Great Expectations… going freelance…
I thought I’d do a post about going freelance as it’s not been long since I took the plunge. I thought it might be interesting to write up the expectations I had (however naive), so that in a years time I can go back and weigh up how it actually panned out. You never know, it might actually be useful to someone, someday!
I’d wanted to go freelance for quite some time, but it’s a big step to leave a stable job with a steady income. Not knowing when you’re going to have money come in, having to constantly be on the look out for work, and managing your own work load and finances can be pretty scary.
I was pretty lucky when it came to biting the bullet: I’d been working with a friend of mine on a project as part of her new company, and when she received funding it meant I was able to get paid to work on it with her. It may only be 2 days a week, but it meant I had a small amount of steady income each month which took the pressure off, so I knew I wasn’t going to be totally skint! I was also offered a few days a week for another start up on a rolling contract, so that meant for starters I was pretty set up while I built up my client base.
So these were my expectations 2 months ago – I’ve already learned a lot since then, but I wanted to make sure they conveyed what I was expecting having had no experience freelancing full time…
1. Flexibility – I visit my folks back up north once a month, and now I have nieces I want to be able to spend more time at home with them – working freelance means I could go home for a week at a time and work from there. It also means a little more flexibility with my hours – if I want to work 8am – 5pm or 11am – 8pm I can. I can also take on work at the weekends and actually get paid for it if I want extra pennies. Also, I wont need to check with anyone before I book doctor/dental appointments!
2. Saving money – working from home means I won’t have to spend as much on transport getting to and from work. It also means I can cook lunch at home so I can budget more instead of going out and spending £5-£10 a day on lunch.
Note: My previous job provided lunch, but being located in Piccadilly circus meant it was too easy to more than make up for it by spending money on the way home every night!
3. More time for me – flexibility means I’d have more time to work on the things I want to work on. My job was pretty corporate and I found the less I flexed my creative muscles, the more stifled I became – prior to this role I was in a very creative company surrounded by illustrators, designers, cosplayers, and it was super inspiring and I was forever starting fun little projects. Being able to do these fun projects means my portfolio should start to reflect the type of work I want to do, and hopefully bring in more of the same.
4. Choice – I’m under no illusion that I’ll be able to do this anytime soon, but of course anyone who goes freelance would like to think at some point they’ll have enough work coming in that they can pick what they want to work on.
5. A happier, healthier me – being able to look after myself more – cook a proper lunch at home, be able to do exercise through the day, sleeping better – that extra hour gained from not having to put make up on/have breakfast/travel is not to be sniffed at!
1. Holidays – no one pays me for taking a days holiday now! If I take a day off, I don’t get paid for it.
2. Managing my own workload – At the company prior to my previous role, we had pretty great project management, I never had to worry about anything, I could just crack on and if anything came up, I’d tell my PM and they would go sort it out/deal with the client and then come back to me. Amazing. Thankfully, my last role didn’t come with a PM, so I had to manage my own workload, so it was good practice!
3. Managing my own finances – Taxes. That word scares the crap out of me. Thankfully I have a few wonderful freelance friends who were on hand to offer me advice on all that malarkey, and setting up online was a lot easier than expected. We shall see what happens when it comes to April and I have to sort it all out though – I plan on staying pretty organised and on top of it – hopefully that helps!
4. Finding work – This is even scarier than taxes. I’m lucky I’m in a position where I have some work to start me off so I’m not completely in at the deep end, but I need to learn to hustle!
5. Socialising – Working from home might become lonely, and lets face it, the office Christmas party wont be much craic. Hopefully there’ll be chances to freelance in house and meet new people, it might even mean I get to work with more people than I would if I was in the same office every day. We shall see.
So those were my main points to consider! I can already see where I’ve learned a lot, so it’ll be interesting to see how I feel about these in a years time! Hopefully if you’re thinking of taking the leap it might help