There are certain things that will happen to you when you go freelance. For instance, you will end up having a breakdown at 3 in the morning over what shade of magenta you should use for your letterhead. You will have to repeatedly tell people you don’t work in your pyjamas all day. And you will have to admit to your spouse/ parents/ pet it was you who ate all the biscuits.
However, by breaking free from the shackles of the nine to five job, there will also be a number of things that won’t happen to you.
Lack of Inspiration
Freelancers aren’t confined to the four same walls they have sat in for years, so there is less danger of them losing inspiration for their work. If your freelance business relies on you being creative then you’re not going to prosper by staring at a wall calendar and very slow clock.
Don’t get me wrong, for freelancers there is twice the amount of admin work there is for a regular employee (unless maybe you’re an admin assistant) which can refine them to a desk and chair a lot of the time. But this doesn’t mean it has to be in the house. You can update accounts and file tax returns wherever you like, and still come up with new ideas for projects.
Stop Your Office Structure on Day One
When you step out of the office and onto the sofa you might assume you’ll never have a full working day again. But, to succeed in the first few weeks, the chances are you’ll end up reverting to nine to five hours to get everything done on time.
If you’ve become used to working this way for such a long time there’s no point disrupting it at a crucial moment when you need to be more productive than ever. Over time you will probably find a routine you can adapt to where you’re at your most productive. But, in the initial stages of setting up your freelance company you need as few distractions as possible.
Have an Instant Client Base
One thing is for sure, freelancing is hard work. In your first weeks there won’t be a day when you think you’ll ever see a sandy beach of Spain in June again. You can’t expect to stroll into freelancing, set up a Twitter page and get your first few clients in a couple of days of social media marketing.
You should have a few clients lined up for when you do go freelance, but you shouldn’t expect reams of them as soon as you leave the office. You will have to hunt them down and grapple them to the floor in order to secure a deal.
Miss Opportunities to Grow
Freelancers are some of the most successful entrepreneurs in business. They build their company from the ground up, meaning they know every aspect of it and how it works. With that said, they know when an opportunity comes along, and they won’t let it get away easily.
When you work for a larger business made up of different teams, information can get lost or waylaid meaning there isn’t always the chance to take up opportunities without having to go through three people, by which time it’s too late. When you only have yourself to ask you can go ahead and grab opportunities with before they have the chance to get away.
Get on With All Clients
When you were working at a nine to five job, it’s unlikely you had to deal with many clients. So, when it came to handling client relationships all by yourself you might feel thrown in at the deep end (and thankful for your sales department). This is perfectly natural, as getting used to speaking to clients regularly without answering the phone with “What!” can take some getting used to.
When you do get your head around it though, you can guarantee there will be one (if not a few) clients who you don’t have the time of day for. They might undermine your work, be unfair on price or be plain rude. Whatever it is, you aren’t going to get on with every one of your clients. As difficult as it might seem, try to stay calm and reasonable – you’ll find your dream client one day!
Choose the Right Price Straight Away
You’ve left the office. Found your first client. Bought a substantial amount of teabags. Now you need to set the price. How much do you value you your services for? Getting the price right the first time is very rare; many freelancers are an attractive option because they have a lower value than commercial businesses, so you need to be low but not undervalue yourself.
It’s tough enough trying to get the perfect price, but you also need to consider how every client will be different. Some will understand this is your job (not just a bit of extra cash on the side) and be willing to pay your first proposal. Some however, may want to try their luck and get the lowest price possible. You need to set yourself an absolute minimum and be willing to turn away potential clients who aren’t willing to pay full price.
Be Subject to Someone Else’s Mistake
One of the necessary evils of becoming a freelancer is you have to do everything yourself (unless you have the money to outsource). You need to be scrupulous in every part of your business so it runs smoothly – your salary is at stake if it doesn’t!
This differs greatly to when you worked for a business or as part of a team. You would have to deal with the mistakes of others and help to rectify them if necessary. Luckily when you’re a freelancer you’ll never find yourself subject to someone else’s mistake.
What’s your favourite thing about being freelance? Let us know by leaving a comment below!