The Freelance Checklist: 25 questions to answer before you start your freelance career


Every time someone gets in touch about what they need to prepare to go freelance, I typically find myself telling them the same things over and over, in order to lay the foundation for a solid freelance consulting career. So, I’ve created a freelance checklist.

This list covers the top 25 things you should consider when it comes to going freelance. It uses a simple script to tally everything you check off. Once you’ve completed it, it will give you a score out of 25 possible points at the bottom of the page.

I’ve put together the questions based on what people normally ask me, but it is an un-ordered list. I’ll put it into a more logical order later, grouped by areas of running a freelance business.

There’s one thing I want to reiterate before you embark on your freelance checklist journey: you don’t have to have all of these in place before you begin and these points are best thought about as incrementally beneficial. The big mistake people tend to make is that they find a checklist, they go through every thing on it, they read each one line-by-line and say “Oh no! I’m missing one thing – now I can’t go freelance and everything is ruined!”. That’s not really the way to think about it.

If you can get everything on this list, that’s great! If you can only get most, that’s okay too. You want to make you’re as ready to go freelance as possible. But in general, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to do all these things. That said, try your best!

Oh, and don’t forget to read my series of interviews on how others went freelance to get more of an idea about what it feels like, the risks and rewards of becoming a freelance consultant.

The 2014 Freelance Checklist

Check off items as you go along.
Feel free to keep this page open so that you can refer back to it.
These all might not apply to your situation.

[frontend-checklist name=”Freelance Checklist”]


That last item is particularly important – if you’re not passionate, hard-working or excited about the work you do, then you’ll find freelancing very hard.

Here’s some more advice from other freelancers on Twitter on what should be added to the freelance checklist:

@benrmatthews @magicroundabout ‘things’ to put in place are probably easiest part. You need a network, resilience, self belief & motivation

— Gaby Jeffs (@MagnetoGaby) September 15, 2014

@benrmatthews good coffee, easy access fresh air, network of colleagues in same industry for advice/listening ear/coffee!! #freelance

— Vanessa Fisher (@nessfisher) September 15, 2014

@benrmatthews OK. I’d go: professional indemnity insurance, search engine optimisation, computer backups, strong passwords…

— Ross Wintle (@magicroundabout) September 15, 2014

@benrmatthews …accounting software, have you checked trademarks (if you’re trading under a name), privacy policy (if collecting any data)

— Ross Wintle (@magicroundabout) September 15, 2014

As I said at the beginning of this checklist, you don’t have to have absolutely everything in place before you go freelance, but this freelance checklist will help you have most of your things in order before you do make the switch to go freelance.

What else would you add to the freelance checklist? If you’ve gone freelance, did you have a checklist? How ready were you?


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