Freelance Business

  • Poll: How did you know you were ready for freelancing?

    A few people have asked me recently how I knew I was ready for freelancing. The honest truth is, I fell into it. I left my job in HR with the idea of getting into the hotel industry, picked up some digital media internships after joining Twitter (more by chance than any kind of strategy), and ended up freelancing.

    So, I’m probably not the best person to ask on how to know you’re ready for freelancing. I don’t necessarily think every freelance makes a planned jump into it. Some take it up after being made redundant, others after starting a family and I know several people who have moved abroad and started a freelancing career as they can work remotely.

    But I also know a lot of people at the moment who don’t want to be an employee for the rest of their lives, and are considering freelancing or starting their own business. It’s a big step, so how do most people know when they’re ready for it?

    In a moment, I’m going to ask those of you who have made the jump from full time employment to freelance to vote on how you knew you were ready. First though, are a few things to make sure you have before you make the jump:

    • Savings. Ideally enough for three months of rent/mortgage payments (six months is even better)
    • Potential clients. The best way to secure potential clients, is to take on some freelance work in the evenings and weekends. Yes, it’ll be hard doing a full time job and freelancing in your spare time. But you’ll be glad you did when you go freelance full time and already have contacts!
    • Find your local networking events, and book them into your diary
    • Make sure you’ve got a good support structure around you of friends and family. Not everyone will understand your move (I’d say at least 40% of my family and friends don’t understand why I’d choose to be freelance) but the good ones will support you.
    • A plan. Just as you’d create a strategy for starting a business, you need a strategy for starting a freelance career.

    So, over to you! How did you know you were ready for freelancing?

    [poll id=”14″]

  • The Digital Q&A Google+ Hangout

    Last night, I took part in my first Google+ Hangout with the lovely Jennifer Begg and Fran Swaine (regular readers may remember Fran’s great post on being a newbie freelancer.) To add to the pressure, we recorded it on Jennifer’s YouTube channel, and answered questions from our online followers around the subject of digital media.

    Here are the results…

    We had a dozen or so questions to get through, but as you can see we had a lot to say so only got through a few! The plan is to make this a monthly activity though, with a more focussed topic each time.

    Doing this hangout has made me realise that I’d like to get involved with Google+ more. This is where I need your help! I’d love to hear your recommendations for people to follow, how to get more out of it, and what you use it for.

    Feel free to leave comments, good or bad, in the comments section below.

  • Should you go Freelance, be employed or be an employer?

    This week, I’ve got a guest post from the wonderful ReeRee Rockette, who has experienced being employed, freelancing and now being an employer. ReeRee runs the Rockalily hair salon and founded the Wonderful Women: Minding Our Own Business group.

    When I was a teacher I had to work very set hours. Up early and working late; counting down to the holidays. I started dreaming of a freelance lifestyle, and eventually made the jump.

    What I wanted from my new life:

    1. The ability to choose my hours. I don’t want to necessarily work less, just when I want.
    2. To choose who I spend my time with.
    3. To be able to influence my own success.
    4. To have a flexible working situation; my end dream was to be able to work from a Starbucks!
    5. To have more variety in my working life.

    For just over a year I worked from home, and yes, I managed to work from coffee shops a lot! I woke up later, but worked later into the night, using my natural night owl tendencies to their best effect.

    The only concern I had had when leaving the world of regular work was that of being lonely. To prevent this (which actually turned out to be rather unnecessary but awesome nonetheless) I started my own business support group. It’s called Wonderful Women: Minding Our Own Business, and we’re a small group of fabulous ladies who have started running their own businesses. We meet a couple of times a month to share ideas, learn and debate and have a cheeky cocktail or two.

    Rockalilly

    However, my journey has now taken me on a different path, and I have recently opened my own hair salon. So although I still run my own business, I’m not quite as freelance as I was last year.

    However, it does come with its own perks too (even if I’m not working from Starbucks anymore!).

    1. Despite having set hours to work, I can still be flexible. I can decide to open later/early or to take a day off!
    2. I get to meet lots of awesome new people every day.
    3. The routine can be quite nice – you get up at a certain time, no wasting time lounging in bed!
    4. It makes having time off easier. When you work from home, switching off is very difficult!
    5. Being part of a team. Although I’m the boss, I definitely feel like I’m part of team. Which is cool.

    So I have experienced regular employment, a freelance lifestyle as well as a business owner’s working day, and I have to say I have enjoyed the benefits of all three. I imagine that eventually I will settle into a mix of the last two, having a concrete business to run, but one which doesn’t need me physically there to be running successfully.

    Some of us are more suited to different work patterns, have you reflected recently on what sort of working day would be your ideal?
    [custom_author=ReeReeRockette]