If you missed part one of my ‘freelance business lessons’ then you can have a little read of that one HERE. It probably does make sense to have a little read of that before you get stuck into this one because it obviously follows on… but here’s part two. Which is basically a few more lessons I’ve learnt since I started working for myself almost three years ago. I’ve had a lot of lessons to learn, some easy and some have had to be learnt the hard way! But hopefully the lessons I’m learning in nice bitesize form can go on to help others who are just starting the joys of working for themselves!
Please do let me know if you would like to see more of this type of post going forward. Always happy to try and share any tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years!
6. Cashflow Is Everything: You could agree a job for a fee that makes you want to do a little dance around your house. Which is great news and needs to be celebrated BUT the age-old truth is that the money isn’t yours until it’s in your account. Sadly, it’s a lesson I know a lot of bloggers have learnt the hard way with MODE going into administration. A tough lesson to learn, no matter how much money it involves. So as much as you want to feel ok with whatever projects you have in the pipeline. My motto is not to get too comfortable until it hits your account. For larger jobs ask to split the payment so some is up front and some on completion. Agree your payment terms up front and chase those invoices as they’re becoming due, not just when it’s a month after the due date. Get those moneyz people.
7. Save for a rainy day: Following nicely on from the above, and I know this isn’t the most ‘blogger’ thing to say in a world where spending like a Kardashian on haul after haul is part of the world we’re in. But not everyone reading this will be a blogger. Whatever industry you’re in, it makes a lot of sense to save your pennies for a rainy day. Whatever savings or that rainy-day pot looks like to you. If you’re going it alone for the long haul then you want to always make sure you have that safety net of some savings so you’re ready for any surprises.
8. Set boundaries: This is another lesson I learnt through making my own mistakes. By wanting to be flexible and available I said yes to anything and everything. There’s also this guilt feeling of wanting to work every hour you can to make sure you’re not missing any opportunities or putting enough out there. But for your own sanity all round you need to draw a line between work and play. I’ve gotten into a bit of a ‘normal’ routine where my weekends are largely spent away from the internet and feel like that works for me. Makes me feel less ‘dependent’ on the internet overall. Just find something that works for you and let yourself take a break. The internet won’t fall apart without you, promise.
9. Recommendations are a big deal: A recommendation can be a fast-forward ticket to your next bit of income. Wether a nice comment from a brand about how you were to work with, a testimonial on your website or word of mouth on your freelance work. It’s worth taking time to follow up with clients or brands to get feedback and perhaps a few words you can use as a vote of confidence when securing a new project.
10. Have and be a mentor: Don’t be an island on your own. Speak to others when you need advice and offer it when you know you can help others. That’s not to say you should divulge all your secret business tips and tricks. But if you see someone struggling and you can give them some words of encouragement do so! Seek out people in your industry that you feel you could learn from. Offer to support those who are starting out if you can. It’s just that sort of support that will help everyone overall – you know the whole ‘be nice to those on the way up, as you never know who you might meet on the way down’ thing. I have people I consider to be supports and mentors and they’re of all ‘levels’ and in some different industries. Just people who can sense check if you’re having a freak out on something or just offer that sort of advice that you can miss when you work solo. They can become your de-facto team and support network which makes ALL the difference!