Freelance Survival Tips

A lot of people dream of ditching their boss. Freelance survival guide

No more 9 to 5, no more tedious meetings, no more ‘wage slave’ status.

But is it really greener on the other side?

Going freelance definitely gives you an added dimension of freedom than being an employee, but it’s not all a bed of roses.

Firstly, you can kiss goodbye to a regular pay slip. The earning power of the freelancer can outstrip the regular employee, but it is also notoriously unpredictable.

Secondly, although there are no constraints for 9 to 5 working, certainly in the early days you may find your working hours are longer as you try to get established. But the up side of that is that you’re doing it for yourself and not someone else, so you’re more likely to put up with it.

Thirdly, when working for someone else, there’s always another person near by to pass work onto, an IT department not far away when your computer goes wrong and various other experts waiting in the wings when you need them. None of that will be available to you when you go it alone.

But despite all of that, freelancing is a great way to work.

Coping on your own

There will be times when you find yourself under immense pressure.

You’ll be sat at your desk working to tight deadlines, the phone will keep ringing and your inbox will be filling faster than an Apple store at the launch of the latest iPhone. Gradually, you’ll feel the pressure bearing down on you. So how do you cope?

As soon as you feel the dark mist forming, step away from your desk and do something else. Take your dogs for a walk; if you don’t have any, take yourself for a walk. Just get out and switch off.

If you don’t, you’ll end up as the crazy person on the bus no one wants to talk to.

Twitter is also a great substitute for the ‘office’. It’s a great source for research, finding the suppliers you need to help you (especially with things like IT and debt chasing), a sounding board and general camaraderie.

Building a virtual team

Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you have to work completely on your own. Let’s face it, you can’t be an expert in everything, so you’re going to need to find people you can delegate to.

It’s a great idea to build a team around you of fellow professionals you can call on when you need them.

That could be a designer, programmer, writer, accountant, computer whizz, credit control specialist…the list is endless.

At least that way, when something goes wrong and you need a bit of expert help, you know you have someone to call on.

Surviving the day

One of the key skills a freelancer needs is organisation.

To be productive, it’s essential you plan your day. Assign certain blocks of time for each project you’re working on to make sure you don’t waste time. And that includes things like marketing, accounting and other paperwork.

It’s also important to take regular breaks to recharge your batteries. Plus, it will get you away from your computer screen.

If you want to be a successful freelancer remember,

  • Build a support network of experts around you
  • Pass on the jobs you’re not skilled at to those who are
  • Plan your day effectively

Sally Ormond started her own freelance copywriting business in 2007 and has worked with numerous high profile companies, helping them communicate effectively with their customers through the written word. 



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