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Freelance with Illustrator and Graphic Designer Careshia Steenkamp

posted by Ed Beukes March 31, 2017 1 Comment

10 questions for freelance illustrator and graphic designer Careshia Steenkamp on career, life and freelancing.

1. FCT: When did you start working as a freelancer?

I’ve only been freelancing full time since the 1st of Feb 2017. But I’ve been taking on freelance jobs since I started working 3 years ago.

2. FCT: Sum up your skills in 7 words.

Passionate, spontaneous, storytelling illustrator and designer.

3. FCT: What do you enjoy most about freelancing?

The variety of work that I have everyday means that I’m never bored.

I also enjoy the freedom that I have to move around and manage my own time. It’s great.

4. FCT: Do you think freelancing is unconventional?

Yes it is, but the world is moving toward it more and more, especially in certain industries.

5. FCT: Describe the verb to freelance in the dictionary according to you.

 free·lance | ˈfrēˌlans/ verb: To work on your own terms, self-employed and not commited on a long-term basis.

6. FCT: Tell us about your work ethic.

Hard working, self driven and very curious to try new ways of creating art.

7. FCT: What do you believe makes you stand out from the crowd?

My style can be quirky and fun.

8. FCT: Describe the space where you work at?

I work everywhere; from my flat in Tamboerskloof that overlooks Table Mountain, to a nice coffee shop. I especially enjoy one of my new client’s home in Vredehoek- with amazing fibre internet!

 9. FCT: How have you benefited from Freelance Cape Town?

I landed a job at Quirk and stayed there for a year and a half, as well as freelance jobs here and there.

10. FCT: What are your words of wisdom/encouragement for those who are thinking of embarking on the freelance journey?

  • It’s scary at first, but super exciting.
  • You need to have a portfolio website with only your best work on it and you need to impress on the get-go.
  • Always be willing to work on jobs that you usually wouldn’t, because you never know where it might lead to.
  • Save money!!!
  • Work hard.
  • Try and do exciting personal projects to better yourself and to explore- this is the time to do it, because you can and you have the freedom to pursue it!

You can view Careshia’s profile by clicking here.


Freelance with Photographer Malan Louw

posted by Ed Beukes March 17, 2017 0 comments

Malan Louw is a traditional South African family man. Reliable, dedicated, grounded and open to adventure. As much as he enjoys capturing the world through his lens, he loves cooking for his wife and kids and even more so over a ‘braai’ with good music.

Enjoy this inside look into the world of a freelancer from our very own Malan Louw’s perspective.

FCT: When did you start working as a freelancer?

I started working as a freelance press photographer at the end of 1999.

FCT: That’s more than 15 years in the field! If you could go back to the end of 1999, what would you tell your younger self about the freelancing world that you wish you had known back then?

(Malan Laughs). It’s not as easy as it looks.

interview with malan louw

FCT: Sum up your skills in 7 words.

I am a creative photographer and videographer.

FCT: Where/What do you draw your inspiration from?

I spend a lot of time looking at other photographers’ work and the comings and goings of everyday life.

FCT: What do you enjoy most about freelancing?

The flexibility and variety of project exposure.

FCT: Do you think freelancing is unconventional?

Freelancing is unconventional and a rewarding way to work.

FCT: In which way do you find it rewarding?

I enjoy the lifestyle it offers. You have room to move and it basically comes down to you get out what you’ve put in.

FCT: Describe the verb to freelance in the dictionary according to you.

free·lance | ˈfrēˌlans/ verb: The exploration, application and development of skills with greater flexibility and control.

FCT: Tell us about your work ethic.

Honesty, quality of work, reliability and dedication play a big role in my work ethic.

interview with malan louw

FCT: What do you believe makes you stand out from the crowd?

My unconventional way of thinking supports new creative ways and ideas in my image-making processes.

FCT: Describe the space where you work at?

I work in open spaces, mostly outdoors and on location.

FCT: Which location has been your favourite up to date?

Err… tough choice, but I really did enjoy a fairly recent project out in the Cederberg shooting an adventure bike promo.

FCT: How have you benefited from Freelance Cape Town?

I have enjoyed great exposure, various leads and successful jobs from Freelance Cape Town since I’ve joined in 08/2015.

FCT: What are your words of wisdom/encouragement for those who are thinking of embarking on the freelance journey?

As a freelancer, you need to keep yourself relevant to changing environments whilst at the same time being consistent with your own style and brand.

Click here to view Malan Louw’s profile.

Writer Tamara Arden with Freelance Cape Town
Creative WritingFeatureFilm & BroadcastingFreelanceUncategorizedWriting

Freelance with writer Tamara Arden

posted by Ed Beukes February 17, 2017 0 comments

Tamara Arden has worked in an array of media such as magazines, newspapers, radio, advertising and digital; and one can only see why this freelance writer’s pen is destined for great things.

Both free-spirited and grounded; Tamara shares her freelance journey and her words slowly draw you in. Through her story she conveys her strong will and sensitivity to life and work in an unashamed and poetic way.

FCT: Tamara, how long have you worked as a freelance writer?

I’ve been dipping in and out of that role since I chose words as a career path. I generously gave my time to freelance projects during my in-between moments, when the office roles and company culture conflicted with my vision and integrity.
But until recently, I’ve never believed or given myself the chance to branch out. This was until I decided to invest in my potential, skill set and refined craft with a confidence to secure me, which is why I joined FCT in November 2016. So, it’s still early days – and I’m curious where this journey will take me.

FCT: We like your word choice: Vision, Integrity, Journey… Tell us more about that. What is your vision with your freelance work? What does integrity mean to you? And in your opinion, what are some of the key elements needed for someone who wishes to embark on the freelance journey?

All those attributes have become an extension of the personality and mood my writing carries.

I wear my integrity like a crown, letting it it lead the way.

Writer Tamara Arden with Freelance Cape Town

The media industry is both stimulating and draining. It often narrates your direction, instead of you – so I needed to know who I was and what I stood for before I dedicated my time to a freelance path.
Sifting through each role; you are expected to adapt- be a chameleon, so if you lose sight of your integrity, the work will not sound believable.
My biggest tool is being an active listener, I use it to guide the vision.

You need to learn to be both the lone wolf and the team player on this journey, pairing up ideas and strengths to create artistry.

One vision is essential: it helps absorb and contribute.
Collaborative vision is magic and its practice is humbling.

The important part is the story; it gives context to your timeline and future. No matter the medium, the key is to share it your way. Trust your contribution to the work.

A freelance journey is just about giving clients ‘you’. Everyone is looking for individuality and how it will support their brand. Sincerity, honesty and openness are my go-to’s – you must have a strong will to be be heard and ask as many questions until you feel you have the clarity and understanding of what is expected of you.


Writer Tamara Arden with Freelance Cape Town

FCT: Tell us about the project you most enjoyed working on and why.

I was asked to write, narrate and record an audio tour for Voice Map in 2015. I wouldn’t jump to explain it as enjoyable first. I’d say more along the lines of daunting, awkward and out of my comfort zone, but by the time it was finalised, that joy spread throughout me.
I wrote audio copy for a tour around Braamfontein, Joburg. I thought this would be the only expectation of me, but alas, it was quite a lengthy process – a lot of back and forth, pushing me against the limitations I instilled in myself and audio was a whole new platform to me. I had a great guide with me every step of the way, showing me how to be concise, clear and relatable in my choice of words. I learnt to be a storyteller in a different way. So day after day, as I sat under a duvet to shut the external street noises out, using my phone as a microphone, concealing the discomfort of listening to my voice over and over again, the awkward and the uncomfortable turned into the beautiful and the brilliant. I had created a living piece of content for a dynamic and innovative start-up for people to download and navigate their way around the area I had mapped out. It gave me a taste of that world and I’d love to venture deeper again one day.

FCT: If you could narrate the next freelance chapter of your life, what would your last paragraph sound like?

I think it’s quite an obtuse question, but I’ll write what’s in the heart… She asked for the transparency and certainty of today, the potential of another tomorrow and the choice to discover liberty in the artistry of life. Shape Shifting constantly as she mastered her every mood, she began to operate on a high emotional frequency where every detail, gesture and interaction deeply moved her. She immersed herself in nature and used gratitude as a foundation to appreciate the comings and goings, the temporary and the divine.

The gift was just to stay present and keep that reminder active:
Be you. Be unashamedly you.


Click here to view Tamara Arden’s profile.

freelance photography

Freelance with photographer Fred van Leeuwen aka The Image Engineer

posted by Ed Beukes February 3, 2017 1 Comment

Freelance photographer Fred van Leeuwen adjusts his eye behind the lens. Lights hit the stage; reflecting yellow and red and blue off leather jackets and cheering fans reaching out to where the energy bounces off the rock star’s electric counterpart.

Flash. Image. Capture. That’s where The Image Engineer’s passion for photography fuses with his favourite subject.

We really loved catching up with this talented photographer and hope you also enjoy this window into the freelance lifestyle of The Image Engineer.

freelance photographer

FCT: When did you start working in the freelance industry?

I started building my freelance career after graduating from college in 2009. After working numerous full time jobs that I tried to keep as closely related to photography as possible, I finally made the switch in June 2016. I quit my day job and embarked on a career as full time freelance Photographer and Retoucher.

FCT: Was it an easy transition?

I don’t think any transition of this nature happens without a few hitches. I had prepared myself before undergoing the transition, but it still had a few small kinks in the chain here and there. I think once you are able to secure a few long-term clients on the side, it’s much easier making the switch.

FCT: Sum up your skills in 7 words.

Perfectionist, knowledgeable, industrious, versatile, experimental, unorthodox, resourceful.

FCT: What do you enjoy most about freelancing?

I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to my own work. Being able to manage my own time, set up meetings and take control of my work is what I live for.

FCT: Do you think freelancing is unconventional?

Perhaps a few years back it would’ve been unconventional, but I know of quite a few people pursuing a career as freelancer these days, especially in Cape Town.

FCT: Describe the verb ‘to freelance’ in the dictionary according to you.

free·lance | ˈfrēˌlans/ verb: Freelancing is a bit like switching over from Automatic to Manual Mode on your camera; From a safe, corporate environment where it’s more likely you’re being told to stay in line, to switching over and being completely in control of your own success or failure. It’s both daunting and exciting at the same time.

freelance photographer

FCT: Tell us about your work ethic.

With today’s digital world, instant gratification has become an ever-growing need. Clients expect a week’s worth of work to be done in a day. This is where managing expectations as well as drawing a line in some circumstances is quite important when you are your own boss.
You do get the occasional client expecting you to pull an all-nighter or work over weekends – but it’s up to you if you’re willing to do that. I believe a balance is necessary when freelancing. If you’re working yourself to death for little or no pay, something needs to change.

FCT: What do you believe makes you stand out from the crowd? (no pun intended)

Probably my retouching style. I’ve always been drawn to the visual aesthetic of pin-up, retro and those old propaganda posters. I started off mimicking the style when retouching my own images and worked well on Concert and Event Photography. Over the years it has evolved and became a more subtle effect, but it’s the one thing people seem to be drawn to.

FCT: What do you mostly photograph?

I love music, so for the vast majority of my photography career it’s been mainly band/concert photography, with some surrealistic, commercial and landscape photography on the side. I’ve found myself branching out towards doing more fashion/portraiture in the studio the last few months and absolutely loving it. That being said, I’ll never move away from shooting bands.

FCT: Describe the space where you work at?

If I’m not out shooting, location scouting or meeting clients, I’ll be working at my PC from my home in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town.

FCT: What else do you have next to your PC?

My electric guitar. Useful for times when I have to wait for video projects to render or have an extra 5 minutes to spare. It’s been gathering dust in the last few months though, unfortunately.

freelance photographer

FCT: How have you benefited from Freelance Cape Town?

I’m always for entities such as Freelance Cape Town promoting the industry. Especially when it comes to promoting the Photographic Industry. I haven’t been a member for a very long time yet, but I’ve received a few queries already and also managed to secure a neat interview! I believe the foundations have been laid and I’m sure the future has many interesting ventures ahead.

 FCT: Describe your future dream project.

I would’ve loved to go on tour with one of my favourite rock/metal bands during their prime for a month or two. Taking portraits of people like Ozzy, Lemmy, Bruce Dickinson or any other rock stars of that time must’ve been an incredible experience! I wouldn’t mind trading places with photographer Ross Halfin for a while…

For now, I would love to spend a month or two in Iceland with a Hasselblad H6D, a makeup artist, stylist and a few models to shoot surrealistic looking portraits and composites.

FCT: What are your words of wisdom/encouragement for those who are thinking of embarking on the freelance journey?

The freelance journey is a great one if you manage to tame that wild horse and ride her into the sunset.

But don’t expect that you won’t have a few tumbles along the way.
– The first ones are always the worst and will make you want to give up.
– Don’t expect instant success overnight.
– There are hundreds of other fly-by-night freelancers looking to undercut your business and make a quick buck. Create your own signature style and perfect it in order to separate yourself from the crowd and hopefully you will get noticed.
– Use social media to your advantage. If you’re a photographer, use Instagram and learn which hashtags work well for your type of work.
– Get to know the industry and key players. One thing that has helped me boost my business is to collaborate with like-minded photographers. I often get a feeling there’s this unspoken rule to keep to oneself in the freelance photographic industry. That shouldn’t be the case at all! The only way this industry is going to grow is for photographers to tone down their egos and insecurities and work together.

One can gain so much inspiration and knowledge by simply sitting down with another freelancer and chat ideas over a few beers.

Click here to view The Image Engineer’s profile.

7 Reasons to outsource your accounting

7 Reasons to outsource your accounting

posted by Marius Vosloo July 27, 2016 0 comments

We recently met up with Donovan Blake-Shepherd, one our accountants on Freelance Cape Town.

Below Donovan shares some valuable advice and reasons why we should outsource our accounting.

7 Reasons to outsource your accounting

If you’re a small business owner, you’ll understand the pressures of growing a business. In these tough economic times, keeping your head above water, let alone flourishing, is becoming increasingly more difficult, and it takes some creative thinking and innovative developments to increase your bottom line. One solution many SME’s are turning to is to move away from in-house finance departments or large and impersonal accountancy firms, and to outsource their finances and accounting. Here are a few of the reasons it is a good (no, great) idea to follow suit:

Increase productivity (and ultimately performance)

The first, and probably the most obvious, benefit of outsourcing your accounting is that your time is far better spent on growing the business, and not struggling to balance the books each month, or trying to understand the mountain of ‘red tape’ requirements that come with running a business. Let the experts do what they do best, and leave you to run your company.

More cost effective

Following on from the above point, then why not hire an internal accountant or accounts team to handle the finances? Because it’s far more cost effective to outsource it. Why pay a full-time salary (with benefits), when you can pay only for what you need?

Expert team at your disposal

A specialised accounting firm will comprise a team of experts with knowledge and access to the latest cutting-edge technology, software, compliance regulations, and innovations. Plus, you will effectively have an entire team at your disposal, constantly collaborating and strategizing to find the best possible solution for you.

Focused and vested in your business

Unlike a staffer who knows they’re going to get a pay check at the end of the month, an outsourced solution will have a vested interest in providing you with the best possible service, because he will want to retain your business, and so will work extra hard at maintaining a life-long relationship.

Quicker turn-around time

With a team working around the clock to meet a deadline – that has access to all the necessary resources – the turn-around time will be faster and treated with a professional urgency.

Flexible options

Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, you have the ability to choose which options suit your company’s needs. Do you require a once-a-year audit, is it a monthly bookkeeping service you’re after, or perhaps you need the full-service financial treatment? Whichever it is, you can pick and choose, and you pay accordingly.

Fraud reduction

An external company will have the means and resources to implement proper fraud protection controls, detecting and preventing all forms of fraud, which can potentially cripple any small business.

Now that we’ve explained why you should be outsourcing your accounting, the next step is to find the right people for the job.

One such company is Profijt, a modern, virtual accounting solution for start-ups and the progressed SME business. They pride themselves in understanding modern business challenges, expert knowledge of the latest technologies to ensure your company’s progression, fast turn arounds, lifelong client relationships, constant collaboration, and fair fees.

Not only is Profijt’s end-goal to make their clients wealthier, they’ll talk to you in a language you’ll understand.

Services on offer include the full range of accounting and financial services, which can be tailored to your individual needs. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Monthly bookkeeping, payroll and management accounts
  • Annual financial statements, corporate tax and other compliance duties
  • Strategic guidance and independent business valuations
  • Expert consulting and finance-related registrations etc


Great news! Profijt are offering all Freelance Cape Town members an exclusive offer where you can save a whopping R10,000+ on their products and services:

  1. Free set-up of Xero accounting system; a modern, advanced accounting software hosted in the cloud, which includes all data conversion and training. Work on your current accounting system today, and work in the most beautiful-, cloud-based accounting system tomorrow!  (Save over R6,500 excl)
  1. Save 30% off your first 12-month Xero subscription (save up to $12 a month)
  1. Free consultation, where you can ask any question, not necessarily related to Xero. Perhaps they can help you with another pressing challenge. (Save over R3,000 excl)

T&C’s apply to all offers.

Is it time for your company to progress? With savings like these, there’s no time like the present to progress to Profijt.

For more information on Profijt and the Xero accounting solution, visit 

Article prepared by Kirsten Curtis for Profijt Chartered Accountants


Freelancers and tax: Eight things you need to consider

posted by Marius Vosloo May 11, 2016 1 Comment

Freelancers have it tough. You are out there on your own in a tax environment that is probably more complex than you imagined it ever would be. For the regular nine to fivers, a paycheck arrives at month end, with a neatly deducted amount and SARS is magically paid up. Then once a year they have to submit a return and that’s SARS off their backs.

For a freelancer though, life is a different story. Sure you get to work from your favourite coffee shop and sleep as late as you want. But when it comes to admin, such as tax, the reason you’re sleeping late is because you’re up all night staring at the ceiling wondering when SARS are going to break down the door and haul you up in Pollsmoor for evasion.

Firstly, relax. Secondly, we’ve compiled a list of the most common tax issues of which freelancers should be aware. So roll up your jeans, pat your pet bull dog and listen up.


A common problem is not being registered for tax in the first place. As a freelancer, running your business is a full time job and admin such as registering for tax gets left behind. Then when work starts coming in, it’s small amounts and you figure you may fall under SARS radar anyway. As your business grows, your bank balance grows with it. But so does the backlog of admin, unpaid tax, consequences, fear and sleepless nights.

Unfortunately this is not one of those problems that just goes away by itself – like dub step. Fortunately, the first step to sorting it out is to get registered for tax.

Registration has to be done in person at a SARS office, and this will probably involve waiting in a long line. You will need:

  • A bank statement,
  • Your ID document, and
  • proof of address.

The next step is grappling with your financial history. This can be daunting, depending on how good your records are and how long you’ve ignored the problem.

The good news is that once registration is done, most tax concerns can be dealt with online via the SARS e-filing service. Depending on a person’s tax history, one could also apply for the SARS voluntary disclosure programme. This programme provides the opportunity to come clean on outstanding tax issues without having to pay penalties. But the first step to redemption is registration.

Getting your refund

Don’t think of registering for tax as just a legal requirement. For freelancers, there may also be a significant financial benefit. Most freelancers will be all too familiar with the annoying 25% tax that gets withheld by clients on certain jobs.

This 25% is, roughly speaking, tax which you prepay to SARS based on what you would land up paying over the course of a year. Basically, SARS guesses you are going to pay 25% of your earnings each year, so it holds that amount back. But since everybody’s business is different and certain business expenses are tax deductible, the chances are that when you file your return at the end of the year, you should get some of that money back.

So you can almost thank SARS for paying your bonus each year.

Tax directive application

Another benefit of being in the tax system is that you will be in a position to ask SARS for a tax directive. If the previous year’s business shows that the 25% tax is too high, a tax directive allows you to get paid without getting the full 25% deducted. You must apply for a directive every year if you want the reduced tax, but it is a relatively simple process and will result in better cash flow for the business.

Choice of taxpayer type

There are lots of different forms a business can take. Your business may run as a sole proprietor or a company. The benefits of these options will ultimately depend on the nature of your business, your turnover and your types of expenses.

SARS has introduced various tax regimes with a focus on small businesses. The Micro Business and Small Business Corporation regimes make things easier for smaller businesses with simplified tax rules and lower tax rates.

There are lots of options which could lead to serious savings. But none of these are possible if you fly under the radar and ignore your tax requirements.

Tax Deductions

For a business owner, these two words are almost more beautiful than “I love you”. Once you’re in the tax system, the aim is to pay as little tax as possible. To reduce your tax bill, certain genuine business expenses can be deducted from your income. These are called tax deductions (I love you).

For instance, studio rent, computers, business travel, phone bills or stationary may all be tax deductions. If you’re not registered for tax, then you’re paying your 25% tax and not claiming ANY deductions. You’re basically losing money each month. Nice. But if you are doing things properly, then you’re paying for the things you need, paying less to SARS and are basically a lean mean freelancing machine.


For certain jobs you’ve been asked for your VAT registration number in order to become an approved vendor for your client. And you’ve been like my what, what now?

VAT (Value-Added tax) is a tax on the supply of certain goods or services. Businesses are only required to register as VAT vendors if they will have a turnover of more than one million Rand in a 12 month period. If this is you and you’re not tax registered, then consult a tax practitioner IMMEDIATELY. But the unfortunate likelihood is that it’s not. So while you may voluntarily chose to register for VAT, it is not a requirement.

The benefit of VAT registration is that you may be able to claim back money you spend on VAT from SARS. A disadvantage is that you may have to charge VAT (of 14%) on your fees. If you are not VAT registered, then just tell your clients that and if they require a VAT registration, then it may not be a job worth taking. Ultimately the decision to register for VAT voluntarily will come down to weighing the potential benefit of claiming back VAT against the increased administration costs.

International issues

One of the benefits of freelancing is that you have the ability to work from almost anywhere – sometimes outside of South Africa.

However, as the age old saying goes: as certain as death, there is taxes. Some countries may want you to pay tax if you do work there and conversely, even if you’re working abroad, SARS may still want its cut.

South Africa has tax treaties with various countries that determine which country may tax which income. This can get complicated. So the best advice we can give is if you do freelance work outside South Africa, you should probably consult with a tax practitioner.

When does this become a problem?

You may be thinking, this seems like a lot. It’s always worked out before, so I don’t see why it won’t continue to work out. Well our freelancing friend – death and taxes. It’s literally a saying.

Firstly, your business won’t stay small forever. All your hard work and savings will hopefully lead to growth and wealth and when it does – SARS will be waiting.

Secondly, ever wanted to buy a property? Well, it’s unlikely you will be able to get a bond and fulfill that dream without your taxes being sorted.

These are just two examples. There are many more.


Paying tax actually isn’t the worst thing in the world. Essentially, those highways we like, those health services our country relies on, the government grants we apply for – are all payed for out of tax payers’ money.

It’s possible that this fact won’t convince you to pay your taxes, but your tax status is closely linked to your commercial success. If you’re not okay with SARS, then at some point you will take a hit. The question is do you want that to be now, at the start of your career, or later when the consequences are more severe.

Legalese is a creative legal agency which has redesigned legal services to suit creative and start-up businesses by making them accessible, affordable and understandable.

Authors : Alvhin Adendorff & Eitan Stern

We also have a few accountants signed up onto Freelance Cape Town who would gladly assist you – have a look here.

Creative WritingFeatureFreedomFreelanceWriting

Charles Siboto, his journey and learnings as a Freelancer

posted by Marius Vosloo March 22, 2016 1 Comment

We recently had a chat with Charles Siboto and I can honestly say, from the first exchange of mails we had a LOT of respect for him, the way he communicates and when you see his profile it’s pretty hard not to be impressed with him.

Please enjoy the read below as Charles shares his journey with us.

Journeys have been an overarching theme in my life of late, whether it’s at work or at home. Journeys are perhaps one of the overarching themes of all life. That and running a race. All my teachers in primary school loved comparing life to running a race. I digress, though. What I want to get at is that when one is on a journey it is good to stop once in a while and take stock. Just stop, catch your breath, relax and look back at the way you have come. A little break also allows you to look at the road ahead and to plan a bit.

I recently joined the wonderful people over at Freelance Cape Town as a freelancer. Marius Vosloo, the guy who heads the team up, immediately made me feel welcome and at home. They just launched their blog (where you are reading this) and this is the perfect opportunity for me to pause, take stock and reflect on my journey as Charles thus far and to add my voice to theirs and see what sort of music comes of it.

Dear Reader and fellow traveller, sit down and rest your feet a while and let me tell you my story.

My name is Charles Siboto and I am a reader and lover of beautiful stories. I haunt places where I can find good stories. My love for stories has resulted in me becoming someone who works with stories, whether they are my own or stories that other people wish to tell. I mainly prefer stories that other people tell because there is nothing better for me than getting so caught up in someone else’s visions that you just cannot help but love and understand that person a bit more than you did before being moved by their story. I grew up as a reader and from early on I knew that stories are magic and that I want to be a part of that magic when I grow up. I never knew in what capacity I would help make and spread more of this magic but at least I had a general direction in which to start looking for where I can fit in.

I am not even all that picky in my love for stories. I love the stories my grandmother told me as a child and listened to Gcina Mhlope on the radio every Saturday morning on a show she had that was sponsored by Joko tea. I can’t remember the name of the show but I loved the monsters she always told of and how the children in the stories always outsmarted them. I read books, comic books, played video games, watched movies and listen to weird radio dramas. I landed up studying English Literature, Linguistics and Literary studies and I loved most of it and hated some of it. I remember one instance in my fourth year of university where I read the comic book, Final Crisis by Grant Morrison and had one of the greatest moments of my life reading a story and it shook me to my core. Final Crisis is a massive story in its complexity and when Zillo Valla (if my memory serves me well), one of the beings in charge of protecting the multiverse utters the following words it just gets me every single time I read that story: “Behold: we monitors who were faceless once . . . We all have names now, and stories. There are heroes and villains . . . secrets and lovers.” Things like this unstitch me. Somewhere in that comic book Superman asks that the words, To Be Continued be carved on his tombstone because humanity’s story never comes to an end, it always carries on. I read and love J.R.R. Tolkien and he taught me that some stories can break your heart and yet still strike you with sorrow as sharp as swords, eucatastrophe he called it, the good ending that breaks your heart.

Stories lead me to where I am today. My name is Charles Siboto and I am an editor of children’s books by day at one of South Africa’s biggest publishing houses. This is a great honour and privilege for me because it was a struggle for me to get my foot in that door but like any good character in your favourite stories I persevered and always kept on going. I am also a freelancer in the sense that I use the majority of my free time to blog and write about books, movies, comic books, video games, technology, lifestyle events and even a dash of politics for various online media. I also offer my services as a proofreader and editor to almost just about anyone who needs it. Interestingly enough, French engineering students turn up on my doorstep with reports for me to proofread on a regular basis. I have even dabbled in doing voiceovers, officially becoming the voice of one our book characters at work.

This, dear Reader and fellow traveller, is where I find myself currently. I am juggling a publishing career and exploring many avenues as a freelancer. I am learning a lot in both spaces and I love it. I’m working with stories and helping people who tell them find ways to tell them as clearly as possible, whether it’s an author writing a book for children or a company that needs content written to succinctly share their vision. My own story remains, always, to be continued . . .

Thank you for sharing your journey with us Charles.

If you would like to make contact with him, you are more than welcome to do so via his profile – Charles Siboto


Swooning over Sunsets

posted by Marius Vosloo March 14, 2016 0 comments

Mark Sampson is a dreamer, gypsy-at-heart and a believer in the impossible. He’s got a degree or two in Life Sciences and a diploma in marketing. Add a dollop of determination and a portion of perfection to the mix and the result is an over-qualified, passionate photographer. We caught up with him to found out what makes him tick.

You are qualified in Life Sciences and have a passion for Biology. Tell me about why nature and wildlife interests you, and how that passion has shaped your career as a photographer.

Mother Nature does not have a voice and due to exploitation and habitat loss currently happening the world over, it needs one. In time, I hope my reputation will create enough awareness through the images I capture to help save and protect our precious natural resources.

If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be?

Leopard. No doubt about it. I have always loved their solitary, secretive nature, whilst all the time maintaining an elegant charismatic aura. Amazing camouflage and tree-climbing ability gives them the edge over the majority of other predators. Beautiful creatures indeed.

A close second are dolphins. I love their playful demeanor and intelligent social structures.

You are driven by a desire to be an award-winning photographer. You also know that a great photo won’t necessarily win the awards it deserves. With that in mind, how do you manage your hopes and expectations?

Long gone are the days I am convinced all my images are brilliant, although I do have my favourites. I let feedback and response direct me to an extent, but I have my own style that I won’t deviate from too much. Client feedback is always important for direction as well, and entering competitions and being a member of a number of photographic sites also helps.

I often find myself shooting nature while covering outdoor events, which clients seem to like because it advertises the beauty of the area.

Most successful creatives can point to a defining moment in their career. It could be a great idea, a piece of work that sparked a breakthrough or crossing paths with someone that changed everything. Can you highlight a moment that changed your career?

Absolutely. Six years ago I bumped into an official race photographer while working in sponsorship and operations at the Cape Epic. After chatting to him, I was convinced that is what I wanted to do. Last week, I proudly walked out the Cape Epic offices after being appointed an official photographer. If I hadn’t had that chat, I would not be where I am today.

You’re a self-proclaimed sucker for a sunrise or sunset. You’re certainly not alone in that regard. I’ve always regarded sunrise as more special – perhaps because I see them less frequently. What are your thoughts?

I’m a sunset guy myself. For some reason they seem to be more spectacular and the images I get are better. Maybe it’s because I’m more awake than for sunrises…

I also find the afterglow of a sunset very user-friendly for photography. It lasts quite a while, allowing me to get creative with silhouette and blurred shots.

You’ve previously confessed to having a dry sense of humour. Does that have any impact on your work or perspective as a creative?

I wouldn’t say my work, but possibly on my relationship with clients. Events can be very stressful for clients and sleep deprivation can also become a factor in stage events. My sense of humour often helps cheer people up, although it also gets me into trouble at times.

You’re a believer in the impossible. What do you hope to achieve by the time you’re pipe, slippers and rocking chair that you can tell your future grandchildren and instill the same belief in them?

Firstly I would tell them not to smoke a pipe, LOL.

But on a serious note, I really hope to make a difference with my work to create awareness. Nature and its resources are not finite and self-maintaining.

We need be more aware of the destruction we’re causing and it can’t carry on. Thousands of species are extinct at the hands of humans and creating awareness through education and beautiful imagery is my ultimate goal – for my own future grandchildren and everyone else’s.


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Fulfilment through Freedom

posted by Marius Vosloo March 9, 2016 0 comments

We recently had the pleasure to welcome Natascha Strauss to our Freelance Cape Town family.

Take some time out of your day and enjoy the read below to get to know Natascha and her writing style better.

Up to this point, my life has been extraordinary.

Euphoric highs, catastrophic lows and heart-warming everyday moments fuelled a kaleidoscopic spectrum of emotions, sensations and experiences that are now life lessons, meaningful scars and cherished memories.

The thing is: I want to keep living an extraordinary life in 2016 – and beyond – and for that to happen I need freedom.

Freedom to determine and change my routine, whenever I please.

A chance to foster new skills.

The opportunity to manage myself.

The choice to use my time to grow… or simply to indulge in life’s simple pleasure.

The Change

This sudden desire for independence is the result of a number of events, over a period of time that gradually, yet significantly influenced me. Then again, perhaps it is the Saturn Return theory at play (also mentioned by fellow Cape Town freelancer, Nadia Krige, in her recent OurVoice blog post.)

My point is, I reached a crossroads and it was time for a life-altering decision.

So I made one. I chose freedom.

At the end of February, I left my job. It was a monumental move; possibly the boldest thing I have ever done. It meant I had to leave my work family and give up the security of a steady income, among other things of course.

The Road Ahead

Now, although it has only been a few days, I rejoice in my independence (despite being a mild sufferer of impostor syndrome). Armed with a healthy fear of the unknown and almost crippling excitement for the future, I cannot help but to feel alive and surprisingly focused. My restrictions are my own and the drive to succeed is invigorating.

Here’s to the future!


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Things I’ve learned from freelancing so far

posted by Marius Vosloo March 1, 2016 2 Comments

It’s been just over six months since I set out from the safe harbour that was my stable job as a content producer for a well-respected media house into the wild waters of freelance writing.

While I wouldn’t say resigning was a spur of the moment decision by any means, it certainly was a 1-2-3-JUMP, now-or-never kind of thing. I’d felt a change in the tide of my life and knew it was time to take a definitive step instead of just waiting for the restlessness to abate, even though I didn’t have too much of a plan in place.

Apparently this isn’t an altogether alien occurrence among those about to clock over into their 30s and my friend, Leandra, even told me its name: a Saturn Return.

Wikipedia explains it as follows: “The phenomenon is described by Western astrologers as influencing a person’s life development at roughly 29.5 year intervals, though the planetary influence may be felt for a few years before the exact conjunction… These intervals or ‘returns’ coincide with the approximate time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun, roughly 29.5 years.”

While I normally find astrology to be little more than light entertainment served up among the gossip and self-help articles in glossy magazines, I have to admit that this Saturn Return theory sounded rather spot on, especially since my big decision came exactly – almost to the day – at 29.5 years of age.

So, since six months in is probably a good point in time to take pause and reflect, here are a couple of things I’ve learned so far about being my own boss:

You’re going to need at least one mentor

One of the best things about having a stable job is the fact that, more often than not, it comes standard with a mentor: someone to show you the ropes, teach you the tricks of the trade, help you overcome your weaknesses and harness your strengths. When you step out of that world, it’s easy to become isolated and lose sight of what’s beneficial to your career. Without that healthy input your chances of buckling under pressure, cowering with fear, overrating your abilities and eventually unravelling entirely are pretty good.

This is why it is of the utmost importance that you make serious work of identifying people who can fill that gap from the start – peers who have walked a good distance of the path you are just starting out on, old hands whose work and career you admire, parents, friends, siblings – and make sure that you, not only touch base with them on a regular basis, but grant them the freedom to be completely, sometimes painfully, honest with you.

Find someone to help you with your finances

I never thought I’d say this, but here goes: get a financial advisor as well as someone to do your taxes. These people have been trained to work magic with numbers and, believe me, will do a far better job of sorting out the correct pension fund, medical aid, savings plan and dreaded tax return than you can ever dream of doing. While they can’t make the money for you, they sure can help you make the most of the little bit you have. (How’s that for a slogan?!)

Harness the power of social media

Share your work on Facebook, tweet about funny freelancing moments, tell stories on Instagram… hell, even put a little bit of effort into updating your LinkedIn (I know) profile. You never know who’s reading your stuff and when a well-timed post could get you your next job. Also, the more you practice your art, the better you get at it.

If you’re based in the Mother City, sign up for Freelance Cape Town

Signing up for Freelance Cape Town, biting the bullet and paying that joining fee, set off a serendipitous series of events that got me my first big job as well as a much-needed confidence boost to kick off my career.

To be more specific, Freelance Cape Town founder, Marius Vosloo contacted me within an hour after I had signed up and a further three hours later, we were in a meeting with my first client. True story! It was an urgent job with a looming deadline, but I tackled it gratefully. Within a week my work had been approved, I received my first pay check and the client had me on board for the next project.

What, makes this specific network for freelancers successful is that Marius is super hands on and helps connect the correct talent to the correct clients. In other words, you aren’t just entering a deep, dark cyber tunnel of vague opportunities, there’s actually a real person answering your emails, checking over your profile and giving you advice on the other side. I highly, highly recommend it!

Embrace flexi-time

For the first three months of freelancing, I felt so terribly guilty about the fact that I wasn’t heading to the office like everyone else that I got up at 6am every morning and kept myself busy with work and related matters till well after sunset. I guess I felt like I had to be super-duper busy to earn this strange and newfound freedom.

Only about four months in, I allowed myself to consider an alternative approach. I’ve been learning how to feel comfortable with shaving off an hour or two here or there to go to the beach on a beautiful day or indulge in some other sort of leisure activity that didn’t involve a screen, working in those hours again a bit later or the next day. It takes getting used to, but if you can get it right, I imagine you can get pretty close to living the dream.

Be a Yes Man or Woman

I’m sure there comes a time in every freelance career that you have the luxury of saying ‘no’ to jobs. Well, needless to say, I’m very much not there yet. And happy about it too!

One of the things I love most about freelancing so far is the randomness and variety it has brought to my life. I’ve written copy for fertility clinics and flight booking sites, captioned images of a Formula 1 event and compiled an Insider’s Guide for a local paper. Throughout I have also been able to pursue my passion for travel writing and really hope to do more of that in the new year.

It has been invigorating and exciting and I can’t wait for the rest!

Hustle, hustle, hustle

The most important thing to remember about freelancing is that you are indeed your own boss and therefore also the only one who can give yourself a raise, a promotion or a new direction. Opportunities are precious, don’t let them go by. If you meet someone with whom you can collaborate to advance your career and add value to theirs, tell them! Follow up and check in. If you stumble upon a great idea, pursue it with all your might and work a little every day to make it a reality.

I’ve found that almost 80% of my work is following leads, building contacts and making the most of my network. The other 20% is the physical fruit of this labour.

Seek inspiration and wisdom

Read. Go outside. Do yoga. Run. Play with your pet. Drink wine with your friends. Work from a coffee shop for an afternoon. Chat to your parents. Spend time with your love. Follow your bliss.

Also, spend less time aimlessly scrolling through Facebook and more time reading articles, listening to podcasts and watching TED Talks that are actually going to add value to your career (and life).

Here are a few of my favourite sources of wisdom and inspiration at the moment:

Brain Pickings – a website filled with sublime thoughts and theories from an array of bright minds and souls, both departed and present.

Medium – A one stop source for well-written and -researched articles about everything under the sun. There’s a strong slant toward analytical self-help type listicles e.g. ‘30 Behaviours that will make you Unstoppable’ and unusual adventures into the human psyche e.g. ‘A love letter from your fat friend’ and ‘How my Peter Pan syndrome landed me in prison for 10 years’.

Dear Sugar Radio – advice on all aspects of life from Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond in podcast form. I absolutely love it for the simple reason that it reminds me how everyone is fighting their own battle and we’re all more similar than we are different.

Magic Lessons – another podcast, this one presented by Elizabeth Gilbert to help people harness the power of their creativity. The advice she has given others – especially about managing your fear – has hit the mark for me numerous times.

The RobCast – a brilliant podcast by Rob Bell, exploring the depths of spirituality and examining the miraculous workings of the universe. I can’t tell you how many of these episodes have brought a fresh perspective and have helped soothe frayed nerves.

So, there you have it… a few early day reflections on freelancing. Here’s to keeping the hustle alive and moving ever onward and upward.

Nadia Krige

If you would like to make contact with Nadia, you can do so via her profile on Freelance Cape Town. You can also follow her and her freelance journey on Gypsified, Nadia’s personal blog.

Nadia Krige