Do you want to venture into freelancing? Here is a quick guide to freelancing.
Going freelance or being your own boss can sound tremendously exciting and liberating and if you are stuck in a rush-hour commute or dealing with nightmare colleagues, the idea of giving it all up to work to your own tune can be incredibly tempting.
However, before you jump off the 9 to 5 treadmill head first into a freelance career there are a few things you should think about so check out our quick guide.
1. You can plan your own days
Working for yourself can be exciting but it’s important to realise that you still need to be disciplined enough to get up and get dressed and get to work without having anyone there to tell you to do it. This can be challenging for some people.
It’s a good idea to get into a working routine and plan your days so that you aren’t tempted to lounge on the sofa and watch daytime TV, only to find you’ve missed an urgent email. By all means, schedule your day to suit you – after all, that’s kind of the point.
However, it’s important to remember that while you might be escaping the 9 to 5, most of your clients will still work to that pattern so you will need to be available too. Equally, it can be tempting when you first start out, to work all hours of the day and to draw no line between work and home life – this will only lead to burnout so set yourself an achievable schedule from day one.
2. You can work from anywhere
Bear in mind that as a freelancer you aren’t confined to your home or your office – as long as you have a phone and computer you can pretty much work from anywhere – the downside to this is that it’s easy never to disconnect or switch off.
Being mobile and online all the time can mean your weekends, evenings and holidays get interrupted by client questions and calls to make sure you set some boundaries and have distinct you and family time set aside, where work is not allowed.
It’s too easy to get consumed by your own new freelance business so make sure you take time out and if working alone from your home is too isolating, grab your laptop and head out to a nearby co-working space or coffee shop for some human connection.
3. Don’t say yes to everything
When you first start out as a freelancer it can be daunting and you might feel like you can’t turn down any work because you need the money. However, it’s important to be discerning from the very beginning so you don’t get swamped with too much work and not enough money from it.
Decide on your rates of pay and stick to them – don’t be tempted to lower them because you are new. You need to decide what kind of clients you want to attract and seek them out and don’t be afraid to turn down any jobs which don’t pay high enough, or which don’t fit effectively within your skillset.
Bear in mind that being a freelancer means you are always looking for your next project so you need to make sure you have a pipeline of potential work lined up so that you never run out of work or more crucially, income.
4. Network with other professionals
Make sure you network when you start out as it’s not only a great way to get out of the house and meet people but it can lead to new business and new projects so have a look at the networking groups around you and make those local business connections.
5. Don’t forget – you are running a business now
One of the reasons many people give up their job is because they get bored doing the same tasks every day and want the variety and challenge which comes with being a freelancer. However, it’s worth remembering that while you might be skilled in your job, as a freelancer you also have to run a business.
It’s not just about doing a great job for your clients but you will need to do your own accounting, marketing, sales, promotions, advertising etc… So you need to make sure you make time in your schedule to support and manage your own business as well as looking after your clients.
Going freelance is the dream for many people but there is a lot to consider before you start writing that long-imagined resignation letter. Running a business is hard work and if you are taking on multiple clients you can end up with the equivalent of several bosses not to mention having to wear all the other hats required to be a business owner. Freelancing provides freedom but also a responsibility.