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how to start your freelance career

When it comes to freelancing, it’s no secret that there are pros and cons, and it really comes down to your ‘why’. Why do you want to go freelance? For me, it was for flexibility, the ability to create my own working hours, and no boss-hoorah. With those benefits comes a lack of, well, benefits. From holiday entitlement and all of the other perks that come from being employed (no the ping pong table doesn’t count), you have to consider whether you’re willing to let these go.

If the answer is yes, then freelancing sounds like it could be for you, but let’s weigh up the pros and cons first…

Pros of freelancing

  • In control of your own schedule
  • Flexibility
  • No boss breathing down your neck
  • No office dramas
  • Unlimited earning potential

Cons of freelancing

  • Financial uncertainty
  • Loneliness (but co-working can really help here!)
  • Lack of benefits
  • No team to lean on

If the pros outweigh the cons for you and you want to take the plunge into freelance, check out these top tips…

Start a side hustle

If working for yourself sounds dreamy, but you’re quite comfortable on a monthly salary, then why not start up your freelancing gig on the side! You don’t have to quit your job overnight, instead, build up your own freelancing work while you have the luxury of a regular paycheck. It’s a wise idea to do this, unless you’re fortunate enough to have a healthy stash of savings. As you gradually build your portfolio you’ll also become more confident in your ability to take it full-time.

Learn a new skill

If you want to work from home, or remotely, you might be considering the different career paths that offer this. Graphic design, digital marketing, and writing for web can be lucrative, so it’s a good idea to brush up on your existing skill set or learn something completely new. The good news is, distance learning courses make this so easy. Distance-Learning offer brilliant graphic design courses for beginners¬†and it can be completed from the comfort of your own home in your spare time. This is ideal for those looking to make the leap, as the courses enable you to learn at your own pace, so you don’t have to feel stressed and overwhelmed if work gets busy.

Reach out to local businesses

Finding your first paying clients can be tough, especially if you’re new to freelancing and are yet to gather an impressive portfolio. This is where reaching out to local businesses can be really beneficial. Offer your services at a discounted rate (or voluntary if you’re able to do so) in order to gain valuable experience and presence in your local area. You never know, it might lead to an ongoing relationship or they may recommend you to another business! Don’t underestimate the power of recommendation.

Network with other freelancers

Going freelance can leave you feeling alone and anxious, I know this was certainly the case when I took the plunge. One day I was working in an office of 10 people and the next I was sitting at home in my pj’s wondering what I had done. It’s normal to feel a little worried when you quit your job, which is why it’s so important to get yourself out there and mingle (not keen on the word ‘network’) with other freelancers. Find like-minded individuals you can bounce ideas off of and moan about your woes too. It will feel much less lonely, it’s all about building your own support network.

Enjoy it!

If I have to tell my freshly-freelance 26-year-old self one piece of advice it would be worry less, enjoy it more! I spent so much time panicking in my first 6 months of freelancing that I forgot what my reasons were for doing it in the first place. If it doesn’t work out that’s FINE, you can go find yourself another job, nothing is permanent so it’s important to enjoy the ride and not get too bogged down.

Check out my other posts on freelancing here!

 

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