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Manon Taillefer, Consultant, Coach and Artistic Director, working for freelancers

15 November 2022 Portraits
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Graduating from the Graphic Motion Designer course in 2016, Manon Taillefer began her career as an art director. Passionate about the issues associated with freelancing, she puts her skills and experience at the service of professionals wishing to embark on the adventure of entrepreneurship, with Now What a company specializing in coaching and support for freelancers.




You graduated from the Graphic Motion Designer course in 2016, what has been your career path since then?

During my studies at Gobelins, I realized that I had commercial skills, which are quite rare among creative profiles. I decided to work on this asset to stand out from the crowd and joined a business school, taking a Master 2 in entrepreneurship for a semester just after graduating. I then went on to do a second semester in HR, this time on high-potential management.


At the end of my year, I was hired by Les Sherpas, a startup specializing in tutoring, as artistic, marketing and HR manager. I stayed on for a year and then joined WAP (We are Peers), another Edtech startup specializing in peer-to-peer knowledge transfer, this time as a graphic designer/editorialist. At the same time, I set up my own business as an art director and strategic planner.


In the first few years, I fell into just about every trap ! I learned from my mistakes, until it all worked out, and worked out really well. I experienced exponential sales and when I reached financial comfort... I had a huge burnout that lasted 2 years.


I took advantage of this period to review everything and see where I stood. I wanted to continue freelancing, but I still didn't feel completely at home in the creative world.


Some former coworkers contacted me to ask for advice, and one thing led to another, and they offered me to help them develop their business. When I accepted, it was a milestone in my career. After two art schools, a university degree in project management, a business school in entrepreneurship and HR, and training in the psychology of happiness... becoming a consultant and coach for entrepreneurs gave meaning to my student and professional career.


That's how I set up my company Now What just over a year ago, with the idea of answering the question that all self-employed people ask themselves: "I've started up, I've got my Siret number, and now... what do I do?




Now What, Manon Taillefer


How did the Now What project come about?

When I started out on my own, I quickly realized that I didn't know how much a graphic design was worth, how to set a price, how to negotiate with a customer... My first instinct when a customer asked me to lower my price was to accept, but it doesn't work like that at all!


I lost a lot of time and money in my first year. Unpaid bills and late payments are taboo in the business world, but I think we need to talk about them to help beginners who are confronted with this situation. Agency culture is very problematic, some are notorious for being bad payers, but I didn't know that when I entered the job market.


I told myself that other people needed to experience their first job differently. For me, not training newcomers in the value of their work is also a way of participating in the dumping of the market. If we gave beginners all the keys, everyone would stop selling themselves at 120 euros a day, and the overall value of the market would rise. This rate is untenable, but we don't realize it until it's too late. Entrepreneurship education is an ethical issue.




What does your job involve?

I no longer put my job as art director first, and I choose my clients sparingly. I'm happy to keep a bit of creative work, because it's very important to keep up to date when you want to support people with the same issues.


As a coach, I work in 5 main areas:


➜ Communication: how to build an attractive, well-targeted, well-priced offer, how to pitch it, how to do branding...


➜ Sales: how to find customers and make sales proposals.


➜ Posture: learning to say no, knowing how to frame the customer relationship, handling disputes, difficulties, how to position yourself to enforce work processes. This is a vital skill.


➜ Stress: how to manage stress, how to maintain a balance between personal and professional life.


➜ Time management: how to be productive, optimize your time, for example... I have many customers who are experiencing personal events that impact their work (bereavement, heartbreak, unexpected move...). When you're your only working resource, it's vital to find solutions that keep you going and keep you afloat.




Now What Manon Taillefer


Where can we find your advice and call on your services?

I'll be releasing a website at the end of November 2022, in the meantime just get in touch with me, on LinkedIn or by e-mail at .


In my LinkedIn summary, there's a link to my calendar , so you can make an appointment directly with me to get to know each other, exchange ideas and see if there's a connection before working together.




Now What Manon Taillefer


What do you like best about your job?

I love feeling people regain their self-confidence, especially shy people. I myself have struggled a lot with shyness, so I know how difficult it is to sell your work when you're usually struggling to make the first move.


A client contacted me again a few weeks ago to tell me that 6 months after her coaching, all the seeds she'd planted had sprouted: she'd found customers, taken a training course, increased her rates and gained confidence... It's very satisfying! That's what gives meaning to my work.




Now What Manon Taillefer


And now, what are your plans for the future?

I always have a thousand ideas! I wrote a book, which gave rise to the freelance course I'm currently teaching at Gobelins. It synthesizes all the advice I've been given and learned in the field. I'm currently proposing it to several publishing houses. There's a huge market opportunity, as there are very few books on the subject in France. Beyond that, I hope it will be published, as it would enable freelancers to obtain key information at very accessible prices.


In the same vein, I'm going to launch a crowdfunding campaign very soon (sometime in February 2023), inviting people to buy the training I give at Gobelins in an e-learning format. I'd like to make it accessible to a larger number of freelancers.


I'm also keen to create " freelance apéros ", to create opportunities to meet other professionals. The problem with freelancing is that you're very much on your own, so you have to seek out your colleagues, but that's not always easy. Meeting over a beer makes it a bit easier to get in touch.


I'd also love to give talks and take part in a podcast.


Finally, I'm planning to give Now What a bit of a boost and get the ball rolling by recruiting more coaches. I'd love to turn my program into an academy.




Now What Manon Taillefer


What do you remember most about your year at Gobelins?

I was one of the students who put the BDE back together. We organized a funfair-style event in the school, with cotton candy, fun activities, decorations everywhere, games... It was a very bright episode.




Any advice for recent graduates who want to become freelancers?

The best advice I can give is not to start out with no cash flow and no network. That's what I did, and it wasn't a good idea. If you don't, you're at the mercy of your customers, and that creates a power struggle in which you're always the loser.




Interview by Sophie Jean

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