be interesting to hear from please do let me know by sending an email to podcast@kobestarr.io. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes in anticipation of the first episodes dropping in 10th May and come and find me personally on the Twitter @Kobestarr that's K o b e s t a rr and The agency Kobestarr Digital can be found @kobestarrDigi. I just want to say thanks to GLPro and to Helen Zaltzman for helping me get the podcast up and running, to all my past present and future guests and to you guys for listening and telling your friends and subscribing on iTunes Ahem Subscribe! and tell your friends to subscribe! I look forward to hearing from you all! Bye! Kobi Omenaka
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Oct 20, 2016

Lydia Wakefield appreciates the uncertainty of youth when it comes to professional routes. Having been through the education system herself, and then started her career there in higher education institutes across the UK, she understands the demands on graduates, or people younger and older than that, on selecting their careers.

Today on the podcast, Lydia and I discuss her work with IPSE, the community support it offers to freelancers, as well as what contract-workers old and young can do to maintain their professional standards and expectations.


“I have a mixed background, but it’s all within education and training,” Lydia says. Previously she had lived and worked in Nottingham, before moving back down to her native Somerset, where she worked for the University of Bath. Coaching MBA and Undergraduate students about their future prospects gave her a good indication about training and routes - and it surprised her that so few people knew about the many different progression paths available to people coming out of school.


One thing not a lot of graduates think about is starting off as self-employed. A degree  is often  seen as a means to an end, rather than by providing applicable skills that can transfer; as she says of the education system, “there’s too much focus on what you study, rather than on how you study”.


That’s not to say that education isn’t important. “A lot of industries prefer you to have qualifications, or certain certified skills,” she says. Again, knowing what you need to know, or what you need to learn (or what equipment, what tools you need) is one of the key weapons in the arsenal of the freelancer.


Soon enough, she found herself expanding on this role as the Education and Training Manager for IPSE. IPSE, on the basic level, provides training and support for freelance and contractors, whether that’s through providing documentation itself (like a template invoice), or just the advice on how to draw up a contract with an employer.


“No one has a career for life these days,” she tells me. The generation that would pick one thing and do it until they retire has given way to the more transient, migratory workforce. It’s totally possible for anyone with a bankable skill to become a self-employed contractor, she explains, but it requires a little more nous than usual to survive.


One problem that freelancers commonly encounter is that they are being taken advantage of, and lack the employment rights to strength their tenuous positions. One way to combat this, she explains, it educating yourself with the right knowledge. Arts, Literacy, and Media sector workers lean heavily on freelance work - but while any courses they might take will teach them the finer aspects of their crafts, very few will teach them the business elements that they need to know to thrive; things like tax, or how to set up a business in the first place.


Another issue is the problem of value. Self-worth is hard to measure, harder still when you offer a service that is far less tangible than say, a product. She notes, “freelancers are talented individuals, that’s why they do what they do, that’s why they deserve to be valued.” The onus lies on the companies to not take advantage, or to overstep the boundaries of a pre-agreed contract, but also on the freelancer to better understand themselves and what they offer - and what they can reasonably expect.


We also discuss her resounding belief in the “No Free Work” attitude, as well as some recent corporate case studies that should cause any self-respecting freelancer some embarrassment. They dispel a few myths about freelancing, and emphasise that everybody needs to learn how to value themselves. In this day and age, “any industry can go self-employed”, she says. And with IPSE, it seems like they’d have all the clout they need to back themselves up.

Works Mentioned:
Lydia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_lydiaregina
IPSE: https://www.ipse.co.uk/
“Sainsbury's apologises for ad seeking artist to revamp canteen for free” via The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/13/sainsburys-apologises-ad-seeking-artist-revamp-canteen-for-free

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