Why I left Politics to Freelance

In October 2008, I was bawling my eyes out on the way back from the Best Bum final in Paris. After spending 10 days in Europe with amazing new friends I didn’t want to go back to my old life.

So instead of going back to real estate, which was this space that I had been working in for five years, I decided to enroll myself into university. I was 24-years-old.

Like every other person in my communications degree studying journalism, I wanted to be a host on Getaway but little did I know I would end up somewhere completely different.

I was offered a job six months out from finishing university to work in politics as a media officer. At the time I thought that would look pretty impressive on my resume.

My last day at Parliament House in 2015
I took a selfie stick to work this day so that I could get a photograph to mark my last day working in Parliament House in 2015.

Even though I never dreamed of working in Politics, I spent six years working for politicians. I worked incredibly hard, traveling between my home base on the Gold Coast and Parliament House in Canberra on sitting weeks.

I spent roughly 22 weeks of each year in Parliament itself. When I was there, I basically wrote a million speeches and watched the chamber like a hawk. We worked some big hours from 7:00 in the morning to about 10:00 or 11:00 at night most days.

As a result of my own experience flying in and out for work (FIFO), I have gained so much respect for people who do FIFO. It’s really tough, you do miss out on some important milestones and celebrations with your loved-ones.

After four years, I decided my time in Federal Politics was at an end. I wanted to be more permanently based at home. 

This brought me to the next stage of my political career, working for the Queensland Parliament which lasted about two years. 

It was Christmas time last year where I just really … just had the burning desire to get out and do something for myself. So many people would always say to me, you know, you’re very good at what you do, if anyone can run a business it is you.

From my experience, most politicians aren’t really very open to doing anything super creative. Everything that you do in public relations and politics has to kind of fit within a box, which normally comes with shell media releases.

I wanted to be able to break out of the conservative political communications world and show my creative talent and skill to others who would appreciate it.

There was only so much that I could as a media advisor in the political space. I had some great ideas, particularly around how social media could be utilised to connect authentically with voters but by and large, Pollies don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal lives. 

They know that everything they say and do can be scrutinized so they are in a space where they don’t usually feel comfortable sharing that side of themselves. 

I want to work with people who can. I want to work with people who are very sure about who they are, and they have a very strong brand awareness and need help looking super awesome online and in the media.

It’s essentially what I did for six years.

With a plethora of platforms to get your message across, like YouTube, podcasts, blogs. were not just working with the traditional press, TV and radio media channels anymore.

There are several ways to get your message across and I just love helping people plan a tailored media management strategy.

In fact, I am just a huge fan of plans full stop. With a super creative mind and an understanding of small business, I get a real buzz out of combining all of my experience and knowledge within my own consultancy.

If I love what I do, I will never work a day in my life!

The entrepreneurial rollercoaster sure has its ups and downs but I’ll take freedom over security any day of the week.

At least for now!

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