You’re very brave (if a little crazy) if you can just pick up and go straight into the world of freelance without any preparation. I’m more of a cautious fellow and highly recommend getting prepped and pepped; so you’re ready for anything that comes your way.
Before I went into some detail about pondering on the idea of freelance, If you’re still on the fence, it’s worth having a read here.
Every penny counts
Are you currently working? If so, great! Stick to it and save some dosh, save enough to keep you going for at least 3 months of no income I’d say… maybe more. There will be times when you won’t get any income for months on end, or even just small jobs trickling into your account. Don’t sweat it though, it’s normal and we’ve all been there; just use your spare time productively during quiet moments to shine! My quiet days are split between looking for opportunities and working on personal projects, just to keep those creative juices flowing.
Whatever creative career you’ll be going into, you’ll need some online presence. Build your site, improve your LinkedIn profile, spread the word on Twitter; after all, word of mouth is the best kind of publicity. Check out the link of resources below.
I know creative peeps have a habit of being meticulous with this stuff, especially if it means selling yourself. Don’t be too precious about it at this stage though, the more time you spend creating your site, more time will have been taken up where you could’ve been getting yourself out there. Besides, you’ll inevitably get great ideas as time moves on, and updates are always happening.
I’m on my 3rd business card design within four months! Yes, business cards are still happening.
It’s not all just digital
Before I got into freelance proper, my commute into London was about an hour; An hour of passing 100s of people a day. Naturally I got chatting to people in cafe’s, trains, while waiting to get served at a bar, you name it. There’s networking opportunities all around us, yes it does help massively if you can naturally talk to strangers, another quality that’s worth building up on.
Hey, I’m actually writing this up in a cafe right now!
So get some business cards designed nice and early so you can take advantage of all these precious moments, people will remember you when they have something to take away after a good natter. Again don’t be precious about the design, get your name out and about.
OK, so there’s a few things to design to get you going, but don’t just confine yourself at home in the darkest of nights trying getting all this done; try co-working. This will allow you to work on your stuff while meeting other entrepreneurs (potential future clients) just like you, not to mention the free snacks and coffee that could be on offer! Most people will be more than delighted to talk about their exciting business with you.
The low down
As well as some of the essential stuff above, there’s also accountancy, banking, getting the right tools, branding to name a few; but none of this has to be done in a specific order. Work out the priorities you feel will work best for you and your service to get going. Write all your ideas down and get organised, or you’ll just get a headache with a thousand ideas happening all at once!
If you’re still at work wanting to go freelance, it could take a while when building up your future career in your own time but use it as an opportunity too. So that once you leave work, you’re pumped and ready to go.
Only you will know when the time feels right.
Next I’ll go into how you can effectively leave a company for freelance, it can be trickier than you think. Also a definitive ‘living’ list of resources. Register to my newsletter so all the cool content comes to you 1st!
Some resources to get you started
LinkedIn– One of the best ways to build an online network for your career
Behance– Build a creative community to get your visuals seen and shared
Twitter– build an audience all over the world for your service with interesting information. Don’t let your account build dust
Facebook– Start a Facebook page to get yourself going:
Trello– brilliant free service to list any project in a constructive workflow
Evernote– Save notes on the fly wherever you are
Hourly rate calculator– Give yourself a rough idea of how much you should be charging
Campus London– Google run free co-working space in London with the occasional event that’s worth checking out
WordPress– Build your site with a huge resource of templates, free and premium
More resources can be found on my post ‘The COMPLETE resource for a creative‘.