This week marks 3 months since I left my role at a Digital Marketing Agency and ventured out on my own as a freelance Digital Marketing Consultant. Time has flown by and I haven’t had much time to sit back and reflect so thought I would write a long overdue blog.
Granted, I’m only 3 months in so it’s still early days but here’s what I’ve found so far:
Things don’t go to plan
In the months running up to me going freelance I spent my evenings and weekends building up contact lists, updating my website and planning my approach. I got some quick projects through as soon as was full time freelancing and I have barely used that contact list. I’m also not working on anything I thought I would be but it’s probably turned out better than I could have ever planned for – so I’ll happily take that!
I also had done a monthly schedule of blog posts and topics I wanted to do… until now I hadn’t done a blog post since March! Woops – another thing that didn’t go to plan!
The flexibility gives you unexpected benefits
The flexibility that the freelance lifestyle gives you wasn’t really on my thoughts when deciding to go freelance. For me, I knew I needed to move on from my current role but couldn’t find one that was suited to me. I wanted to work in a role where I could be the client facing person, help develop strategies and do all the daily tasks that I’ve enjoyed doing for the last 6 years – this role didn’t really exist, so being my own boss and working with clients on all aspects of their business was the perfect job for me.
So in all honesty I hadn’t really thought about the benefits a freelance lifestyle brings but they are now a huge plus for me. I love being able to work when I’m most productive, go for long lunches, not having to ask someone for time off for an appointment or to work from home to wait for a delivery, not feeling guilty for staying in bed an extra hour and generally not having to stick to a 9-5 schedule just because that’s the norm.
Work comes from unexpected places
As I said, my original plan of getting work didn’t happen because work came from places I hadn’t planned on it from. Contacts from years ago have got in touch with me since going freelance, I’ve got work from Twitter (and not from business conversations) and had some conversations with people in unexpected places – one of them at a football game whilst queuing for a burger! So I’ve learnt to always have a business card on me!
It’s important to make time for yourself
A lot of people had told me this but I neglected the importance of it and spent pretty much every bit of time I had working and as a result was running myself to the ground. In the last few weeks, I’ve tried to make more time for myself. That includes not sitting with my laptop open all evening, making time to go out for walks and I’ve started meditating in a morning.
Tools are your best friend
Any tools that will save you a bit of time are worth investing into. Two of my favourite bits of software are Freeagent and Trello. Freeagent is an accounting software to help keep on track of expenses, invoices and can be linked up to a bank account to give you a view of anything finance related. Trello is a project management tool to keep track of to-do lists – literally a lifesaver for me when I’m working on multiple projects at one time.
It’s hard work and you never really switch off
Despite what I said about making time for myself, in reality when you own your own business I don’t think you ever really switch off. I work all hours, wake up thinking about what I have to do and spend most of the time thinking about work but right now I don’t mind that and I love every part of what I’m doing.
And lastly people do actually pay on time!
Contrary to what I had been told, I’ve barely had to chase for an invoice to be paid! Lucky me I guess – fingers crossed it stays that way…