Have you ever been at work and felt like you could do a better job on your own and even get paid more to do it? If you’ve ever wondered how to be a freelancer, then wonder no more, as that right there is the moment of clarity that leads to so many flourishing freelance careers. Deciding to go it alone is not an easy decision to make. As an employee, you’ll imagine the life of a freelancer through rose tinted specs, and it’s not until you’ve taken the leap that you realise exactly what you’ve given up.
There’s no more fixed salary; no more paid holidays; no more days when you really don’t do all that much; no more long lunches; no more pension contributions and no more opportunities to socialise with colleagues. With that in mind, you might wonder why anyone chooses life as a freelancer and sticks to it, but it can be extremely rewarding.
The most important thing is to go into life as a freelancer with your eyes wide open and understand exactly what you’re letting yourself in for. With that in mind, here are a few insights to help smooth your journey from agency work into the freelance world…
If you’re going to make a success of life moving from agency to freelancer you must be good at what you do. It’s essential you’re in a position in your career where you can handle just about every job that will come your way. The truth is that there’s no one you can turn to for help, so you need to be confident in your own abilities.
A big part of that is knowing when to take on a project and when to turn it down, because although you’d love the money, given your skill set, it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth. We’d recommend having at least 3-4 years’ experience with an agency before you go it alone.
If you’re going to make it as a freelancer without ageing 30 years in 6 months then you have to learn not to worry about every little thing. If you’re really busy then that’s fantastic, but then you worry that you won’t be able to meet deadlines for your regular clients and they’ll go elsewhere. If there’s no paid work scheduled for the week ahead then you’re bound to worry about money and probably assume you’ll never get another client again.
The secret is to not sweat the stuff you can’t do anything about. Just work as hard as you can and if it doesn’t work out, at least you won’t have any regrets.
If you’re an in-demand freelancer, flexibility is key, as there will almost certainly be times when you have to give up your weekends. After all, if your best paying client tells you they really need something by Monday morning, what are you going to do… tell them to go elsewhere?
The truth is that you don’t have all that much control from one day to the next. Accepting that things are out of your control and not wasting your time and energy with projections and filling your head with ‘if this, then that’, will stand you in good stead.
It’s certainly possible to build excellent working relationships with your clients, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that if someone better and cheaper came along, they wouldn’t drop you like a stone. To reduce the risks, it is your prerogative to build up as many clients as you can handle while meeting their demands. That gives you the reassurance that if one client were to ‘ghost’ you, you wouldn’t take too much of a hit.
As a freelancer, you cannot afford to tiptoe around the subject of money. In the UK, we’re reluctant to talk about money, and this can trickle through into the early days of freelance life. However, every reasonable client will appreciate it’s a topic that needs to be discussed BEFORE you start a project, and if they don’t, they’re probably not a client you should be working with. You need to make your payment terms clear before you start any work. That should include:
• When you will invoice
• How long you will give the client to pay
• Whether you require part payment upfront
• What methods of payment you accept
• Whether you will charge interest on late payments (something you are legally entitled to do)
A world of opportunity awaits
Becoming a freelancer is certainly a scary decision to make and you can’t expect everything to be plain sailing from the off. However, if you wait until you’re ready and take on-board some of the tips above, we’re confident it’s a decision you won’t regret!
At LynxPro, we have a wealth of freelancer and contractor opportunities to help you on your way. That includes roles in mobile app design, software developing, cybersecurity and more. Sign up to start your search for rewarding freelance roles today.