What a week for freelance!

Well this week has sure been a very interesting one for my freelance work.

At the beginning of the week things were looking a little bit ropey. I had very few jobs on the go and despite all my twittering and emailing potential clients nothing seemed to be materialising. Being in Bristol I thought getting freelance web design work would be pretty straight forward as the city is a huge creative hub. Turns out it’s not as straight forward as I first though. Not because the work isn’t there, it’s just trying to find it can be a bit of a mine-field.

However, by Wednesday this week I had completed the development on the One Health Physiotherapy website, I had a new little job from friends down the corridor working on something very different from my past work and I have also managed to land a large contract working on a very exciting project. My feelings today about freelance are, shall we say, a bit more positive than they were at the beginning of the week!

Admittedly I have to echo the old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” that helps you in business. However, just because you don’t know someone who can give you work today, it doesn’t mean you won’t know them tomorrow. I was lucky enough to meet the guys at Atomic Smash because I rent a desk in the Hype & Slippers office. If I wasn’t doing this I would never have met them, and would never have got the work from them. The same goes for the work I’ve done with Hype & Slippers too.

So as I’m a week-and-a-bit into freelancing; obviously I now consider myself and expert in the field and so I’m now going to part some words of wisdom for anybody else looking to take the plunge. (I really don’t consider myself an expert. I was joking! Geesh!)

  1. Don’t work from home if you can afford it. Rent a desk somewhere. 
    Not only does this get you out of the house and away from talking to the cat all day, it also forces you into meeting new people. You never know if these people will give you work or not, but you can be sure that if you never meet them they never will.
  2. Talk to the people you do know about what it is you do and tell them that you’re looking for projects.
    I know this may sound odd or even a bit of a no-brainer, but I have had several people I know actually ask me “What is it you do again?” which once I’ve told them they’ve said “Oh, I know someone who might need a website making”. It’s not because I don’t talk to these people that they had no idea that I am a web designer, it’s just because it’s not at the forefront of everyone else’s mind. And not everyone I have told has resulted in work. But one or two have, and that’s one or two projects I didn’t have before. So tell your friends what you do. Tell them on Facebook that you are looking for work. You never know; that old pal from primary school that you’ve been stalking on Facebook for the last year may actually work for some really influential people.
  3. Get your name out there and be positive.
    Obvious I know, but I mean REALLY get it out there. Email people, blog, use Twitter, post on Facebook, tell everyone you meet. Be persistent. Be proud. If you talk confidently enough about your work, it will reflect positively with the people that read/hear it; making them more inclined to offer you work.
    This is something I have always struggled with in the past as I always feel my past work was a bit naff and I could always do better. Well guess what!? That’s what 99.999% of graphic designers and web developers feel about their work. (If you think you’re one of the 0.001%, can you please tell me how you do it!?) But there’s nothing wrong with feeling like that. It doesn’t mean your past work is crap. It just means your future work is going to be even better. Be confident about that and not only will your work get better, but your clients will trust in you more too.

So that’s my 3 (non)expert tips on how to start out in the world of freelance. Hopefully I’ve given some of you the confidence to make it out on your own (No poaching my clients please). And remember that in a week you can easily go from having nothing, to having so much work that you’ll begin to panic about how you’re going to fit it all in!

Anyway, it’s my Stag do this weekend in Brighton. This may be my last ever post, depending on how evil my Best Man is feeling. Good luck everyone. (I feel like I should be saying that to myself!)

Happy Freelancing!

 

Hi, my name is Glenn Flanagan and I’m a Web & Print Graphic Designer and Front-end Web Developer based in Bristol, UK. If you’d like to take a look ay my full portfolio website, please visit glennflanagan.com

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