Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Escape The Rat Race, Go Freelance!

It's 10am, you're settling into your morning routine, performing the same mundane tasks you have done day in day out for months, or even years. The robotic, hollow nature of your 9-5 existence is painfully apparent, but you put it the back of your mind. You think about the weekend, those brief few hours where you are free to do as you please with your hard earned cash. Your job is just a fact of life, an unfortunate necessity. A means to an end, you power on through. Who knows, if you keep your head down maybe, just maybe, you'll get that pay rise at the end of the year.

Lunch time, and you are dining on your home made sandwiches (got to save those pennies!), this is the highlight of your day. You glance over at your boss, who is thoroughly enjoying sumptuous feast from the nearby delicatessen. Anger starts to build inside you, your own pitiful home made sandwiches begin to mock you. This just isn't fair, this isn't the dream you were sold. Is this all you will amount to? The peak of your achievement in life; nothing more than disposable accessory to another man's dreams.

Most of us have felt this way at some point. It is only natural. The real tragedy is that we have somehow been convinced it is just the way things are, and that we should get on with it and stop complaining. You are lucky to even have a job! This of course, is precisely the mentality that keeps you in your place, that keeps you operating quietly as a cog in someone else's machine.

There is a way out. You know it, many before you have realised it. It will take hard work, determination and courage, but it is within your grasp. Are you ready to make the leap? Read on.

Get Organised

Don't quit your day job just yet. You must plan your escape with the attention to detail of a high security prison break out. For most freelancing careers, you'll need a solid portfolio behind. Select some of your best work and begin compiling a body of work in order to prove yourself to prospective clients.

Do you have all the tools and skills necessary to work freelance? If not, save up and buy any hardware or software you might need, or read up on any areas of knowledge that you are lacking in. Do you have somewhere to work? It doesn't really matter where, what matters is that you trust yourself to work competently and without distraction, be it in a coffee shop, a home office or on the dining room table.

Know Your Worth

A lot of people get anxious when first entering the world of freelancing and under price their services in order to secure custom. Don't be afraid to shout about your achievements and your skills. Pricing your services is a tough one for many people. A good rule of thumb is to take whatever figure you are earning in your current job, and doubling it.

Write a Plan and Set Goals

The number one problem with new freelances, and any business in general is cashflow. Obviously, you'll need to be making enough to support yourself and your family. How much exactly do you need? Work out a number and make a plan in order to achieve it. How many projects will you need? How many clients will you approach in order to have a chance of hitting that number? Over compensate, things rarely go to plan.


The internet is an incredible tool for freelancers, there are an abundance of websites where you can promote yourself for free. You should definitely be making full use of social media, but remember that it is easy to get lost in the noise. Make engaging and exciting profiles that will grab visitors attention. Also be prepared to put some work in yourself and reach out to people and make connections, rather than waiting for them to come to you.

Don't neglect the offline world either. While the internet is fantastic, the power of making real world connections and simply chatting to people is invaluable. You'll never know when you might pick up a new client or get talking to someone who knows someone. Carry business cards with you everywhere and capitalise on face to face interactions.

Practice Your Pitch

So, what do you do? This is the first thing people ask you at social gatherings. Do you have a response? You need to sound confident, you need to be able to describe what you do in a concise and clear manner. Practice an 'elevator pitch', it's bound to come in handy sooner or later.

Build Your Brand

In a sea of freelancers, you must distinguish yourself and build a recognisable and respectable brand if you are to see long term success and draw in new clients. 

If you can't design a decent logo or website yourself then don't be afraid to employ a designer to do it for you. This will make a huge difference to how you are perceived by prospective clients. If you have a professional looking website you will be able to secure bigger contracts, better jobs and actually charge more for your services.


Don't be fooled into thinking this is the easy path. It isn't. You will need to work hard, even harder than you are working now. It won't be easy, but it will be rewarding. There'll be times when you wished you had never started, and there'll be times when you wish you had started much sooner. The important thing is to give it your all and never give up. Accept criticism, reject those who are just out to put you down. Only you know whether you have the resolve to make it work. When the going gets tough, remind yourself why you started down this path.

Most new businesses fail in their first two years. You might even be one of them. If that happens just pick yourself and try again, applying what you have learnt. There is no shame in failing, after all, many of the world's most successful businessmen and women have had multiple failed businesses before getting it right.

Good luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment