Freelancing: From Mattresses to the Middle East

Daniel Brett

FREELANCING might seem like a risk but it goes hand-in-hand with variety and can lead to some extraordinary clients and opportunities. The Harlow Harrier spoke to freelance business journalist, Daniel Brett, who lives in the area.

An interest in news writing encouraged Daniel, 41, to go into journalism. He entered the industry through work experience, as an alternative to studying journalism whilst being able to keep up a portfolio.

After working for two local newspapers in 1995, the Herts and Essex Observer and the Saffron Walden Reporter, he achieved a BA Hons Degree in Politics from Queen Mary College, London University and a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), also part of London University.

He was managing editor for a publishing company before going freelance in 2003.

As he specialises in business, Daniel’s work includes industry analysis and review, meaning he gets to put his Master’s degree to good use.

Freelancing has given him the chance to work for many publications including Business Monitor International, the Huffington Post, The Guardian and Arab publication, Al-arabiya.

Daniel said: “I get diverse work and a wide experience of different sectors.

“If I was working for a local paper, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to specialise.”

Freelancing means Daniel gets to write about a wide range of subjects from the Middle East to mattresses.

In October, Daniel wrote an article on the Iranian government’s involvement in terrorist acts in Africa.

As a result, he is consulting with the Nigerian government.

He said freelancing has “surprising turns and can lead to unusual clients”.

In November, he broke a story about mattresses for trade magazine, Cabinet Maker.

Daniel said: “Tests were carried out on 42 mattresses. One in four failed fire safety regulations, which is really dangerous.

“Some top names failed. It’s a huge problem in the industry.”

The report is being used in government consultations to change the laws.

He said: “It’s more than reporting events as the client is asking for more from you, like informed opinions.”

Daniel has some tips for going freelance:

“You need professional work behind you and it’s best to develop some kind of specialism.

“You should build up contacts before freelancing.

“Don’t freelance as soon as you qualify as no one knows your track record.”

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Emily Cooper

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