Tips for Going Freelance

Are there steps that you recommend taking when beginning a freelance career in the middle of the recession that perhaps wouldn’t be done if the economy wasn’t such an unknown? I’d like to know if there are any specific precautionary steps that one should take, such as having 6 months of expenses covered, etc. etc.
Thank you for your help. It’s very scary to think about going freelance. I’m procrastinating, but I know I need to start pitching for work.
2 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    First, when thinking about one’s career, there is never any point in considering the wider economy. Meta issues of the economy should not impact your personal career decisions because you do not have control over the economic winds of large governments. You do, however, have control over the things that make the difference between success or failure: grit, risk tolerance, optimism, lowering expenses, staying focused on revenue.

    So keep your eye on your goals, and don’t worry about the economics of the world around you. It’s very hard to have six months of money saved up, and it’s not clear that that will help you much, anyway. Because the life of a freelancer is learning to deal with an endlessly fluctuating and uncertain income. So whether you get started getting used to that six months later, or six month earlier, I”m not sure matters.

    The most important thing to do to prepare for going freelance full time is to pitch yourself full time. Most freelancers spend 80% of their time marketing and 20% of their time doing the work they are pitching to do. So you can start doing the marketing right away. Pitch all day. Think of a wide range of ways to drum up business and try them all. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason: it’s so much easier to have one basket than ten.


  2. Lori
    Lori says:

    i love your response here, penelope.

    i started my first business while freelancing. basically, i freelanced so i could afford to start a business. my recommendation would be to find a way to soft land — find a part-time gig or line something up that would cover up to half your money needs while you start building a client list. ALWAYS ask current clients for ideas of other people to ask for work. that’s how i got most of my business — word-of-mouth referrals from people who would never have coughed up the information if i didn’t ask them for it directly.

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