March 2019 Freelance Woman of the Month
Freelance Qualitative/Quantitative Researcher & Evaluation Consultant for Charities
Ruth Stevenson is located in Scotland, UK. She has been working as a qualitative/quantitative researcher and evaluation consultant for eight years. Ruth started freelancing full-time when the economic crash saw the charity she was working for merge with another charity. Ruth had seen a lot of low-value opportunities go by as a senior manager, and she made the conscious decision to strike out on her own, taking on those small projects herself.
Ruth’s first freelance client was her previous employer, who hired her to complete some transitional work for them to tie up lose ends related to the merger. From there she conducted Google keyword searches, searched industry job boards, emailed and met with contacts, started conversations on LinkedIn, went to events, and put in proposals for every opportunity she saw. She started in November, and by Christmas she had won two competitive tenders, which gave her the confidence to continue.
Ruth has chosen to focus on the charity space. These days, she gets the majority of her work through repeat clients and recommendations. This means she spends less time on new business development and most of her work time is income-generating.
When she does bid on something new, Ruth is in a much stronger position than she once was. She has a persuasive bank of case studies and testimonials from the 90+ projects she has completed. Her approach to finding work is also more streamlined. She knows what type of contracts she tends to win and has the confidence to discard the ‘maybes,’ which has saved her a lot of time without reducing her income.
Perhaps best of all, Ruth has been able to enjoy full-time work, but also had the flexibility to take 10 months off when her son was born. She enjoyed part-time work during his first few years, and now, she has the option of working half-time while he is in preschool and can adjust her schedule as he grows.
The top piece of advice Ruth has for women in freelancing?
Be your authentic self. Look how you want, wear what you want, say what you want – and own that. Let your personality shine through every aspect of your business. Then you can be confident that clients want to work with you for YOU. And if they don’t like it, well, the relationship probably wouldn’t have worked out too well anyway.
You can learn more about Ruth at: