When she was laid off in early 2023, marketing project manager Kerry Hoffman decided it was time to go freelance. She was ready to live the “bigger life” she had been dreaming of since starting her career 12 years earlier. This new phase of Kerry’s professional life gives her the flexibility and time to do things she enjoys, like writing a book and going to Broadway shows. But, it also means her schedule is always changing. Here is a sneak-peak into her days as a freelance marketing project manager.
What type of marketing professional are you?
I’m a freelance project manager working with marketing design teams. I work with all sorts of companies, from solopreneurs to 10-person start-ups to larger private companies and even global organizations. A few companies I’ve worked for this year in project management include the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Rent the Runway, and Ecology Action. And, I serve as the NYC regional marketing manager for inKind, a hospitality company based in Austin, Texas.
How long have you been working freelance?
Nine months. I was laid off from my company on January 6, 2023. With the mass layoffs across tech, I knew it was a good time to strike out on my own. I took a few days to process my layoff and then hit the ground running. I’ve always wanted to live a bigger life, and a bigger life means adding more experiences, opportunities, and people into my universe. I thought freelance would be my chance to expand my career and build a multi-hyphen life, doing a broader spectrum of work. I’ve had 12 clients and met over 275 people in the past nine months, so I feel great about my choice!
Where are you based?
Now let’s get into your routine! Do you have set hours you usually work?
I usually work on and off between 8 am up until potentially 8 pm, depending on the day. I work most weekdays and sometimes weekends. But my days are all over the map! I sometimes spend mornings with friends or at appointments and make up the time later in the evening with west coast clients. And some days I do mid-day workouts, bounce around to different coffee shops, have in-person client meetings, etc.
Where do you usually work from?
Everywhere: my home office, coffee shops, a client’s office, co-working spaces.
Tell us about your morning. Do you have any morning rituals or routines?
I start my day at 6 am and try to either journal, work on my book (more on that below), read a book, or walk 90 minutes to the city. Then I hit my workout.
My book has been a work in progress for a couple of years now, always difficult to prioritize against paid work. I am writing about my journey to quitting drinking. I took a step back [from drinking] in July 2019 and quit entirely in February 2020. As more people consider an NA lifestyle, I want to share what drove me to make the change and how that change has opened my life in so many ways.
What does the rest of an average work day look like for you?
My work day sometimes starts with creative projects and coffee, followed by a later workout (10 am), and then calls and work between 10 am and 5 pm, and then potentially more work or a Broadway show.
I grew up outside of NYC and my parents took me to the theater all of the time. I saw over 150 shows by the time I left for college! My mom and dad went to the theater even more once I was off to college. In March 2020, my dad died of Covid. My mom lost her life partner, and her theater partner. We now go together all of the time, and we are willing to see any show! I also get rush tickets on TodayTix to save money when I can. I recently saw Life of Pi, and it was amazing!
Other nights, I meet up with girlfriends for book club, my Burger Brigade to try the latest great burger, or work a little late for west coast clients.
Do you take a lunch break? What’s your go-to lunch?
Juice Press smoothie and currently on the quest to find NYC’s best açaí bowl.
What time do you typically log off and how do you spend your after-work time?
Sometimes 5:30 pm if I have a Broadway show; 6:30 pm if I am meeting friends, and at least one night I work until 8 to keep west coast hours. Almost half of my clients have been west coast-based, so I try to keep some nights free to work!
Do you do anything to transition out of your work day?
If I am home, the lights dim at 6 pm and I change into comfy clothes. Otherwise, I go meet up with people.
Is there anything you wish you could change about your current routine or work schedule?
I work so hard to plan the week out and then one or two meetings change or get canceled and it throws everything off. I am trying to see patterns in this (e.g. Monday morning meetings get canceled a lot!) so I can plan better. Recently, I blocked off Mondays and Fridays as no meeting days, to preempt those cancellations.
Is there anything else you want to share about your routine and how you find work-life harmony as an independent marketing professional?
It’s hard to commit to taking two hours with a friend, a midday workout, or a Friday afternoon to work on invoicing when you leave your calendar open. For me, it’s all about protecting my time. I need to be flexible but I don’t have to be that flexible.
Are you a freelance marketer who’s built a career that truly lights you up? Would you like to share your ‘day in the life’ story? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org!