A while back I posted about ten things every freelancer knows.
But that got me to thinking… there are freelancers who don’t know those things yet.
There are BRAND NEW FREELANCERS all the time.
So, in honour of those wonderful people taking brave new steps into the freelance unknown, here are ten things that every NEW freelancer needs. If you’re not a fan of reading lots of text, scroll down for the video (spoiler: also involves reading some text).
To get you up and running. You don’t go from £0 to supporting yourself overnight, so make sure you have enough set aside to tide you over, or some other way of keeping a roof over your head. Parents, partners and tents all count.
Freelancing can be lonely (it can also be a great way to meet people but I’ll talk about that another time because it doesn’t fit with this list). So yes, freelancing can be lonely, especially if you’re used to working in a busy, bustling office.
Make sure you have friends on hand to talk to you and keep you sane, to share the highs and the lows and to listen when you need a good moan.
Before taking the freelance plunge every would-be-freelancer needs to have done their research. Market research. And research about the role.
Know what training you need. Know what overheads you’ll have. Know your market and that there IS a market. Sounds basic, and it is basic, but it’s easy to get tangled up in the Twisty Web of Excitement and forget the basics.
4. Bank account
So, if you’re a sole trader you don’t *technically* need a separate business bank account, but it makes life SO MUCH EASIER. So just do it.
Because the ‘what if’s happen. And because, depending on what you do, you might legally need to have it, or your customers might expect you to have it. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s worth making sure you’re covered. It makes you look proper professional, too.
6. Supportive network
Yeah yeah, I mentioned friends already. But what I mean here is a supportive network of other freelancers and small businesses. That might overlap with your friends in some places, but it’s most likely that this is a group of people you’ll collect around yourself in the weeks and months after you first go freelance.
Gather these people, value these people. Yes, some of them might be in competition with you. But they’re also experiencing all the same things and can be a huge source of support if you let them. You’ll find them in all sorts of places, from networking events to lurking on social media. They are worth their weight in gold.
7. Plenty of patience
Miracles don’t happen overnight. Business will come in fits and starts, especially early on. Stay focused, ride it out, and be patient. It’ll pay off in the end.
8. Resilience – the personal kind
Freelance life is full of ups and downs. You might have noticed this from my descriptions of business coming in fits and starts, lonely times and the joy of a supportive network, and the need to have savings and insurance to back you up!
A good freelancer needs to have a strong strand of resilience running through them. OK, none of us are superhuman and we ALL have doubtful days, but at the end of the day you need to know that your personal resilience will win out.
9. Resilience – the tech kind
So. Yeah. I spilled a pint of water over my laptop a couple of weeks ago. So make sure you have technical resilience, too. Back up your work, know a good IT person, that kind of thing…
Tea, coffee, Red Bull, chocolate. Whatever your choice (or all four mixed together) you’re going to need them. They’ll help you get through the day and meet the crazy deadlines (the ones that come in with less than no notice after you’ve had no work for three weeks). Embrace it and enjoy it. And if it’s one of the first two, dunk a chocolate biscuit in it.
Have I missed anything? If you’re a new freelancer you might be interested in learning why the words you use to talk about your business are important and how Sven learned this the hard way. I can help with new websites…