This month, we chatted with Moonlighter Alfred Harrell to learn about some of his experiences as a freelancer. Alfred is from Greensboro, NC and offers transportation services and works as an inspirational speaker and networking event host for businesses and community service events. Through our conversation, I got to learn a bit about what he does and why.
SR: How long have you been freelancing?
AH: I’ve been in the game longer than I’ve made money at it; before Moonlighting, maybe even before freelancing was a popular thing to do! 2009 was about when I began freelancing seriously. I tried out a lot of different things before I settled on what I do now and filed my my first papers in 2011. So for about 3 years now, I’ve been doing inspirational speaking and professional networking. I’ve found good results, too!
SR: What did you do before you made the switch and what made you switch?
AH: I worked a full-time job for 9 1/2 hours plus part-time at Wal-Mart, while still making time to get into freelance. And I found that I love to help people out. With freelancing, it’s a way to help people and generate income doing things I want to. I’m an inspirational speaker, which I love, and I can get paid for talking. Freelancing is where you can live your dreams because you decide what you want to do and how you want to do it.
SR: How did you end up as a freelancer?
AH: I realized there’s more to life than working a regular job. There’s a certain freedom to freelancing and knowing you’re in the right place. You know, it takes a minute for some people to work it out, and that’s okay, because in the end, it’s worth it.
SR: How do you see Moonlighting helping you?
AH: There are real connections in Greensboro which allows for in-person communication, networking, and building community. I do that really well and I want to get paid for it. The Moonlighting app keeps me focused on that. I believe in Moonlighting, so I use the referral feature to keep me on track because if someone signs up through me, I get paid. I’m an older guy with a millennial mindset: it works.
SR: What challenges did you face in this arena?
AH: One of the biggest things was getting plugged in to the right resources, it can be hard to find out where to start. And too often I was getting labelled as a “free guy.” I did all this stuff for free at first. It was hard to get that label off me because now I’m doing the same things, but with a price tag; I’m a professional and not just a volunteer. So at first, it was hard to establish my brand, get my name out there. But I’m working on it, this dream is coming together day by day.
SR: Can you offer some advice to others people who are following in your footsteps?
AH: My advice is: It takes time, the sacrifice of time. If you’re not willing to do this for the rest of your life, don’t do it. If you’re not willing to pursue your passion as a freelancer, networker, Moonlighter, don’t do it. Step back and reassess. It’s going to require time. When I began, I asked myself if I can see myself freelancing until I’m old in some form or another. And the answer was yes. We are definitely living in a time where people want automatic success and so freelancing is not easy; you just have to stay committed.
SR: What do you think of this growing gig economy?
AH: I think that I saw it coming. I saw it emerging from the sidelines a long time ago for those willing to use whatever means necessary to build their name and build their brand. It’s like an old fashioned thing of getting a job but you tie it technology and can get the jobs you want to do in the many places you want to be. The gig economy requires you to step out of your comfort zone and go wherever to really find the marketplace with a measure of success. This world is needed and the more we start getting the word out the more it will grow.
SR: What’s the best job you’ve done?
AH: Best gig I hosted was for the Poet for Change program, a national organization, who was looking for someone to host a local event. So I did some freelancing through them and I had to organize, market, plan, and host their event. 23 poets and performers came out and under my direction they empowered members all over through spoken word. And all that led to a news article being written about 100,000 Poets For Change. I’ve been involved in it every year, in fact.
Alfred Harrell is an inspirational speaker for civic groups, business to business events and various organizations, can write online profiles for social media, and offers transportation services. Contact him for transportation and networking services today!
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