How to be freelance

 

Freelance life

Hello! I’ve had a few messages asking me about how to become freelance whilst working limited hours. (I love how 9 to 3 is consider ‘limited’ btw…) So if you are thinking of taking the leap into freelancing, then here are a few practical thoughts:

Photo of Laura working from homeKnow yourself – are you a highly motivated person? Can you work to self-imposed deadlines? Working freelance often means working by yourself with little company most days. You need to be able to motivate yourself to open that laptop every day and not get distracted by daytime television or my achilles heel – social media. My… that is a wormhole I often find myself in! If you can, great – that is half the battle. Sticking to regular working hours and putting in good practice measures straight away is vital.

Can you afford it – get financially savvy. Do you know what your outgoings are each month? My husband has a basic spreadsheet budget that he has used for decades and this tells him how much is due to go out each month. We know how much we need every month plus the extras such as car insurance, holidays and Christmas. Before I went fully freelance, I worked 3 days a week for a company to really find my feet – I used my other days to network and gradually build up potential new clients.

Laptop ready
Are you tech ready?

Location and tech – are you planning on working from home? Is your wifi up to it? When we moved, we didn’t have super-fast broadband (it wasn’t available) so it meant that I had to visit my parents every time I needed to send a large file. This wasn’t ideal but it made me more organised and I started working at their house 1 day a week.

Lifestyle – being freelance can mean working odd hours and juggling your normal ‘life’ as you get the business going. Do you have help with childcare? Are you able to attend meetings after school? Make sure that you have plans set up just in case. An example would be that I tend to visit clients in London every month – I choose a day that Amy doesn’t have any after school activities and my neighbour is happy to have her until I get back. Or I ask my parents. I’m lucky but I have this in place in case I suddenly have to attend an urgent appointment.

Choose your sector – are you planning on continuing within the same area as your current job? I have always working in PR and this is a sector that is very friendly to freelancers. I would make sure that you can still work as a freelancer before you take the leap. Chat to others who have already made the change to double check that it is a possibility.

Linked In
Is your LinkedIn profile updated?

Network and LinkedIn – keep in contact with people and companies that you would like to work with. The occasional coffee and quick email is a great way to keep in touch.  Highlight a product or a project that you loved. One of my best sources of income is through LinkedIn – I have had referrals from colleagues that I worked with over 12 years ago (that makes me feel old) via the site. Keep your profile fresh and remember to add an update each time you finish or win a new project. I’ll be running a separate blog post on LinkedIn soon.

Accounts – do you know how to keep up with your taxes? I’ll admit that this area terrifies me and I had a meeting with an accountant who guided me through everything. Now I do my own books but she processes my tax return. I also save at least 25% of my income to put into savings, National Insurance and my taxes. To read more about taxes when freelancing, I’d recommend this article.

Honesty – be honest with yourself AND your clients. Tell them the hours that you work and the reasons why. Since having Amy I know that I’m more motivated and efficient with my time – mainly because I have no choice. This, in my opinion makes me a better worker as I’m focused, deadline ready and prepared.

Get yourself a contract
Have a few draft contracts ready

Contracts – get something in place that suits you and your client. There are lots of templates available online that you can amend. This can help with payment processes and also defines the time you will spend on the project.

 

Love what you do! This is the most important aspect  – love what you do and it will never feel like work! I’m passionate about brilliant books and beautiful art. This makes me want to work with artists and authors – I’m enthused by their art. Everyday is different and this is what I love about freelancing.

Still not sure? I really like The Crunch for their articles on self-employment. Have a look here for other articles that may help you.

 

How I Work: Alexandra Wright

Hello!

Time for another How I Work highlight! When I asked this brilliant lady if she minded answering a few of my questions to appear on my blog, she was surprised as she didn’t consider herself ’employed’ and yet, to me she never stops working.

I met Alex a few years ago when our daughters started school (they are in the same class) and she has become a firm friend of mine. Determined, focused, and a force of nature, Alex is a pure grafter. She works to earn extra money to help her family whilst bringing up 3 children. Incredible.

She’s also a brilliant example that you don’t need to have a set career plan whilst working the 9 to 3. She’s making the most of her time and making the work, work for her. Truly inspirational.

Have a look!

  1. Name:  Alexandra Wright
  2. Name of Business: Housewife!
  3. What do you do: Self employed – Kind of!

    A photo of Alex Wright
    At one of her cleaning jobs…with her favourite gadget!
  4. Where do you work:  I am a housewife/homemaker for my 3 children. In between the school hours,  I do small  jobs to help top up the family income. These include – a paper round in my village, cleaning jobs, home from home dog boarding and looking after horses (though that is mainly in the winter months during the hunt season)
  5. How did you get to this point in your career: I used to work full time for Mars petcare. After having our first daughter I realised this wasn’t a realistic work life balance. My husband is a farm manger on our local dairy farm which is shift work but can be long hours, plus his days off are every other weekend. My job was also shift work, so when we were both working weekends we found that I would be asking the world and his wife to look after Sophie. We decided that I would stop working to care for our children and from this I started doing a few smaller jobs where and when I can to help with our cash flow.
  6. The best part of my job is: Being able to attend every school event that is thrown at school parents throughout the year!

    Walking two ponies – as well as a buggy.
  7. The worst part of my job is: Not having an identity
  8. Favourite time-saving trick: Can I pick two? Hoovering and mopping at night so you start the day with a clean floor. Putting sheets and duvet covers in the matching pillow case so when its bed changing day everything is ready.
  9. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3: Don’t beat yourself up if work isn’t done. With children the days are long but the years are short.
  10. Favourite social media accounts/blogs: Umm… I don’t really have one but really looking forward to reading 9 to 3!

Thanks Alex!!!!

 

How I Work: Allison Barnard

I mentioned last week that I was looking to feature people that work mostly during the school hours. I am thrilled that Allison is my first! I met Allison quite a few years ago when I was dipping my toe into the world of networking. I was a new mum and looking at new adventures during my maternity leave. Allison was the uber cool girl who nailed her “1 minute” talk every time. I’ve always been in awe of her ever since.

The fan-girling continues as she’s booked several holidays and flights for me and my in-laws. She made each holiday a dream where the rubbish stuff is taken care of (by her). She even managed to get a birthday cake for my daughter once when we were away. Impressive.

How I Work

  1. Name:  Allison Barnard
  2. Name of Business:  Travel Counsellors

    Allison works from home whilst living an international life.
  3. What do you do:  I run my own travel business looking after Major Artists on tour,  family holidays, individual business trips, and everything in between.  I am self employed and a franchisee of Travel Counsellors who provide full financial protection, branding, marketing, business support, buying power, and access to booking technology to assist in making my business successful.
  4. Where do you work:  Mostly from home but I literally could be anywhere with a decent internet connection.
  5. How did you get to this point in your career: On returning to the office in
    Allison works as a Travel Counsellor

    March 2012 after maternity leave I decided I wanted to see my children grow.   So I joined Travel Counsellors and have never looked back

  6. The best part of my job is:
    Making travel dreams come true is one of the highlights in Allison’s job.

    Helping make dreams come true.

  7. The worst part of my job is:  Having to give bad news, re prices or delays or cancellations.
  8. Favourite time-saving trick:  Know your tech, make it work for you. And pick up the phone, endless threads can be squashed in to a concise phone call, and your customers will value you more by having actual contact.
  9. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3:  don’t forget you.  Make sure you have me time, not just work time/kid time.  Even if it’s just walking the dog or stopping in the park for a coffee on the way back from school drop off or a yoga class or a swim.  My business always does better when I remember to do things for me. And you really can’t look after anyone else if you don’t look after you.
  10. Favourite social media accounts/blogs – I do struggle keeping up with any.  Although a friend moved to Amsterdam last year and I do try and keep up with   https://amsterfam.com/ .

 

You can reach Allison via her website: http://www.travelcounsellors.com/allison.barnard

Or Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AllisonBarnardTravelCounsellorsUk/

 

If you would like to know more about Travel Counsellors and how working with them happens, then please click here.

 

It is all downhill from here…

Have a beautiful Monday
Oh the irony…

When I started this blog, I honestly thought that I could show and share my ideas about how to make the 9 to 3 work. I wasn’t smug but fairly optimistic that I had the rules set in place. And then yesterday happened. Monday. One of those days that nothing goes right and you end up working late into the evening because your daytime was hellish.

So I thought I would tell you that it isn’t always great. Sometimes you do need to stop everything you do and organise lost school shoes,  harvest boxes, dance school location changes, husband’s impromptu governor meeting, pilates, babysitter, cancelled pilates and such like. Yesterday was that day.

But today is already better – work mostly done, eyelashes tinted and now I’m thinking about lunch.

Selfie
A happier Laura on Tuesday. Freshly tinted.

The rule is: it doesn’t matter that yesterday didn’t go to plan. Just keep going. You’ll get there. With newly tinted lashes.