Way back in 2013 when I decided I wanted to try my hand at freelance writing it felt like a very spur of the moment decision. I had my laptop and that was just about it. I initially worked from our dining table and although it wasn’t ideal, it was a case of making do.
Over the following months, as my business grew and developed, it became clear that I needed something a little more formal. As I was trying to balance freelance work and lack of childcare the amount of time I had to sit down and work was very precious and having to set up and take down my work station each time cut into that time. I would have left my laptop up but after making that mistake once and having a small person remove all the keys from the keyboard I quickly learned my lesson!
I can’t tell you the importance and the difference that having a proper work space can make when you are working from home. One of my top tips for anyone who is thinking about going freelance is to try and get into a ‘work’ mind-set in order to help you focus. This means, as tempting as it may be, not working in your PJ’s or from the sofa (where possible) and trying to set yourself working hours and targets. The second piece of advice I would give is to have a space where you can go and work. It all helps to get you into the right mind-set.
And in fact, I’m not the only person who has come to realise this; Furniture @ Work have recently created an ebook all about having the right furniture at work – predominantly having the right kind of chair but this knowledge also extends to surrounding yourself with the kind of things. Things which are going to motivate you and not cause you to get distracted or disheartened.
I was lucky enough that when we moved to the North West I was able to upgrade my working situation and get my own home office. Getting to pick the type of furniture I wanted around me, the things that I thought would motivate me and let me work in comfort was quite an exciting time and I have found that I am much more productive on the days when I sit in my office as opposed to when I give myself a ‘break’ and head downstairs to work, or when I am trying to balance work and childcare during the holidays and have to work with one eye on Meg and Eli.
Going freelance was the best move I could ever have made and I love the flexibility it gives me but it is important to think of it as a ‘real’ job (despite what other people would suggest!) – I would always tell anyone thinking about going freelance to absolutely go for it; I was utterly terrified in the initial weeks and now, three years on I can say that it has been amazing. But it’s important to think about how you will operate day to day in order to get the best out of yourself and having the right work environment is a very important part of that process.
In fact, my top tips for anyone wanting to go freelance are as follows:-
*Plan Ahead – don’t quit your day job without a basic understanding of what you will be doing and how you will pay the bills!
*Tell People – you will be surprised at how many of your friends and family will recommend you. Almost all of my work in the early days came from word of mouth.
*Have A Space – I think we have covered this above!
*Gain Experience: If you are branching out from the experience you have then appreciate that you may have to take any and all jobs in the early days to build up a portfolio. Once you are more established you can become more picky about the jobs you take and the rates you charge.
*Set Yourself Working Hours: Probably the most tricky part about being freelance but where possible, get yourself into a routine.
*Don’t Be Afraid: This could be the best decision of your life so GO FOR IT. You can always return back to your old type of work if you decide it isn’t for you.