— January 9, 2019
If 2019 is the year you kick off your freelance career, these are the top five tips you’ll need to know!
- Stop waiting for work to come to you and go out and pitch yourself to potential clients
Work isn’t going to fall into your lap. If you want to start freelancing, you need to be going out and pitching yourself because no matter how talented you are, getting paid for your skills requires you communicating your offer to potential clients. Identify your targets and make pro-active approaches.
A scatter gun approach is fine at first. Make initial assumptions on who you want to work with and then slowly over time you will develop a clear sense of what type of clients you do and don’t want to work with.
- Join a social group of freelancers to help support you
The first two years of any freelance career are crucial so when it comes to moving your business forward, focus on building your network instead of relying on recruiters. Nine out of ten freelancers we asked from our membership said they got their first job through their personal network.
- Move the home office away from home
Separating home and work life is key to a successful freelance career. For many freelancers, the home is also the office and therefore it is easy for the distinctions to become blurred.
To combat this, clearly distinguish between your work and free time. There are lots of ways to trigger ‘work mode’, one of the simplest if you work from home is setting up a separate desk space and deciding your work timetable for the week ahead on a Sunday. This will help you get into a healthy routine and stick to a working day. The separate space will help you get into the right headspace for work and prevent your home from becoming your 24 hour office.
Alternatively, you could create morning rituals that signal the start of a working day. This could be as simple as placing a mug of coffee by your laptop, turning a particular ‘work’ playlist on, or even physically placing a pair of headphones over your ears to remove outside distractions.
- Get your taxes in early
We all hate it, but it’s important and it’s got to be done. Leaving taxes until the last minute will often mean you’re under pressure and rushing what can be a very technical process. This leads to mistakes. In September 2018, it was estimated that freelancers are paying over £1bn in incorrectly paid taxes to HMRC.
- Walking away from that client you hate working with
Experienced freelancers will always tell you the value of turning down work. Remember, you have a right to be treated with respect. If a client starts making unreasonable demands (e.g. endless Skype calls, getting in touch at two in the morning), you should make it clear that it’s not appropriate. Establish working conditions that are acceptable for you, and don’t be bullied into doing anything you’re not happy with. If a client won’t accept your terms, walk away.