I've had a few emails along these lines recently, so I thought it was about time I put together a post! Between all the travel I was lucky enough to do over the last two months, I somehow didn't get around to making a very official announcement about my new venture as a full time freelancer. For my readers that have been here since the early days (can you believe it's been almost 6 years!?), you'll know that this blog has always been a side project of mine which I started while I was studying, and later continued to maintain on evenings and weekends while I was working full-time. It was a big decision to leave the security of my 9-5 job to pursue my dream of working for myself, both as a blogger and freelance graphic designer/creative consultant. It's been a big learning process, but all in all I'm so happy with where things are heading.
For those of you who are thinking about going freelance or have recently taken the plunge, I have put together a list of my top three tips. Hopefully some of these will help you in your creative pursuits. Also, thank you to all my lovely readers for helping making my dream a reality. It's the best feeling in the world to wake up knowing you love what you do!
1. Organise your finances
Setting a proper budget is something I wish I had invested a bit more time in before I started. If possible, an ideal starting figure for savings is an equivalent of three months salary. This ensures that while you're finding your feet, you can continue making your rent/mortgage payments and cover day to day expenses. Work out how much you need to set aside each time you get paid too - I recommend transferring a percentage for tax straight away into a separate account, and ensuring that you put aside any funds needed for outgoing expenses relating to the job or project. It's also a good idea to start making superannuation payments as soon as you can, and putting a little bit aside for savings. It's a lot to take on board but as with any new business, it can take a while to settle into a good routine, so starting early is key. Keep in mind that some weeks may also be quieter than others, so it's great to have a rainy day fund.
2. Make a schedule
One of the biggest challenge freelancers can face is staying motivated, I know it might not sound like the biggest problem, but outside of a usual office environment it can be quite tricky! What has worked for me is to try and create a daily routine, pencilling in blocks for meals, email catchups, deadlines and the gym to try and keep myself on schedule. Occasionally I like to mix things up by working from a cafe, or with a friend for a change of scenery. It's important to leave your desk every now and then, so the occasional coffee meeting is definitely a good thing!
3. Have a plan in mind
A business plan is always a good idea for any new venture. I put together a list to help me with my decision which involved answering the following questions: What will be your main source of revenue? Who are your existing clients, and who will you approach? What is your brand or service and who is your customer? What are your long and short term goals, and your projected expenses? Putting together your own working document will help you get things in order, and also makes for a great reference point to check in with over the first few months.