The UK has experienced profound economic change over the past 18 months which has brought challenges and new opportunities to the creative sector. As a result, many individuals have set out on the freelance path for the first time.
Reasons include the natural result of redundancies due to the pandemic, new working relationships with employers following Covid-19 and a desire to achieve a better work/life balance.
Whatever the reason to go it alone, Bristol Creative Industries (BCI) is here to give freelancers the perfect platform to share skills and build connections. There are many benefits of a BCI freelance membership. See what some of our members have to say below.
“The trend in the creative sector is to have small and agile agencies relying on a bank of specialist freelance talent,” aid Chris Thurling, chair of Bristol Creative Industries. “We have seen the freelance sector grow year on year in the last decade. The benefits are that, here in Bristol, we have a huge pool of freelancers covering a spectrum of creative disciplines, from coding, filmmaking, music composition, animation, illustration, copywriting to recording and directing podcasts, to name just a few. Name a niche creative service you need for your business and, chances are, there will be someone to help right here on your doorstep.
“And these freelancers are key to Bristol’s vibrant creative community; it means small businesses can use a wide range of professional creative talent. Freelancers are providing the resource of a conglomerate for the SME and BCI can really help with these connections. All freelance members get a profile in our online member directory where you can showcase your work. Freelancers can also take advantage of discounted tickets to BCI events, plus the opportunity to self-publish content on our newsfeed. And don’t forget the membership perks, including restaurant offers and money off business support. The real value however is in the business connections you can make. But don’t take my word for it, here are a few comments from our members on their experiences.”
“I’ve been a member of Bristol Creative Industries for a good number of years now. I joined mainly to be included in the directory, for which I think the cost as an individual is very affordable. It makes absolute sense to be listed in a directory where clients search for creatives, outside of their own sector or network.
“In terms of other benefits of membership, I have attended various events and the ones I’ve been to have been very good. These include evening drinks meet-ups, a member’s lunch, the VISION Conferences and a portfolio review night. For me the portfolio review night was a really positive, fun and useful experience. I had the opportunity to meet with numerous creative directors from local design agencies in a ‘speed dating’ style format. I gained valuable feedback on my work and made contacts that would have been more difficult otherwise. I’d say that as a creative freelancer in any field this is a great thing to do if you have the chance. Additionally, the team at BCI have always been very friendly and supportive!” View Carys Tait’s profile.
“When I worked in an agency, we used the BCI member directory to find the best regional talent. I always felt that I could trust the freelancers we found there – they had an added credibility, took their specialism seriously, and added value to projects. So when I started out as a freelance copywriter I knew I had to be listed as a member myself!
“I took part in a portfolio review night not long after I joined BCI and continue to collaborate on projects with the industry colleagues I met. I’m not very good at selling myself, but I really do love my job, so I’m very grateful to BCI for giving me a chance to showcase my writing to people I would never have had the guts to contact.
“The events are also really insightful and enjoyable – the members’ lunch, the Leodo sketchnoting workshop, and the ‘simple tips, smart ideas’ talk with Erica Wolfe-Murray to name a few. Plus, still to this day it’s a lovely feeling to receive an email that starts with: ‘Hi Lara, I found your details via Bristol Creative Industries and…’.
“What would I say to freelancers thinking of joining BCI? To quote one of my favourite taglines: Just do it.” View Lara Candido Porter’s profile.
“I joined Bristol Creative Industries many years ago looking for a list of potential new clients. In my first year I got two new clients, one a national charity. Every year I regularly get new jobs via the website and these mostly turn into long term relationships. I now work with many of the major agencies in Bristol who are also members and actively involved with BCI. The work I generate covers my BCI freelance membership costs so joining was a no-brainer.
“I don’t enjoy cold calling, selling myself, or networking, but the portfolio review night was great. I had the opportunity to talk about my work directly to agency creative directors. It’s far easier to let your pictures do the talking! I would go to every portfolio review if I had the chance! I got some great feedback and to meet other freelancers working in the creative sector.” Views Oliver Edwards’ profile.
“I initially joined Bristol Creative Industries as a way to network and get to know other creatives in the Bristol area. Regular lunches (now online) allow members to meet, providing a friendly, informal opportunity to connect. The team running BCI are passionate about helping to support the creative community; always friendly, and they have been a great help in connecting my business with potential creative partners and business contacts.
“The portfolio review evening gave so much positive feedback, it was a huge confidence boost. Having my details in the member directory has directly led to some lucrative contracts with large organisations, who wouldn’t have found me otherwise. I believe just being part of BCI has provided my animation studio with additional credibility.
“Overall, Bristol Creative Industries is extremely well run, positive and a joy to be a part of; the membership offers amazing value for money.” View Animated Magic.
“Within two weeks of signing up I had my first enquiry from a new client”
If you’re a freelancer based in Bristol or Bath and want to raise your profile and get the work you want, find out more about a Freelance membership to BCI.
Freelancers have the option of paying a one-off annual fee of £45+VAT or a rolling subscription of £4.50+VAT per month. What are you waiting for? Sign up today and be a real part of Bristol’s creative network.
Bristol Creative Industries is the membership network that supports the region's creative sector to learn, grow and connect, driven by the common belief that we can achieve more collectively than alone.