Name: Olly Mitchell
Job Title: Freelancer
My position in a nutshell… I’m a freelancer and I don’t really have a job title per se, but I work with brands and charities to help them make a positive impact in the world – in the right way and in a meaningful way. With charities, it’s more straightforward what they are trying to do but, more and more, we all expect the brands we use to be doing their bit. I support them in shaping their brand and their marketing to communicate their message.
How I got the job… I studied economics and philosophy at university, which is nothing to do with what I do now, so don’t ever worry about what you do for higher education or a degree. Go on your journey, find your own way and try things. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I came out of uni. I worked in Tesco’s head office for a while, but that didn’t do it for me. So, thinking about what interested me, I decided to explore the sports world – and sports marketing – understanding sports brands and how they communicate. I spoke to everyone I could in that field, and found they were all very willing to go out for a coffee and give their time to a young person, keen to get into the industry. You can get a really good idea of what a job is like from just talking about it with someone. They can then introduce you to other people, then suddenly you’ve got loads of contacts and one of them might know of a job vacancy. That’s how I got an internship at a small sports marketing agency, then at a global PR agency.
I then got offered a job with a premiership football club, which I thought was my dream job. It turned out that, while it was an amazing experience, it wasn’t the right fit for me, which was a good lesson. I’d done some work for the charitable side of the club and that’s when I realised my passion – helping to do good. So I joined a small creative startup, who did just that. After two amazing years there, I decided to set myself up as a freelancer.
My typical day… As a freelancer I work from home, in my bedroom. I’m my own boss and working on a lot of different projects, with different organisations. I love the variety and have realised I don’t need the security of having a permanent job – but until you try it, you don’t really know.
My most memorable moment… Chatting to Eden Hazard, probably one of the biggest football players in the world. It was pretty intense, but I had to maintain a professional face and help him with filming for a deodorant brand!
The best part of my job… The sense of fulfilment I get from knowing that I am helping to contribute to improving the world through the projects I work on.
The worst part… When you find something you are passionate about, you tend to work really hard and can forget to balance that with your social life and downtime.
Advice / key skills needed for anyone wanting to do what I do… I would say it’s about people management and making sure you understand people and their needs – and what the project and the brand need. Once you have a camaraderie with someone, you can solve any problem. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freelancer, or working in a big organisation, once you have a connection with someone – your boss, your line manager – that’s your platform to then grow.
Problem solving is another one – and communication. Be clear and honest and ask questions – don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and tell someone you don’t understand something, or you need help with something.
If you’re not sure what you want to do, think about something you’re passionate about – climate change, discrimination or homelessness – then go and see what’s out there, see what organisations, charities or brands are doing in those areas and you’ll find something that fulfils you.