When I tell people I’ve gone freelance, they keep asking me what my back-up plan is and the simple answer is: I don’t have one.
At first I was pretty worried. Should I have one? Should I have a pile of savings ready in case it all goes belly up? Should I have some job applications waiting in the wings? Conventional wisdom would say yes and conventional wisdom probably does have a point, but I haven’t subscribed to it. Instead I just went for it: quit my job, worked my notice and dived in head first.
Why aren’t I worried?
I’m not worried for a lot of reasons but here are the main ones:
- I’m good at what I do so I have confidence I will succeed. It might not be super quick but I will get there over the next few months.
- I have a lot of support. My husband, family, friends and colleagues have all been there for me with help, advice, referrals and kind words and that tells me that I can make being a freelancer work.
- People I’ve met over the last couple of months genuinely want to help and give me opportunities. I’ve not met one person who’s been horrible or unhelpful.
- I’ve got some exciting things on the horizon. Not everything can happen straight away and I know that I should stick with it because I have some fantastic things coming up with wehearttech in the near future as well as some collaborations with friends and former colleagues.
And the final reason?
I have to succeed. Not having a back-up plan means I have no other choice. I have to make this work and I damn well will.
It’s hard to believe but, at this point, I’ve been a freelance copywriter and proofreader for a month. The time has flown so fast it’s actually ridiculous but I feel like I’ve already picked up a few dos and don’ts for anyone else thinking of taking the plunge, quitting their job and going it alone.
Get out of the house
In an office environment, it’s easy to take breaks. You pop out to get coffee with colleagues and you stop through the day to have chats – whether official meetings or simply talking about that show you’re all watching. Working from home, it’s too easy to get wrapped up in work and forget about the rest of the world until your partner walks in and you discover you’ve been going without a break for the last seven or eight hours. I’m making a conscious effort to get out and about more, even if it’s just nipping out to post a letter or running an errand to the high street. I also make sure I take a proper lunch break and, where I can schedule in physical meetings, I make sure I do.
Have a proper workspace
On the subject of working from home, I’ve also found it’s important to have a dedicated space for work. Right now I don’t have the luxury of a proper home office due to lack of space, so in lieu of this, I make sure that I set myself up at the dining room table and put all of my work things away after I’ve finished working. This last part is the most important. Once I’ve finished work for the day I want it out of my sight so I can relax and enjoy my evening without thinking about tasks I have to do the next day.
Silence is not golden
This is probably not the same for everybody but I find working in complete silence kind of distracting. If the house is super quiet, I find every little noise in my street pulls me out of the zone. Equally though, I am not an advocate of having the TV on while I work. Instead, I’ve taken to digging out old records and giving them a spin, or reacquainting myself with some of BBC Radio 2’s daytime shows. Alternatively, popping out to a local coffee shop works as I can let someone else make my cuppa while I indulge in the hustle and bustle.
These are just a few of the things I’ve flagged to myself so far, and I’m sure plenty more will come to me with time. I’d be interested to hear other people’s top tips as well!
…To let you know that this is where my blog will sit. This is my professional blog and will highlight news about what I’m up to, as well as any thoughts and musings I have on the industry.
To read my blog on IBS and going dairy-free, pop on over to The Fish Egg!