Caitlin Heikkila is freelance social media strategist, creator of popular food and lifestyle blog Becoming Brooklyn and founder of artsy New York supper club The Sauce. We talked with her about being a freelancer and how she got her start.
How did you first start your blog, Becoming Brooklyn?
When I moved to New York, it was 2009 and a desperate time. My first job was for a retail real estate company and I started a blog for them. They gave me a lot of freedom to make it very social. When I left that job, people were coming to me saying, “I want to read your blog still; you’d better start a new one.” When I moved to Brooklyn around that time, I decided to create something to show what I was up to and continue that blogging that I really enjoyed.
What is it like being a freelancer, the challenges and the benefits?
I enjoy being a freelancer because I have full control over which projects I take on, and I decide how I spend my time and what my job is day to day. The more difficult part is that there isn’t anyone else to rely on, which can be a lot of pressure.
We usually have a lot of sponsors at our events, whether liquor or wine or artisanal food. We usually do a contract with each of them to make sure we’re both going to do what we say we will do.
What is the freelancing market like out there right now, and how would you advise a freelancer look for new opportunities in this climate?
I find my clients through referrals and people I know. I recommend networking and meeting as many people as possible to develop a freelancing career. It’s the best way to get connected to the right people.
How would you describe your taste in food?
I come from a little coast town in New Hampshire and love New England seafood shack food. Food was always something really big for us growing up. My mom did a lot of catering and entertaining was always a big thing in our house. Living near the water, seafood is probably my favorite. I almost always order whatever the fish dish is on the menu. I also really love Middle Eastern. I love simple falafel, hummus and baklava.
You created a supper club called The Sauce, which puts on events combining art, music, food, demonstrations, and lively conversation. Events are notoriously difficult and unpredictable. Is there any advice you’d give an event planner who’s just starting out?
Yes, definitely. It’s important to be really organized and to realize that there are always things that are going to go wrong. Think creatively about how to come up with a Plan B. There are always going to be issues.
Do you usually have contracts for your events?
We do. We usually have a lot of sponsors at our events, whether liquor or wine or artisanal food. We usually do a contract with each of them to make sure we’re both going to do what we say we will do. Shake makes the contract process easier, with one for the music, one for the food, one for the liquor. It’s easier to do it in more seamless way.