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Tips for going it alone

After the financial stresses of recent months, we've come across lots of people who are thinking of going it alone. Some are 'jumping before they're pushed' and others, who have been made redundant are thinking now could be as good a time as any to go freelance.

As someone who freelanced for two years before working at MOO, I always find listening to different people's experiences really interesting. I personally stopped freelancing as the opportunity to work with MOO came along, and it sounded like fun (it is, actually). I was also quite tired - my office was my front room, and work was always there, in the corner of the room, needing to be done. It's quite hard to ignore freelance work sometimes, especially without the simple comfort of a physical door to block the way. People who work from home often say the same thing - getting away from work can sometimes seem impossible.

Having said that, I also enjoyed freelancing a lot. There's nothing like working on a range of projects, with a variety of different people. Lots of opportunities presented themselves and I was lucky enough to work on some projects that exercised my brain, taught me a lot and made me some new friends along the way.

Why I am I posting this now and what's it got to do with MOO? Well, I read this useful article by Rachel Andrew last week. She mentions only spending money on the things you really need - and that might mean you don't need the traditional full suite of business stationery.

She's completely right. My needs were fractionally different to hers - I found I didn't need printed letterheads for example, as invoices etc were all sent via email. I did need something like a compliment slip though, as I would often have to send back CDs or DVDs to companies, and shoving in a post-it note always seemed a bit scrappy. As my work was largely visual it seemed sensible to use something that showed that off a bit, so my 'compliments slips' were postcards - with images of my work on the front and my details on the back.

I also needed business cards. I think had MOO been around at the time I'd've gone for MiniCards as they suit my personality a bit better - and my range of clients. If my client base was a little more traditional though, I'd've stuck with a more traditional size.

If you are thinking of going it alone, the full article is worth a read.

You might also find these other links handy. They're spot on, and exactly the kind of advice I wish I'd had before I started. They're written from the personal experience perspective - and I found them more human and more relevant than a lot of other more 'business focussed' articles.

Beginners guide to freelancing - Phil Gyford.
A well written, comprehensive guide to going freelance.

Lessons learnt - Cameron Moll
This also a great read - as are the other posts linked early on in the article. If you have time, scan the comments too.

I hope those links help you as much as they helped me - and if you're going for it in the new year, good luck :)

If you're already a freelancer, what's the one thing you know now, you wish you'd known before? Now's your chance to help out the newbies.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
16th Dec, 2008 15:07 (UTC)
This is all
16th Dec, 2008 16:59 (UTC)
Re: This is all
It's a good start :)

I think my 'thing I know now and wish I knew then' would be not to answer mail out of hours actually. Before you know it, you feel like you *have* to answer every email that comes in - when it comes in - and the next thing that happens is people expect you to do that. Even at midnight, or the weekend. And before you know it, you've got yourself stuck in a loop you can't get out of.

Edited at 2008-12-16 17:00 (UTC)
16th Dec, 2008 22:02 (UTC)
Re: This is all
Yes! I know exactly what you mean!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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