23 May 2015

Diary of a Freelancer: The Scary First Step

Ever since I turned freelance, life has been a little strange. It's a really odd feeling to all of a sudden have no higher authority there to tell you what to work on and putting deadlines in place, not having a strict day-to-day routine and (the most scary of all) having no guaranteed wage at the end of each month.

It's now been just under two months since I left my FT job but I'm already so glad that I made the decision I had. It was something I had been fretting over for god knows how long, panicking that I would be making the worst decision of my life; never managing to find a job ever again, never receiving another pay-check and just being 'behind' everyone else my age. These are all still huge worries I have everyday and sometimes I find myself having little panics (especially when I hear people talking about buying a house and couples moving into their own place), but I guess that everyone does things at different times - what a boring world it would be if we were all exactly the same! Something I really needed when I was feeling confused and stressed was somewhere to get a little bit of advice, so I thought I'd start my own Diary of a Freelancer to help anyone out there in a similar position. 
I realise I'm obviously no expert, but if these little tips may help even 1 person then I'll be a happy bunny:

It's never too late to try something new, but make sure you really consider all the pros and cons before making a rash decision. I really thought I would be making the worst decision of my life, leaving a full-time job at the age of 22, with people around me were moving in with their boyfriends/girlfriends, getting promotions or better paid jobs. However, I also realised that why not now? I'm only 22, I've (hopefully) got a whole career-life ahead of me, I've got a lot of experience under my belt, I'm lucky to live at home and therefore have no serious out-goings and have saved up money to act as a buffer. It's never too late to try something new! 

Stop thinking about other people! The worst thing to do is to be worried about what other people will think - this is something that I would say really delayed my decision, but you've got to remember that if it is going to make you happier and will actually benefit you (even if in the considerable future) then why not? Plus, the people that actually do matter will support you no matter what, and you will find that they'll actually encourage you to take the big step! 

Try to stop reading too many advice pages - they'll be filled with people telling you that the worst thing to do is to leave one job without having another to go to, or without x amount of money saved up, etc. The only person who will really know what to do is you and fretting over it will only make the decision even harder. I felt like everyday it was something that I was running over in my brain, so much so that it was making me feel really stressed, anxious and just pretty lifeless. In the end you've got to think, is it really worth it if it makes me feel like this? 

Save a little money. You will really thank yourself for it in the long-run. If you're going freelance, you can't guarantee a set amount of money each month or even that you will gain any money for a while, especially if you're going through a career change. I found it really helped by deciding a date that I would definitely be working for myself by, and putting away a bit of money during the build up. 

Be proactive. Yes it is really scary, but think about how much free time you now have! Start looking on Twitter, attend local events, discover a new hobby, start writing a blog - there's so much you could be doing! I got my current position as an Assistant Interior Stylist by just sending a couple of Tweets - get yourself out there! 

Set a routine. I still get up at the same time I would have done for work and make sure I'm dressed, fed and ready with my laptop at a desk by 9am. Obviously not everyone works best this way, but I find it just makes me feel more motivated for the day and makes me feel like I've actually accomplished something - there's nothing I hate more than feeling like I've had a wasted day. 

Are any of you freelancers - if you, I'd love to hear some of your advice! Also, let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to know more about, I know it can be a very scary subject... Answers on a postcard! 
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