How to survive your first few months of freelancing
If 2019 is the year you’ve decided to take the leap into freelancing, we’re rooting for you! Understandably, you’ll be a bit apprehensive. Going it alone is liberating, but undeniably scary.
Those first months are instrumental, but demanding. You’ll be busy building your client base, developing your own routine, and getting used to managing everything that comes with client services.
Here’s how to stay sane and build solid foundations for your freelance business.
Get organised from day one
Now you’re on your own, there are some admin jobs you can’t avoid. Bookkeeping, expenses, and taxes are now up to you. It sounds scary, but the best way to avoid nasty surprises and costs is to stay informed.
Keep a detailed record of every project, your expenses, time spent, and what you’ve earned. Check you’ve got all the right Self Assessment dates in your diary, and start looking for business tools that help you keep your accounting and invoicing in check.
Oh, and back everything up in the cloud and on physical hard drives. You’ll thank yourself for that one!
Pay attention to your successes, not just the setbacks…
Our brains have a natural negative bias, it’s even been proven. To stay safe, our brain convinces us we need to be aware of the bad more than the good, which leaves us ruminating and self-critical.
One piece of criticism or negativity can unbalance all the positives, particularly when you’re new to something. A rejection or wall of red comments never feels good. When it happens, (and it will!) remember all your positive feedback and put negatives into perspective. They probably won’t matter in a week’s time.
Set a schedule for yourself (but be ready to adapt it)
Having the freedom to set your own work schedule is massive. In the early days especially, it’s easy to find yourself starting early and finishing later and later. That’s not such a bad thing in the short term if you’re getting lots done and winning new business. Plus, you’re the boss now - you can keep whatever hours you want.
Super long days aren’t sustainable though, so you might find you have to adapt and change your working hours depending on the scale of what you’re working on. Remember - sleep, social time, and winding down, are just as important as meeting all those deadlines.
Expect invoicing ups and downs
In the first few months, you’ll need to get used to a totally new pattern of earning. Instead of having one fixed pay day, payments are likely to be unpredictable. Clients can be late payers or even disappear entirely. These risks are all a normal part of freelancing, regardless of how long you’ve been in the game.
Getting paid is far less simple when you work for yourself, but there are ways to speed it up and protect yourself. Solna can help you get paid faster and minimise the risk of late payments.
Solna gives you access to credit data before you start working with someone. Your clients can pay straight from the invoice (3x faster on average), and you can even set automatic late payment reminders.
That means less time worrying about invoices, and more time building your freelancing business.