"I feel like I know you" - Social Marketing Consultant Sam Burgess

'Social Mouth' Sam has a story of reinvention, investment, belief and community.

We hear about the power of Instagram Stories and her Small & Mighty podcast in helping people get to know her.

Trading as a 'we', then an 'I'. Finding clients. PR'ing yourslef. The benefits of a business coach. And the impact that ill health, a dog and a dad can have on your future.


More from Sam

Sam on Twitter

Sam on Instagram

Sam's site

Sam's podcast


Who the hell is Steve Folland?

Steve's a freelancer helping businesses use and make video & audio content in much better ways. Find out more at stevefolland.com, track him down on Twitter @sfolland or lay a trail of cake and he'll eventually catch you up.

Check out Steve's Being Freelance Vlog that documents his weekly wanderings and wonderings as a freelancer.


Transcription of freelance podcast interview with Sam Burgess

Steve Folland:    Hey, how are you doing? I'm Steve Folland, thanks for listening. This time let's find out what it's like Being Freelance for Social Marketing Consultant, Sam Burgess. Hey Sam.

Sam Burgess:    Hello Steve.

Steve Folland:    How about we get started hearing about how you got started being freelance?

Sam Burgess:    Absolutely. So, I have a pretty varied career path, but the bulk of it has been 15 years spent in the retail industry. I worked in a variety of positions, so shop floor all the way through to head office. Kind of fast forwarding through those 15 years, in January 2016 I was working for Swarovski, the crystal jewelry brand, I worked in the marketing department managing the social media channels for Swarovski. And, after having been sat through numerous presentations from really large, really well known social media agencies that we were planning on working with, they were wanting to come in and take a massive proportion of our budget to execute my own ideas.

Sam Burgess:    And I kind of... I was kind of sat there, this is a bit ridiculous. They come in and take a quarter of a million pounds and yet a lot of them had a minimum spend threshold that was sort of 30, 40, 50 grand but they're just going to execute the ideas I've already come up with. And, not only... obviously, that put my nose out of joint because I wasn't being paid that but it did get me thinking about where I started in retail, working in independent shops and wondering who is helping the independent shopkeepers and the creative small businesses that are out there when every agency that we were meeting with seemed to have a ridiculous minimum spend.

Sam Burgess:    So, I was feeling pretty disillusioned and, I think, January in general for a lot of people is kind of when you start questioning whether you like your job, whether you're happy et cetera, et cetera. And, I started to get a calling, which sounds a bit sort of spiritual but it wasn't, I just knew that in my heart of hearts I wanted to be helping others. I've always been very passionate about teaching others and sharing my knowledge without a second thought really, I love to learn about things and I like to get really deep into knowing a subject and then I like to share that knowledge with others.

Sam Burgess:    So, I had chat with my husband, he wasn't my husband at the time but he's my husband now, and also my dad, because my dad's an entrepreneur and I assessed my savings situation and decided just to leave my job. I did have a business plan so I didn't do it on a complete whim, but I'm talking like, on a Saturday I wrote a business plan, I decided what I wanted to call my business, I rushed over to my dad, I said this is the saving situation but I would really appreciate a little bit of support, financially, if possible because I need a new laptop and things like that. He was like, okay, he made me pitch, Dragon's Den styli, for the investment. And, that was it really. I went back to work, I handed my notice in and I started my freelance journey as a social... well, then I was a social media manager, so I was actually managing the social media for other businesses and things have evolved a lot since then.

Steve Folland:    I love the fact that your dad made you pitch, to see how serious you were I guess, see...

Sam Burgess:    Yeah totally, he didn't think I was taking it seriously at all. I had a really casual conversation with him and he was like, you need to come back and properly pitch and I was like, well I don't really want to come back, can I just go in the kitchen and then come back in the living room? So, I went into the kitchen and gathered myself and then walked back into the living room and my dad, my mum and my husband were sat on the sofa in a line, ready to pitch. I was, does anyone want to pop to the ATM and get some cash out? And I did a proper pitch without any rehearsal or practice, I just thought, I'll do what I do best and that's just let my passion shine and it worked.

Steve Folland:    That's so funny. You should do that as a family tradition at Christmas, just all... and see who gets to spend the next year making that business come true, I like that idea. You said, deciding what to call my business, in there as well, so you'd already decided that you weren't just going to trade as Sam?

Sam Burgess:    Yeah, I once read an interview a long, long, long time ago about Jo Malone and, obviously, the fact the perfume and the fragrance company is called Jo Malone and that's her actual name. And, after having a chat with my dad about it and stuff, he just said, you don't know where your business is going to go in the future, but would you be prepared for somebody to... if you sold your business that they would continue trading as your actual name? How would you feel about that, because then obviously you could never set up again with your name.

Sam Burgess:    So, I decided I wanted to... and this is where my business has changed a lot, is that, I initially wanted to masquerade myself as a big agency and be seen as a "we" rather than a "me", because I thought it would give me more credibility and people would be more likely to work with me if they thought I was a large social media agency. So, therefore, it was natural that I had to come up with a name.

Steve Folland:    So, you called yourself...

Sam Burgess:    Social Mouth. I kind of got the domain and set myself up as a limited company, as Social Mouth Limited and then, about six months in, I started to really hate it, and wish I hadn't, and wish I'd set up as Sam Burgess and everything. But, so many people have said to me, the name's great, it's really, really good. So, I've stuck with it and now I really like it but I went through that phase, I think maybe a lot of children do it as well, I know I did as a child, I hated my name for a while and wanted to be called something exotic. But, I think I just fell out of love a little bit with my brand name but I like it now.

Steve Folland:    So you've obviously kept the brand name but ditched the "we", ditched the agency thing?

Sam Burgess:    Yeah, basically what happened was, I was managing people's social media for the first six months, I was masquerading a bit as a "we" and I had this team et cetera. Not only did I hate managing people's social media, like companies social media, because they just treated me like an assistant, like a virtual assistant and, although the money was good, I hated it. I had a couple of really horrible clients, I had a client that didn't pay me so within my first eight weeks of going freelance I found myself having to take someone to small claims court. That's not nice for anyone to have to do let alone being eight weeks into running your business. I just hated it, I really, really hated it managing it for other people.

Sam Burgess:    And, was getting these opportunities come through into my inbox to pitch and there were massive budgets, like 50 grand budgets. And I was like, they think I have... that I'm an actual agency, and I don't think I want to take my business in that direction. I don't know what changed really, but I just decided that... people always say that I'm better in person and once they speak to me they get my passion, and my enthusiasm, and they want to work with me. And I realized that people wanted to work with me, they didn't want to work with my assistant, or my associates that didn't exist obviously, but they wanted to work with me.

Sam Burgess:    So, I decided to kind of ditch the "we" and go down the "me" route, as in, I am an independent expert and I want to help you, specifically, let's get together and make marketing magic happen. And, as soon as I changed it from we to I... obviously, I had to spend a bit of time PR-ing myself, but that's when things really changed for me because people want to work with another person I think and that's kind of how it evolved for me. So, I just became Social Mouth Sam, rather than Social Mouth and then a separate account that was me.

Steve Folland:    So, you went from social media manager to social media, or now, social marketing, consultant. So that's quite a change as well right?

Sam Burgess:    It was a huge change. So, I stopped... when did I start? The business really started March 2016, by October, I had become so disillusioned with managing other people's social media accounts and the turning point was I was on a flight home from Copenhagen, we were delayed, I had a client that insisted on my posting at 5 PM on Instagram and Instagram you can't auto-schedule. And the flight was delayed and I was stuck in the air and I missed the 5 PM thing and I got onto the ground and I had this barrage of abuse from her. And I just thought, this isn't what freelancing is supposed to be like. I thought I had more freedom and I didn't have to answer to people and this is horrendous, I can't be treated like this.

Sam Burgess:    So, I served all of my accounts notice and my dad is an investor in my business and he was not particularly pleased with the decisions that I made and said that I had a really good, steady income and it was a massive risk. My husband wasn't very happy either and I just said, right, give me six months. I've got enough savings to last myself six months and run the business through and by then, if it doesn't work then I will admit defeat and I will go back to work and get a proper job that has a steady paycheck. And they were like, okay, you've got six months.

Sam Burgess:    And, in that six months I kind of reinvented myself and my business as me and as a social marketing consultant. So, I coach and I help you find your voice and I work it on a basis of, you've one investment, you pay one lump sum with me and we spend time together and I teach you all the tricks and how to have a great social media presence. I focus it on Instagram because I work with mainly creative businesses, which is going to save you money in the long run because if you get someone to manage it, that's a monthly cost, month, after month, after month. And, as your business grows, that cost is probably going to evolve as well.

Sam Burgess:    So, why not just have a larger lump sum and I'll teach you, how do it yourself and you'll feel empowered and not micro-managing a social media manger. And, that was what people wanted and suddenly it was like, oh my goodness, why have I not been doing this sooner? And, it worked and the phone started ringing and I was getting booked up left, right and center and I wrote an e-course and I started doing group workshops. And, it just seemed to have this massive turning point for me that actually people wanted to learn themselves, they didn't want it taken away from them. But, when I started Social Mouth, that's what I thought people wanted, was to have it taken away from them but they didn't, they want to be educated.

Steve Folland:    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sam Burgess:    And, so, I didn't go bankrupt and it was fine.

Steve Folland:    Any point, in that time when you said you hated it, you hate, hate, hate, you said that a lot.

Sam Burgess:    I did, I really hated it.

Steve Folland:    So, was there a point though, where you thought, I'm just going to go back and get a job again?

Sam Burgess:    Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there were. When I had all the court, like the small claims court situation, it really rattled me, and I was really, really upset, and I felt like a huge failure. She was just really nasty, and I thought, why am I doing this? It's not worth it, this is just not worth it, I could just be going to work nine to five, and I could have a nightmare boss, but I leave, at the end of the day, I go home, and I still get paid. This is having an absolute nightmare client who's behaving like a boss and refusing to pay me. And yes, I was very close to jacking it in several times.

Sam Burgess:    The thing that stopped me from doing it, it was because we got a dog, and we got Monty, our Dachshund, within a few weeks of me starting Social Mouth and that was because I was going to be at home all the time, and I was going to be able to look after him and he was obviously a puppy. And, he's what got me through it, to be honest, and stopped me throwing in the towel because I knew, that if I went back to work, in an office in London, that wasn't dog friendly, I'd have to start paying for daycare for him and I'd need to have a whopping salary in order to cover that extra expense. So, I realized I had to make changes to make it work.

Steve Folland:    That's... hurrah for Monty then, that's excellent.

Sam Burgess:    I know.

Steve Folland:    By the way, we'll put links at beingfreelance.com, as ever, through to everything that Sam's up to, but you must check out Monty on Instagram. I think he even has his own account doesn't he?

Sam Burgess:    He does, he's Social Mouth Monty, he got... when he turned one, he became an official colleague of mine. He's my only colleague and he comes to meetings with me as well.

Steve Folland:    One question that I clearly haven't asked though, be it through the social media managing part of your business or, now, as consulting, is where the clients came from. Particularly at the beginning of either one of those stages.

Sam Burgess:    At the beginning I spent a lot of money on Google adverts, that worked very effectively for getting, not really small businesses, kind of medium to large businesses and some corporate clients that paid a really good amount of money per month. I got a lot through Google Ads and then I got a lot from LinkedIn, I used to work in recruitment, as I've mentioned... did I mention I used to work in recruitment? But, I used to work in recruitment when I was in retail, it was one of the roles I had in head office and therefore I have a massive LinkedIn following because LinkedIn's obviously what you use to recruit. And I got a lot of referrals through LinkedIn, which was great, and I go some really steady opportunities.

Sam Burgess:    And, I got some great training, I used to do some corporate training as well for social media, for LinkedIn et cetera and I got a lot of that through LinkedIn. And, then I also used People Per Hour, which I don't recommend, I had a few clients through that but unfortunately all the difficult clients that didn't pay me were through People Per Hour. And, I know other people have had great experiences with it, but I did not.

Steve Folland:    Interesting hearing you, right from the start, going at Google AdWords for example. When it comes to marketing ads, sometimes, as freelancers, we sit there and think, yeah I could do that but that's going to cost me money.

Sam Burgess:    Yeah.

Steve Folland:    And, so, we might get a business card done because you can get them on Moo pretty cheap...

Sam Burgess:    I love Moo.

Steve Folland:    Or Vista Print practically shower them through your letterbox, but going over Google Ads or Facebook Ads or whatever, that can kind of put a knot in your stomach and think, yeah, but that money.

Sam Burgess:    Yeah it made me feel really sick and I spent a lot of money, I had budget per month, which was quite a lot of money but I may... I spent a lot of time learning about how to use Google Ads effectively and obviously it's a bidding process so, if you don't get your targeting right, you're going to get really low return on investment. So, you need to get your targeting right, so if you're spending a hundred pounds, two hundred pounds, three hundred pounds, you need to make sure the targeting is correct because if you don't, it will be, well, gone, within 48 hours.

Sam Burgess:    So, I did spend a lot of time learning about it, I hired somebody to help me with it as well, which was obviously another cost but, I thought, if I do this wrong I could get through it all really quickly. I did some Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads as well but, at the time, Google was working most effectively for me, so I stacked off the social media ads quite fast. But, yes, it was expensive but it was almost like a no-brainer for me, to... I had to be seen, I had to be heard, I had to be found. I wasn't somebody who left my job and... which, a lot of freelancing advice, you leave your job and use your contacts at your old job to get you your first freelance gigs.

Sam Burgess:    I didn't have anything like that, I really did take a huge jump into the unknown and, I look back on it and I think, you're so lucky that you were able to do that and that we had savings and I was able to make that punt. But, I did... why I pitched for investment from my dad, was because I knew I needed some initial seed money to advertise otherwise no one was ever going to find me and I was just going to sit there. My husband works in finance and he does a lot of cold calling as well as part of his job and he was like, just pic up the phone and start calling people and I was like, no, that's not what I do, no.

Sam Burgess:    So, I had to do advertising and let people find me and it worked, it did work, thankfully.

Steve Folland:    Yeah, because you had that literal investment, the cash investment to help you, at the beginning, and just in case you're listening and thinking, well, I don't have my entrepreneur dad with the Dragon's Den lounge room, I'll put a link in the show notes to, I think it was, Niches episode where she talks about all the different funding that she had early on. It's something I've never really thought about, I always just thought, well you know, you've got to get a credit card or a loan and pay for things. But, there's other ways to do this so think smart about it.

Steve Folland:    You mentioned... I had to go through a period, you said, of PR-ing myself, how did you PR yourself?

Sam Burgess:    So, I started going to loads of events, I sucked off the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, apologies if the Richmond Chamber of Commerce are listening. I paid a lot of money to join the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and I went to a few networking events and, it was just a lot of men standing around in suits, who were accountants and, I had nothing in common with them and it was really awkward. I wanted to talk about Instagram and they were like, what? So, I accepted that, that was a bad investment, thanks dad, he insisted I joined and I started finding events that were actually relevant and connecting with other female entrepreneurs.

Sam Burgess:    And I started going to events and joining Facebook groups and looking up events on Meetup and, just getting out there, getting off my bum, out of my home office, putting a nice outfit on and a bit of lippy and some business cards and just took my tush off to these events and started just chatting and making friends. Connecting with them on Instagram, and finding out what Facebook groups they were in. And, I just... that is basically what I did, is I just connected with other people within... not necessarily people that were going to become clients but maybe people who were working with people that could become clients.

Sam Burgess:    So, my business coach and I, we have a really big crossover in client base. She does business coaching, she helps them with their finances and getting all that in order and then she says, right, you need to sort out your marketing, go to Sam. When I sit with someone for marketing, I say, right, you need to go to see her and she'll help you with your finances. So, I wanted to make connections that would mean that I could, not steal their clients, but I could also work with their clients. But, also just people to help support me and, women are great at PR-ing each other. I know all my friends do it for me and I do it for them and they become your biggest cheerleaders and shout about what you do.

Sam Burgess:    And, especially if you find it very hard to talk about yourself and sell yourself because it always feels a little bit awkward, they are there to do it for you. So, if you make really strong connections and they see that you're good at what you do, then they'll shout about it for you. And, that didn't take very long so I really started PR-ing myself April last year and within a couple of months my Instagram following was growing like crazy, I was in all these Facebook groups and people were asking me for advice. Then, the phone starts ringing and you start getting paid work.

Sam Burgess:    But, you need to position yourself as an expert in a very crowded market. Social media is... everybody's a bloody social media expert these days and it is really challenging to be heard amongst everybody else. So, the only thing you can do is get your face out there and that is quite literally what I did.

Steve Folland:    Mm-hmm (affirmative). When did you start working with a business coach? Was that quite early on or?

Sam Burgess:    No, so April was really a big turning point for me where I started to really change my business. I'd gone through a period of bad health and realized that I needed to make some drastic changes and that was when everything really started to change for me. I met Helena from the Guide to Growth, we were actually at the same event and April, but we didn't actually speak to each other and then we kind of liked each others posts on Instagram, for a month, and then Helena messaged me and said she was thinking about getting a dog and could we meet up for a coffee. So, we met up for a coffee, we got on like a house on fire, I found out what she did and then I thought, actually you know what, you could really help me.

Sam Burgess:    And, it just kind of went from there really. So, I help her with social media and she helps me with business stuff. I was very, oh no I don't need a business coach, she's got to admit all the things that you're doing wrong, you're just going to get criticized. I thought it would be very different to what it was and actually it was me and Helena, in my garden, with static whiteboards, in the summer, planning out the whole future of my business. And, I realized I wanted something completely different to what I thought I'd wanted.

Steve Folland:    Is it an ongoing thing where you meet, I don't know, every few weeks, or month, or...

Sam Burgess:    So, we have... because we're really good friends as well, we have a slightly more casual relationship to it, than I'm sure she formalizes with her clients. Apart from obviously being friends, we touch base purely on a business level, every couple of weeks. I normally get a WhatsApp message going, how are you? How's business? How are sales, how is this going, how's that going? And, I'm really honest with her and I just tell her what's going on or what I'm not happy with and it's really good because you've just got somebody who understands your business and is able to give you that level of support that you don't have.

Sam Burgess:    It's almost a bit like having a manager, like having a boss at work. And, although we don't like having bosses et cetera, it's quite nice when you've got a very long to-do list and you're not quite sure which direction you're supposed to be going in and you've got no one to bounce any ideas off, when you can go to your manager and you can bounce that off them and they can either say, right, no, don't do that. Or, yes, that's a great idea but have you thought about doing it this way? That is basically what Helena does for me, is I kind of tell her what's going on and then she says, well have you thought about doing it this way etcetera.

Sam Burgess:    So, it's really good and I think I'm just very lucky that she's also my friend. So, therefore, I have a kind of never ending contract with her.

Steve Folland:    That's really good. You mentioned... I hope you don't mind me asking, because you mentioned a period of bad health, was that while you were freelance or while you were working?

Sam Burgess:    No, it was while I was freelance. I hadn't been very well, it was all very sudden and I had an acute condition that needed to be treated and it did shake me a little bit because I was glad at that point that I was in the period of transition through my business so I had finished with all my management contracts before Christmas and I was just starting to get things... the ball rolling as to how I wanted my business to look and I was putting all my coaching programs together. So, it was good because I didn't have to let anybody down, I was able to get the treatment I needed, have a period of recuperation and then get back to work and it didn't affect any of my clients.

Sam Burgess:    But it did make me realize that I was really glad that I was going down a coaching route rather than a management route because the whole period of time was about four weeks. That would have been really bad if I had have been managing social for clients because I didn't have anyone to pass it on to and so it probably wouldn't have got done and I probably would have lost the contracts.

Steve Folland:    Mm-hmm (affirmative), so it was four weeks where you couldn't have... even if you had have had work that you needed doing, you couldn't have done it?

Sam Burgess:    Not really no because I had a couple of operations so I was unable to really work, I was just writing note down on what I wanted my coaching program to look and if I felt tired I went and had a nap, which was really nice. But, it was a time in my life where I thought, God, I really wish I still worked in an office and was getting sick pay right now.

Steve Folland:    Yeah, yeah but I guess you had those savings built up that you mentioned.

Sam Burgess:    Yeah, yeah because I'd had a good first year, I had a really good first year and I'd had some amazing clients that were paying me a lot of money per month. I had a really buoyant bank account. I had my initial investment, I spent that, I made that back and I had quite a substantial amount of profit. So, I was really comfortable and knew that, that would coast me for about six months before I would not have any money left.

Steve Folland:    Has that experience made you feel differently as you think about the future of being freelance though?

Sam Burgess:    Yes, yeah it has. It has. It's made me a lot more determined. It was quite a morbid time because I was really unwell and I was lucky that the situation had been caught when it had otherwise I could have been really, really, really ill. And it did make me reassess everything and what I wanted from life as well as what I wanted from my business and what I wanted from being freelance. It also made me realize that I mustn't work myself into the ground and it made me realize that I needed to make sure that I always had money in the bank to cover periods of not being able to work.

Sam Burgess:    So, it did definitely affect how I felt about everything. I started thinking about all the things I hadn't done that I wanted to do and not in like a bucket list kind of way but in a, right, you wanted to do this so get on with it and do it. As a child I had a radio station, obviously it didn't actually broadcast anywhere it was just me in my bedroom with a karaoke machine and I used to love my little radio station. And, I always wanted to be radio DJ and, as I got older and podcasts became a thing I kept thinking I wanted to start a podcast. I used to listen to the Lively Show, Jess Lively, and it's the only podcast I ever listened to and I kept thinking, I want to start a podcast but I don't know what to talk about, I don't know what to talk about.

Sam Burgess:    I just decided, right, I'm going to start a podcast and that was kind of it and it was going to be to support my business, because I kind of had to explain this all to my dad because he's very involved in my business in a decision making level. Like, why are you doing this? He doesn't understand social media or marketing or any of that but he questions the decisions I make and the time I'm going to spend on it and whether or not it's going to make me money. So, I said, I'm going to start a podcast and he was like, right, and how are you going to monetize that. And I was like, well, one day I'll be able to monetize it and he's like, hmm.

Sam Burgess:    So, anyway, I started the podcast regardless because I do what I want to do. And, I started my podcast and I didn't think it was going to make me anything at all but I hoped it would raise my profile and I was getting really good feedback so I just went from there. And now, season two was sponsored, which was incredible, season three will be coming in the spring. That is also going to be sponsored but I got clients off the back of it, which was not what I was expecting at all but I had clients that I was interviewing, guests, and they do the majority of the talking but yet, it seemed to be when I did have something to say, it was wise, and knowledgeable.

Sam Burgess:    And it positioned me as an expert and it shot into the business iTunes Top 40 and suddenly people were actually contacting me to work with me and not just to be a guest on the show but actually wanting to hire me to run workshops and speak at trade shows, which is where a lot of my speaking engagements have come from, is that people have heard me on the podcast and thought, ah, she can string a sentence together, maybe she'd like to stand on a stage and do it. So, it hasn't made me a lot of money directly, if I look at the amount of hours that go into recording, editing et cetera, producing, promoting, marketing, all of that jazz, it hasn't really made me any money. But, it has opened doors to so many opportunities that then have made me money and continue to do so because that's the beauty of the podcast, is, people are always discovering it and listening to it.

Sam Burgess:    I wasn't ever expecting it to become anything, it overtook my blog, I stopped writing my blog, I do occasionally write a blog post but, I actually prefer speaking than writing.

Steve Folland:    Through what you've been developing, you're creating a, I don't know, is it an actual community or... as in, who interact with each other, or people on a mailing list who maybe interact with you, if you see what I mean. It's kind of different.

Sam Burgess:    Yeah, so I have tried to build a community around me and around my business and then they interact with each other. So, I had quite a substantial mailing list but I wanted to take those people, because I know they all have one thing in common, which is obviously me, but the other thing they have in common is they're all small business owners and, I think, 97% are women. So, I started a Facebook group and basically they all came over, and joined the Facebook and now they all talk amongst each other and have a hashtag on Instagram, and we all talk amongst each other and we support each other, and we comment on each other's Instagram posts, and we share tips for tax returns and all that jazz.

Sam Burgess:    So, I have built a community around me and it's really nice because, I was at Top Drawer on Sunday and I was leading a panel and I was sat just reading through my questions for the panel before, a couple of hours before I went on and I heard someone behind me say, oh is that Social Mouth Sam? And then the other person went, is it? And then the other person went, shall we go and speak to her and then they went, no. Then I turned round and went hello and they were like, hello. I was just like, this is ridiculous, I feel like a celebrity, this is stupid, this is really, really stupid. I'm not a celebrity.

Steve Folland:    Do you know what thought, that's partly, especially with Instagram stories, but also with your podcast, that more than anything, really builds up personal connection I think.

Sam Burgess:    A hundred percent, a hundred percent. When I got recognized in a shop, the lady recognized me from my voice before she saw me. I picked up something in a shop and I said to my husband, oh this is nice and we were having a chat about it and he was probably saying we don't need it and I was going, oh no, no but we do, we do really need this vase or something. And, I put it down and I turned round and she was properly eyeballing me and I was like, hello and she just went, are you Social Mouth Sam? And I was like, yes and my husband went oh Jesus Christ and walked off.

Sam Burgess:    Normally it's Monty that gets recognized, people are like, oh it's Monty from Instagram and I'm like what, this is ridiculous. So now the dog gets recognized and I get recognized and my husband is just trying to blend into the background, like, oh my God.

Steve Folland:    That's really cool.

Sam Burgess:    But, yeah, it builds that personal connection and people have said to me when they've met me, you're exactly like you are on your podcast or you're exactly like you are in your Instagram Stories, I feel like I know you so well. And that's wonderful and that makes me so happy because all I try to do is be myself and be 100% genuine. That's great because I would hate if I wasn't coming across the right way because then if I booked a client and then we're going to do a seven hour day together, they would be mighty disappointed if I wasn't like I was online.

Steve Folland:    Now, if you could tell your younger self one thing about being freelance, what would that be?

Sam Burgess:    It's going to be the hardest, but the most rewarding thing you're going to do but enjoy the nine to five and the steady paycheck while you can. Take all the holidays, spend money on things that you probably don't really need but you want because there will come a point where you won't have that kind of financial freedom but you will feel so much more fulfilled with what you do.

Steve Folland:    Make the most of nine to five while it's there.

Sam Burgess:    Rock up at one minute to nine and leave at one minute past five.

Steve Folland:    Sam, thank you so much. You can find out about Sam and Social Mouth, and Monty, and the podcasts, and everything else at beingfreelance.com, we'll put a link through. Of course while you're at the website as well, you can hit subscribe on the mailing list, check out the blog of course, of the hundred or so other guests, please do make sure you subscribe. And if you've enjoyed this, reach out to Sam but also share it with other freelancers. But, Sam, thanks so much for sharing and all the best being freelance.

Sam Burgess:    Thank you very much for asking me, thank you so much.