I’ve always been a bit of a jack of all trades. I don’t see it as a bad thing. I like the variety of doing lots of things quite well rather than mastering one thing.  

I’ve come to accept that I’m always going to be up against people who are smarter than me and people who excel at a particular part of the job.

I can’t ever really compete with their expertise in certain areas. But where I’ve learned I can compete is in communication.

Because so much of business is about saying the right things.

● Keeping people up-to-date on what’s happening with a project

● Talking to them in their language and explaining things in a way that they understand

● Telling them the truth and not what you think they want to hear

● Helping wherever you can. Rather than saying no, offering advice or referring them on to someone who can say yes

As much as the work itself, it’s the way you communicate that builds the relationships and makes the experience of working with you a positive one. That's what keeps them coming back and gets them saying nice things about you to other people. 

Whether you’re an all-rounder or a specialist, communication is an area where we can all compete.

Being genuine, honest and helpful is a competitive advantage. 

Interesting stuff

Good slides reduce complexity

On the theme of good communication, this post by Tom Critchlow looks at how a good slide presentation can help explain complicated things more simply. There are plenty of good tips on how to make slides engaging for the audience as well.

How to reach out to young researchers

Perhaps one of the reasons I feel I’m up against people who are smarter than me is because research is actually full of people that are smarter than me.

This post covers the main talking point from a young researchers panel at MRS Impact 2021. It argues that there’s too much of an ‘Oxbridge’ culture in market research and the industry needs to welcome people from different backgrounds. I’m all for it. 

Musicians in lockdown

Marge has popped up a few times in this newsletter over the years, either for her great work with Museum Freelance or her brilliant running and fundraising for Alzheimer's Research UK.

Outside of those things, Marge is also handy with a camera. She spent time during lockdown photographing and chatting to musicians about how COVID-19 has affected their livelihood. And she’s only gone and got the project featured on the BBC. It’s a really good read.

If you enjoy it, Marge’s other work is worth having a look at too:


No single app for this month. Instead, I’ve put together a list of 20 that I use or have used in running my business.

It’s not a comprehensive list, but there’s a good range of tools and software for doing the work, communicating with clients and keeping on top of admin. And if there’s at least one app in there that makes you a bit more productive, it was worth doing.

Read: The apps I use (and recommend) for running a freelance research business

Freelance soundtrack

There’s something about this song that gets across the excitement and aimlessness of travelling.

I think we’re all ready to have those feelings again. 

That’s your lot.

By the way, how is it April already? And why did I have to defrost my car this morning? I'm ready for some warmer weather.

Until next time.


P.S. I'm not promoting this newsletter anymore. I've run out of things to say about it on Twitter. But if you know someone who might enjoy it, sending them to the sign up page is always appreciated. Cheers.