Paul Allington

Paul Allington runs a small software development company, The Code Guy, dedicated to developing creative and innovative solutions to business’s software problems.

When Paul was working as a salaried software developer, he felt frustrated. He would wait six months for planned work to pass through a ‘discussion cycle’, to finally get scheduled in, and only take 30 minutes for him to then develop. So while still an employee, he began building small websites on the side for charities he supported. By doing so, he gradually developed a very small network and client base – and a taste for freelancing.

Through no fault of his own, Paul’s first business, Intelligent Penguin, was liquidated in 2014. But using the knowledge and experience he gained from his previous business, Paul devised a six month recovery plan and started again from scratch.

Now his new business, The Code Guy, is dedicated to what he’s good at: software development. Paul runs The Code Guy from the shed in his garden, producing cutting edge software and rapid prototyping for new ideas while working with a broad range of high profile clients. Since setting up his new business, he hasn’t looked back, and is now more successful than ever.

“Every day is different, I enjoy the flexibility to react to a quickly changing landscape which I find to be the most rewarding way to be in business. Most importantly, it creates a work-life balance that’s simply not possible in many other careers and allows me the freedom to spend time with my family, especially my two young children.

“I’m using my winnings to develop new products. I want to make a difference and develop a business that will help where help is needed.”

Judge’s comments: “It was clear from the start the amount of dedication and hard work Paul put into making his company a great success, and this certainly made him stand out as an inspiring freelancer. We were impressed with Paul as he is somebody who embodies everything IPSE wants to represent with this award.”


Kelly Gilmour-Grassam

Kelly is a freelance copywriter and founder of Making You Content. She has a passion for helping her clients’ businesses grow – providing quality copy tailored to their branding and goals, as well as support and guidance on content strategy and marketing.

Kelly first began freelancing while studying at the University of Nottingham. When she wasn’t busy with university work, Kelly used her skills to write for the online student magazine, ‘The National Student’, her own music blog on Tumblr, and the airliner EasyJet. All this while having two waitressing jobs to boot.

Despite not being sure what career path to take after university, Kelly continued copywriting. As she began to build a portfolio and network of clients, she began to see that freelancing was the right choice for her. Kelly loved the flexibility and was fascinated by the fact that she could create her own income if she was prepared to work for it.

Kelly’s business grew through word of mouth. Due to the impressive nature of her work, she constantly receives referrals from clients, which can lead to her working on 20 different projects at a time. A figure that reaches 40+ during busy periods. To handle the workload, Kelly has been able to take on several other freelancers.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to becoming Young Freelancer of the Year. The generous support of the IPSE Awards’ sponsors and the exposure it has brought will be invaluable as I continue to grow my business. I hope it will encourage others to join this fantastic community” 

Judge’s comments: “Kelly blew us away with her passion and how successfully she had established her copywriting business.”


Christina Lister

Christina is a freelance marketing and communications consultant. She works with museums, heritage sites and arts organisations, providing audits and strategies, training and workshop facilitation and campaign creation and delivery.

“It’s an exciting time to be a freelancer, and being recognised on a national level has given me the drive to do even more. The prize money will really help me grow my business further. It’s great to be flying the flag for freelancers who work in Norfolk and hopefully the Awards will inspire even more people to try out this way of working.”


Ben Matthews

Ben works alongside his wife running Montfort, a digital, social and content marketing agency. He has worked on campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world.

“Taking the leap into freelancing after having a steady job was probably one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done. But I survived (and thrived!) and haven’t looked back since. The freedom and opportunity to create new projects is particularly exciting, especially as it hasn’t been readily available in my industry until now. It’s made it an exciting time to be a freelancer.”