Freelancing is supposed to be the flagship of working freedom. Across the globe millions of fully employed workers are crouched over desks in dimly lit offices, fantasizing about what it would be like to be a freelancer. They have seen the pictures of people working from a laptop on a beach, reclined back on a beach lounger, sipping on a daiquiri, laughing.
To the outside world, being self employed is seen as being brave, grasping the nettle with both hands, being bold and entrepreneurial. Having a lifestyle that is flexible, creating your own hours and rules – oh it’s the life alright.
However, step over the divide and you will start to see the glowing warm fuzziness of freelancing slip away and reveal a totally different beast; it’s scary and it bites. The freelancing life is a far reach from the romanticized pictures and stories you see across the press, sure you can reach those dizzy heights, but oh, you’re going to work for it.
The real way of the freelancing life is normally one of long hours (and always working when you’re not working) late payments from clients and forever chasing down new work. Also, your working location isn’t normally a sun drenched beach, more likely a room in your house that no one wants to sit in or even worse, a room filled with strangers.
Hot desking as it is today was born on the back of the freelancer explosion. A spare desk in an office that normally has things on it no one wants, miraculously transformed into a working desk and charged out by the hour/day/month – it’s genius really.
The grim reality of everything freelance is that you do start on the bottom, no matter how good you think you are, you will have to roll a double six to start. If you know that and go into freelancing with your eyes very wide open, you can make it over the first few hurdles where many fall. You could even reach that beach office.
Survive the early freelancing days – a few tips from us.
- If you’re stepping out of permanent employment to become a freelance, it’s time to get tough. You are responsible for everything – the safety net has gone.
- Find a working place. A spot that is yours, not a kitchen table that other people will be using. A separate zone for you to get your work face on and do your stuff
- Work to time, keep a structured day. A wake up time, lunch time and finish time. Stick with it.
- Get an accountant, it sounds boring and costly but you need one. Plus there are lots of affordable options to be found.
- Don’t work around the clock, learn to switch off from work. If you’re working from home this is very important – close the door and don’t return until the morning.
- Get out more. Step away from work for 30 minutes at least once a day. Go for a walk, head to the shop or listen to some music. Whatever you do, a break in your working day is a must when freelancing.
- Think cash flow from the word go. Get agreeable terms and conditions in place with your clients. Work to payment terms that suit you – don’t be afraid to turn work away if a client wants radical changes to your T&C’s
Do you have any tips to add to the list? Please drop them in the comments box below – HAPPY FREELANCING!