When Harvey Morton was 15, he won a school enterprise competition. What started as a school-boy project has turned into an exciting career path and led Harvey to set up his own business. Five years on, Harvey Morton Digital is now one of the leading digital marketing agencies in Sheffield. And, at the age of 20, Harvey has won the coveted IPSE Young Freelancer of the Year award.
“In the strongest ever field of finalists for the Young Freelancer Award, Harvey was outstanding,” said a spokesperson for IPSE. “In social media management, web design, app design and media production Harvey possesses a broad range of skills. His burgeoning list of clients and projects and the rapid upward trajectory of his business are evidence of his talent and business aptitude. His charity work and commitment to offering apprenticeships and giving back to others in the industry helped him stand out even more. Harvey represents everything that is good about freelancing and has a very bright future.”
We caught up with Harvey to learn more about his career journey and to find out what advice he has for the PeoplePerHour freelance community.
What services or products do you provide as a freelancer?
Harvey Morton Digital was first founded in 2013 as Harvey Morton IT Support. Since then, it’s been a wonderful journey. I’ve built an enviable reputation with clients throughout the UK and further afield. When I first started aged fifteen, I used to offer on-call IT support services setting up devices for individuals and businesses. Now, five years on, Harvey Morton Digital is one of the leading digital marketing agencies in Sheffield. I offer social media management, social media influencer outreach, website design and media production services to businesses across the UK.
How did you get started as a freelancer?
I got started as a freelancer aged fifteen through a school enterprise competition. School and college students were given £25 to start a business. Teams had to demonstrate an ability to run the business over two school terms. That was a long time ago! After numerous successes in the competition, I moved into offering social media management after completing my A-Levels in 2016.
Since then, I’ve developed a strong reputation and have built a prestigious list of clients. I only discovered PeoplePerHour last summer. when I was hunting for a graphic designer. After browsing the website, I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of it before. I joined up as a member straight away. I was too busy updating my profile that I forgot I was looking for a graphic designer in the end – haha!
I’ve worked on lots of brilliant projects using the platform, and I’ve started to build long-term relationships with clients who I met there. PeoplePerHour has added to my freelance career significantly and has allowed me to take on a wider variety of projects. There are so many incredible opportunities posted on there every day and some of the clients who I initially found on the platforms are now good friends, trusted colleagues, and they’re all helping me to continue building my business.
What was your previous job before freelancing?
As I went self-employed while still in school, I’ve never really had another full-time career. I’ve had a couple of part-time jobs since starting my business, mainly to keep me going during those early stages. However, my business is now my primary source of income. It has been for a while now, and I’m proud of how I’ve built up the business from nothing. I love being self-employed because I get bored quickly, so I like variety. Being able to work on a range of projects with so many amazing people is a highlight of being freelance for me.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
A typical working day starts around 8 am – I’ve always been an early riser. I usually catch up on emails and then get stuck into the various projects I’m working on. The majority of what I do is social media management and social media influencer outreach. I love working with brands to grow their online presence and help them become ‘the next big thing’. I enjoy working with bloggers and YouTubers too, helping to bring the best new products to audiences worldwide.
When I’m not on social media, you’ll find me designing websites and editing videos. I always try to wrap up my working day around 6pm to spend time with my friends and family in the evening. But being self-employed, it doesn’t always work out! Every day is different, and that’s why I love it.
What’s the strangest freelance assignment you’ve ever been given?
I’ve worked on lots of quirky and fun assignments over the last five years; I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a strange assignment, just lots of particular requests. I worked in collaboration with a graphic designer last year after being asked to draw two bears getting married – it was so cute and fun to work on, however, definitely one of the most random projects I’ve had the pleasure of working on.
What has been your favourite moment as a freelancer so far?
Wow! I’ve had so many amazing moments throughout my career so far, from speaking in Parliament to having lunch with Levi Roots and working on so many fantastic charity projects. However, my favourite, proudest moment and a significant high-point was winning the 2018 IPSE National Young Freelancer of the Year – a prize which seemed a long way off when I first got started!
To be recognised as one of Britain’s best freelancers is so far from what 15-year old Harvey could have ever imagined!
What does your freelance future hold?
The future is bright!
I’ve just rebranded to ‘Harvey Morton Digital’, this is something I’ve been working on for a long time, and my prize money from IPSE has helped to bring my vision to life. I’d like to continue creating lots of awesome things with many fantastic clients and continue speaking at events, schools and colleges helping to inspire other young people.
Charity is also very close to my heart, so I’d like to continue dedicating at least 10 hours a month to projects with Youth Employment UK, The Diana Award, The Prince’s Trust and other charities, too.
What are your top 5 tips for new freelancers?
- Showcase the work you love the most; it’ll attract similar projects. There’s no point taking on projects you won’t enjoy.
- Don’t be afraid to turn something down if it’s not right for you.
- Always take a deposit for any project you work on otherwise you could lose valuable time without being paid for it.
- Know your pricing and stick to it. If you’re new, it’s perfectly fine to offer to complete projects for a low amount, however, once you’ve built up valuable experience, know what your work is worth.
- Start a blog and write about your experience. I started writing blogs on my LinkedIn profile early in 2017, and I’ll never look back. It’s so important to share your experiences, thoughts and feelings online because it will always help someone, somewhere. Last November, one of my blogs went viral and attracted national press attention which resulted in me winning lots of new clients.
What are your top 3 tips for attracting new work/clients?
- Be proud of what you do. Don’t undersell yourself or be afraid to shout about your achievements and portfolio.
- Provide excellent customer service. When I first started, it was always hard to win new clients; however, now I’ve built up a strong portfolio and a range of excellent reviews, clients can see I’ve developed a fantastic reputation. By providing the best service you can, you’ll start to get lots of lovely reviews, and the work will come in naturally.
- Know your USP. It’s important to understand what makes you different from others in that industry, what can you bring to the table that’s different from your competitors.
Do you have any tips on writing client quotes or bidding for work?
- Be yourself. It’s important to write any new proposals in a tone that feels natural to you. By being yourself, clients will get a real idea of who you are and what you stand for and it’s likely to attract them to work with you over someone else.
- Be transparent and honest. It’s essential for you to manage a clients’ expectations in the early stages, so they know exactly what they are going to receive.
- Go above and beyond. If you can offer the client anything additional to what they’ve included in their original brief, do it! Bring new ideas to the table that your client might not have thought about previously. You’re the expert so it’s important that you demonstrate what you’re good at and make your client aware that you’re worth paying for.
What’s your spirit animal and how does this suit your personality?
I’m a butterfly! Copied from the quiz: “The butterfly is one of the most emblematic totem animals symbolizing personal transformation. If you see the butterfly as your totem or spirit animal, pay attention to the areas in your life or personality that are in need of profound change or transformation. Perhaps, this animal totem guides you to be sensitive to your personal cycles of expansion and growth, as well as the beauty of life’s continuous unfolding. An important message carried by the spirit of the butterfly is about the ability to go through important changes with grace and lightness.” (Take the spirit animal quiz.)
Tell us a secret about yourself…
I’m a huge adrenaline junkie; I love roller coasters and thrills! I once got to climb The SWARM at Thorpe Park. It would be a completely terrifying night out for some, but I loved every minute, and, the views from the top were absolutely incredible.
I was also incredibly quiet at school as a result of lots of bullying, which continued into Sixth Form and my first year at university. Despite this, being freelance has helped me to grow in confidence, and I’m now a confident and keen public speaker. I’ve already delivered keynote speeches and presentations across the United Kingdom at events such as the Made Festival, the National Enterprise Challenge, and the Student Enterprise Conference. To say I once struggled to stand up in front of my class, this shows how far I’ve come.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share with PeoplePerHour freelancers and clients?
Don’t let anybody ever tell you that something is impossible or that you’re not good enough. If you’re thinking of going freelance, just do it! At least if it doesn’t work out, you can hold your head up high because you’ve given it a go and that’s the most important thing.