"That Freelancer Life" with Nicki Petitt.
I have known Nicki for a long old time & we have worked together in various capacities over the years, she is an absolute bundle of joy to be around & her work is amazing, she is one of my highly recommended babes, we catch up on Freelancer Life and what she loves about it below. Enjoy!
Hey Nicki, Thanks so much for being involved in The Girl Gang! First off please introduce yourself and your business to the Girl Gang
Hey! I’m Nicki, I’m a health and fitness freelance PR, based in SW London. Over the past 4 years, I feel very lucky to have built up an amazing portfolio of clients, from fitness apparel brands, home and studio workouts to nutrition and fitness apps and home meal delivery services. My PR work is all about raising brand profile, media presence and spreading the word about their products, services and community work - to encourage people to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
I’m also an F45 Trainer – I absolutely love coaching, the buzz of helping others is incredible, whether it’s their first group exercise experience or achieving a new PB, you can’t beat it. Sport and fitness has been my world since day dot, I was a trampolinist from the age of 3 to 26, competing for Great Britain for over 15 years. Then I found a love for running and pacing 10ks right through to marathons. To now have my own business in the sport and fitness industry really is the dream!
When did you become self employed and what drove you to do so?
I launched my business back in April 2015 – how am I four years in already?! Being agency-side for the 9 years previous, I loved all aspects of PR. I represented some incredible fitness brands and sporting organisations, managed endless creative campaigns and built up a strong portfolio of media coverage across the national papers, mags, TV, radio and online platforms. As an Account Director in my latter years of agency work, I started to think ‘I can totally do this for myself’ - the thought of leading my own career, ‘winning’ new business, working with clients of my choice and creating a life I loved, that was the new goal. Crazy really, as I never saw myself going out on my own, becoming freelance. But it was the BEST decision I ever made. I haven’t looked back – and since, I’ve added F45 coach and fitness model to the spec. These two aspects really complement my PR work, keep my days varied and I get to meet so many inspiring people and brands.
What do you enjoy most within your work?
For me, it’s every step of the pitch process right through to seeing the media coverage published. As a freelancer, I choose to only work with brands and products I believe in; kit that I’d wear for my training, workouts that I truly enjoy, nutrition I would consume and recommend. This makes my pitch and relationship with journalists so much more genuine and passionate. Pitching creative ideas to my media contacts, arranging kit reviews, interviews, to seeing the finished page in print, online or in front of our eyes on the TV – I get a real high. To know that this might inspire just one person to make a change to their lifestyle, try something new or step out of their comfort zone, that feels good.
How do you stay motivated?
I keep my days varied – from work location (I live in coffee shops across London and Surrey!) to working hours, fitness classes through the day, to planning work dates with my freelance PR and media friends. One thing I’ve really learnt over the 4 years, is to remember to hit pause, look back at what you’ve achieved the past month and reward yourself. It’s all too easy to speed through client work and move onto the next campaign without actually taking a second to review and learn – and to celebrate with a treat or two!
Taking on the freelance world is not an easy way of life at all – it’s all on you – the day to day delivery, business pipeline, accounts, admin! As a freelancer you can spend quite a bit of time on your own, at the laptop. Scheduling regular work days with my freelance friends has made an amazing difference to my week, they become your team, sounding board and keep you motivated for sure. Constantly challenging yourself, be it workload, creatives, new business pitches or even visiting trade/consumer shows to keep learning and developing is so important!
What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own business?
Talk to everyone you can, make connections, don’t be afraid to ask questions – I have had coffees with so many people wanting to make the move. If talking through my journey into freelance gives them just a little bit more confidence or belief to go for it, then how good is that! I’m still learning and still asking questions, you really have to soak up every opportunity and connection that comes your way to grow.
Most importantly though, you need to 100% love what you do – whichever direction you take your business, it needs to be your passion.
Would you recommend any resources for someone starting out?
For me it just has to be people. Surround yourself with people who are passionate, who believe in you, support you – but also open yourself up to new networks, communities and groups.
And finally, what is your “me time” moment?
It’s fitness, food and family for me.
I’m always in and out of different studios, trying new workouts, or running a few miles. I train because I love it, zero aesthetics involved, just because it’s my high, my escape.
I absolutely love food - finding amazing restaurants, sampling the wine menus! Guilty pleasure right now are donuts, not sure I can choose between Crosstown or Doughnut Time though.
And family. Heading home, time out from London life, work, social media – just real, family time! Being an auntie and godmother is everything.