By August 24, 2016 Read More →

From employee to freelance

Alan Williams - from employee to freelanceAlan Williams has entertained us with stories of home working with his dogs, and now he’s taken the leap into freelance working:

Just over a year ago, I took voluntary redundancy from my job. After several years of cuts imposed by government I decided that my time had come.

It wasn’t an easy decision but looking back it was certainly the right one. It required some adaptations on my part and a re-evaluation of much of my day-to-day life.

I planned to take some time off once I left, but that changed rapidly when I was approached by a couple of companies I’d worked with before, who wanted me to do some work for them once I’d left.

This was freelance work, and so I went from being an employee to being self-employed very quickly. I was already a home/mobile worker for at least part of my old role, so that wasn’t a big change for me, being a full-time home worker was relatively easy.

But these are the things about the freelance life that I needed to get smart on quickly:

1. When you become your own boss, you’re also your own accountant, IT geek and many other roles. Some of these are vital. Making sure that you bill your customers on time (and that they pay) is one that you can’t do without, otherwise your new freelance career will rapidly go off the rails. Make the time for all of these tasks.

Alan Williams - freelance2. It can be a little bit ‘feast or famine’ at times, so it’s important to be always looking for the next job, particularly in the early days when you’re establishing yourself. Taking time to raise your own profile is important.

3. If you’re planning on setting up by yourself, make sure you have some kind of financial cushion. Depending on your circumstances this might be a chunk of savings to offset the lean times, or living on one income if you’ve had two coming in.

4. Don’t forget about things like tax, national insurance etc. You need to be able to pay these bills when they’re due, so set this aside so you have enough money for when the time comes.

5. Review your own circumstances. If you’re taking voluntary redundancy like I did, and you’re going to get some kind of redundancy payment, what’s the best thing to do with that lump sum?
Choices such as reducing your mortgage (If you have one), investing to generate an income, or stashing in a savings account are all valid, but what might be best for you, will probably be different for someone else.
Some firms offer free independent financial advice when they’re seeking volunteers for redundancy, and this might also be worth considering if you don’t already have a financial adviser.

Alan Williams - freelance balance6. Allow enough time to talk to loved ones before you take the leap to freelance, so they can think about what you’re planning to do. This will affect them as well, so they need to be in on your thoughts.

7. You’re your own boss, and you set your working hours, so you can utilise this flexibility around other things, but it is of course a balance still.

8. Think laterally about your skills – your new freelance role might be more than one ‘job’. If you have multiple talents, make use of them.

work from home secrets

Alan is an old hand at working from home with a puppy and older dogs. He also has some good tips about staying in touch when travelling, gleaned from his previous job. Check out all Alan’s posts.

Posted in: Making money

4 Comments on "From employee to freelance"

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  1. Elliot Winters says:

    The best time about being a freelance worker is the flexibility of time. You can do a lot of things at your own pace if you are not restricted in an 8 hour desk job.

  2. Dewald Swart says:

    The problem with freelancing is one month you have good income then for the next 3 months you have zero income.

    • As Alan says, part of the skill in freelancing is always being on the lookout for the next job. Even when you’re busy you need to keep some time for marketing, not always easy.