I’ve been freelancing 6 months today (well, near enough!) and in this time I’ve learnt so much. It seems like everyone is going freelance at the moment (good luck, guys!) and that’s great-the thought of working for yourself is a very attractive one and I don’t blame people for aiming to do it. But there’s some things you should know before you decide whether or not to take the leap. I am really enjoying being my own boss, being creative every day and seeing my businesses grow-it’s just not easy. I thought I’d write a little bit about the things I’ve learnt as a freelancer, so far.
You need to be strict because if you’re not, the work doesn’t get done. It’s incredibly easy to say oh, I can’t be bothered today, I’ll work tomorrow-and unlike a job where you have a boss checking up on you, you can get away with doing this. Until you realise you’ve three sponsored posts all due tomorrow and you’ve not edited that shoot yet, and have to work through the night. Be strict work yourself.
No one can help if you’re having an off day so it’s good to plan ahead and get yourself in front of deadlines. I was poorly for a couple of weeks in December and did the bare minimum meaning my client work got done, but my pageviews really suffered because I didn’t have the energy to do my own promotion. I’m now promoting two weeks ahead at all times to fix this.
You’ll struggle to get credit if you need it-I was about to buy a house when I lost my job, and thought oh I’ll get earning through my freelancing then do it. But I can’t get a mortgage without three years worth of books, and those three years won’t start until I’m earning enough each month. Oh.
It’s not a steady income at all, even if you were earning the same every month from your blog before. I’ve had some really good, target hitting months-and then some where I’ve had to copper up to pay my bills. It can be scary, not knowing where your money is coming from. I’d recommend saving yourself a decent sized buffer pot if you have the chance, before you start relying on just a freelancer’s income.
People think you don’t work and so may ask you to do things you really don’t have time to do. It can be difficult to explain that just because you’re physically in the house, that doesn’t mean you can run everyone’s errands, walk the dog or provide childcare. Especially not at short notice, and regularly.
Things take longer than you think so it’s worth timing yourself doing things before you plan your days. I’ve frequently said right, today I will write 10 posts, edit a shoot, schedule a months worth of tweets and send ten pitches today. Then the first post takes me two hours, editing the shoot takes three and my day has gone, leaving me feeling like I’ve failed. It’s important to be realistic.
Have you freelanced? Do you have any things you’ve learnt?