Back in the day, if someone asked what you did for a living and you said “Oh, I’m just freelancing at the moment”, they’d look at you like you’d said you were Trump’s professional arse-wiper. However, nowadays all of that is starting to change. The stigma around freelancing is on the decline, and now it seems to be one of the more enviable jobs.
Gone are the days people would ask, “Yeah, but that’s not a real job is it?”. There’s not much more “real” than being totally and completely in charge of your own income, outgoings, finances, tax returns and working schedule.
Here are some of the reasons why so many creatives have made the leap to freelance life…
- Better for the environment – There are lots of eco-friendly reasons why being a freelancer is great. As a freelancer you can have total control over how your work effects the planet. Want to go paperless? Do it. Want to cycle to meetings instead of drive? Be my guest. Want to invest into solar energy? There’s no one stopping you.
- Freedom – The freedom this lifestyle can give is awe-inspiring. No more waiting to see if your time off gets approved, no more asking permission to do the things you want to do.
- Ownership over finances – When freelancing, you set your own rates and seek work wherever you can find it. This means you can set yourself exciting and challenging targets to achieve each month. Who said you can’t earn more every month? The choice is yours.
- No commute – By freelancing, you can often make the choice to work from home if you feel you can be productive this way, and that means no more stressful commute taking up valuable time in your mornings and evenings.
- Perfect your portfolio of skills – Decide what work you take on, and delve into your various interests. If you want to gain more material for your graphic design portfolio, research available jobs in this area. You can have the chance to excel in areas you may not always have the option to venture into if working for an agency.
- Flexible hours – If you seem to work better in the evenings, than early mornings, simply alter your work schedule. As long as you let people know the hours you’re available to answer emails/the phone, you can design your work life around your strengths and a routine you prefer.
- Equal opportunties – More often than not, your work can speak for itself and the freelancing websites you can apply for offer equal opportunities no matter what your race, gender or sexuality.
- A chance to put your mark on something – When freelancing, you can create a brand to work under and design everything yourself. Choose a logo that represents what you do, decide your brands’ tone of voice, colour scheme and way of doing things. You can be in charge of your own corporate responsibility and collaborate with charities that are close to your heart, or causes that matter to you.
- Learn what you want and need to – You can take the time to attend events and training sessions that will benefit your work and experience. Learn to code, learn a new language, develop a skill such as web design that will improve your services as a whole – the options are endless.
- Time – This is probably the most important reason of all. Freelancing gives back your time, in that you have complete control over how yours is spent, and how much of it you give to working life.
Although freelance life is fantastic, there are ways to make sure you stay focused when the freedom gets a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips to keep yourself on track…
- Have a shower, get dressed and feel fresh before you start work. The odd day working in your PJs can feel like a treat, but it can soon turn into a habit that can make you feel sluggish and unproductive.
- Set yourself clear daily, weekly and monthly goals.
- Read magazines related to your chosen profession, to keep up to date with what’s going on with other companies and freelancers.
- Write lists and keep track of where you leave off at the end of each working day. It can be easy to get distracted when you sit down to work if you don’t have a clear idea of what you need to be getting on with.
- Be professional, and keep your files in check as you would with a normal job – whether that’s online files or physical folders.
- Speak to other freelancers like yourself, and discuss ideas and arrange meetups. Freelance life is great, but can get lonely if you seclude yourself from the rest of the world. Stay connected!
- Join social media groups such as Facebook pages to find work and meet people with similar work interests.
- Set yourself a goal to attend one event in person per month, whether that’s to network or learn more. It can make the whole thing seem more real, and living 100% in a digital world can be detrimental to your health and also take the fun out of it.
- Find a way to keep yourself motivated. This could be through watching Ted Talks, reading books about managing yourself as a freelancer, or subscribe to motivational messages through email. You’d be surprised how much it can encourage you and get you to see your goals more clearly.
- Have time off too. If you love what you do, it can be so easy to let it take over your life. Have clear set times when you work, and clear set times when you don’t work. The people in your life who care about you will thank you for it!