This post is long overdue but I have been Freelance For Over a Year now. It was back in April 2017 I took the plunge, quit my full-time job and started working for myself. It was a scary step but one that felt right at the time. A year on I want to reflect on and write about what I have learned, my experiences and my hopes for the future.
How it all started
It all started back in 2011 when I first created this blog! It was a place for me to write about my outfit posts and have a creative outlet whilst at University. Little did I know that the blogging industry would develop and grow into what it is now. This little platform online became an opportunity to be more than a hobby. I started to see other amazing people make this online creation their career and I had the same dream to do so.
After moving to London in 2015 I worked many full-time jobs in Social Media Marketing and other creative fields. I learned a lot during these years and spent most of my free time writing blog content, taking Instagram photos and growing my channels. About 3 months before I went freelance I started turning down opportunities due to holiday allowance in my job running out. I knew then I had to take the risk and go for it to become my own boss.
“There is no failure, you either win or you learn.”
Being Freelance For Over a Year
In April 2017 I started on my own journey working for myself. I was able to do so by securing 2 days a week freelance social media work with an agency. This stable income of part-time hours meant I could cover my rent and bills at the very least so I could dedicate more time to my own work. This year has flown by, often I have felt like I am in the deep end with so much work I can never see the end to my todo list. The beauty of that means I am busy, which means this is working and for that, I am so grateful.
I don’t want this post to focus on negative things but more so the positive things that have come from Being Freelance For Over a Year. One of the main positives is being able to take control of my own finances, earning and spending. It can be really hard to do but it’s also so rewarding at the end of the tax year to see how well it is going.
I have freed up time for my health, my family, and my own passion projects. Being able to choose my own hours is fantastic and detrimental to my health on days when my Crohn’s has been bad. Sadly within this year, I have had to deal with some pretty bad issues due to my condition but I haven’t let that stop me.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
As mentioned above my health has had an impact on my life most of this year 2018. It has meant being Freelance sometimes feels scary and isolating, especially when you don’t know from one month to the next when you get paid. That added fear on top of not knowing if you need tests, hospital visits or pain is going to prevent work, it can be daunting.
What keeps me going, however, is my ongoing desire to achieve my dreams and to be successful. My creative career has always been so important to me and my passion outways my health problems on good days. It’s this strength I find within myself to carry on and push through. As I don’t get sick pay I need to make doubly sure I stay healthy and rest as much as possible.
“When you get tired, learn to rest not to quit.”
I get asked a lot what my job is and it’s really hard to answer with a job title to summarise. My job is essentially an online creative, but that sounds really vague and weird! Simply put I earn money through various avenues, main ones being freelance social media creative for clients, sponsored posts on my social channels and sales on my design work.
I don’t have a set work pattern apart from 2 days a week I work at Revolution Beauty offices assisting the social team. The rest of the week is divided up depending on what projects I am working on. Some weeks I’ll have 4 sponsored pieces of work to shoot in a day with deadlines all around the same time. Other weeks I won’t have much on so can focus more time on my design work. To be honest it is all swings and roundabouts and my work life is pretty erratic at times.
It’s amazing that no day is the same as I don’t get bored. As an artist and creative, I couldn’t hack the full-time routine of each day and this lifestyle certainly keeps me on my toes. Some days I feel it does impact my anxiety and stress but the pros outway the cons.
“Remember when you wanted what you currently have”
Tips for going freelance
For anyone considering a similar journey whether that be as an online influencer or starting your own business, here are a few of my personal tips. These are things I either did beforehand or wish I had known earlier!
- Open a Business Bank account, separate from your personal account. I wish I did this sooner because now a year and a half on I am just starting to get things properly in order. I am a pretty organized person when it comes to my accounts but never knew it would be beneficial to do this. You live and learn!
- Hire an accountant! I was recommended a digital nomad accountant through a friend, who submits my accounts for me. I always prefer to hire people based on recommendations so I can trust their work. If you don’t have that then do your research and find someone who can also advise you. Most us creatives don’t have a clue when it comes to numbers and I found getting a professional really beneficial.
- Before quitting your job maybe consider asking them to go part time instead? Looking back now I wouldn’t have been against doing this if the brand allowed it. I loved the people I worked with and it was a great brand to work for also. This could be an option for you if you aren’t quite ready to quit altogether.
- ACCOUNTS! Make sure from day one you keep a record of your earnings and your expenses. Keep hold of the paper and digital receipts of the things you spend. I use an app called ‘1tapreciepts’ and each tax year it will generate all my paper and email receipts into a spread sheet.
- Schedule in holidays and rest.
“Know your worth, then add tax.”
Overall I wouldn’t change anything I have done to get to where I am today. Freelance life is a balancing act and a struggle sometimes but it’s worth it. I’m finishing this blog post at 11 pm at night, but that’s because passion and hard work pay off. Over the next year, I want to continue my hard work but also remind myself to live in the moment. It’s easy to worry about the future when it can seem unstable and uncertain. The beauty of being freelance is being able to work on what you want to. I’m so grateful to have my home office, to have clients believe in my work and brands sponsor me online. Being Freelance For Over a Year hasn’t been easy but it’s also been an incredible journey and one I want to continue enjoying.