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Freelancing 101 – Tips for emerging freelancers

Now more than ever before, people are looking to self employment as a viable route to work.

Matt Dowling
12th February 2016
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Shunning the 9 to 5 option, many wish to choose their hours, be their own boss and benefit from a flexible life / work balance. As a club that supports thousands of freelancers, we wanted to impart a few tips and dispel the myths that real freelancers have experienced when starting out. Welcome to Freelancing 101.

1. Make it official. You've undoubtedly been told that you must register your business with HMRC. Before you do that however, it’s important to ensure that your freelance business is going to make you enough money to succeed. It's time to write a business plan!

The main objective is to see if your freelance venture is viable. Be as honest as possible. It's far better to walk away from a business that has no chance than to convince yourself it’s going to work. Crunch the numbers early before you register or worse, before you spend time and money on a nonstarter.

2. Think short term. We talk to freelancers on a daily basis and most have a modest budget to spend on their freelance business. If you fall into this category, take note. There are certain expenses that are unavoidable such as equipment and travel. There are also expenses that, if invested wisely, will make you money. It may seem obvious to some but knowing the difference between an expense and an investment is critical to your freelance success. For example most freelancers would look at hiring an accountant as an expense they can’t afford whereas most good accountants will in fact save you money through sound financial advice resulting in a good investment. A safe way to ease into freelancing is to spend on what you need now and not what you might need in the future. Do you really need that £800 wide angle lens right now? If the answer is no, leave it until you do need it. You can't spend money until you make it and you can't make it until you spend some of it on the business.

3. Its free for a reason. We often ask new freelancers ‘Where do you plan on finding clients? ’ Some don’t have an answer. Others say friends or family and almost all cite social media as their preferred hunting ground for new clients. It’s true that social media is a great source of marketing but it’s not as easy as a few posts. Like anything, it takes time, skill, experience and often investment before you see results. Start by choosing the right platforms for you. Keep it simple. You’re not going to have time to post on six platforms at a level that will generate leads for you. Bear in mind that just because you’re using social media, doesn’t necessarily mean you will save money. The time it takes to work on these platforms is time you could be spending finding clients in others ways. Paid advertising, SEO, networking events or job sites are just a few ways to look for work. Be brave, step outside your door and tell local businesses what you do. Your first freelance job will normally come from friends or family so try to build your client list locally to begin with.


To help all freelancers (new or established) The Freelancer Club provides new members access to paid jobs, mentoring advice, networking events and tons of advice to help you get to grips with your freelance business. Start your freelance career the smart way. Join here for free.

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