It’s trite to describe going freelance in the creative industry as ‘a big step,’ as that will have already occurred to most people who are about to leave the safety of their 9-to-5. It can be more accurately be described as a trust fall. By the time you decide to leave, you will have hopefully put a few measures in place to make sure that all goes well.

How to prepare as a creative freelancer

Brilliant things lie ahead, such as being able to use your own creative license, have more of a direct input on projects and be able to market yourself based on your wealth of experience. Before you make that all-important move, however, there are a few things to bear in mind first. Read the below tips on how to become a creative freelancer and kickstart your career. You won’t regret it.

Get out of the house

The first week of freelancing will feel incredible: you can get up when you want and work when you want – within reason, of course. This does, however, come at a cost, which is worth knowing before you start. Spending too much time in the house by yourself really can be the curse of being a freelancer. When it comes down to it, being self-employed really can be a lonely job, as you no longer have the day-to-day banter of working in an office or lunching with co-workers. While you might think that working without that one annoying colleague will be a sweet relief, you’ll come to realize how much you miss human interaction.

If you have a local café that has free wifi and plenty of plug sockets, that can be a great place to start. Alternatively, there are marketing agencies and businesses that let-out rooms and offices for freelancers at an agreed rate. Spending the odd day in your home with the TV on is a nice luxury.

Buy your essential kit

If your essential kit is a high-spec computer and the full Adobe suites, then make sure you have it all ready to go. If you’re running off your mother’s old laptop that is truly on its last legs, then buying a new computer is a must. As soon as a client asks for a high-res image that you can’t provide, you’ll regret not making the investment.

Having every tool you need to hand is completely essential if you’re reserving your money pile for quiet months, then a credit card or something like a loan from Bonsai Finance is a way of spreading the costs evenly. Other finance options are also useful if your pre-prepared savings fall short, or if you need to make an investment you didn’t expect, such as a car. Driving or traveling to see clients is invaluable for building strong relationships.

Get a basic understanding of finances

At the end of the financial year, you will have to fill out a tax return. No one wants to do it, but sadly it’s a necessary evil to ensuring all your ducks are in a row. Seeking low-fee advice from an accountant is a great idea, but before you go, do your reading first. That way, when you make the most of your allotted free time, all you’ll be doing is asking them to fill in the gaps of things you don’t quite understand. Picking up a few accountancy skills is both an impressive and incredibly useful weapon to have in your arsenal, and soon you might be the one giving tips to other freelancers.

Be prepared for an empty month

One of the most stress-inducing features of doing it alone is no job security. While all the networking and connections you’ve made beforehand will be your financial rock, you should never depend on them. While you’re still in regular employment it’s wise to be frugal and start saving regularly. Ensuring you have enough money in the bank for an empty month or two will be the best present to yourself if you hit a bump along the road. If you’re lucky enough to have a partner to buy the odd grocery round or cover the bills temporarily, then this is also something to talk through with them. In the meantime, it’s recommended that you put 16% of your income away for taxes on top of 12% for savings, just to keep all bases covered.

Don’t be heartbroken by feedback

If you’ve hitherto been taking creative briefs from a director or your line manager, thinking on your own two feet for the first time can be extremely gratifying and self-fulfilling. Your capacity for new ideas and ingenuity will expand on a daily and weekly basis, which will give you vast amounts of courage. However, and there is a big however, not every client is going to be satisfied.

If you’ve spent hours on Photoshop and were convinced that this was your best-ever piece of design work, then you may have to go and take a walk if the client isn’t pleased. While it’s true that a feature of being your own boss is that you can choose your own clients and fire them if they’re a nightmare, there are volumes to be said for being reliable. Take a deep breath, have a coffee, do some yoga and get back to the client and ask what they need from you. It might be the best thing you ever do, as the Harvard Business Review actually recommends actively seeking it throughout each project.

All of these tips should help you catch yourself in that all-important initial trust fall. The first time you get up in the morning, turn on your computer and get paid to do what you love, it will feel like you’re somehow cheating. There will inevitably be bumps along the way, but it’s down to you to take them with a little bit of pride and a bit of confidence. Learning how to create invoices on a spreadsheet and pitch to clients will become day-to-day reality before you know it.

Republished by Imagincreation