21 lessons I’ve learned in 21 years of freelancing

Posted on: July 26th, 2012

I’ve just reached a milestone: 21 years as a freelancer. So I thought I’d share 21 things I’ve learned along the way.

  • No matter how well you try and plan things, you will always have a feast and famine workload. So try to enjoy the quiet periods and spend that time undertaking extra marketing activities or writing blog posts that you can schedule for times when you are busy.
  • If a client wants to beat you down on price, they will also be slow to pay you. And they will usually set unrealistic deadlines.
  • If a warning bell goes off in your head, listen to it. Your gut instinct is generally right.
  • Always set clear ground rules if you are working with another freelancer. And get these down in writing. (Things like: who does what, when; who gets paid what and when etc.)

Sorting out the admin when you start freelancing

Posted on: July 2nd, 2010

If you’re new to freelancing – or you’re thinking about taking the plunge – it can be a surprise JUST how much admin you need to sort out when you start up. Here’s a checklist so you can hit the ground running when you do embark on a freelance career.

  • Business insurance - I added a home office and business travel insurance to my household contents policy as it was a less expensive route. However a specific business policy should also cover you for things such as loss of earnings if there is a flood/fire etc.
  • Professional indemnity insurance - whether you need this will depend on your line of business but some public sector organisations in the UK require it.
  • Personal pension – you no longer have the benefit of a corporate pension scheme, so you’ll need to start your own personal one.

10 advantages of being freelance

Posted on: May 20th, 2010

If you’ve not yet decided whether freelancing is for you, here are ten advantages of going it alone:

  • You won’t have a boss breathing down your neck. You ARE the boss.
  • You set your own timetable. If you want to start at 11am, you can. If you want to take time out in the day and work at night, you can.
  • You can take your laptop and work wherever you want to. No more being chained to a desk.
  • When you find you have a free day, you can go out and enjoy yourself.
  • You don’t have to put up with annoying work colleagues.
  • When you’re busy and you need to put in extra hours, that extra money you earn goes into YOUR bank account not a big corporate’s.
  • If you finish your day’s work at 4pm, you don’t have to stay at your desk until 5:30pm ‘looking busy’.

Top Ten Tips for Freelancers

Posted on: May 18th, 2010

Welcome to my brand new blog – all about freelancing. In this first post, here are my top ten tips for starting out as a freelancer. They are in no particular order:

  1. Don’t give up on your day job until you know you have at least two clients on board.
  2. Put money aside every month for your tax bill.
  3. Put money aside in case you get sick and can’t work.
  4. Put a lot of effort into marketing yourself.
  5. Get a professional-looking website.
  6. If you work from home, invest in a good office chair.
  7. Hire a good accountant.
  8. Take holidays.
  9. Outsource tasks that are outside your area of knowledge (eg: setting up your IT system).
  10. Enjoy the fact that you no longer have a 9 to 5 job.