So you’ve decided to become a freelancer! Well done. You’ve just taken the first step in to becoming your own boss. I hope you’re feeling ready! Here’s how to make sure you fail.
Firstly, let’s ensure that your reasons for going in to freelancing are to benefit you and you alone. Getting away from the rat race, breaking the cycle of tea rounds and tedium and hating your boss is essentially the equivalent of an MBA, so there’s no need to think about the logistics. Those other freelancers that have fallen before you are lying when they say it’s a tough market. What do they know? So forget everyone’s advice to start part time and build up a client base first. Where are their yachts, hmmmn? Don’t make any plans before quitting your job as this will only slow you down and you may bottle it if that pesky logic sets in. Just flounce out of your office with no thought to a business plan. Maybe have a few beers and grab a kebab on the way home whilst bragging on Facebook about your imminent success.
Secondly, be confident that your skill and your skill alone is what’s going to make money. You don’t need to worry about finding clients because they’ll find you! Forget all this rubbish about networking and having a strong reputation… that’s for chumps. You’re awesome and no one else out there is already doing a better job than you can. And you don’t even need to research it! You just know how superior you are without checking out your competitors. You rock.
Moving forward, make sure you ditch that dreary office mentality. You’re free now! Simply forget all that professionalism nonsense and start work whenever the hell you want. If you wanted to still be getting up at the crack of dawn to get a start on your day with a bang you’d have stayed in your job, right? Make sure you don’t start until at least 10-11ish, so that you can be sure that all the work is taken by people who know that freelancing jobs are usually delegated first thing. Someone probably made that up… Just enjoy your lie in.
Now that you’re all settled, make sure you get lazy about making meaningful contact with people. There’s no one breathing down your neck any more so you can switch to just haphazardly emailing people instead of having actual dynamic conversations with them on the phone or Skype. Worried they’ll forget about you? Simply ping them an email now and then to remind them of how awesome and freelance you are now. That won’t get put in their junkmail folder at all. Oh, and start calling your contacts “mate” or “dude” so that they know you’re a freelancer now and therefore immune from the effects of unprofessional etiquette.
And don’t worry if the work isn’t flooding in yet. Just kick back and relax! That’s the benefit of home-working, no? There’s no need to compensate for your lack of personal contact with people by booking networking events/conferences or going out to client meetings.
That’s what your website is for! And how lucky you were that Your Mate Dave could do it for free. Let’s all ignore the fact that it looks like a 2004 teenagers mySpace page. The fact that your smiling face is on it (taken from an iPhone – make sure it’s blurry so that people know you’re doing shit for yourself now) is enough to make people confident in you as an asset to their project. Don’t worry, you’re doing great.
As for finding work, don’t stress! You’ve got Twitter on your business card (Next to the massive VistaPrint label… Why bother getting cards printed professionally when these are cheaper?) so screw LinkedIn, it’s too complicated. Also, the fact that one in four professionals is now a freelancer shouldn’t scare you at all… Don’t level the playing field by researching and utilising the same platforms they are. They must be lying. The reason that coworking spaces and networking sites becoming so popular is a fluke and nothing to do with the fact that they’re the industry insiders secret weapon when it comes to finding talent, fast. It’s all a fad. Perhaps try placing another free-ad or maybe just opening your window and yelling your hourly rate. That’ll work.
As for your hourly rate – Make that shit up. Seriously… The more you can charge the better so never base your fee on your clients budget or your qualifications. That sounds complicated. Just say the highest number you can think of and hope they’ll go for it. And if they don’t? Put them on that list of people to spam with that weekly email and they’ll cave eventually.
But most importantly… No reliability necessary. A deadline is more like a guideline after all and, unlike in the office, your clients will totally understand that you had to nap or that it was a particularly nice day for a walk. Sloppy organisation makes it more exciting for the client and they’ll want to use you and your stress-inducing approach to providing your service again and again.
Well done, fledgling freelancer. You’re going to do just fine. Maybe.