This is the seventh in a series of interviews with freelancers, telling us their stories on how they went freelance. The aim is to help others who are thinking of becoming freelance learn more about what it takes, as well as get advice and inspiration so they can get the confidence and understanding to find out if freelancing is right for them.
If you want to take part in the series, simply head here to tell us your freelance story
What made you decide to go freelance?
One big reason was that I wanted to stop living in cities. I had started to feel like I was in a bit of a rut working 9-5 and, between the commute and the inflexibility, it was wearing me down.
I’m a country boy at heart, and freelancing has allowed me to get back out into the wild. I do some of my best thinking on hikes or camping out!
I was also tired of working ‘for’ people instead of ‘with’ people. The ability to pick and choose my own clients and have control over my own working hours was very appealing.
What steps did you put in place before you went freelance?
To be honest, not very many! I built a simple site, emailed a few contacts to see if they had any work for me then took the leap.
I have some savings, but not anything close to the six months worth of rent and expenses that people recommend before going freelance.
It was sink (if you consider re-entering the full-time workforce sinking!) or swim, and I was lucky enough to swim.
How did it feel before you went freelance?
Terrifying. Going freelance is still something that maybe 70% of people would never even think about doing, and actually going ahead with it is daunting.
But I just couldn’t see myself doing the things I really wanted to while working a full-time job for someone else, and that was the push I needed.
How does it feel now you are freelance?
Fantastic. The more clients you work with and experience you get under your belt, the more natural it starts to feel.
Barring a very attractive offer to work remotely from a company I really love, I can’t see myself going back to a 9-5.
What are the positives of freelance life?
- Being able to work when I feel inspired and take breaks when I’m feeling burnt out.
- I get to travel more than I did before – I’m ticking off European countries like nobody’s business.
- Taking a long lunch to go to the gym and it being EMPTY.
- You get to be the captain of your own ship!
What are the negatives of freelance life?
- Chasing unpaid invoices. ‘Nuff said.
- Demanding clients (but they only serve to remind you what having a boss is like!)
- Quiet spells with little or no work on *tumbleweed*
Any advice for others looking to go freelance?
Don’t wait until ‘the perfect time’ to do it, because there will never be a perfect time.
But think very hard about whether it’s what you want before making the move – it can be a lonely business if you’re a social animal!
You also need to be prepared for the fact that the lines between your work and personal life can become very blurred, and ask yourself if sleeping in some mornings makes up for answering client emails at 11pm!
If you want to take part in the series, simply head here to tell us your freelance story.
More from the How I Went Freelance series:
- Ruth Walters, Let Her Eat Clean
- Matt Collins, Charity Chap
- Ross Wintle, Oikos
- Sam Phillips, Freelance Digital Strategist
- Damien Clarkson, Social Chic
- Nick Nicolaou, Freelance Web Designer
- Art Anthony, Freelance Copywriter
- Sean Hargrave, Freelance Journalist
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