Agnieszka Sawicz is a Brand Manager from Gdansk, Poland.
You can find her here:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
National Geographic: http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com
- Hi Agnieszka, tell me who you are and what do you do as a freelancer?
Hello, my name is Agnieszka Sawicz and I do consulting work as a brand manager for a dentist clinic Exclusive Dental Studio. I started in January and am responsible for media contact, leading projects, promoting the brand, and launching a totally new dentistry aesthetic concept in Poland.
- How long have you been working as a freelancer now?
I started freelancing while living in Ecuador in 2015 and continued when I moved to Australia, so it’s been about 2 years now.
- Why did you decide to become a freelancer? Did you think about it for a long time or did your decision come suddenly?
It came naturally. I was never expecting to go this route with my career. Not even in dreams, life is full of surprises!
- What is your competitive advantage, which makes your clients hire you?
The advantage for me is that I’ve worked in a lot of areas so I know how they’re all connected. I’ve worked as a marketing specialist, internet specialist, project manager, and a brand manager for some big companies over the past 10 years. I graduated with a different interest and worked my way up to where I am now so a good portion of my knowledge is through practice. I’ve found that my intuition is good and I would say that it’s the most important aspect of my work coupled with experience and good taste.
- Who are your competitors? What do they have that you don’t?
My competition is everywhere but most people would rather be an employee somewhere because it’s more comfortable. It feels more stable and settles the balance between work, loans, family responsibility, and our goals.
When I started my blog a few years ago, I was concerned that my English wasn’t good enough and I shouldn’t have. I realized this thought kills creativity because being afraid of criticism and not trying is only hurting your own creativity and development, we’ll never grow if we don’t leave our comfort zone. I took that challenge as an adventure and found that writing was also a good lesson in English every time I posted and I’ve learned a lot through that.
This is my philosophy, I try new things and do the best I can – the rest can take advantage of this by criticizing me for things they may or may not know about. The decision to work with me is for my clients and I’m happy with everything.
- Are there a lot of freelancers in your business?
In Poland I don’t know of anyone but I’m on a train to Berlin to meet my friend Tony from California, USA who works as a freelancer for math and data analysis/storage.
- What do your clients expect from you?
These days the customers want and expect everything! I have experience in sales, marketing, branding, and project and product management so it’s easy for me to apply some concepts to new things that may not already be in those areas of work. It shows that I’m diverse in my areas of expertise and customers appreciate being able to ask me about such a broad range of problems.
- Who are your typical clients?
Usually new brands. They want to build a brand but don’t know where or how to start. I help them with organizing their things, their portfolios, projects, or products – it depends on what they’re selling. It’s a process that needs to be done and it’s easy for a new company to think they can do it on their own and they spend a lot of money and not get anything in return.
- How has your business changed over time?
My client base has grown since I’ve moved back to Poland. Clients like to be able to see me face to face more frequently and being in Poland allows me to provide that for my clients.
- How did you gain your first customers?
The first clients I had were owners of brands that I’d known through prior work and they were interested in working with me back then.
- John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half. Do you gain your clients by advertising or in another way?
Advertising only happens on about 20% of my activities. 80% happens through social media and other PR. The message is that I’m knowledgable and have wonderful customer service, and that is the advertising for me.
- The best marketing move, you’ve done?
I created HAND ON ORSKA for the brand when I was brand manager. The product was good, unique, and quality jewelry. When I came on board we took a new approach to advertising. The idea was to give away 5 pieces of jewelry to 5 different women each week. They each had 2 weeks to wear the pieces, after which time they were to send us a photo of them wearing the jewelry with their outfit, and then they were trusted to give away the jewelry to a friend or family member. We wanted to see how far the pieces would go and what kind of women were really wearing them. The added bonus is that it was like having real models and word of mouth without a giant advertising campaign.
- The biggest marketing challenge that you deal with?
Probably the patience side of things, I spend a lot of time managing that. It takes time to create a strong brand and it’s easy to be frustrated because there is no immediate feedback on progress. Communication and PR take time but give good results. It’s also easy to make mistakes when you try to rush through the process so patience is an important aspect of my work.
- Do you hire outsourcing service providers for services, which you believe are a waste of your time?
Not at the moment but I would like to do that for my clients in the future.
- How does your typical working day look like? What do you do when you are not working? How many hours/days per week are you working?
Work time as a freelancer is difficult to put into time frames. At times there is a huge project and I’ll work 16 hour/day for 6+ days in a row. I’ve done that a couple of times already this year. Normally it’s up to me to determine what is the best time for me to work and my routine is usually: work in social media for the four dentistry brands I’m managing, then I go for a run or do another sporting activity, have a shower, and then I’m back to work. Freelance work gives me the freedom to stay fresh in my head, tap into my creativity, and it works really well for me and the client at the same time.
- Which books would you recommend to freelancers?
I would recommend all of the books, even when you’re an expert in something there is still more to learn. I’m hesitant to recommend books that were helpful to me because that seems to create a border, what was helpful for me won’t always be helpful for others and vice versa.
- What is your current inspiration that drives you in the business?
The idea that I can give people something so incredible and they may not realize it. I find inspiration in selling things that I believe in myself and I show that with my name.
- What would you do differently if you would start again?
Hindsight is always better, so there are some things I would do differently.
- What would you advise someone who has an idea, but no money?
My advice would be to get moving. Once you’re moving the next steps become clearer and it gets easier to keep the project moving once it’s started.
- What was the best business advice you received?
Money is not everything.
- Do you have an online resource which you use regularly? Which one?
Of course. I like WGSN as I started in the fashion industry but even now, I still draw inspiration from it. Pinterest is helpful and Polish F5. Instagram really shows trends and what people are looking for.
- What do you often dream about when you’re not working?
Love. I like simplicity.
- The place where you find your peace?
A few places. I find peace at the beach, in the forest as I was raised in a small mountain village, and in the apartment I’m renting. My heart is really in Olon in Ecuador, that’s my favorite place on earth.
- Top 3 mobile apps on your smartphone?
Oh easy one 😉
- What do you do in your free time?
Sports. My #1 is running. I’ve recently started kitesurfing. I have also done snowkiting, snowboarding, surfing, swimming, diving/freediving, triathlons, and skating.
- Your last vacation?
Hard to say. I was living in a place that was like a vacation so I’ll say it was where I lived, Gold Coast in Australia.
- Business plans for the future?
I would like to increase my services and hire some people. Or at least share some of the work load with a good specialist.
- Your plans for the future?
Striking a good work life balance. If I can get myself and clients to the point where they’re comfortable with me working abroad and with the specialists I find then that would be my ideal. Everything is a balance, that balance would be my happy.