On 9th June 2016, Emmeline Pidgen achieved something special. A talented illustrator with a wealth of graphic novels and advertorials under her belt, she was crowned the brightest and best freelancer in the whole of the UK. She was the IPSE Freelancer of the Year, the winner of a nationwide competition to seek out those with unparalleled commitment to freelancing and an unstoppable solo business.
Emmeline went home with £5,000, plus a training package of the same value and national publicity. It made a big impact on her business – on her entire life – and it gave her the confidence to take her business further than ever before.
This year, you could be like Emmeline. You could be walking away with that £5,000. The Awards are open for entries right now, but you only have a few weeks, so don’t hang about.
Richard Jeffs is Founder and CEO of FreelanceDiary, a global freelancer booking platform. He was one of two runners-up who each received £2,500 last year, and he hasn’t looked back. “Receiving recognition from IPSE opened many doors for me,” he says. “It provided some great exposure, and the cash prize enabled me to carry out additional work on the app.”
You might assume that that telling IPSE all about your colourful work history would be a lengthy and time-consuming process. But that isn’t the case, Richard says. “Starting a large freelancer platform has left me with very little spare time. IPSE made the application process very easy, enabling me to apply for the freelancer awards quickly.”
Emmeline didn’t have much trouble with the application process either. “It was simple, and if I’m completely honest, quite fun!” she says. “I think it’s really important to take a sort of stock-check of where you are in your career and a hard look at your goals every so often – it helps you to refocus on what you’re doing and why! I think a degree of honesty and understanding that you’re communicating with a person, rather than just listing your achievements, is important.
“If you’re a talented individual then do make the effort to apply,” Richard says. “The  finalists were from a mixture of industries and all had very different skillsets. Every freelancer has a chance to win a large cash prize, and receiving an award can change your life overnight.”
Previous awards judge and IPSE Magazine Editor James Gribben says freelancers from every background and profession should apply. “The important thing is that you work for yourself and wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re looking for people who’re passionate about freelancing as a career choice and who’ve excelled in their field. If you think that might be you, then we want to hear from you!”
And according to Emmeline, it’s an invaluable experience whether you’re shortlisted or not. “I think it’s definitely worth applying, if only for the chance to meet so many other incredibly talented and varied freelancers,” she says. “As a self-employed person, you can get sucked into the bubble of your own industry, and you can forget the parallels we all face as freelancers – so it’s great to be able to get out there and share stories with freelancers from other sectors!”
“Our panel won’t be trying to trip you up,” James says. “Instead, they’ll be giving you a platform to talk about what you’re passionate about.”
2017’s Awards promise to be the biggest yet. Don’t miss out.
Apply here - www.nationalfreelancersday.com
Key dates to remember
Awards open for entries: Friday 20th January
Deadline for entries: Friday 17th March
Judging day: Thursday 6th April
National Freelancers Day and IPSE Awards ceremony: Thursday 8th June