So, you’re thinking about going freelance. Good for you! Freelancing is great, but it’s not all lie-ins, garden offices and extended lunch ‘meetings’. Before you take the plunge and hand in your notice, what do you need to think about?
Whilst freelancing may look like sunshine and rainbows from the outside, it isn’t for everyone. Behind those smug smiles and (well-earned!) self-satisfaction is a lot of dedication, ruthless self-discipline and, contrary to popular opinion, a lot of hours!
First, you need to be sure that you are the sort of person who will be equally, if not more, productive working for yourself as you are working for someone else. Believe it or not, sometimes having a boss is much easier than not! If you can motivate yourself (and avoid procrastination), formulate a pricing strategy, monitor your productivity, set your own targets and ensure you’re meeting them, as well as spending time thinking about long term goals and how to achieve them, then freelancing may well be a great option for you.
You can also go too far in the other direction. With no need to turn the computer off at 5pm on the dot, and no cleaners to usher you out of the building if you happen to be feeling super keen, there is no one to stop you working all hours. The freelance ‘lifestyle’ shouldn’t become your whole life. Part of ensuring your working hours are productive is to limit them; it is all too easy to quit your 9-5 and end up working a 9 to midnight if you don’t keep a strict eye on your working patterns – not healthy or productive.
Aside from not having a boss to keep your nose to the grind, you may also miss the absence of co-workers. Beyond just the mid-morning coffee break gossip, or the Monday morning solidarity, some people really benefit from having people to bounce ideas off, or just work best in a team. Think about your working style, and whether this is something you could do as effectively independently. If you’re a naturally sociable person, you may go a little stir-crazy working from home, or is the thought of an empty, peaceful office space like music to your ears? Perhaps you might want to consider a shared office space – the co-working trend is quickly gaining momentum in response to many freelancers’ desire for human interaction.
Speaking of human interaction, you will also have to deal with clients – hopefully, lots of them. Have a think about your interpersonal skills; there is no customer services or account managers to hide behind here. You’ll need to brush up on your telephone voice and client-facing persona, as every client is now your boss, so tact and politeness are a must.
Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to become a full time freelancer requires you to know yourself, your aspirations, motivations, strengths and weaknesses; at once you will be your boss, manager, HR, PR, colleague and everything in between! Most of the roles you will need to perform boil down to self-discipline, which you will rely heavily on every step of the way. If that sounds exciting (if a little daunting!) then freelancing may well be the lifestyle for you!
If you have any question feel free to get in touch and I will do my best to answer them for you.