How To Survive Your First 6 Months As A Freelancer

Making the move from employee to a freelancer can be incredibly exciting, but also a little daunting. You are taking yourself from the comfort zone that includes paid holidays, regular hours and the security that comes from full-time employment. However, many freelancers and contractors would argue that the perks of going it alone massively outweigh any benefits you might enjoy as an employee.

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At ICS, we’ve been providing contractor services to the freelance community for 14 years. We love seeing people survive and thrive, but we know that those first six months can be a bit tricky when you’re finding your feet. Here are the top tips we’ve learned over the years.

Spread the word

In the first six months, it is imperative that you market yourself well and get your name out there – whether that’s face-to-face by attending networking events, or online with a comprehensive digital marketing and social media strategy. If you want to specialise in a specific area, then try to focus on that industry. Building a portfolio is a great marketing tool, particularly if you work in a creative industry, and utilising social media such as LinkedIn and blogs are just a few ways you can market yourself.

Invest in yourself

The first few months of freelancing will likely be a period of time when you are watching your money closely. However, it is worth remembering that you are also investing in your future career. Paying for memberships to networking groups and professional organisations can be worthwhile in the long-run. If taking part in a certain workshop or class will teach you the basics of a skill you’re lacking in, or will enhance your existing skills, that initial investment could increase your earning potential months down the line.

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Get into a routine

The newfound freedom of freelancing might well tempt you into staying in your pyjamas all day, but many successful freelancers we’ve spoken to over the years have advised against this. Remember that this is still your professional career and you are much more likely to offer a professional service to clients without the distractions of home life. Try and create a dedicated workspace where you can concentrate on the task at hand, then treat that space like an office and get showered and dressed every morning like you usually would.

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Manage your money

From the start of your freelance career, you need to keep track of things like invoices, payments and business expenses. Freelance taxes are renowned for being quite confusing, so if you plan on looking after your finances yourself then it’s worth investing time to get to grips with them. Or if you are planning to pass your finances on to an independent body to look after, you should consider choosing one that works with many other freelancers. There are many benefits of choosing a specialist accountant including the tailored advice they regularly give to those similar to you.  This is just one comment from an ICS client;

“A specific feature of ICS I like compared to other accountants is that they have commitment, skills and the best service attitude. A benefit of using ICS is that there is reliability in terms of response, level of service and quality. ICS has been a key factor to success, and provides many business services with a great value. ICS’s support has allowed me to focus on the business activities instead of delivering the administration ones – this is an outstanding benefit.” – Cris G., Engineer, Oil & Gas Industry

Working with contractors and freelancers since 2002, if you want to know more about how ICS can help you and your new freelancing career, then get in touch online or at 0800 195 3750 to talk with the team.