Leaving the rat race behind and going freelance may seem an extremely daunting idea – enough to put off most people from even considering the idea in favour of sticking to those nightmare commutes and uncomfortable office environments – but if done correctly it can open the door to a life which is busy but beneficial, and without all the extra stress which some people may find in day-to-day life. If you’re thinking of striking out on your own as a freelancer or sole trader but are experiencing The Fear, here are five things you need to consider.
Although it might not be best for business in the early days, if there’s a project you feel you’re not suited to write then it is okay to turn down a client. This could be down to your schedule – or even theirs if the deadline is too unreasonable – it might not be worth your while, or it could even just be something you’d be uncomfortable working on for whatever reason. You have the right to turn down work if the end result isn’t something you’d be happy putting your name to.
If your calendar is starting to look a little full then work with your client before anything is agreed upon to ensure that they get what they’re looking for in a timeframe that suits you both. You shouldn’t be expected to deliver a fully comprehensive design for a new website in a matter of days; and nor should they be expected to ask for one if you keep them abreast of your workload.
Sell yourself truthfully
Don’t under- or over-sell your abilities to prospective clients. Not only will this affect their expectations of you, it will also affect your own pay packet for a job. Don’t promise them the moon on a stick; be truthful about what you can give and what you expect to receive in return. A skilled and reliable freelancer also has the confidence of knowing what their time and skills are worth.
You might be used to the idea of working in a team to deliver on tight deadlines and maintaining relationships, but the truth is that freelancing could potentially be an isolating experience. Some people prefer the idea of solitude and sole authorship of their work, but coffee breaks aren’t quite the same when there’s nobody around to discuss last night’s soaps. Make sure you’re comfortable with the idea of spending the time alone, and don’t forget to get in plenty of face time whenever you can – tight deadline or not, it’s good for the soul. Hot desking from a national office firm such as Regus might be a suitable compromise when you feel like working from an office around other professionals.
Any freelancer who’s relied upon to deliver important information and data in the work they do should be aware of the risks inherent in failing to correctly provide for their client. Any fraudulent information or other mistake made during the course of your project could cost your client a big hit to either their reputation or finances. Make sure that you consider business insurance from reputable specialist freelance insurers such as Markel Direct, as a way of minimising those losses – some businesses won’t even consider working with you unless you have it.