Necklace from Carrie Elizabeth / Dress from & Other Stories
AD – post in collaboration with Gorilla Accounting
I’m back today with another careers-focussed piece, as I promised to introduce more of this content and share my journey, and ups and downs as a freelancer. I’ve recently received a number of Instagram DM’s and questions from IRL friends and acquaintances regarding what I do, so I thought the best, and most useful, post I could put together is a simple question and answer, addressing my most frequently asked questions. I’ve collated the questions and there are some really great ones in here, so I hope it provides a useful insight, but if I’ve missed anything feel free to shoot me a message or ask in the comments. Let’s get stuck in!
What do you do as a freelancer?
I have a number of strings to my bow, as I think it’s always a great idea to diversify your income as a freelancer. I’m primarily a freelance digital marketer, my secondary income is blogging, and I also earn money writing for various publications and content marketing agencies too. SEO, social media management, organic social, PPC, content writing, image creation…the list goes on!
How do you earn money?
I can totally appreciate that from my Instagram stories it may just look like I lounge about at home all day, I promise, I don’t! The above mostly answers this but I basically earn money by providing a service to clients. It varies from project to project; some stuff is one-off but I prefer to work with clients on a retainer basis where possible. Working on a retainer also allows me to feel less anxious and comfortable in the knowledge I know roughly how much I will earn month to month. In terms of blogging I earn money through Instagram adverts, sponsored posts, and a few £ here and there from affiliate sales.
When did you decide the time was right to go freelance?
When I had an actual near-mental breakdown. No, I’m joking, well, kind of. I was trying to spin too many plates and keep up with running my business alongside a full-time job, I was also craving the freedom to be in control of my own schedule. Perhaps I had also read one too many articles online about quitting your job. But hey, it all worked out ok. I didn’t have it all figured out, at all! I just reached a point where it was either take the risk, or continue with the 9-5 for the foreseeable future. I chose to risk it, and the risk has definitely paid off.
How do you manage your accounts?
Whilst my job does require a decent level of analytical thinking, I’m not a maths whizz and admin such as accounting is a job I like to avoid. If you’re thinking about going freelance and not sure where to start when it comes to finding a trustworthy accountant, I’d recommend looking at Gorilla Accounting. They handle accounts for creatives (freelancers, influencers, business owners etc.) and you’re basically appointed your own in-house accountant. Prices start from £89 per month which isn’t bad at all, considering the stress it could save you! I’ve personally never attempted to submit my own tax return, I just know I’ll get it wrong and it’s way too time consuming.
What’s the most frustrating aspect of freelancing?
I’ve been quite fortunate with my freelancing journey so far, I have a nice handful of clients and generally I don’t encounter too many hurdles. Late payments are always a pain in backside but I’ve only had this issue a few times, so I’m really lucky in that respect as I’ve heard some real horror stories. Loneliness was a struggle for a while, although I do enjoy my own company and can happily plod along all day without another person there, it does start to feel slightly isolating. One of my close friends has actually gone fully freelance just a couple of months ago and we work together often which has been super fun. My advice is expanding your network, hook-up with other local freelancers and also research any co-working spaces if you’re feeling lonely
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m not a big morning person, so I’ll usually get up around 8am, feed the bunnies their pellets and head downstairs and make a slice of toast. I usually look at my emails over breakfast so I know roughly what I have on for that day. I’ll then get ready and sit down to start between 9 and half 9. I tend to break for lunch at about 1 but I’m often guilty of heading back to my MacBook and working through. The day is usually spent on client work, and the evenings I switch over to my blog. It depends how busy I am though, some days I like to get all of my writing and digital work done by lunch so I can spend the afternoon working on creative projects and shooting imagery for campaigns or clients. The thing I LOVE about freelancing is that every day is different, and I can dictate how I plan and spend my weeks.
How do you find clients?
This is a tough aspect of freelancing, you might have all the skills but finding clients to take you on and trust you can be tricky. Word of mouth and recommendation has been really good for me, and using my existing network of contacts too. I also did some cold-emailing when I first went freelance and bagged a long-term client in my first month which was pretty great. I’d say, contact people you know, be proactive on LinkedIn, network, build your online brand and don’t be afraid to reach out to people.
What keeps you motivated every day?
I think I’m generally a very motivated person. I don’t sit back and wait for things to happen, I’m impatient by nature so I think this helps me to strive forward and keep working hard. The thought of setting an alarm and heading to an office every morning keeps me pretty motivated too, haha! I know that right now I am the happiest and most content I’ve ever been, and that feeling is definitely what keeps me going. I’ve worked hard to design a life I love and while I do have some days where I feel like I can’t get going, I think that’s pretty normal for both freelancers and office workers. I also set myself monthly earnings goals to keep me motivated…and earn enough dollar to renovate my housewhich seems to suck every penny out of me.
What are your current goals?
- Build a freelance/business website (it’s going to happen but time is limited at the mo!)
- Finalise a project that’s on my radar by October
- Grow my Pinterest traffic to 5K sessions a month (long term goal!)
Is being self-employed what you expected it to be?
Yes and no! I certainly don’t have time for that yoga classes I thought I’d be attending every week but I am loving it overall. I have less free time than I thought I would, but I can’t complain as it kept me busy. It can be stressful at times, and there are definitely moments where I’ve wondered if working in an office would be easier but then I calm down and realise nothing beats working in bed at 2pm on a Tuesday if I fancy it.
What would be your top piece of advice for aspiring freelancers?
Just do it! There will never be the perfect time to quit your job, so I would recommend having enough money to pay your bills in the bank for at least 3 months and biting the bullet. If you don’t, you’ll always wonder ‘what if’ and ultimately you won’t be truly happy if you ignore your dreams in favour of a job that’s just paying the bills and not giving you what you want from life. If you can, start reaching out to people and working on gaining your first client while you’re still working in order to relieve the pressure when you do walk out of full-time employment. You could also look at part time work whilst you’re building your business up. I always like to have a back-up plan, and while I’ve been fortunate to get by with the work I’ve had coming in, I wouldn’t be opposed to considering part-time/casual work to tide me over if freelancing dried up for a while.
I hope this has been useful! Drop me a comment below with your freelance experiences or any further questions…