The Idiot's Guide to Freelancing Full-Time.
It's crazy to think, and even harder to believe, that it's officially been SIX MONTHS since my last regularly scheduled paycheck. I’ve had some wonderful projects and overall fulfillment in what I do has never been higher, but it hasn’t been easy. I've literally been scratching and clawing my way to where I am right now. I’ve only been doing this for 6 months, and I’m don’t know how long I will do it, but I decided I was qualified to share some tips about how to survive as a full-time freelancer.
There are many full-time freelancers in the world have have been doing what I am doing for decades now. I’m sure they can shed a lot more light on the situation than I can, so take this with a grain of salt.
1 - Prepare to do more than just designing.
As a freelancer, I now have to split my time doing more than just designing. I have to invoice, send out contracts, schedule calls (which I am notoriously bad at), reply to emails, manage my time properly, and follow up on late payments. I’m my own administrative assistant, and I have to be if I want to get paid.
2 - Brace yourself, it’ll be hard.
Okay, I knew freelancing full-time would be hard. I didn’t realize it would be *this* hard. It can be a rollercoaster of emotions at time, so you just have to prepare yourself for it.
3 - Develop a good support system.
Like I said, it’s hard, and the best things in life usually are. But those things are much more difficult if you don’t have any support. For me, the support comes in the form of friends that genuinely care about my well-being, clients that care about my success and make sure I’m compensated quickly, and family members that are there not only for moral support, but financial support when push comes to shove. You don’t realize how important those things are until you feel like you’re on your own.
4- Hold yourself accountable and get in a routine.
Get up every day at a decent time. Go to the gym. TAKE A SHOWER. It may sound silly, but all of those little things will help keep you in a routine that can help you can consistently do great work. When things are crazy busy, it can help you find a balance. When things are slow, it will keep you from sitting in your bed watching Netflix all day (hey, it still happens from time to time, but you just have to try to limit those days).
5 - Show no fear.
Not having a salary is scary, and not knowing where you next check till come from is even scarier, but you want to know what’s the scariest thing of the them all? Being afraid to stand up for yourself. Being afraid to stand up for what you’re worth, or for what you do, or for how you’re doing it. Like I said before, you’re going to have to do a lot more than just designing, so you’re going to have to fight for some things, and you just have to make sure you’re compensated well for it.
Speaking of that…
6 - Know your worth.
This is something that I’ve really had to come to grips since my transition to working for myself. When I had a salary, I didn’t *really* care if I charged less than my normal rate. I would do things for people as a favor, and not really worry about it because I knew that at the end of the day, my bills would be paid. Now, more than ever, I have to make sure to get what I’m worth from each and every project. I know I’m worth every cent of my rate and I NEED every cent of it.
7- Hang In there.
This freelancing thing is a rollercoaster of emotions. You’ll go through the ebbs and flows of finding work and getting paid for them. Have fun when you can, enjoy the freedom, and don’t sulk in your emotions too much. Remember that “tough times never last, but tough people [sure as hell] do.”
I’m sure there are far more tips to discuss, these are just what I thought were most important. Have things you think should definitely be on this list, or another tip for me? Share it with me!