Freelancing - Breaking Free
2. Are you happy working on your own? If you are going to be working from home, you will need to prepared for the fact that you may be spending a lot of time on your own.
3. Are you a good organizer? Not only will you be doing the design work, you will need to plan it, do any administration and accounts required.
4. Do you have enough money for the first couple of months? Unless you hit the ground at a flying start you will need to be prepared that money may be tight at first. Not only will you be trying to build your business, most clients will want at least 30 days payment terms (and then still may not pay on time).
5. Do you have a plan? You don’t necessarily need a full business plan, but you do need to plan on how to get work.
6. Get a good accountant. If they are good they will save you far more than you will pay them. They know all the things you can and can’t claim for, and will save you money in the long run.
7. Create a website. Even if web design isn’t your specialty (like mine), a web portfolio is a simple way to point potential clients to your work.
8. Write speculative letters to potential clients with a reference to your website and follow up a few days later with a phone call.
9. Approach design agencies, to see if they require anyone or an extra pair of hands when things get busy. Work with design agencies tends to be easier to get than work for direct clients
10. Contact previous employers. Previous employers may have freelance design work and would be happy to give it to you, as they know your work.
11. Set up a job book. As soon as you get a new job in put it in the job book with date, client, job description, quote amount, and invoice date. This makes invoicing much easier at the end of the month
12. Keep a work in progress list. It is very easy to forget a job if you are busy. Keep a work in progress list and cross jobs off as you complete them and add to it as new jobs come in. Keep a note beside each job when it is due.
13. Meet deadlines. Don’t promise to meet deadlines that you know you can’t. It's better to decline a job than accept it and not deliver it on time.
14. Do the best job you can. Your reputation is based on the last job you did for a client. Do a good job and you may get recommended to someone else. The design world tends to be quite close knit so you want to make a good name for yourself.
15. Don’t worry if work slows down. If work does slow down, don’t panic. Trying calling around to see if anyone has any work and send out some more letters and email enquiries. But don’t panic, you’ll regret not enjoying that quiet time when you are so busy you have to work late all the next week and weekend.
16. Pay yourself a set wage. If you can pay yourself a set wage just as though you were employed, this means when you have money you leave some in the bank and when you have a bad one you can still afford to pay yourself.