Katie is an Event Photographer/Fire Performer/Promotional Worker. She grew up in Croydon, before moving to Bristol in her early twenties. She’s currently training to become an electrician, and juggles photography and performing between running around after her little one and dabbling in music production. We sat down with her to chat about how she manages her lifestyle, with the help of limber.
So can you tell us a little bit about your background, and what you do?
My first ever job was when i was 16, working at a theme park as a ride attendant. After that I started working as a charity fundraiser and then branched out to promo. I worked for lots of different promotional companies for a long time because you can be really mobile and it offered a variety of roles.
At the same time I was starting to learn to fire spin, my friends started a group when I was 17, back in London, so we decided to practice each week. We ended up getting quite good managed to pick up work at festivals and kids workshops. I quickly found the more I did, and the more experience I had in different roles, the more doors it opened.
I probably enjoy performing the most, it’s definitely the most fun thing, but i’m really loving training as an electrician as well. Generally any of the face to face stuff with people, it’s great work because it helps me to stay up beat. My least favourite job ever was call centre work – it was very repetitive.
You have got a lot going on, how do you manage doing multiple things at once?
On my bedroom wall I have cards with different areas of my life, I map everything out visually so I can see clearly what I’m doing, when. Having it up there means it’s easy for me to think about how I can advance in certain areas, when I have an idea I’ll add another post it to the wall.
I look at my different skill sets, and different trades if you will, and think about how I can advance my experience in each one, then when I’m like ‘oh I need to get some work this week’, you can easily do it because you have a pool of skills to choose from. If it wasn’t written down, I’d be a mess.
So you’re juggling a lot at once, how do you find that alongside being a mum?
I took a long hiatus after having my baby so I’m excited to be getting back into it now. Balancing everything as a single mother is a whole new game, but because I already spend so much time picking and choosing between different things, it’s just something else i now have to work in. I’ve recently picked up some event photography, so with that, it’s just a case of sorting child care for the night and working on editing photos whilst he’s playing.
So, if we backtrack slightly, what was your education like?
I grew up in Croydon, and went to a grammar school. Everyone told me that the next thing was to go to university, but I tried college and it wasn’t for me. Careers guidance was a nightmare, how are you meant to take a quiz and know what you want to do? I always got film director which never appealed to me.
I had it really drilled into me in school, that if you don’t go to university you don’t know what you’re doing with your life. For a long time I was worried, I felt like I needed a certain qualification in order to be successful, but then i realised I’ve got tons of experience in loads of different fields that I can apply to my future.
My parents definitely wanted me to go to university in a ‘we want the best for you’ kind of way but I think it got to a point where they realised that doing my own thing would make me happier. Don’t get me wrong, doing a degree is amazing but I don’t think I have the attention span to devote that much time to just one thing. I can never pick one thing to stay with and I think that’s why I enjoy being freelance so much.
What would a typical work week look like for you?
It’s a real mix because i have day time work, and evening work. Promotional work is in the day, and then event photography and fire performing is normally a weekend or evening, so really it just depends what I’ve put in place. Every week is different, that’s the beauty of it, you can basically just craft your time.
Finances must have been tricky with multiple sources of income. How did you use to manage getting paid?
I’d get paid in loads of different ways, they’d all have different amounts of time that it would take to come through. Sometimes it’s a week, and sometimes it could be a month, so it’s a relief that limber can manage all my payments in one place.
So, are you working on any side hustles or projects at the moment?
I did the princess trust enterprise course recently for building a business. They give you a three day training course and a £200 grant to test out your business idea. They help you write out a business plan and put you forward to a panel for the chance at a five grand loan. My friend and I are working on a social enterprise idea.
When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your free time?
At the moment getting an early bedtime if i can, and winding down, thankfully my baby sleeps through the night so I try to just relax. In terms of hobbies I’m really into music production but it’s not something I’m looking to make money from.
Do you ever feel like you’re missing out by not working traditionally or for a large organisation?
No never, this is how I want to live my life. I’ve worked in office environments before, but it’s definitely not something I feel I miss out on. You get some company benefits which is nice but now i can access perks like a pension and equity through limber. For me, it doesn’t beat being able to manage my time how I want it managed, and to me variety is really important.
And what about the social side of things?
Obviously by doing a lot of different things you meet loads of different people, so if anything you meet more people and find better connections from moving around all the time. I come from a social group where working in this way is actually the norm, we meet up and talk about business idea and various projects. We all bounce off each other in that way and that spurs me on.