It’s up there with one of the best things I’ve ever done. Going freelance was the big jump in my career I wasn’t expecting to do so soon. As mentioned in why I quit my job post, it was a necessary step. As a digital marketing gal, I knew it was an option for my career. My brother was freelance a few years ago, the media industry is full of freelancers, but where to start? I’ve learnt a thing or two over the last few months so here’s my advice if you’re thinking of taking the plunge!
I’ve only had one lie in
I honestly thought going freelance would be all about lie-ins, days in my pyjamas and catching up on This Morning. I have thankfully been so busy and productive that I only had one day where I lied in until 8:30am (I know, huge). It’s important to try my best to stay out of my pyjamas so that I feel like I’m ‘working’ and I’ve also woke up early when I can.
Make a plan for everyday
Even if you haven’t got solid work planned for each day and you’re still setting up, it’s important to make a plan for the day regardless of work. There are a couple of days a week where I may not be working in an office or out on meetings so I will organise my time in sections so I can focus on work. Some days I focus on blogging, other days I may be working for a client and will ensure I fit this into my day appropriately. Just utilising your day better than ‘waiting’ for work to appear is important.
Network, share and communicate
I honestly don’t think you could freelance without networking. Most of my work has come from networking, connecting with old contacts and maintaining relationships. I seriously endorse using LinkedIn and having a think about who you already know. There are more opportunities than you think on LinkedIn and it’s worth connecting with relevant people to see whats needed. You never know, you may be the exact skillset someone is after!
It can be really hard but really rewarding
There have been a couple of days where it’s been really hard. If you lose a big client, not sure on whats coming in that week or you feel like you’re failing it can be hard. However, I’ve found all of the positives have outweighed the negatives. I’ve found some great new opportunities and contacts very quickly. Everything I’ve done has been positive and I’ve learnt a lot about what I’m good at and what I want to do. That isn’t to say the first week wasn’t full of tears, because a failure hurts. Just keep motivated and remember why you’ve chosen this new career path!
Where to start?
So I bet you’re here because you want to know where to start in order to go freelance. I left my full time job with no secured income, no guaranteed work and no idea what I was going to do. However, I’m now earning the most I’ve ever earned. I’m genuinely healthier and happier too which is incredible for my mental health.
From my experience, I would highly recommend having a think about what work you could get, I don’t just full time blog which many think I probably do, I work in digital marketing and journalism. I’ve just taken on a new job as an editor of a magazine and that takes up 75% of my week. Therefore my skillset is pretty wide and income comes in a few forms.
Once you’ve figured out your ideas and skills, think of a plan of attack. You’ll read a lot about business plans when you go freelance or self employed. These are pretty important and at first I thought it was a load of rubbish but it’s quite important to at least make note of your goals and ideas for your year ahead.
Where will you get work?
Who are you going to approach and where will the income come from? I didn’t just get ‘lucky’ like it may seem. I actually have worked really hard and put myself out there to get work. After a few set backs in my first few weeks I had to pick myself up and work even harder. Assess your contact list and start utilising opportunities where you can. Again, LinkedIn is your best friend here.
The money side of things.
Get yourself some back up money for the first few months to make sure you cover your mortgage and bills. I didn’t do this and probably should have done! This is a must if you don’t know where your work is coming from. My main goal is to cover my bills and mortgage and if I can do this and have some left over, I’m winning.
I am also very conscious as a self employed member of society now, taxes are all on me. I have to consider that there’s no pay roll lady to sort this for me anymore. I also need to work out my own national insurance and of course in time, a pension. Look at me being all adult hey!
From there it’s all on you! Self employment means you are your own boss so work hard and remember that it’s important to be flexible. I now have more freetime on my hands but yet some weeks are absolutely stacked. I even do work on a SUNDAY sometimes! Who even am I?
It’s everything I’ve always wanted but it’s not easy and it’s not like the work comes from thin air, if you haven’t got a good network, build that before you do anything else otherwise or you’ll be like a fish out of water in a very saturated market.
If you have any questions, do let me know, I’d be happy to help! I know it’s a career path many wish to pursue and I’m trying to be honest and open about my new journey!