What i’ve learnt after 18 months of freelancing full time

I looked back at my one year post about being a freelancer and realised that this should definitely be a regular thing.

One thing I am always asked when people find out that I am a freelance journalist is ‘how do you manage to find work?’ Sure it’s hard when you’re first starting out but you need to get yourself out of your comfort zone and get meeting and emailing people.

As with anything there are always bumps in the road when it comes to being self-employed and so here are more things I have learnt over the past six months about being a freelance journalist.

You should save a big chunk of your cash

Got a large chunk of cash from one of your freelance clients? Don’t buy yourself nice things with it., you should be saving cash just in case you struggle in a couple of months time. I always found that March and April were my worst months because of people budgeting and billing for the end of the year so it is always good to keep some money aside for ‘just in case’ times.

Keep to a routine but don’t let it take over your life

Yes in my last post it said it was good to keep to a routine. But journalism and writing isn’t always about keeping to a set time. I mean obviously don’t stay in bed until midday and then wonder what went wrong. But also remember that putting pressure on yourself can stress yourself out even more. Set one day as your treat day – perhaps your billing day and slow down the pace a little.

Sometimes people mess you around and you have to play it cool

Over the past couple of months i’ve had freelance shifts cancelled on me. One time a client of mine cancelled on me after booking me. It’s frustrating but it’s all part of the job. If they’ve got too many staff then of course the freelancer is going to be the one they lose first. It’s okay to tell them how disappointed they are and they may in fact give you additional work as a way of apologising for moving your schedule around.

Always keep an eye on your social media accounts

I got hacked. It was shit.

Work can come from surprising places

Whether it’s on Facebook, at a random meeting or just talking to other creative friends, there is work to be had everywhere. Keep some business cards on you, tell people about your work. There is money to be had from your forward thinking!

When people ask you to do them a favour, do it

If someone asks you to go to an event and cover it for them as they’re in need of help then do it. All of these favours open up new opportunities to get other work and try out different fields of writing that you might not be used to. I got to go to a television festival last month to write some pieces for a national newspaper and it was so much fun. I really enjoyed it.

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