FRIDAY FIVE: Freelancing tips from yours truly…
I’VE been a very busy beaver this week giving my professional site a bit of a makeover.
Quite astonishingly it’s coming up to three years since I quit my full time job and went freelance, so I decided it was definitely time for a bit of a revamp!
I’m absolutely passionate about the joys of freelancing and fully supportive of anyone who has the courage to give it a try. Because make no mistake, courage – especially in those first months – is what you need to survive and thrive. Working for yourself really isn’t for the faint hearted.
For me, career wise, it has been THE best decision I have ever made. I have never regretted it. Not even on those bleak ‘no work coming in’ days.
Going through katieportman.com, I came across some old blog posts that were very popular with other freelancers or people considering taking the leap. So I’ved pulled some of the best bits together and spruced them up a little to provide my five top freelancing tips.
And here they are.
DON’T compare yourself to others…too much
Some form of comparison is healthy when you’re a freelancer. We need to have a good idea of who our competition is, what they offer and how much they charge. That’s all fine. The problem is when it becomes ‘unhealthy’, when we start to think that everyone else is better, or doing better, than us.
It’s easy to become envious of other freelancers, especially when they seem to have work flooding in but you must hold the green eyed monster at bay and forget about them and celebrate you. Your brand. Your talents.
Change your perspective. Look inside, rather than out and appreciate everything you have to offer. Instead of wishing you had someone else’s success, concentrate instead on becoming the best freelancer you can be and let everyone else get on with doing the same. It’s much healthier.
Don’t work for free…unless you really, really want to
I have lost track of the number of times I have been asked to write, work or give up my time for free. But let’s just say, it’s a lot.
As soon as you say you work for yourself, people everywhere, from all walks of life, suddenly crawl out of the woodwork and expect you to work for thin air or out of the goodness of your heart. And as a freelance writer, this is particularly the case.
It never ever fails to amaze me, how often I’m offered a wonderful ‘opportunity’ that requires me to give so much, yet offers nothing or very little in return.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that under no circumstances should we not work occasionally for free. I’m just saying think before you commit.
Sometimes an opportunity just makes sense, is fun to get involved with or is a good thing to do, but whenever it comes to working for free, always chose carefully.
As freelancers, our time is our money. Your skills and experience are precious, so make sure you use and share them wisely.
DON’T work with nightmare clients…ever
After a few challenging experiences working for some people, I soon realised that nightmare clients just aren’t worth the hassle, regardless of how cash-strapped I am.
Admittedly, it’s tricky to spot them at first but here are a few warning signs that should trigger your suspicions:
They never pay you on time, they place unfair demands on you, they don’t respect your skills or experience, they’re not professional and finally, the big one, they’re just not very nice, at all.
It’s hard not to fall into that trap of being grateful for any work that comes your way, but actually, by setting clear standards, you’re showing that you respect yourself, your time and your talent. It shows that you mean business and know your worth.
Always pick self-respect over the dollar and only ever choose clients whom are a pleasure to work with AND know.
Don’t stop believing in yourself…not even for a second
Freelancing is tough.
Sometimes you can have too much work to handle whilst at other times, you may have nothing coming in at all.
On those dark days when you’re struggling to juggle your workload, your emails are horribly quiet or you’re starting to lose sleep over how you’re going to pay your bills, you need to stay strong. And believe.
Believe it will all be ok. Because it will.
Believe that you will work again. Because you will.
Believe that you can do this. Because you can.
Believe that you have the talents to succeed. Because you do.
To survive in the world of the self employed, you’ve got to be mentally tough. So don’t let negative chatter into your mindspace. Stay positive, stay focused and believe, believe, believe.
Don’t ever forget how amazing freelancing is…because it is!
Being a freelancer is about working with FREEDOM because you get to call the shots.
You can work whenever you fancy. You can work wherever you fancy. You can take on whichever work tickles your fancy. Hey, you can even work with or for someone you fancy!
Don’t ever lose sight of how completely amazing that is.
Give yourself a stark reminder of how lucky you are. Hop onto Facebook on a Sunday night or Monday morning and check out the familiar status updates from your friends, talking about how they’re dreading going back to work the next day / that morning.
Then take a moment to appreciate how bloody brilliant it is not to feel the same before you go about your day.
I adore freelancing. In fact I’d even go so far as to say I’m in totally love with it.
Freelancing has given me the career and work freedom that I’ve always desired and has made me a happier, content and much more confident person. And now that I’m a mum? Well, the benefits are even greater.
Working for myself means that I get to enjoy spending lots of quality time with Elsie whilst taking on work that fufills my creative needs and speaks to my soul.
Freelancing is certainly not the easiest way to make a living but for me it’s most definitely the best. I really hope it is for you too.
Till the next time, whatever work you do, just make sure you love it!
P.S I’m slightly breaking the Friday Five rule here but I’ve just remembered another tip -> Always make sure you surround yourself with supporters and believers.
The picture above is of some words of encouragement that my husband wrote to me when I made the leap into the freelance world. His support and love has been invaluable. x