Hi Dan, thanks for taking the time to speak to us today. Firstly, can you tell our readers about yourself, what you currently do and how did you end up where you are right now?
I work as a freelancer in sport on the digital side of things — social media, video production and consulting. I’ve been in the industry for 6+ years and worked my way from managing the media at my hometown club York City FC to covering the World Cup in Qatar at the end of last year. That is when I decided to move to self employed and since then I have worked with the likes of Arsenal, Charlton Athletic and the Vanarama National League.
When did you know you wanted to work in football or in sport generally?
I was always sporty growing up but probably never good enough to play professionally and on the flip side I was always messing around on Photoshop and making videos — excelling in media at school. When I got to around 18 I knew I wanted to combine my two passions and make a career out of it. I’ve been working in the industry for around 6 years now and It’s been one of my best choices in life — I love working in sport and the fast-paced media environment!
Having recently transitioned to self-employment, can you explain what a ‘typical’ week looks like?
I started self-employed in March this year and what I love most is how varied everything is. A typical week could be publishing from the Arsenal social media accounts, filming a brand video for Carling on an evening or editing a series of TikTok vertical videos for a sports technology company. A typical week changes all the time as it is mostly shift work and one-off projects, but the beauty of it is that you can pick up as much or as little as you like — it also includes a lot of evening and weekend work as you would expect in sport.
When you decided to go freelance, what were the initial challenges or worries you faced?
I was very worried about money as I presume everyone who is self employed is. There is no guaranteed income and if I was able to just keep myself afloat by doing freelance work I was happy. I was also worried about my career and if future employers would take me as seriously if I had been freelancing at multiple organisations instead of full-time at a single place. The reality is totally different as I’ve had the opportunity to work on some really interesting projects and it’s opened a lot of doors for me — the flexibility is great as it allows me to work with and network with a wider range of people. It’s going well so far so I’m looking to continue down this path, keep working with awesome clients and keep producing work I’m really proud of.
How do you generally go about finding new work?
Number one — this newsletter! I actually got my Arsenal gig through here and that has turned into a regular shift for me throughout the week which is great. There’s always something listed here that appeals to me or matches my skillset which makes it easy when reaching out to potential clients.
LinkedIn is also a big platform for me as a lot of people actually reach out to me on there which is always nice. I find it helps to have your ‘open to work’ banner on your profile. Other than that it is just my network and contacts I have made by working hard, producing good work and always being friendly and helpful — I think being approachable and easy to work with goes a long way also.
What would you say is your biggest achievement so far in your career? Any standout projects or memories you wish to share?
My biggest achievement would be the Centenary year project I led for York City FC. This is special to me as it is my hometown club and the club I have supported since I started going to the football. We managed to produce a brand that the supporters absolutely loved and a kit that gained international recognition — the ‘York Minster’ and ‘Chocolate and Cream’ shirts selling out four times over and the launch being nominated for the Best Brand Activation at the Football Business Awards alongside Premier League clubs and global marketing agencies. It was such a fun project to get my teeth into and I’m really proud to have made a big impact for my club — not just financially through the kit sales, but more so the name of the club being recognised by football fans globally.
There is also the FIFA World Cup in Qatar which I worked at last year — producing vertical video for FIFA channels. That felt like the absolute pinnacle and was an experience I will never forget. I hope I can be there in 2026 — that is the aim!
What general advice would you give to individuals looking to pursue a similar career path as yours?
Work hard and do the jobs no one else wants to do with a smile on your face. This attitude has opened a lot of doors for me and as the sports industry is so competitive there is no way you will be noticed without doing something to put your name out there. The quality of the work I feel is also a byproduct of the hard work — learning from every experience and improving your craft.
I would also say to students to get themselves into a non-league club and experience running the whole media operation. It is hard graft and mostly unpaid but the experience you get will be invaluable and will really set you up for when you are working in a professional environment as you will understand every department and will be a real asset for any organisation. From there you can niche down into say social media or video production like I have but also have the ability to jump into comms or PR if needed. It makes you a whole lot more valuable and employable.
Can you share 3 useful tools or resources which you find helpful to fulfil your role?
YouTube — you can learn literally anything on here. I learned all my Photoshop and Premiere skills here as opposed to at university. Just type in what you want to do and there will be a tutorial.
The Online Rule — Scott Goodacre runs this Twitter account and if you don’t follow already you should. He posts good examples of football club’s social media and it’s great for inspiration and ideas.
Camera equipment — I find that having my own equipment always gets me freelance video opportunities. It’s a big investment to start but once you have a portfolio and can show your capabilities with the equipment you will make your money back and also be able to improve your gear as time goes on.
Working in sport, can be hectic, so what do you do to switch off outside of work?
I’m finding this even more with being self employed — you have to manage your own time and that includes putting time in for yourself to avoid burnout. I’m a big tennis player so play twice a week as well as playing 5 a side and going to the gym regularly. You need time to socialise and also an outlet to de-stress if you need to and exercise has always been a big priority in my life.
And finally, Dan, where can people find you on social media to connect?
I’m pretty active on Twitter (@Dan_Simmonite) and you can also find me on LinkedIn as just Dan Simmonite. If you’d like to see the work I have done previously then my portfolio website is: www.dansimmonite.com.
I love connecting with people from the industry so shoot us a message or drop a follow!
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