A Life Well Spent: Begin Following Your Freelance Dreams
The past couple of years have been, well, different. Without putting too much emphasis on the challenging times’ everyone has faced; there’s no denying that there was a huge shift in how businesses ran things, and how individuals worked. Many found the time spent working out of the office a chance to reflect on their life and career goals overall. And, when people did start heading back to the daily commute; many have been left considering if what they do for work is really how they want to earn a living. There’s a new zest for travelling now that restrictions have been lifted, and people have experienced more time in the week to do what makes them happy.
All these factors may well have left you questioning things, and, don’t worry; you’re definitely not alone! Working from home and remotely are commonplace for many companies now, as is an increase in the number of self-employed, and freelance workers. The beauty of this lifestyle is the flexibility; this allows someone to pick up all the work they’d be cramming into the 9-5, taking away the timely commute and unnecessary meetings, and ensuring they can work smart, often at something they enjoy. However, it can feel like an overwhelming and intimidating option, especially when there are bills to pay, and the current financial climate to consider. In saying that; it is possible, and it doesn’t have to be a huge leap, without any preparation. Therefore, the following are some hints, ideas, and inspiration for those wanting the freedom that freelancing can bring, but are unsure where to start and what to consider.
You Don’t Have To Go It Alone
The prospect of becoming a fresh freelancer can be intimidating; imposter syndrome may well take over for those initial weeks and even months. However, the first thing you need to remember is that you’re working at something that you can do; you know you can do it, so keep pushing through! Next, you don’t have to go it completely alone; you can consider a variety of ways to ease into your new career future. Think about your current job, and if there’d be an option to work part-time hours. If this is the case; you can begin looking into picking up some freelance jobs here and there to build your portfolio of work (as long as there are no conflicting interests with your current place of work). You can also start utilising your evenings straight away; there are plenty of free marketing tools and website templates so that you have somewhere to present what you can offer clients and employers, with as much or as little time and effort as your situation allows.
If going part-time in your current role isn’t an option; consider looking for a new part-time job that will cover your weekly expenses and really throw yourself into gaining freelance jobs elsewhere. Very often, approaching agencies or recruiters like Cartisian Recruitment are excellent ways to put yourself out there so that you’ll be at the forefront of employers’ minds if something should come up to suit your skills and flexibility. Make sure you’re signed up to all the relevant online spaces like LinkedIn, and specialist sites that are for freelance and remote workers (there really is a huge community of like-minded workers out there). Take on whatever you can, when you can; learn the rates you should be charging and never undercharge for your time and work as it will only hinder your long term.
You’ll know when the work is flooding in and you could really use more hours in the week, that it’s time to think about becoming a freelancer full-time. Again, you don’t have to be alone in it all; there are plenty of companies and businesses that are looking to take on some freelancers for months at a time; this will give you financial security, and someone to check in with regularly about your work. You can charge for any overtime, and you’re not tied to them so you can leave at any point should something more suitable comes along. Understand your rights within a company, and enjoy the flexibility of your role; especially if it’s a set project or the number of words, and you’re not tied to a schedule, only a deadline.
Keep Networking And Co-working
This follows nicely from the notion of you not going it alone. As previously mentioned; there are many who not only work from home (or remotely) now but who have decided to become a freelancer for a better work/life balance. It doesn’t mean that you automatically want to be stuck in a room at home, alone all week. Therefore, get online and look for co-working spaces in your local area. Try to ensure that you go and work with others on a similar path to you, regularly. This can bring all sorts of new friendships, and work opportunities. Someone may not have any time to do a job they’ve been approached with, but they know that you’d be a great fit, and you’ll end up doing similarly.
Perhaps someone you meet is a full-time employee of a company, but they work remotely; they might know of a freelance opportunity in that business. There are countless positive possibilities for staying social with your work, even if you’re working for yourself. If you can’t find anything suitable; set up something yourself! Use your social media and relevant hashtags to gather together local freelancers for a co-working day. Contact an independent business to see if they’d be happy for you to use an area of their cafe or restaurant; you’ll be bringing them business as you’ll all be buying coffee and lunch as you work, and you’ll have a great space to get to know people and work together.
Build Your Contingency
At the risk of sounding like your mum; make sure you’re saving as much money as you can, especially in that first year. You’ll want enough saved to get by during any quiet periods, and then you can begin to think about all the places you can travel to, to do your work. Good luck, and enjoy!