/  2024   /  Quick chat with Brook McCarthy

Quick chat with Brook McCarthy

You’ve been a coach, marketer and facilitator for many years. What do you love about what you do?

The diversity! Over 16 years, I’ve worked with CEOs of multinationals, soloist single parents working school hours from their kitchen bench, in services ranging from marketing/comms, to health, consulting, speaking, authors, and people doing things I’ve never even heard of before! The most obscure things, in a broad range of industries. It’s an absolute delight to see the many and varied ways people earn a livelihood. 

You’re talking at the Summit about creating a marketing plan freelancers can stick to – is this especially hard for the freelancers you know and if so, why?

Apart from the obvious – that we’re busy and marketing has no guaranteed outcome…

I’m a big fan of starting with the minimum viable marketing, and building from there, rather than haphazardly following someone else’s unrealistic schedule and stealing their strategy.

Modern day marketing is storytelling and this is innate to being human, but we’re also saddled with our socialisation and culture which tells us “don’t draw attention to yourself”, “don’t be a braggart” and “be professional” (whatever that means?!).

We’re also excited to watch you in a fireside chat with our keynote, Austin L Church, talking pricing. You recently spoke on a podcast about the need to divorce our hours from our earnings – why is that so important?

The hours for dollars equation is a leftover from the industrial revolution, when workers were in factories for eight hours a day. Nowadays, especially in journalism, writing, media, we don’t need to work like this anymore. When the time we put in directly equates to the dollars we take out, we’re in a risky position. We’re a commodity, able to be discarded for the next available, cheaper option.

There’s been a lot of change in the world of work in recent years – and with that in mind, what skills do you think are the most important for freelancers to acquire?

The so-called ‘soft skills’ – your ability to human well! Your ability to confidently express your ideas, see opportunities, position yourself where you’ll have maximum effect, think creatively, logically, long-term and strategically. Your resourcefulness and resilience, your ability to negotiate and advocate for yourself and others. Your ability to see and seize win/win/win opportunities where people, profit and planet are all incorporated. 

As the environment, climate, technology, international politics, law, and other macro influencers continue to accelerate, we need to be agile, flexible, while remaining firmly human – which means being ethical, civic minded, and recognise that we are all interrelated.

Why do you think the Summit is important for freelancers?

So many reasons! Skill development is really the least of it. Having a succinct opportunity to get a snapshot of the industry, what people are doing, thinking, and moving towards, having alternatives modelled for us by others, and building our network – these things are invaluable. Having a referral network, a support network, a knowledge network, and colleagues and clients who become peers and friends – this is the winning difference if you want to be in business for the long-term.

The conference theme is all about futureproofing your career. What steps are you taking to futureproof your own?

My curiosity is one of my biggest assets, not just from a money-making perspective, but from a creativity perspective, to keep me engaged and developing myself and my business (16 years and counting). Personally, I’m focusing on diversity and inclusion, narrowing the gender pay gap, increasing access for all people to entrepreneurship and self-employment as a smart career option, sleep, mental health, and how technology will continue to impact and influence. Oh my goodness! So many things.

Do you think the future is exciting for freelancers, and if so, why?

Freelancers typically seek freedom and flexibility – and then somewhere along the way, we forget this. We need to be continually reminded – at places like the Summit – that we have way more opportunity, flexibility and freedom than we necessarily appreciate. We can change our mind, change our industry, change our business model, change how we do what we do, where, when, and why. Nobody else has this agility. And as the formal workforce continues to expand, contract, and casualise, I think we’re perfectly placed to claim our position. Being in business is a radical act. Don’t forget that. 

What are you most looking forward to at the Summit? (a particular speaker / session, meeting colleagues, or welcome drinks)

I’m really keen to hear the keynote speaker Austin, of course, and can’t wait for our discussion together. But I’m interested in hearing all the stories of ways that people are learning, growing, earning, and impacting. We cannot be what we cannot see. So having others who generously share their stories is such a gift.


Brook is a panelist for Pricing, project rates and being paid what you are worth on Day 1 and a speaker on Day 2.

Find out more about Brook on her profile page or via her website.

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