A year in freelance

It is National Freelancers day and for me I’m taking just a moment for reflection.

You see, a year next Tuesday I left full-time employment to work freelance.

I had been building up my portfolio over the months as it became increasingly clear that instead of spending another year in a PR and design agency where I was stifled and unhappy I should bite the bullet, ride the cliche and set up on my own.

I did.

The first week passed in something of a blur. A friend who had taken a similar plunge agreed to meet me for coffee on my first day, filling up my diary, I guess. And then I met with an accountant, pitched myself far and wide.

Low and behold, a year later I am still here. And I am doing OK.

Freelancing is not easy. Don’t believe anyone who says it is. But until you have tried it, you’ll never really understand it. There are wonderful, marvellous days when you feel in charge of your own destiny and imagine you could conquer the world. There are others when the wracking loneliness and insecurity make you want to crawl under the duvet and never return. Sometimes, you even think about returning to the agency world from whence you came, that doesn’t last long though.

It is not for everyone, but in the coming year it will be for more people. No one’s job is secure now. No one can guarantee they will be where they are in a year’s time. Flexible working and working from home will become an increasing part of the landscape. That may be something many will hate, it may be where some find their groove. I have these short pieces of advice.

*Listen to advice. Before rejecting out of hand listen. Other people’s experience may not dictate what you do but may have some small impact on your work.

*Don’t feel guilty. I am an Irish catholic. Guilt is a big part of what we do. Don’t feel guilty about not being in an office. Define your own day and work to your own strengths.

*Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. That way madness lies.

*Don’t ask don’t get. Big deal if you look a little foolish or don’t get what you want. At least you tried.

*Read Creative Boom. It’s marvellous.

*Organise yourself. Accounts, client folders, desktop, office space. Tidy world, tidy mind.

*No excuses. It’s all on your own shoulders now. But that’s a good thing.

Finally. I have some thanks. It has been an amazing year and there are a lot of people I have relied on, sought advice from and others who have paid me, which is just wonderful. If you get this far and you see your name, you may be surprised but, thank you.

Angie Sammons. Paul Coslett. Christian Hughes. Martin Chapman. Glenn Maguire. Laura Davis. Simon Rhodes. Mike Hadden. Mike Blackburn. Bruno Negoita. Kate Hardcastle. Fredy Fernando. Paul Unger. Kevin McManus. Mike Doran. Jason Remnant. Chris Marshall. Adah Parris. Adeyinka Olushonde. Catherine Braithwaite. Jan Carlyle. German Lomuoio. Jass Singh. Mark Jones. David Lloyd. Jamie Bowman. Stacey Arnold. Mark Crane. Matt Fox. Sarah Semark. Christopher Brown.

1 Comment

  1. Nice post Laura. I can only concur.

    The best tip I’ve learned since being made self-employed, 18 months ago, came from an episode of the Apprentice: make the earliest available appointment with any given client, otherwise team Apollo might get there first! It’s served me well, and I’m looking forward to gaining more wisdom from other people’s stupid mistakes next season.

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